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At first glance, it may seem easy enough to make a sale to a prospective customer. After all, you have something that they need or want, and you expect them to, therefore, make a purchase. You may think that you simply need to create a marketing campaign that shows off your product’s key features.

However, before you begin marketing for your business, you need to analyze the buying process for your specific target audience in greater detail. When you understand their specific motivation for considering your product and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly, you can expect great results.

The Buying Process

To build an effective marketing campaign, you need to highlight your product’s selling points and features. However, you also need to be aware of the consumer’s needs and desires. There are five stages of the decision-making process that most buyers will go through.

  • Problem Recognition: The consumer determines that he or she has a specific problem that your product could help them with.
  • Information Search: The consumer spends time learning as much as possible about your product to determine if it is an effective solution.
  • Evaluation of Alternatives: Many consumers will not make a hasty buying decision without comparing your product against at least a couple of the alternatives.
  • The Purchase: When the consumer makes a buying decision, he or she will usually act on it rather quickly. However, some will delay this step because they are waiting for a better price or are unsure about specific features or other factors related to your product.
  • Post-Purchase Behavior: Consumers typically will analyze the product after they have used it for at least a short period of time. By doing so, a decision about how effective the product is will be made.

Deciding to Buy

There are two main types of buying decisions: short-term and long-term decisions. Both of these decision-making strategies depend on what you’re selling. Learning more about them and adapting them to the product or service you’re offering can help you attract more customers.

Short-term Decisions

A short-term decision is usually associated with smaller and often cheaper items. These are either impulse purchases or routine purchases.

  • Impulse Purchase: Impulse purchases are usually for cheaper or smaller items, such as buying a candy bar at the checkout stand at the grocery store. Little or no thought is given to the purchase.

Even though impulse purchases mostly take place in store, you can tempt the customers to buy impulsively online, as well. For example, if you sell clothes, you can offer accessories that go well with the chosen outfit. The trick is to create a very straightforward and streamlined shopping experience. After all, if they have to jump through hoops to make the purchase, the urge to impulsively buy may be gone.

  • Routine Purchase: There are many products that consumers buy regularly without thinking about them. These may be essential items, such as toothpaste or toilet paper, or they could be their favorite foods. In many cases, these are products that the consumer has used in the past and has had great experiences with and they stay loyal to the brand.

However, if your product is new, you can’t rely on loyalty: you first need to attract your competition’s customer. In order to do that, you once again need to understand the target audience, so you can approach marketing in different ways. For example, you can ask customers to review your product online and share the positive experiences on your social media profiles. People are more likely to buy something that others have tested and liked. You can also offer coupons or discounts to encourage an initial purchase. Once a customer tries your product, they may decide to continue using it.

Long-Term Decisions

If you offer more expensive products, like electronics or cars, or if you’re in the real estate industry, you shouldn’t expect your customers to make quick decisions. They may spend weeks or even months analyzing the market and exploring alternatives before making a purchase.

Long-term decisions are usually based on products that could potentially impact a person’s budget or lifestyle. Part of the research process includes reading reviews, looking at consumer ratings and even asking friends for recommendations.

Some consumers need a financial incentive to get off the fence and to make a buying decision. For example, they may need a great discount for a new TV. On the other hand, real estate agents will have more success if they research the demographics of their target audience.

For instance, if you want to attract millennials, you should be aware that they may have limited budgets in comparison to older real estate buyers. The millennial generation may also prefer homes that have more modern features or finishes, electronic or automated features and more. Remember that, for them, the visual factor plays a great role in the decision-making process: the house you’re showing needs to be well-decorated, from the inside as well as the outside.

To Conclude…

As you can see, regardless of what you are selling, effective marketing is about more than just highlighting your products’ features and benefits. Consumer behavior should also be a focal point when crafting a new marketing campaign. When you understand consumer behavior, you can more effectively craft an excellent marketing campaign that produces amazing results.

About the Author:

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88


 
 

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Article Contributed by Finn Pierson

When many entrepreneurs decide to go into business for themselves, most never dream about how many hats they are required to wear and how many different sources of information that they will need to manage in both their macro and micro-environments. As an entrepreneur, as you begin to interact with more and more people, generate more sales, and have more sales leads in your sales funnel, you will need to manage not only the processes but also all of the different people that you interact with. Although this may seem very daunting, especially if the number of people you interact with is beginning to grow, then there’s no better way for you to manage them all than with a Customer Relation Management software, known as CRM.

There are immeasurable benefits from using a CRM software program. For example, according to Forbes Magazine business owners have experienced an increase in sales by 29% as a result of using some form of CRM. However, it’s most impactful the correct data is maintained and updated regularly. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur and are interested in better streamlining the management of your contacts, below are some reasons why you should make a CRM program your next entrepreneurial investment.

  1. Managing Your Contacts

First and foremost, if you are new to CRM, you may not realize how many people you interact with on a daily, monthly or an annual basis. Since you likely have many people contacting you from a wide variety of different sources, who also serve many different roles, these individuals must be managed to ensure your company’s success. From email management to sales activity, to keeping up with birthdays or the birth of a vendor’s child, your relationship with all the people you come in contact with is probably one of the most sensitive areas that you can manage. And since businesses are built on relationships, it’s very critical to properly manage them.

  1. Tracking Your Customers

Each of your customers is unique. They have different buying and spending patterns based on wide variety of different factors. In order to manage this process and better determine what they are buying, how frequently they are making purchases, and how much they’re spending on a particular item, it’s important to have a great tracking system in place to not only track these areas but to also track customized experiences that each of your customers may have.

  1. Target Marketing and Market Segmentation

Of all the customers that you interact with, they make up your general target market. However, some of them make up smaller groups known as your market segment or in some instances, your market niche. In order to implement effective relationship marketing plans, having appropriate software in place that manages these groups will help you develop more streamlined, better-targeted marketing strategies.

  1. Social Media-based Integrations

Social media is exceptionally prevalent in today’s society. Therefore, social media management based integration software programs can be better streamlined with the integration of various social media platforms. This will make tracking all of the ads and responses to those ads a lot easier than you could without having some form of CRM and tracking integration software in place.

  1. Customer Feedback

Managing your customer’s feedback is a very critical part of running a business. When customers reach out to businesses online, if they are neglected, many of them may move on to your competitor. To reduce such occurrences, the use of the proper software to better streamline customer feedback is also an excellent investment for entrepreneurs.

There is such a wide variety of areas that the entrepreneur needs to oversee and manage; including additional areas such as document management, task management, mobility management, sales tracking and more. Essentially, entrepreneurs need to track pretty much everything. As your business grows, so should your CRM and related software programs. It should be seen by entrepreneurs as their greatest next business investment to manage their contacts and their overall growth.


Article Contributed by Andy Heikkila

The rise of technology has revolutionized the way that we work. Smartphones mean that we never have to worry about missing a message or email again, and laptops and tablets allow us to get into spreadsheets and other nitty gritty work apps when and wherever we want to. The cloud allows us to upload documents and files in one location and access them anywhere else there’s an internet connection. It’s a truly amazing time that we live in.

On the other hand, it’d be irresponsible to say that our ability to connect and work anywhere has yielded solely positive results. The “always-on” attitude toward our jobs means that our work-life balance has suffered. PCMA reports that 57 percent of workers think technology has ruined the definition of a family dinner. Even worse than that, they report that 38 percent of workers have missed life events because of bad work-life balance.

Poor work-life balance is not only bad for the personal lives of entrepreneurs and employees, but it’s also bad for business itself. Work that does get completed isn’t always optimal because due to exhaustion and distraction, and overwork can cause burnout. As former CCO and Co-Founder of Artifact Uprising, Katie Thurmes, once said: “You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.”

Separating “Work” From “Life” 

For entrepreneurs, this You’d think that being your own boss means that you automatically have a better work-life balance. However, anybody who’s ever worked for themselves knows that being successful means making sacrifices, struggling to satisfy customers, and meeting tough deadlines. If fact, entrepreneurs may feel they have more at stake than the average company’s employee, because they sometimes see their work as an extension of themselves, further blurring the line between “work” and “life”.

Before entrepreneurs can find work-life balance, they need to understand the separation between the two. Taking time to appreciate and reflect on things outside of your job is essential to the human experience as well as to mental health. Don’t neglect things that “don’t contribute to the bottom line,” because return on investment isn’t always immediately quantifiable. Neglecting sleep today could affect your performance tomorrow. Consistently missing dinner with your family might be alright with you — but what about them? Consider these things before you end up drowning in your work.

Tips for Achieving Balance

Work-life balance isn’t something that just automatically happens — it’s something you have to actively pursue every day. Tammatha Denyes offers five quick tips in her blogpost, “How to Build Work-Life Balance Into the Life of an Entrepreneur”:

  1. It’s okay to say “no”. We’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that turning down work is something akin to failure, for some reason. However, we often forget how easy it is to over-extend ourselves and create stressful environments for ourselves, all because we said yes to one-too-many (or maybe five-too-many) projects. Learning to say “no” can help out with work-life balance a lot, and will help you to set definitive boundaries beyond which you will no longer take on new projects.
  2. Work out, take breaks, and meditate. The law requires we give employees and professionals time to take breaks during the day; why wouldn’t you give yourself the same time? Working out, taking breaks, and meditation all help to lower stress levels, and re-energizes us so that we’re fresh for the rest of the day.
  3. Streamline your workflow with technology and apps. Whatever your profession, there are most certainly apps and tech that can help you streamline your day, be they apps dedicated to time management, or apps that sync your notes so that you can access them on multiple pieces of hardware. Work smarter, not harder.
  4. Take time to pursue achievements unrelated to work. Being a well-rounded person means that you have facets, and you simply can’t have facets if all you do is work. Pushing yourself outside of work helps you prove to yourself that you’re adaptable, and prepares you for anything that comes up in your day-to-day that’s abnormal. Stretch your brain, pursue challenges outside of work, and enjoy the benefits of personal growth that follow.
  5. Build a trustworthy team. There’s only so much time in a day, and there’s only so much of you to go around. If you’re planning on expanding, you’ll need a team anyway — but even if you’re planning on keeping your operations low-key, find out what small tasks you can delegate to family members or  friends of family. With all the help you can get, you’ll be able to get a couple of hours back to yourself, bettering your work-life balance.

Finding work-life balance is imperative to doing the best work you can possibly do. Make sure that you’re not overworking yourself, and that you’re finding yourself constantly growing inside and out. The fact that the times have changed to reflect a world where you can work almost anywhere and everywhere doesn’t necessarily mean you have to — take a minute for you, and see what that turns into.

 

 


Article Contributed by Ashly Jacob

Just when we thought that online businesses were only a fad some years ago then we were very wrong about it. Online businesses continue to bloom and thrive up to this day and this platform has even become the frontrunner for some major corporations and enterprises. Aside from major businesses, there are also a lot of small businesses that have flourished due to people falling in love with the online platform. If you happened to be one of those entrepreneurs who are looking forward to invest on an online business there here are business models that you should check out.

  1. Try holding a reverse auction.

For those of you who does not know how reverse auction works, it is a process wherein consumers set a certain price for a particular service or product and if the seller will commit to the said price then the buyer must then commit to the terms and conditions set by the seller. Reverse auctions are very attractive towards buyers who are willing to go low just to be able to take advantage of a service or product that they want. The most common niche on reverse auctions are hotel accommodations and trip packages.

  1. Set up a website that acts as a middleman for transactions.

Ever wondered why websites such as eBay and Amazon are very popular despite charging less money from people who visit their website? This is because they are the ones who orchestrate demand aggregation. Even if they do not make that much out of transactions, they are able to gather sellers and consumers at a single virtual location, which is very attractive for third-party websites who are in dire need of advertising.

  1. Acquire a modern franchise business.

Much like how it happens with traditional businesses, online entrepreneurships also have franchises of their own as well. Pick a business model that you are really interested with so that you will have stock knowledge of it and you won’t easily get bored with your new business. Since the business concept is already provided then just focus on the staffing process and be able to hire the right people who will share your business vision and goal. Not all franchise businesses are mainstream because there are also concepts such as the wine cooler merchandise which is very popular among young online entrepreneurs these days.

  1. Offer a product at the most expensive price.

This business model is very risky but as long as you do extensive research on this then it can assure you a very profitable business outfit. Look for a product that has an exclusive market and try to personalize the product so that you can be able to market it at its highest possible price. You do not have to resort to dirty tactics such as false advertising because you just have to be confident of your product and everything else will follow.

  1. Set up man-to-man transactions.

The secret to this is to take advantage of privileges that are not used. For example, there is this company who has unused cars in the garage. Instead of just letting it sit there without any use then might as well have it for rent by people who do not have their own car yet. This way, both sides mutually benefit from the deal while your website acts as the middleman for the transactions. This type of service has a very wide scope and as long as you have a lot of connections then it would be very easy to let your service be known to others. You also do not need much of a capital to get this going because the concept is fairly simple.


Article Contributed by Henny Kel 

It is not unknown that most of the highly successful people have shared their traits which include tenacity, vision, luck, hard work and being business savvy. It is often heard that people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, have “Midas touch” as they seem to be able to turn the majority of their business into successes.

No one can deny that these successful entrepreneurs are now masters in managing their finances and their business to a certain degree because of their virtue of enormous success.

It is observed that when it comes to managing the fund, most entrepreneurs don’t understand the tax and accounting elements that well. In fact, most entrepreneurs don’t enjoy this side of the business, and they rather want to spend their time and energy to find solutions, new product or services, they want to grow their businesses. This, therefore, results in neglecting the financial side of the business which creates government compliant risk, unneeded legal tax, and undermining their business success.

To become a master of finances of your business, you have two options:

  1. To become a learner for lifetime
  2. Surround yourself with a good team
  • Become a Lifetime Learner

For becoming a successful entrepreneur one of the most important traits is to be a learner. People who keep absorbing new information, broaden their knowledge by attending seminars and reading. And well, those who seek consistent advice. Those who don’t can usually be found scratching their heads when the real problem comes. The latter kind of people then hopes that the stars will align magically for them.

Having vast knowledge in your field will always set you apart from your competition.

  • Surround Yourself with a Good Team

It is commonly observed in small business entrepreneurs that they tend to be smart and have a tendency to handle a lot of things by themselves. They can have “do it yourself” attitude, which is okay in the beginning stages in a small business venture, as they have more time than money.

However, when the business grows they need to have a quick transition as now this stage of their business won’t need the same attitude.

It is essential to surround yourself with a team of intelligent and honest people, who would give you ideas and stick by your side. For a large business, it is not possible for you to handle everything on your own.

  • Have a Proper Business Structure

It is tempting to be a lone wolf when we imagine about planning a business structure, but it’s important to resist this temptation and seek proper advice regarding accounting and legal things. There are many instances with clients where they make improper assumptions or when they incorporate for invalid reasons.

The most common mistake that is seen is when the entrepreneurs attempt to look out for the out-of-state entity and not in their home state (where they live), just to avoid state tax. It’s only when they already made the mistake they realize that they will have to register as a foreign entity in their home state and pay double or they have to scratch of their previous entity which was out-of-state and form a new one where they live.

It is possible to save state tax if you get organize in different states provided the nature of their organization and business structure.

  • Never Delay Tax Planning

It is another area where people often don’t understand it well, as most of them are new entrepreneurs. Proper tax planning and strategies to reduce tax in various cases can save a large amount for you, and thus can be a significant amount of potential savings in the long run.

It is crucial not to delay this tax planning because it is often seen that in many cases, as the year ends, there are very few options available to you. So, you should know your business entity structure, your compensation, retirement, and your fringe benefits when you’ll devise a tax strategy. You should also consider your anticipated brackets and tax bracket so that you can come up with a time plan for years that you want to maximize deduction v/s when you want to take greater income.

  • Set an Accounting System

For having a great firm on your business finances it essential that you should have a good accounting system. Thus, it should be on top of your list. You can find a broad range of software and accounting system on the market. Now, the nature and size of your business will be a factor in deciding what kind of system is required by you. Here are the three types of an accounting system that is commonly used by small business entrepreneurs:

  1. Manual Paper-Based
  2. Manual Spreadsheet
  3. Software or Cloud-Based
  • Build Trust and Add Value

For a moment don’t go after people’s wallet, now consider winning their hearts. For earning bucks, not just business strategies but trust also is needed which can be obtained by adding value to your relationship, with potential customers and existing ones as well. For this, you can start by providing them transparency, information, knowledge, treating them right, by being a good advisor, both before and after selling them your product. You should focus on creating a reputation in the market.

  • Keep an Eye on Reviews

The way internet is playing a significant role in deciding your reputation cannot be ignored. It is recorded in online surveys that more than 90 percent of your potential customers are reading a review about your product or service online. And as much as 80 percent even trust it.

You should keep an eye on the reviews about your business, as it will be a factor whether you will gain a customer or not. If any customer is facing the problem and they put it on your website or the online e-mart, you should actively solve the problem (or get it solved). Your company should never at any cost ignore these reviews.

  • Sharpen Your Skills in Business Development

You should as an entrepreneur hone your skills in this field. There are many convenient options available in the market today for new entrepreneurs to develop their abilities. For example, you can join online classes.

Remember, you have got a real competition in the market. That’s why you should start making yourself better at this every day.

  • Don’t Procrastinate

This is one of the biggest issues that entrepreneurs face. Set a time to address the issues on the specified day of the week or a particular time. You should not let laziness win over you. It’s a myth that procrastinators are smart-ass because procrastination is just a demon that will eat your time and your money.

As an entrepreneur, you should be active, and able to take all of the responsibilities.

After reading this, I hope you understand what it is needed for running a business efficiently. As an entrepreneur grasp the knowledge and go ahead with your team. Don’t be scared to use new technology and have a good relationship with your customer.  Designhill is an amazing place to learn new things.

We wish you all the best!



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