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Equity Crowdfunding: Your Solution for Small Business Financing?

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Salomon Wancier – Enjoy!

equity-crowdfunding-earlysharesSmall businesses haven’t had it easy since the dawn of the recession in 2008, but thankfully they’ve enjoyed a steady (if slow) recovery.

Recent studies show that 2013 was a solid year for small businesses and 2014 should be even stronger. 89 percent of small businesses increased travel between fall 2013 and the previous year. Small businesses created 102,000 new jobs in November alone. And eight out of 10 small business owners plan to increase their products and offerings in 2014.

But in order to travel, add personnel, and execute on expansion plans in the coming year, many small businesses will need financing… which is where things get tricky. Despite being the strongest drivers of growth in the U.S. economy, small businesses face immense challenges garnering funding from traditional sources like venture capital firms, angel investor groups, or debt financing.

Since small businesses aren’t the only ones struggling for financing – startups, entertainment projects, musicians, and others face similar challenges – the new (and popular) crowdfunding industry has increasingly filled the funding gap.

Not all Crowdfunding is Created Equal

In a crowdfunding campaign, a group of individuals pools resources to support a company, organization, artist, or project. Crowdfunding has become a viable way for many entities to raise money. Over $480 million was pledged to campaigns on Kickstarter (the best-known crowdfunding platform) in 2013.

But unbeknownst to many, there are four different types of crowdfunding taking place on various platforms: Rewards, Donation, Lending, and Equity.

Rewards campaigns exemplify “traditional” crowdfunding on platforms like Kickstarter. In exchange for some reward – a discount, freebie, product pre-order, or other item – individuals contribute money to an organization, project, or company.

Donation campaigns are mostly the same, except there’s no physical reward element – just the reward of giving to a worthy cause. In Lending crowdfunding (or “peer-to-peer lending”), individuals loan money to businesses or people at competitive interest rates.

Then there’s Equity crowdfunding – the next phase of the crowdfunding phenomenon and the type arguably best suited to business financing. In an Equity crowdfunding campaign, individuals aren’t backing a project in exchange for rewards; they’re investing in a business. In exchange for contributions, Equity crowdfunding investors receive ownership interest in the entity raising funds – just as would an angel investor or venture capitalist.

Under current regulations, Equity crowdfunding opportunities are only available to Accredited Investors. When the SEC implements rules for Title III of the JOBS Act, the general public will also be able to invest through equity crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding for Small Business: Marketing and Financing

Several factors make Equity crowdfunding a fit for small business financing. The first is marketing.

A crowdfunding campaign (of any kind) is a unique marketing opportunity. Executing a successful campaign requires business owners to promote their companies to new audiences – increasing overall visibility in the process – and motivate their existing networks to support them. Before launching any online fundraising campaign, be prepared to become your business’ biggest cheerleader.

Additionally, Equity crowdfunding is designed to finance companies and other long-term ventures – unlike Rewards or Donation campaigns, which are often best suited to individual projects. (Kick-starter only posts campaigns for “creative projects.”).

Rewards crowdfunding facilitates a limited arrangement between business and backer. Once a project owner delivers the rewards, the relationship between backer and business ends.

Equity crowdfunding, however, establishes a long-term relationship between the crowdfunded company and its supporters – one in which both parties have vested interests in achieving success. Equity crowdfunding investors are likely to patronize and evangelize the company they invest in, since that will help the business earn them a return on their investment.

Which is not to say that Equity crowdfunding is a sure thing. Like any investments in small businesses and early-stage companies, Equity crowdfunding investments are high-risk. And not all Equity crowdfunding campaigns end in successful financing; some companies are bound to fail.

But though Equity crowdfunding is still evolving, it has the potential to be rewarding for certain small businesses and investors. It’s the next logical phase of crowdfunding, it’s the future of investing and financing, and perhaps it’s even the way your small business will fund a promising 2014.

Earlyshares-SalomonSalomon Wancier is Chief Marketing Officer of EarlyShares, a leading equity crowdfunding platform, and an authorized Duct Tape Marketing Consultant. He can be reached at [email protected].  For more on Equity crowdfunding and investing, visit the EarlyShareholder Blog. Stay tuned for a future Duct Tape blog post from Salomon on ‘Equity Crowdfunding 101.’

5 Forgotten Offline Marketing Tactics

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Jayson DeMers – Enjoy!

With the rise in popularity of online marketing, many proven offline methods are simply forgotten when marketing campaigns are planned. Of course, online marketing is hugely important in today’s Internet-connected world, but offline engagement with customers still has unique and distinct value that shouldn’t be forgotten.

If you want to give your business a real marketing boost this year, start looking outside the box. Here are five forgotten offline marketing tactics that don’t require a big marketing budget.

1. Engage in offline guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing is a generic term for the use of unconventional marketing strategies, and because online marketing channels are so narrowly structured, offline is the best arena to flex your small business’s guerrilla marketing muscle. So, starting now, ignore what you know about marketing channels, and let your inner child out to play.

Offline guerrilla marketing ideas:

  • Leave sticky notes in random places (bars, coffee shops).
  • Use chalk to advertise promotions on a sidewalk.
  • “Accidentally” leave a branded pen at the bank.
  • Donate branded bookmarks to your local library.
  • Use sticky notes to create temporary images on buildings, cars, etc.

2. Drop business cards

This is one offline guerrilla marketing strategy that I want to talk about specifically. It’s more of a necessity than an option. If you run a small business, you must have business cards and dole them out! Don’t just share them when you first meet someone new. Drop them everywhere.

Places to drop business cards:

  • Leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant.
  • See a public bulletin board? Put up a business card.
  • Go to the library and place business cards in books related to your business.
  • When you see a contest fish bowl asking for business cards, drop yours in. Always.

3. Take pictures/videos of everything

Because social media marketing takes place online, many business owners and marketers forget that social campaigns can be boosted by offline efforts. One way to do this is by taking photos of company events and daily activities, and then posting those online. Videos help too. If someone from your company speaks at an event, for example, record it and upload it to YouTube.

Real-life photos from the offline world show the personality of your company and increase online user engagement. Facebook posts with photos, for example, receive 84% more clicks and twice as many Likes than text-only posts, according to Kissmetrics. And some of the most popular social networks (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr) are image-based, making photos ever more important for online marketing.

4. Donate gift certificates or products as prizes

By offering your product or service as the prize for a local contest, you can build visibility for your business while showing your commitment to the community.

If your business provides computer repairs, for example, you could donate a gift certificate for a 2-hour repair to a local non-profit organization. The organization may announce your branded prize to a room full of sponsors. Your business could also be listed in various publications, such as the organization’s website, newsletter, or even a press release.

5. Speak at events

Professional events offer a great way to meet new people, share your ideas, and build brand awareness. They’re even more effective if you speak at them. Find a local event related to your industry, come up with an educational topic you can speak on, and volunteer. If you don’t yet have the level of clout required to speak at an event, attending events can be just as helpful.

Remember, you don’t have to adopt all of these offline marketing strategies. Just try one. Write a promotion on a couple sticky notes, and put them in your pocket for the day. Who knows what could happen.

jayson-profile-google-plusJayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

Five Ways You’re Not Going To Get An Investor For Your Startup

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Weston Bergmann – Enjoy!

Angel InvestorThere are a lot of ways to attract an angel investor to your startup. There are even more ways to turn them off. These are some of them.

1. Not Having Traction

Sophisticated investors invest in companies that are ready to scale. Meaning the founders have proven on some level that people will pay for what they’re selling and they’ve proven they can repeat said process. The investment dollars are meant to extrapolate on this proven traction. If you’re asking for dollars and you have no traction, what you’re really saying is you want investors to gamble on your experiments.

2. Not Knowing Your Cost Of Customer Acquisition

Knowing how much it costs to acquire a customer is debatably the most important variable in an investor’s equation. Here’s a simple example, if you know how much it costs to acquire 100 customers…. than investors can use this equation:

Cost of getting 100 customers = X

Revenue from 100 customers = Y

Amount of money investor is willing to invest = Z

(Y minus X) times Z = total profit

Z divided by X = amount of customers

Now the investor can ask himself or herself if the amount of new customers and their profit is a big enough splash to get them to that next level. That next level could be something like organic growth possibilities, a larger round, an acquisition target, etc. If it’s not big enough you’re either not asking for enough money (red flag) or your cost of customer acquisition is too high (bigger red flag).

3. Having a Weak Team

Every investor says the same thing: bet on the jockey, not the horse. They’re looking for a “wow factor” that stands out from the crowd. Think about it…if you don’t stand out, how can you create something else that does? There are a lot of attributes that defines an entrepreneur’s “wow factor.” You don’t need all of these, but it’d be nice:

-Out-of-this-world storytelling ability

-Remarkable education

-Previously failed startup

-Extremely successful previous startup

-Personal money invested

-Ability to build your own product

-Connected (social media, rolodex, leadership roles)

-Back story that stands out (Olympian, celebrity, star athlete, successful author, etc.)


4. Being Unlikable 

If you’re about to take a bunch of money from someone to go off and change the world you’re solidifying a relationship with that person for the long-run. No one wants to work with someone that’s not fun, isn’t likable, isn’t agreeable, and isn’t at least a little cool. If you’re thinking, “wow, this isn’t me at all,” it’s your responsibility to find someone that is and make them the face of your company. Yes, this is sometimes called politics. Deal with it or fund the company yourself.

5. Not Being Honest

There are two major reasons why you want to be honest. The first is it adds credibility. If you don’t say the answer “I don’t know” at least once in a long Q & A session you’re not going to get funded. Investors are going to ping you with hundreds of questions until you’re blue in the face, and they’re purposely going to ask you at least one question there is no answer to. They’re testing you to see if you have the confidence to tell them you don’t know. Obviously you can’t say, “I don’t know” too much, or that looks bad for a different reason. But once-or-twice adds a lot of credibility to the rest of the questions that you did answer.

The second reason why honesty is important is something called fraudulent inducement. It means that if an investor can prove you lied to them about anything during the pitch and due-diligence stage – they’re entitled to 100% of that money back. Trust me, you will have already spent some of it (if not all of it) by the time they want it back. The best way to not get caught lying to an investor…surprise, surprise…don’t lie at all. Ever.

Wes with BootstrapWeston Bergmann is the founder and lead investor in a business incubator in Kansas City called BetaBlox. He’s acquired part of over 60 startups in the last two years alone. He is a radical practitioner of lean methodologies and an honors graduate from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. He’s lived in ten different countries and his dog’s name is Bootstrap.

Why Small Businesses Still Need to Network in the Local Community

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Deborah Sweeney – Enjoy!

Why Small Businesses Still Need to Network in the Local CommunityDespite the rise of social networking and the perceived crumbling of face-to-face interaction it has caused, community is not dead. I have always been very passionate about local small business, but when I talk about real life networking within my community, I often get a few raised eyebrows. After all, I run an internet-based business – it isn’t like we get a lot of walk-in traffic! But establishing roots in your local community, regardless of what type of a business you run, is absolutely vital to your continued success. These relationships can help lead to partnerships and, though the internet has made it easier to market, word of mouth in the flesh is still invaluable to brand recognition.

Local recognition is priceless

A few years ago, American Express sponsored a ‘Small Business Consumer Pulse Survey’ to gauge how the average person felt about local small business. According to that survey, 9 out 10 Americans believe it is important to support local small businesses, and 73% of respondents said that they make a conscious effort to shop at local businesses. If your business is known as a local company, a solid majority of the nearby population is going to try to frequent your storefront as much as possible. However, if you hide behind a computer screen and refuse to connect with anyone within your community, they may very well pass you over. And even if you don’t run the type of business that does a lot of walk-in sales, that local recognition is still invaluable. Whether it is through hosting an open house at your office, offering a scholarship, or even sponsoring a banner ad at a local baseball game, making your name known to your community is a precious marketing asset. People who live in the city you do business in will go out of their way to look you up online if they know you are active in their community.

Small businesses that support each other do better

Are you active in your local chamber of commerce? Well you should be! Studies show that by simply involving yourself with your Chamber of Commerce, you increase customer favorability by 44%, and increase the likelihood of future patronage by 64%. The Chamber of Commerce is also a goldmine of information about local economic trends and policies. Business owners swap ideas, and studies are sponsored to help give chamber members a competitive edge. If you are skipping out on your Chamber of Commerce, you are really missing out on some great opportunities to network and mingle with area leaders.

Trust me, it is inspiring

While I love the fact that both my business and my work as its CEO is bettered by becoming involved in the local community, it really is inspiring to be included in a network of small businesses and entrepreneurs. I often try and give talks at local schools and colleges about becoming an entrepreneur because I want that network to grow. According to the SBA, small businesses have generated 64% of all new private-sector jobs over the past twelve years. Taken by itself, the lone small business may not seem like it impacts much at all. But when we work together to build and foster a network of small businesses, we make our community, and our company, better all around.

Marketing is all about increasing brand recognition and bringing in new customers. And while traditional marketing through television, radio, and the internet definitely works, you are missing out on a real opportunity if you aren’t involved in your local network of businesses. Your company should be recognized as the pillar of the local community that it is, and that only happens when you become involved with your town. So when you’re planning out your marketing strategy, remember to include your local community. Not only will your involvement help you to do more business, it will also help make you a better businessperson.

deborah sweeney headshotDeborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Why Your Sales Pitch Isn’t Converting

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Jordyn Rickard – Enjoy!

EmolectualWith call after call made to numerous businesses or advertisement after advertisement placed for potential customers and no results, you may be on the verge of a mental and emotional breakdown. It’s time to sit down and ask yourself a serious question… Why isn’t your sales pitch converting?

If you’re stumped and think that you’ve tried everything, it’s time to think again. Chances are, you simply are not making the right type of connection with your target consumer or client. Worse yet, there’s a chance you aren’t making any sort of connection. Without forming a connection that resonates deep within the consumer, your sales pitch and product stand very little chance of going to the places you ultimately want them to be.

Read on below for a solid solution to shaping your sales pitch using three easy strategies your ideal customer won’t get enough of.

A Fine Balance and Identifying The Connection Model

An ideal marketing sales pitch will make a connection that appeals to both an intellectual and emotional side. Falling too far on one side or the other eliminates the need and validation required for prospective customers to convert into customers. This scientific connection is dubbed an “emolectual connection.” Think about your pitch and why clients would emotionally want to be involved. Will it make better lives for their families? Make memories? Fill voids that they consistently face? Then turn your pitch around to its intellectual side. Why does this make sense financially? Why are YOU the best solution versus the other guys?

The Emotional Aspect

Convey your passion in your pitch. Tell your audience what makes you get up in the morning and what makes you thrive from day to day. Once they understand where you are coming from, you can turn the tables and connect with them on an emotional level. Part of being a great salesperson is identifying what makes your client thrive on a day to day basis. Showing clients how your product or service can impact their lives for the better will have them wrapped around your finger. Alternatively, a connection that doesn’t also include an intellectual bond will leave you with a wishy-washy client who may or may not drop in a short period of time. An emotional connection compels a person to stick with you over leaving for the other guy.

The Intellectual Aspect

All business minded individuals and consumers operate from a standpoint of validation. Everything they do has to make sense – from a financial standpoint to a moral standpoint. Take this opportunity to tell them why they need you. Why your product is the end all solution to fill the void. Talk finances and keep the end goal focused on them being happier and in a better place with your product in sight. People don’t want to be sold, but people do want to buy. Give them a reason that makes sense and you’re golden.

Most pitches already possess the intellectual aspect of an emolectual connection. By tying the two together to form an emolectual connection, you’ll find your sales pitch not only converts, but resonates deep within a consumer. Business experts and businesses themselves know that an angry customer is more likely to speak up and tell a friend or leave a review than a satisfied customer. But a passionate customer is just as likely to leave a review and speak up. Go for beyond happy customers, strive for a well-rounded connection and benefit significantly!

Jordyn RickardJordyn Rickard is a young marketing professional with over 5 years of experience in marketing and strategy for small and medium sized businesses. With an education in finance and an extensive freelancing background, she’s had the privilege of developing solutions that work for small businesses. Currently, Rickard proudly works as a Success Coordinator for Synduit, a marketing and consulting firm for small businesses. Reach out to Rickard on Twitter @jordynatsynduit .

Taming the Print Zombie: How to Use a Once “Dead” Medium to Market Your Business

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Pamela Wilson – Enjoy!

print-marketing-zombieTwenty years ago it was one of the most important means we had to market our businesses. Its death has been announced more than once in the past ten years. And today, using it can be a radical move that helps your business stand out from the crowd.

I am speaking, of course, about printed marketing materials.

The postcards, brochures, flyers, and newsletters that papered our world just a couple of decades ago have all but disappeared now. And that’s exactly why it might be time to reconsider them.

Because while all your competitors are reaching out and touching their prospects’ inboxes, what would happen if you arrived in their mailboxes?

If this sounds intriguing, read on for money-saving ideas and tips so you can explore the possibilities of print collateral to market your business.

Ideas for Print Materials

Stationery

Well-designed letterhead, envelopes, and business cards make your company look polished and professional. You’ll be motivated to send out estimates, proposals and follow up letters when you know they’ll reflect favorably on your business.

Postcards

Postcards are inexpensive to print, and less expensive to mail than an envelope. Think about them as an opportunity to send content marketing to your prospects and customers: checklists, buying guides, how-tos, etc.

They’re also the perfect place to make a special offer, which you can send them to your website to pick up (more on that later).

Consider using oversized postcards to stand out in people’s mailboxes, and be sure to explore variable printing, which allows you to personalize and customize elements of the piece depending on who you’re sending it to.

Presentation folders

A beautifully-designed pocket folder has a multitude of uses.

You can rely on it to help your business stand out when you’re making a sales proposal or presenting a report. If you keep it simple and remove your address and phone number (these can be on the paperwork inside) you can use your presentation folders for many years.

This is a “print once, use for years” investment you won’t regret.

Note cards

Simple pre-printed note cards and envelopes that feature your logo will motivate you to send thank you notes, words of encouragement, and follow up notes to people you meet at networking events.

Saving Money with Print

Standard offset printing works best when you’re printing large quantities. To print smaller runs, consider digital printing.

Digital printing happens on machines that are large, sophisticated versions of the color laser printer you may have on your desktop. The quality is similar to traditional offset printing, but the cost is reduced.

Consider using online printers for some of your print materials. Online printers “gang up” their print jobs: your artwork is placed next to other customers’ art on a large sheet, which saves everyone money.

Integrating Print with Your Web Marketing

Finally, if you’re going to use print, make sure you integrate it with all your other marketing efforts.

Start with the obvious: add your website address to all print materials.

For promotional items like postcards, consider creating a custom landing page that’s visually similar to the piece you’re sending, and include the URL on your postcard so you can track visitors.

Coupon codes which are exclusive to your postcard offer are another way to track who received your mailing and see who takes you up on your offer. With variable printing you can even use a different code on each card so you can track clicks to users.

Dip Your Toes in Print Marketing

Print marketing materials are different than web marketing because they’re permanent — once it’s in print, you can’t modify it like you can a web page.

This means taking extra care to proof your information carefully, and working with a graphic designer and printer who can help you bring your vision to reality.

Precisely because print takes extra effort — and not as many marketers make this effort today — tangible print materials can help you stand out.

Start small. If you don’t have a business card, work on that first. Once you’ve created those, consider a simple note card.

Dip your toes in print marketing — because sometimes the most radical way to stand out is to create a tangible object people can see, touch, and hold onto.

Pamela-Wilson-150px-sqPamela Wilson helps small business owners combine strategic marketing and great design to grow their businesses at Big Brand System. Thousands of small business owners have used her free Design 101 series to polish up their marketing. Want it? Just sign up for her free Marketing Toolkit here, and you’ll get the first lesson today.

What’s Best for Your Marketing Right Now?

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Chris Kilbourn – Enjoy!

New Year New Plan

Photo credit: Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock

It’s the best and worst time to be a marketer.

It’s the best, because marketers are empowered with infinite resources — data, robust tools, and high-yield customer acquisition channels.

But it’s also the worst, because the marketing landscape is more cutthroat than ever — never before has the competition for audience attention been so fierce.

In 2011, AOL and Nielsen estimated that 27M pieces of content were being shared each day.

Imagine what that number looks like today.

Virtually every marketing team has committed to investing more in content production, social media marketing, and inbound marketing this year. That’s because leaders finally have the tools that they need to prove the ROI of their spends.

As media budgets increase, however, there will be much more pressure on marketers to stand out. We’re all after the same audience eyeballs — and these consumers are tired of seeing the same messages over and over and over.

2014 is the year that you need to stand out — and you’re going to need to put up a strong fight.  Forge your own path. Outsmart the crowd. Test creative and innovative ideas.

It’s time to reinvent the wheel. Here are some ideas to get started:

1. Create World-Class Content

Content

Photo Credit: Stokkete/Shutterstock

Everyone is blogging.

Let me repeat that: everyone is blogging. If you’re just launching your content marketing plan, you’re still behind the crowd.

But this position actually works to your competitive advantage.

A fully fleshed out content engine is expensive to maintain. The investment yields significant rewards, but think about it — when you’re already big, it’s impossible to reinvent your strategy.  If you’re just starting out, you have infinite potential to try something new.

Have an idea? Run with it.

Neil Patel exemplifies this concept. He’s gone where no marketer has gone before and routinely spends $20K-$30K to create in-depth guides like The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing. These are 30,000+ words and over 200 pages in length.

Beginners guide

His goal wasn’t to copy anyone else but to set the bar high and truly be exceptional.

If you have an amazing idea and are able to quantify an ROI, do it. You can always start with a test, measure response, shift angles, and scale. With so much momentum in the content space, now is the best time to do it.

2. Build Relationships with 800-Pound Gorillas

500 lb gorilla

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The beauty of online marketing is that it’s collaborative. Our industry is one where peer support is high. We want to partner up and help fellow companies succeed. We are constantly looking to exchange value and help one another grow.

When you’re just starting out as a marketer (or are finding your stride), it will help to align your company and team with now-big companies that have been exactly where you are now.

800-pound gorillas have the advantage of an audience, customer base, and reputable product. As a small company, there are plenty of ways that you can help that 800-pound gorilla, while also growing your own company. Offer to provide content to blogs like HubSpot’s – they get your awesome content, and you get exposure for your company. You can also look to form strategic partnerships through software integrations. Take a look at the Unbounce partner marketplace for inspiration.

Unbounce

Even as a small business, you can add value to an 800-pound gorilla. Give more than you expect to get, and you’ll see value in return.

3.  Find New Communities

kites

Photo Credit: jannoon028/Shutterstock

In terms of community-building, social media platforms are only the first step. Find communities where your customers are hanging out. Join conversations with fellow marketers on websites like Inbound.org and GrowthHackers.com.

GrowthHackers

In addition to finding opportunities to promote your company, look for new skills to learn (and people to learn from). Listen more than you speak, add great questions, and add value. Care about your community, and you’ll be surprised whose attention you’ll get.

Your Thoughts

You pick #4. What are your marketing goals for 2014? What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned last year? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’re excited to learn from you and keep the conversation going.

Chris KilbournChris Kilbourn is the VP of Strategy at Fit Marketing. In past lives, he was a professional rockstar (seriously), and he built and sold two successful companies from the ground up. You can request a consultation with Chris and his team at Fit Marketing here.

 

10 Marketing Tasks You Should Be Delegating

It is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Amy Metherell – Enjoy!

10 Marketing Tasks You Should Be Delegating_DTM

Photo credit: Krasimira Nevenova

If you’re running a business, there’s no doubt that you have a lot of marketing tasks on your plate.  Yes, there are some things that only you can do, but there are also many marketing tasks you can delegate to an assistant. Yes, you really can!

Here are 10 Marketing Tasks You Should Be Delegating

1.     Blog Management

Have you ever wanted to start guest blogging to get your name/site out there but don’t have the time to implement it? Have someone else do it.  Someone else can easily do things like research blog topics, find images for your posts, find contributors for your blog, or even write posts if you are finding yourself short on time or really don’t like writing.

Do you find it a hassle to manage your editorial calendar? Don’t even have an editorial calendar?  Have someone create one for you and then manage it.

2.     Social Media

Is there a Twitter party you think would be good to participate in but don’t have the time?  Let your assistant do it.  He or she can also create a social media strategy and track and report on the progress.

An assistant can easily post and engage with your audience on any and all social media outlets on your behalf.

3.     Event Coordination

Do you have an idea for a live or online event but no time to make it happen?  Delegate it!  An assistant can secure venues, food, speakers, sponsors, and all the logistics that come with live events such as securing sponsors, bloggers, and prizes for online events.  An assistant can also handle the marketing for that event as well as reporting after the event.

4.     Prospecting

An assistant can easily make calls to qualified leads to weed out anyone who isn’t really going to make a purchase.  This way, you only spend time talking to true leads that are more likely to lead to a sale.  An assistant can schedule those interested prospects on your calendar so all you have to do is make the calls.

5.     Market Research

An assistant can create surveys, send them out, and organize the results into usable data.  He/she can also create and manage focus groups and conduct research about your competitors and your target market.

6.     Follow Up Calls

Follow up calls can mean the difference between accomplishing a sale or not, which means they’re really important but they also take time.  Why not have an assistant do this?  He or she can remind the lead of your initial call and feel out whether it’s worth pursuing.

7.     Newsletters

Communication is core in building up a business relationship and newsletters help with this.  An assistant can create, edit, and send email newsletters for you.  Just provide an example or your ideas and let the assistant take over.  No need to spend hours of your own time on this task.

8.     Send Thank You Notes

Handwritten thank you notes tell your customers that you really care.  Have your assistant organize thank you notes to each new customer and any customers who have referred others to you.  Your customers will appreciate the thought.

9.     Email List Management

You know that huge email list you have?  It’s great that you have it, but what do you really do with it?  Have an assistant manage the list (remove bad emails, etc.) so it’s always in top shape.  He/she can also create auto-responders so you’re always in touch with your subscribers, and track and report the statistics of these campaigns.

10.    Networking

Networking is about making connections that lead to mutually beneficial relationships.  Yes, some networking you really do have to do yourself, but not all of it.  Your assistant can comment blog posts, monitor and comment on your social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc.   An assistant can also research online communities for you to join as well as networking conferences to attend.

Now you know 10 marketing tasks you can delegate, so why not try it out?  Try delegating 1 task and see how it goes.  All you have to lose is that huge to-do list!

AmyMetherell_BioPhotoAmy is a Virtual Assistant who started in early 2013 by attempting to get one client on the side of her full time job just to see if she could.  She got three at once and didn’t know whether to cry or do a happy dance.  She did the dance and “stumbled” on several more clients after that and her business has been growing steadily ever since.  Her alter ego is the ringleader of a circus (otherwise known as her family) consisting of a husband who DJs weddings, 2 rowdy kids, and a little dog, too.