Monthly Archives: March 2016

How Do You Recognize Influencers

bu8Some people may be more aware of influencers in their niche or industry than others. However, it is important to understand that influencers are a very important part of your professional success. It takes a great deal of work to reach influencer status and it is really beneficial to surround yourself with influencers who can help you to elevate your business to the next level.

Capturing the attention of other people online

There is no doubt that your content is top-shelf. However, that is not necessarily enough. Not only do you need to consistently produce content that speaks to other people in a profound way but you also need to get other people to promote your content and to share it with other people. In short, you need influencers to endorse and support what you are offering. If an influencer shares your content, it will go a very long way toward your ability to elevate your content. The good thing about an influencer is not only that the person has a solid amount of credibility and trustworthiness but you can be confident that the person will work very hard to maintain his or her position as an influencer. Just like any position of power, if the influencer doesn’t work hard to maintain his or her influencer status, that person may not be considered an influencer forever.

The difficulties of choosing the appropriate influencers

When it comes to identifying influencers, you must be discerning. Not all influencers are a perfect fit for all businesses and all business owners. It really all depends on your brand and what you are trying to accomplish with your business. Once you have gathered a list of potential influencers, you will need to look at each one carefully and ask yourself if each one will benefit your business and enhance what you are trying to do. You will want to make sure that your final list of influencers is not too long. Those influencers who make your final cut need to be people who will help you to bring your business to the next level. The great thing about influencers is that they often know other influencers well and if they value your strategy and your content, they will be more than happy to share. At this juncture, you are probably wondering how you can choose your influencers in the most appropriate manner possible.

    • Start out by identifying which influencer you want to follow and start to follow them consistently: There are online tools that are available to help you to identify the best influencers for you. You should search for people who have a solid online presence and who promote compelling discussions through their writing. The first advantage that you will have by doing this is that you will not only stay connected to the influencer but also to everyone else to whom that influencer is also connected. That is a wonderfully effective way to widen your sphere of influence and to start to truly boost your reputation and increase your exposure.
    • The relationship needs to be mutual: Relationships, by nature, are supposed to be mutual. One hand really does wash the other hand. There are many different ways in which you can help each other. In many cases, money never changes hands. You have something valuable (a product and/or a service) that the other person wants or needs and that person has something that is valuable to you as well. You give to each other and, hopefully, you will both be satisfied in the end. When it comes to your relationship and interactions with your influencer, it may very well be a relationship that does not involve the same mindset that you have when you interact with other people. Once you have established a connection with that particular influencer, if you both work on that connection, there is no reason why it can’t be a permanent one. It is very important that you and your influencer connect on different levels. Get to know each other as people. A strong foundation of trust will be the result of that.
  • Influence and reach are not one and the same: At this point, it is important to remember that choosing quantity over quality is probably not a wise choice. Being able to say that you have 500+ connections may be impressive to some people but how many of those 500+ people do you actually interact with regularly? Probably not a large percentage of them, right? It makes much more sense to choose quality over quantity. It is a good idea to be discriminating when it comes to the people whom you do allow into your circle. You want to get the most out of those relationships after all.

Conclusion

Influencers are an extremely important part of your business. However, you need to choose your influencers wisely so that the relationship that you share with the other person is the best that it can possibly be. You want it to have very positive, mutually beneficial results. Once you have established a relationship with one of your influencers, you can trust that person to work his or her magic when it comes to expertise in that particular niche. You can then sit back and reap the benefits of that expertise. Whether you are aware of it or not, by choosing the appropriate influencer, you are choosing the appropriate person to tell your story, which will resonate with many other people.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

5 Types of Businesses That Need Call Tracking and Why

bu7There are a lot of people who are used to making purchases or orders using their phones. Believe it or not, phone calls are still one of the essential business components for many industries. For many business organizations, calls are the main type of leads and they are usually worth multiple times more than those that came to you by filling in a kind of form. Yet another trend for industries that rely on phone leads is that most of them use paid search ads to drive traffic to their websites, and these are the ones that lead to people making calls.

However, there is a big issue with calls that come from paid searches; they are usually untracked and this greatly reduces the effectiveness of a PPC campaign, especially in regards to conversions and leads. Without valuable call tracking data, professional marketers get stranded in the dark when talking about which ads, landing pages, and keywords are responsible for driving these calls.

This makes businesses unable to make the right decisions in their future PPC strategies. Without proper call tracking methods, advertises and businesses alike risk losing a big portion of phone conversions because they don’t have important information that can help them understand where to focus their efforts and resources. They are unable to channel the extra budget funds into new keywords if they don’t know which ones work the best.

Home services

If you are an expert in home decorating, plumbing, home cleaning, window or door installation, flooring or any other home repair service, then you should include call tracking. No matter what kind of home improvement services you provide, you should expect a lot of of calls each day.

Just imagine that a potential customer needs a new sink installed; he or she will probably search for things like “plumbing services” or “sink services” via a search engine, click on some ads and then call a service that is most convenient.

This is a typical conversion path when it comes to services like this, because the nature of such a service presumes coming to a client’s house directly. This is why people feel that it’s best to give you a call, talk specifics, as well as the type of trouble they are having.

Cosmetic and dental clinics

In most cases, people don’t have their own dentist and they don’t call one until there is an emergency. People don’t even search for a nearby dentist until they start feeling the pain in their mouth or when they beak their tooth in an accident. When this happens, they start searching for local dental services or clinics and they start calling numbers.

Both dental and cosmetic clinics are busy places, especially the good ones, and one always has to make an appointment some time in advance. Alternatively, they can arrange something for the customer in case of an emergency. All of these appointments are made through phone calls, and people can also consult with a specialist without the need to see them in person. These are clear reasons why businesses like these need call tracking.

Real estate businesses

When a person is looking to buy a new home or rent an apartment, he or she is definitively not going to do a quick search on Google and press the “purchase now” button. Not a chance! Real estate is one of the most important aspects of one’s life, and one of the greatest expenses. You probably already knew this; but conversions are definitively not going to happen as often online. They simply won’t.

If a person that searched for a certain piece of real estate online is genuinely interested in renting or purchasing a certain place, they are definitively going to grab their phone and call the number they find online in order to talk to the real estate agent. In a business like this, generating call leads is the foundation for further growth, so make sure that you are ready for incoming calls.

Education

There are many forms of education out there: college, high school, middle school, elementary school, grad school, various courses, private, public, etc. The options to choose from are vast and researching schools can be difficult thorough, especially when it is done by a parent or a guardian who cares for his or her children.

Once again, the whole sales cycle here is quite long and it includes many factors that must be considered. Why is this the case, you ask? Well, simply because education is one of the most important factors for a person’s future and it’s a major life-affecting decision that can make a huge difference. There are many factors in play when someone is seriously considering and educational institution, including housing, tuition, location, professors, courses, price, and the list goes on and on.

This is yet another industry where people need to call and ask certain questions in order to gather all the missing pieces of the puzzle. Furthermore, if someone is looking for a good college, chances are that it’s far away, and they can’t simply go there and see what it’s all about; they need to talk to someone and ask important questions that matter to them.

Legal business

Law is one of the hardest fields you can possibly be in. The competition on SERPs is quite fierce and every single click is quite expensive, meaning that every single phone call has great value as well. Each of these small opportunities can result in getting a permanent client, which can further result in getting a lot of profit for your business.

Most legal services are quite expensive. Now, the biggest problem most law firms are unaware of is that they are not harvesting the potential ROI from paid searches, as they don’t track calls. They feel like they will just waste their money. In most cases, this is not true.

I strongly encourage you to find a professional and reliable call tracking tool that is affordable and that can fit in with your PPC tool. It is very cost-effective. Not only will you be able to increase the efficiency of your sales, but your clients will have a clearer picture of how beneficial your efforts are. One thing is for sure, if your business organization depends on phone calls to go forward, then you should definitively look to implement a call tracking solution. Understand that you are missing out on a lot without it, and that this little investment can pay off multiple times over in the future.

Secrets of Bonding 129 What It Takes To Get a $1 Million Bond

bu6Here is a common fallacy held by observers of the surety bonding industry:

How much cash do you need to get a $1 million bond? The answer is NOT $1,000,000. Surprisingly, you only need a fraction of the $1 million, but you need other elements as well. Let’s dive in!

Our readers may be familiar with the 3 Cs of Surety Bond Underwriting: Coercion, Corruption, Cowardice. Actually they are Character, Capacity and Capital. These describe areas of analysis that are important to the bond decision-makers. Cash falls under the Capital heading. Other factors are also important.

    • Character includes the applicant’s credit rating and operating history. Bill paying habits are reviewed along with references from suppliers and lenders. Character evaluates if the applicant is likely to honor their obligations under the contract and bond.
    • Capacity cover the skills of key people, company experience overall, plant, equipment and other factors.
  • Capital includes all financial resources, including Cash.

The Magic Number

There is no magic number. When underwriters review the company financial statement they do look at the cash position. In addition, they evaluate the Working Capital, which includes cash plus accounts receivable, retainages, marketable securities, inventory, and other items. Working Capital consists of elements that will become cash during the current fiscal period (the accounting year). For example, a dollar of “good” receivables is the same as cash. So to this extent, less pure cash is needed.

Financing New Projects

One of the reasons contractors need Working Capital (WC) is to finance the start of new projects. They must mobilize the job site, pay laborers and purchase materials – all out of their pocket initially. As the project proceeds, it starts to fund itself.

For the $1 million contract with the $1 million bond, would it take $1 million to finance the start? No, it would just be a percentage of the $1 million.

The Two-Part Answer

This brings us to the answer. Cash is one component of Working Capital, and underwriters expect WC to equal about 10% of the bonded exposure. This could mean that the $1 million bond requires less than $100,000 cash when combined with other working capital components. However, cash alone doesn’t get bonds approved.

All of the 3 Cs are equally important. Cash is not the sole basis of the decision. A cash rich company with bad credit or weak prior experience will still be declined. Cash cannot overcome these deficiencies.

Steve Golia is an experienced provider of bid and performance bonds for contractors. For more than 30 years he has specialized in solving bond problems for contractors, and helping them when others failed.

The experts at Bonding Pros have the underwriting talent and market access you need. This is coupled with spectacular service and great accessibility.

What the No’s Are Really Telling You

bu5If you’re doing your job as a business owner, then you’re constantly prospecting. You meet people at networking events; you follow up. People sign up for Discovery Sessions through your website; you hold those Discovery Sessions. You meet people for face-to-face meetings; you follow up. You make phone calls. You send personal emails. You create an online marketing campaign.

And sometimes you get No’s.

I won’t kid you. No’s suck. They can make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, that you’re not good enough, that you’re not worthy.

You might even start rethinking your entire business model and life as an entrepreneur.

I invite you to think about any No’s you’re getting a bit differently.

No’s can be a gift. Actually, I’ll state that differently: They ARE a gift, and here’s why.

    • No’s help you get clarity around your ideal client. If you really look at your conversation with this person, is she really ideal for you? More than likely not. I bet if you objectively look at the conversation, you’ll find red flags. Document those and use them to get clearer on who you do NOT want to work with, and who you do.

 

    • No’s help you figure out where your ideal client hangs out. If you keep talking to a slew of non-ideal clients, maybe you’re hanging out in those same places. So, put on your thinking cap… where might your ideal clients be found? Streeeeeeeetch and find new places to network.

 

    • No’s help you clarify the benefits you offer. Is it possible that your benefits aren’t clear enough or strong enough? Is it difficult for prospects to see how they can benefit from your products and services? Do you need to amp up your selling skills? Do you need to make a better connection between what they so desperately need and what you skillfully offer?

 

  • No’s help you make your product or service timely. Does your product or service meet her needs NOW? And where is this need on a 1-10 scale? If it’s a 2, of course she’s going to say no. If her need is a 7-10, then she needs you. And what do you need to do to make it clear that you can solve this intense pain or problem… NOW?