What is your value?
By now, you understand that selling on price will eventually make you go bankrupt if you have any competition. You drop, they drop, eventually sales drop, or they don’t, and you’re employees drop because you can’t afford to pay them. Value is your best option.
Selling on value is a long term play for your company. You establish a value and then you don’t worry about whether the competition is five cents cheaper. In a world that talks about price, no one wins except Walmart and Amazon.
But how do you show value?
When you are face to face with a client, they see value in your time, or in the product when they use it, but in a digital world, we don’t always have the luxury of time or being in front of your audience. That’s why you want to emulate those efforts in the ether.
5 way to show value in a digital world.
- At this very second, you are reading a blog. You may or may not be one of our clients who get our content writing, SEO, or website hosting services. What matters is that we are offering information to you without trying to sell anything. You can learn things from our blogs that you can incorporate into your own marketing or business development.
- Like the blog, you can’t just throw up coupons with every post. You need to give a variety of things, sometimes tips, sometimes funny anecdotes, sometimes full on how to’s. The value is the conversation you have, whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Each platform has its own intrinsic value so you know what type of posts should be seen on each of them. If you are out there hocking your wares with every post though then you are back to talking price.
Digital customer service
- You know the feeling you get when you message a company and they don’t respond? Whether it’s through Google, Twitter, email, or even Google’s business page, communicating with a company is supposed to be easy. If you aren’t answering, someone else is. There is a new trend to make this response an AI, which has many downfalls, but for some it might work. What matters is that you are available or if you aren’t, then you have an automatic response to tell them when you will be available.
- Try before you buy is simple when it’s a car or nail-gun. What about a farm or a digital marketing agency? One way is to offer downloads when someone visits your website. Those downloads could be a large blog post, or recipes, or a full review of certain products you sell with how to’s to use them in unique ways. When it comes to digital downloads, your imagination is the only thing holding you back.
- Today’s consumer is smart. They look for social proof that what you say is what you do. Reviews are that proof. Having one or two reviews is okay, but with every new review that someone adds to your Facebook, Google, Houzz, etc. etc. page, the more people will see that your services are worthwhile.
Showing value in a digital world may seem complex, but it all boils down to one simple concept. If you truly put the customer first and do what’s right for them, then you will be showing value. Stop worrying about the next sale and embrace a system of serving – not servitude mind you – but serving. You still set your price, you just don’t focus your marketing efforts on it or strive to be the lowest.
Once you embody a system of value, your clients will love you for it and reviews will come easily with nothing but a request. An email to your client after you serve them and they will happily give you the rating you deserve.
Excuse me, but I don’t want your business.
Those are odd words to hear and to be honest, most of us think they’d only be spoken if some travesty had been committed. Why wouldn’t you want someone’s business?
All that matters is to make money isn’t it?
As a business owner, we operate for many reasons, but at the end of the day, our goal is to make money; to earn a living so we can put our children through school and take our wives or husbands out for dinner on Friday night. Many of us, especially in the beginning, can’t afford to turn business away, even if we wanted to.
But there is one avenue of thinking that can become very destructive to a business that isn’t Amazon or Walmart. To be fair, there is much a potential client can learn online before making the first phone call, but without fail, the heart wrenching, gut sinking feeling that always comes when the only question someone asks is, “what will it cost?”.
There’s no question that it will cost. It could be a little, or a lot. Some business owners know what their fees are and even a good portion of the fees their competition charges.
That type of thinking can ruin your business however. As entrepreneurs, we have to stop thinking about cost and start thinking about value. To some, that’s a conversation of semantics, a change of words, but to those who understand the meaning, value can be very powerful.
Why do you have to show value?
Value is the differentiation that sets you apart from your competition. Imagine two businesses that are exactly the same. The employees are the same, the prices are the same, even the decorations on the wall are the same. How do you choose between them if not random?
Now, imagine yourself one of those companies. How do you show potential customers that they should choose you? Unfortunately if you and your competition only talk price, you’ll soon be in a race to becoming a non-profit industry. No one can afford to withstand a price war.
That’s why to truly encapsulate what sets you apart from the competition, you have to show value. I want to know that the four tires I just bought for my car are going to give me something else above that other set I was going to choose. They were the same price. I had to choose. But my advisor suggested them because they last an extra 20,000 km’s: Value.
As salespeople, we show value when we have the opportunity to sit with our prospects. Car salespeople, insurance agents, even grocery clerks. We communicate our value.
With the internet however, the world has simultaneously become larger and smaller. Our mindset has to change so we aren’t complaining about tire kickers or bemoaning the last two customers who were only looking for a price.
No, we have to embody the concept of value. We live that value. We are the best because we offer the best value.
When you show value:
To clients – they give us reviews
To an audience – they like and share our content
To employees – They work harder
And when all of these elements come together, you don’t worry about the price and whether you have the competitive advantage to compete with Walmart. No, you show more value until your customers stop thinking about price and realize the value. You know it’s true.
Want proof? Take an inventory of the companies you buy stuff from without looking for a second opinion.
Perhaps it’s your dentist, grocery store, or hair stylist. You really don’t care what the price is, because they get you. They understand what you want so you don’t have to go out of your way to explain it to them. You value their time.
Wait though, because there is a dark side to the conversation. You must always be showing that value. And you will know the signs when your current people start reverting to a conversation about price or worse, your Facebook or Google Reviews start coming in less often or slip from 5-stars to 4-stars and lower. Asking the price is one thing, focusing on it is another. You want to offer a service such that people don’t care about the price.
Then the next time they need something, it won’t be a conversation, it will be a purchase order.
Start today. Do that inventory of people you work with and observe their services. Then think about the things you can do to add value. New week we will show you 5 ways you can show value through the digital world.
I know it happens, but I’m a writer so it shouldn’t. I should be able to sit down and come up with a new blog article in a few minutes. Well, at least it shouldn’t take days. As days pass by with nothing written, I realize I have the dreaded writer’s block.
I understand it doesn’t have the resounding drumming sound as thunder and lightning crash above, but imagine you sit down to work with a client and nothing comes. You can’t work with them because everything you know is gone. That’s what it’s like when writer’s block hits.
But then again, that’s not the reason for this article. This article is to help when you sit down to write an blog post and nothing comes. Everyone knows your time is better spent getting out to speak to your clients instead of writing articles.
Short of hiring a freelancer, here are three things you can do to combat writer’s block.
Carry a notebook – Writer’s block is typically a problem with starting. Once you get your article started then the rest of it flows. Having notes will give you blog ideas. Then all you have to do is educate your audience about the topic at hand.
Watch your time – Set a time that you can write, whether it’s every day or once a week. Make sure it’s consistent.
Clear your desk – Phone’s have games. When you are having difficulty focusing, then playing a video game or trolling through the internet isn’t going to help. It’s going to take you further from your goal.
Clear your mind -Writer’s block usually comes from your mind being filled with too much else to focus on your immediate task. Whether you do exercises to clear your mind or you use the time to write everything that’s upstairs down on paper, get it out of there.
Ask a customer to ask a question – You don’t usually have an actual problem explaining your services to a client and your blog is about education. Ask a client what they would like to learn and then write about it as if you were speaking to them directly.
Writer’s block to a writer can be devastating. It’s an inability to access your money making skills. To an entrepreneur however, it’s an inconvenience that can waste your time. By recognizing the signs of writer’s block you can immediately take these steps to combat it so you can get back to work.
Why is the map so important?
Not every industry can benefit from the map, but if you look up some, such as “SEO Kingston”, or “Doctor Kingston”, you will see that Google automatically populates a map. It’s called Google Places and as a business, it’s one of the first places you should populate with information. All you have to do is set up your free Google my Business account.
The map has become a great tool for people. The list is perfect so people can choose the best location based on Google’s recommendations. Many people don’t realize that it isn’t the same thing as Google’s search list. You may not rank well on one, while you come first on the other.
But how can a business take advantage of the map? How can you increase your position?
1. Business information
- Your Business Information has to be on your Google business page and across the internet. Once Google can confirm your information is accurate, it will determine that you are a real company and that you’re local. Make sure you add your company information to as many listings as possible.
This section is really broken down into a few smaller points. Make sure your name, phone number, and address are correct and consistent and local. You will also want to make sure your category is correct. You don’t want to compete with Walmart if you aren’t in the same industry.
2. Google Business Page Photos
- Adding photos to your business page will help prove to Google that you’re real as well. Not only that, but people looking at your business page will be able to see what your facility is like. If you are show-worthy then people will be more inclined to show up.
3. Google Map
- Embedding a Google Map on your website may seem like a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours situation, but it isn’t. It’s more that Google can verify your location if you have their map on your page proving it.
4. Google Reviews
- Google believes in the power of social proof. It’s why they have Google+ and why they have a review system. In fact, having more reviews will overweight everything. It’s arguably one of the most important things you go do to make sure people not only see your flag on the map first, but explore yours if you aren’t first. People will tend to gloss over a business that has fewer or no reviews. Making sure your reviews are populated with write-ups is very important too. According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers see reviews as powerful as personal recommendations.
Aside from item three, you don’t have to be a web developer to accomplish these items. You want to make a habit of getting them right however so you can ensure people are choosing you over your competition.
Get into the habit of searching for your company to see where you show up. Add your contact info to every new directory that you find, but make sure it’s consistent.
When it comes to reviews, it can never hurt to ask. I’m sure you’re already doing a super fantastic job for them so everyone will want to shout your praises. Saying it, and writing it down or having the time to think about it are two different things however. The best thing you can do is send them an email asking for a review. Be honest with them, you need the reviews to spread the word.
The Best Business Apps To Make You More Productive
Have you ever had that feeling that your phone should be able to do more than just make calls or take pictures? Don’t get me wrong. Those pictures are amazing. They need to be cropped and the last one should probably be deleted, but you could consider it art.
In any case, we spend a lot of money on phones, first to get them, then there’s the monthly bills. And that’s all assuming we don’t accidentally step on them. With those costs, you wonder sometimes if they should be cooking us breakfast in the morning. We need them to do MORE.
To get more from your phone, you need apps. Yes, I realize last week we made the bold statement that building your own app isn’t worth the investment. Not only do you have the initial investment, but also your monthly upkeep and any add-ons you can think of to keep the app relevant.
That’s not to say that apps themselves aren’t useful however. In fact, apps can be extremely useful. There are apps to keep time, apps to create invoices, apps to take notes, and with the new generation of smart phones, there will be apps to measure distances and immerse you in virtual reality. Apps can be interesting and useful or interesting and absolutely useless. What matters to you, is that whether you use the free option or the paid one, you aren’t paying the thousands of dollars for upkeep and debugging when Google or Apple updates their software.
Many manufactures load their phones with initial apps that have good functionality and offer integration across different devices. Apple does this as does Google with their web services such as Maps, Gmail, Hangouts, and Google Drive for storage.
Just telling you there are apps out there and leaving it up to you to find them is like teaching half a lesson however, so we compiled a list of our favourites. It’s a work in progress though so you may want to bookmark this page./p>
You wouldn’t think that note taking is all that important, until you don’t have a notepad during a meeting. Evernote has grown to include audio recording for those who can’t type fast enough, image storage, and web clipping storage. On top of all that, you can share it with your team. The cost isn’t terrible and there are a few different options to choose from.
You can use WaveApp for just your invoicing or you can use it for your entire accounting package. The great part? It’s free for the base app. The best part? You can accept credit cards for a nominal fee, which is cheaper than having a terminal. It works great if you’re a freelancer or small business on the go. There’s no need to go back to the office to get an invoice created. You can use the app on your phone or log on to the expanded desktop version.
Twitter has a lot of users, over 1.3 billion in fact, with 100 million users active every day. But of them all, almost 50 percent never tweet. What they do is listen. Whether you use lists or just look at what the people are saying that you follow, you can learn alot. You can learn social trends or find out what’s happening down at the local store. Just be careful. About 15 percent of users are robots.
As a business however, you have the opportunity to build an audience and monetize your efforts. Harnessing Twitter can be difficult, but once you have the correct rhythm, you can grow your audience and increase your chances of selling your services.
Buffer allows you to access several of your social media profiles all at once. You can even have two twitter accounts up simultaneously. That’s not that much unless you start filling it with posts for the rest of the week. That’s right. This App saves you time and makes your posting consistent. You can write your own posts, or share others’. It’s even integrated into your desktop browser so if there’s something you like while you’re browsing, just send it to your buffer.
Buffer has a few different levels to choose from including a free option.
It isn’t just about having a Facebook account. If you own a business and you’re trying to use your mobile phone, then you need the Facebook pages App. You’ll have access to different options for your business posts and you can schedule your posts so they go out at the right time. This program is free and actually fairly intuitive you use. It wouldn’t be fair of my to not mention that Facebook has other Apps such as the Adverts App which lets you control more of your marketing efforts for boosted and advertising posts.
Oh, did I mention, Free?
We just came to Asana recently, but so far so good. With Asana, you can share your task list with your team so you can manage your projects without having to have daily meetings about what each of you have accomplished. The boss can assign things to her people when they’re out of the office and you can even attach files and images through Dropbox (another favourite of ours). This is another app that’s free, up to fifteen users. It’s great for a decentralized team.
Sending an email to a few colleagues is simple enough. Once you get up to a certain number, however more email providers will shut you down because of spam laws. With Mailchimp, that issue goes away. Not only will you have customization for your emails, but you will also have the double opt-in required for Canada and an option to quit imbedded in each email. Of course you don’t want to give that options, but in Canada you must.
The base App doesn’t let you create emails yet (You have to do that on your desktop) because of the complexity, but it does show you all the stats of each email such as who opens your emails, the number of times they open it and any links with the email that are clicked. Mailchimp does come with a second App that you can download that will allow you to make very simple emails from your phone to make up for the limited usage in the mail app.
The fees are based on the number of people on your list and you can run different automated email campaigns.
We’ve all done it, written down a password on a slip of paper and then lost the paper. Where did it go? No one saw it, did they?
Password keepers solve this issue. With mSecure, you can save any number of passwords for various types of apps, programs or even doors. The program can automatically be synced with Dropbox so it gets updated until the day your phone dies and you need to get all your passwords from it.
File Transfers/ Cloud services
When you need to transfer a file between organizations then Dropbox is your ideal program. It will allow you to move a lot of files in a short period of time. As we already mentioned, other apps have been set up to automatically use Dropbox so you don’t have to keep bouncing back and forth.
Dropbox permits you to move files between devices and its definitely affordable. You can save files to the box that you want people to download from your website or transfer files directly between devices or people.
Google Drive is similar to Dropbox except there is one notable difference. You can still transfer files lightning fast between devices and people, but you can do a lot more with Drive. The limit is 5TB which pretty much means you can transfer your entire music collections several times over. You can have your photos upload automatically and the monthly fees are reasonable though if you have a Gmail account, you are limited by the number of emails your have saved because they share the limits.
Apps can be very useful.
To get the right one however, you may have to spend many long days playing with different ones to choose what works for you. The great thing about most apps is they will either give you a period of time or a free version with limited options.
Don’t be shy if you have one you like more than ours. Drop us a line and explain why yours is the best. We’ll check it out and if we like it, we’ll add it the list. That way if you ever think to yourself, “Self, I need an app to do this,” you’ll know we have a growing list of apps that will work perfectly for the job.