7-things-to-learn

When it comes to life lessons, nothing can truly teach you more than fishing. The patience, practice, and skill needed to be a professional, or least accomplished, fisherman are all traits that will serve a person well throughout their lives. Fortunately, fishing can also teach one plenty of lessons about being a businessman.

If you are looking for help on using digital marketing strategies and finding your target audience, then check out these seven tips below. You’ll be amazed at the vast similarities between fishing and finding your target audience on digital media!

1. Know where your targets are:

Much like fisherman, you can have the best bait, rod, and boat in the world, however if you don’t know where your fish are, then everything is done for nothing. Instead of casting your line out in empty waters, do some research and find the areas that your fish spend most of their time.

In the digital world, you need to research where your customers are online. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.? Wherever they are, that’s where you should be casting!

2. Have bait that the fish will go for:

Market research is a critical element of any digital strategy, so you need to spend a significant time testing and ensuring that your online offering is something that your customers will want.

3. Give it a second:

Digital marketing takes time, but if you’ve picked the right spot then you can bet it will yield results. Instead of quickly drawing out and moving elsewhere, set a reasonable amount of time and be patient!

4. Study your competition:

Competitive fishing requires more than just knowledge about the fish and potential golden spots; it requires you to understand who you are competing against. Is the competition using a new type of rod that seems to be successful? Or perhaps their bait is unique? Understand why they are successful and use that to help improve your tactics!

5. Alter for conditions:

In fishing, the weather plays a massive role. If it’s too cold, too hot, or too windy, a good fisherman needs to know how to properly adjust. As a businessman, however, you need to understand what conditions in digital, social media and in the world are affecting your customers. Is a holiday coming up? Is there something in the media that is gripping the nation’s attention? Use that to relate with your customers and connect with them on a deeper level!

6. Stick with what works:

If a certain rod, bait, and fishing spot are yielding impressive results, then don’t change what works. The fish will tell you when something needs changed because they will stop biting, so use their feedback as a way to alter your strategy.

7. Trust your gut:

A good businessman should have an instinctive gut just like any intuitive fisherman. You can have every game plan laid out, every tactic thought through, but if your gut instinct is telling you to go with something – do it. Learn to trust your gut when it matters and you’ll find that most times it pays off big time to gamble a bit!

As a businessman and avid fisher, the correlation between the two became readily apparent a long time ago. Using digital media to reach your target audience is much like trying to catch a certain type of fish. You need to thoroughly understand your target, research the conditions, use methods that work, and trust your gut!

Feel free to contact me if you need help and advice with your digital marketing strategy. Hopefully my years of experience in the online world and out on the waters can help you reel in those big fish!

 

 

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SocialSelling

Admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it. If you are reading this, you acknowledge you have a problem in your business. You’re working harder than ever, yet sales are slagging. You’re missing opportunities, but you’re not sure why.

You may have heard good things about “social selling”. Finding time to investigate it is another matter, however. More likely, you’re not familiar with the term social selling. That’s understandable. It’s not (yet) as common as terms such as e-commerce, online sales, or social media.

Here’s what we mean by social selling:

“Social selling is the practice of leveraging social networks and the associated tools in the overall sales function, from lead generation to closed deal to account management.”

Sounds powerful, doesn’t it? It is powerful. Extremely powerful.

So what’s stopping you from being a superstar social salesperson?

Here are the six most common “excuses” I hear all the time:

1. Change-averse. You’re unhappy that the internet has fundamentally changed consumer behavior. Consumers are doing more and more of their pre-purchase research online. In fact, 70 percent of their purchase occurs before they ever talk to a salesperson. Their criteria for choosing a product/vendor/provider have evolved. They now have instant access to a range of publicly available information and peer-to-peer reviews and discussions.

Today’s customers are driving the buying process. As a result, the traditional way of selling (e.g., cold calling) is dead.

This makes you uncomfortable. You don’t like change. You don’t like “losing control” of your sales process. Especially if your business is not technology driven, this sales process shift may be confusing/overwhelming/annoying/hard to accept.

Here’s the good news: Social media is changing the sales process for the better. A whopping 82 percent of the world’s online population is using social networking sites. Nearly one in five minutes spent online is devoted to social networking. No wonder those prospects aren’t answering your calls. They’re busy working the social networking sites. They are waiting for you to engage them.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “All is flux, nothing stays still – there is nothing permanent except change.” Instead of denying social media, embrace it.

You will see you haven’t lost control of anything. Quite the opposite is true.

2. Fear of obsolescence. Many sales people I meet are afraid of losing their relevance, or even their jobs. With the shift to online social networking, they don’t quite know where they fit or what skills are transferrable from the old, traditional way of selling. You may be one of those natural-born, silver-tongued sales pros who could sell ice to an Eskimo. That’s your talent. Along with your Rolodex and expense account, you don’t want to lose that personal touch that’s worked so well for you all these years. I don’t blame you.

More good news about social selling: Your buyers, prospects and customers are actually making your sales job easier. They’re voluntarily giving up all kinds of useful information about themselves on social media. This information makes you even more efficient and effective, and more relevant than ever. It’s a lot easier to do your research when the information is right there in real time. You can discover key decision-makers and purchase influencers and what’s on their mind. With social sales intelligence, you can reach buyers at exactly the right moment. Isn’t that your goal?

Social media doesn’t replace the fundamentals of good sales. You’re still creating meaningful one-on-one relationships with the people you want to sell to. You’re still solving customer needs. The major difference is that instead of pitching, you are providing value.

3. Unclear on the concept. “I don’t have time to play around on Facebook and Twitter” is another complaint I hear from reluctant social sellers. With an attitude like that, you’ll thwart your social selling efforts before you even get started. Of course you don’t have time to play! Social selling is serious business!

I believe this negative, dismissive attitude stems from the outdated beliefs that:

a) Social media = only Facebook and Twitter, and

b) Social media is only for social (personal) networking and fun.

Although Facebook and Twitter are by far the most widely recognized social media platforms, they’re hardly the only ones available to you. You already know that. You’re here on LinkedIn. You’re already engaging in professional social networking. That’s a great start. LinkedIn makes a great foundation for your social selling strategy. However, a LinkedIn profile and a few dozen (or even a few hundred) connections is a far cry from leveraging the full power of social selling. It’s like putting on the uniform and sitting on the bench. You’re missing out on the real action.

The idea of social selling is to create a digital brand that represents you in social media even when you’re not there. Consider it your “online salesforce.” The key is to identify which social media channels your prospects/buyers/customers are using and how. Tune in to what your market is thinking. Then turn your online salesforce into a customer- and influencer-engaging trusted adviser. Offer valuable, credible information at every step of the sales process.

4. Doesn’t apply to me. “I sell B2B, not B2C,” or, “We’re a nonprofit. What can social media possibly do for us?”

Misconceptions about social media abound. You might be surprised who is using social media and how.

Sixty-five percent of businesses are using social media in their sales efforts. Fifty-five percent believe their sales organisation would be more productive if they had a larger social presence, according to The Sales Management Association.

In a recent survey, 72 percent of B2B buyers said social media would likely have an influence on a future purchase decision. Nonprofits, too, increasingly are using social selling to drive awareness, solidify branding and demonstrate their thought-leadership around issues/causes. Only 11 percent continue to rely on traditional media exclusively.

Truth: If you don’t adopt social selling, your competition will — and likely already has.

5. I need hard numbers. Every so often, I still hear this complaint: “The word ‘social’ sounds too touchy feely. What about my sales quotas? Will I be able to measure results?”

The answer is a resounding “yes.” Internet selling is completely analytics driven. Social selling is no different. With the tools of social selling, you’ll get customer insights galore. Monitoring tools (some free, some subscription) let you listen to your prospects and customers in real time. You can also track your social buyer behavior using the measurement associated with each social media platform (e.g., mentions, shares, likes, retweets, etc.). Overall, you’ll be able to quantify and track your ROI by social media source and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Here’s a hard number that should get you excited:

According to CSO Insights: “Effective use of sales intelligence increases revenue productivity per sales rep by 17 percent.”

6. Lack of training. “I know I should be doing it, but I don’t know how.”

You’re not alone. A full 93 percent of salespeople have no training in using social media. Fifty-three percent say they want help doing so.

Chances are very good you fall into this group. You are savvy enough to be using LinkedIn. As I mentioned above, LinkedIn is the best foundation for any social selling effort.

Now you know a little bit more about social selling. You understand why avoiding social selling is deadly for the future of your business. So what’s stopping you now from becoming a social selling superstar? (Add your comment below).

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As an individual, the sound of a new law set up to protect you from spam and other electronic threats is a welcome one. Who doesn’t want protection from online threats on their electronic devices, the ability to better recognize spam, and the ability to even be able to avoid spam on mobile as well? Thanks to an upcoming law called the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, individuals living in Canada will now be able to be better protected against spam.

While this new anti-spam legislation is being set to go into effect on July 1, 2014, businesses and corporations need to begin working on ensuring that their policies and online dealings are compliant with this new law.

If your business performs any of the following actions in any way, then you should immediately begin preparing your policies to ensure that they are compliant with the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation:

  • Sends messages electronically to individuals either via email or through some other mode
  • Changes the destination of an electronic message a person sends
  • Or has computer programs that are installed by individuals

Understanding The Canadian Anti-Spam Law

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law is simply set out to better police the internet and ensure that individuals are kept safe from malicious attacks, personal information harvesting, and unwanted program installations. To ensure that your business is complying with the new Canadian Anti-Spam law, make sure that you thoroughly examine every interaction online with individuals and identify the areas where messages are being sent, information is being gathered, and/or programs are being installed.

Electronic Messages

If your business is sending out any commercial electronic messages that attempt to coerce the recipient to participate in an activity, then you need to ensure that this practice is compliant with the new law. Regardless of the fact that your message does, or does not, attempt to make any profit off of the action, consent must be obtained by the recipient prior to the message being sent.

After consent has been given by the recipient, the message being sent must also contain a clear option for individuals to decline any further participation in said messages. This ensures that a single consent does not allow a business to send hundreds of solicitations to an individual without giving them the option to withdraw that consent.

Program Downloads

Program downloads are a massive gateway to spyware and other malware on computers. Once installed, these programs can quickly take over a computer, or simply lurk in the background harvesting personal information without a person’s consent.

To protect individuals from businesses taking advantage people, and to better isolate malware, the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law has strict requirements set in place.

First off, a program can only be installed on a device after express consent has been given. This consent is only valid if:

  • The function of the program is clearly described
  • The program can be removed afterwards
  • There are clear instructions on how the consent can be withdrawn by the individual

A program needs to meet all of those requirements before obtaining express consent, however when there are updates, then consent does not need to be given after each update as long as there are no alterations into the original function of the program or how it interacts as new consent will need to be obtained.

Express Consent and Exceptions

Express Consent – Express consent is absolutely crucial to the new Canadian Anti-Spam law because it ensures that individuals are clearly notified what it is that they are receiving prior to getting it. Implicit consent and opt-out consent are no longer factors and a direct yes is absolutely necessary for business to obtain before sending messages and program installations.

Message Exceptions

  • Recipient was referred by someone
  • Warranty, safety, or security info needs to be sent regarding a product or service the person purchased
  • Information is sent to employee regarding their employment
  • Recipient requested a quote, estimate, or some other piece of information

Program Exceptions

  • Cookies, HTML, and Java Script are all considered something a user accepts based on their actions on the site already

Who Enforces the Canadian Anti-Spam Law?

The Canadian Anti-Spam law is enforced by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission, or CASL. They not only investigate reports of violations, but they will legally pursue any business that violates the new Anti-Spam law legally and to the maximum extent possible for each individual violation.

What Happens If a Business Does Not Comply?

Non-compliance with the Canadian Anti-Spam law can result in huge monetary penalties along with many other injunctions, court offenses, and even negative publicity over the incident. The administrative monetary penalties of a violation set is up to $1 million for each violation if it is against an individual, or up to $10 million if the violation was against a business or corporation.

Since many businesses work on a larger scale with many customers and interactions, the amount of violations can easily be in the hundreds or even thousands. Once the CASL begins investigating a report of a violation, they can then obtain a warrant to search further if enough evidence is present.

If that search turns up more violations, a business can easily face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines thanks to this new Canadian Anti-Spam law that is set to go into effect in July. Fortunately, the hefty fine along with public shaming for each violation should be enough to spur any business into immediate compliance before this new law takes effect in early July.

Conclusion

Overall, the new anti-spam law puts more restrictions on businesses and how they interact with customers. Opt-out consent is no longer going to be acceptable which means that thousands of businesses need to begin altering their practices to make them compliant. A golden rule for this new law and compliance with it is:

If there is no exception for consent as previously stated in the law, then express consent must be obtained prior to any messages, downloads, or data transfer alterations.

Need help in preparing your business for CASL before July 1st, 2014?

To protect your business from being in harm’s way of this law, complete the form on this page to have a complimentary discussion with one of our certified CASL consultants

 

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Facebook for Businesses

The best social media platform for businesses is Facebook. Are you using it effectively for your business?

Almost 16 years ago, the founder of Microsoft (Bill Gates) made an interesting statement. He said in the future there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with an Internet presence, and those with no business at all.

Today, I would modify that statement to say that in the future there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with a Facebook presence, and those with no business at all!

So why do companies need to be on Facebook in the first place? Well, here some real-life reasons of being on the blue social platform:

  1. Increase brand awareness and stay top-of-mind with customers and target audiences.
  2. Save on marketing spend. Yes, Facebook is totally free (except if you choose to advertise) and you can connect with all your potential and existing customers with a single ‘Status Update’ 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  3. Lead generation and promotions. Many companies enjoy constant amount of new enquires generated from Facebook. Those customers are easy to acquire and loyal due to the fact that they found you from Facebook word-of-mouth.
  4. Sales and business development. The concept of Socially Facilitated Selling has changed how business is done today. Now you need to be social and understand the buying cycle of your customers on Facebook.
  5. Customer service. If you want to do the bare minimum in being customer oriented and customer centred, then you need to be communicating with your customers thru their preferred channel, and today it is Facebook.
  6. Research and feedback on product or services. Facebook allows you to post questions and polls to get instant feedback from your target audience. The days of hiring a research firm to conduct surveys are gone forever.
  7. One last reason… Simply if you are not on Facebook, your competitors are. So guess what will happen in the long run if you don’t get in quickly. Most probably you will have lost this market space, and even if you move in late you will be playing a catch-up game.

Now that we have covered some of the most basic reasons why companies need to be on Facebook, let me show you 3 kinds of businesses that are using Facebook differently:

1) LOSERS: These are the companies that are just watching from a distance for the following reasons:

  • Afraid of things going wrong on the largest social platform, i.e. Facebook!
  • Lacking the knowledge of how to conduct business on Facebook: how to start, manage, and plan
  • Worried about their brand reputation, and the possibility that their fans might complain about their products or services
  • Unable to identify or measure the true ROI from starting and investing in Facebook
  • Ignorant! Yes, there are many companies that are simply comfortable with traditional media and resisting to change
  • They don’t have a clear idea of how to do business on Facebook

 2) RISK-TAKERS: A lot of companies are jumping into the Facebook bandwagon to get into the social conversation. Most of them suffer from excitement-withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get the expected results after spending time and effort on Facebook. Usually they experience most, if not all, of the following:

  • They have been attracted to the cool features on Facebook and try do nice things, but they find there is no tangible business benefit
  • They have not been able to break through the Facebook clutter and establish brand awareness
  • They have realized that Facebook takes a lot of time, and almost impossible to manage effectively without necessary resources
  • They have tried to promote their brand only to get a backlash and negative PR
  • They build a fan base, but they don’t know how to keep them engaged or what to do with it, or how to monetize it
  • Unable to answer the question of what their Facebook investment has added to their bottom-line?

 3) WINNERS: These companies have reacted to Facebook with a different mentality. They are a smart-crowd and tend to learn and invest in elevating their knowledge about Facebook before they do anything serious on it. The usually do the following:

  • Invest in themselves and their staff by educating and by attending social media courses
  • Join training workshops about Facebook, and involve their team members from all levels and functions
  • Develop a complete plan and strategy for Facebook before even touching the ‘Like’ button
  • Have a research and development process in place to monitor the competition and identify relevant benchmarks
  • Seek advice and consult with experts to avoid guesswork and negative results
  • Set clear business objectives and allocate the necessary resources to Facebook effectively

If you are really serious in helping yourself and your organization to make it in this Facebook-driven world, then I would highly recommend that you consider the winners approach. Do invest your time, and involve your team, in learning more about this powerful platform.

I have been asked by many companies and professionals to enhance their knowledge so that they and their organizations can succeed on Facebook. However, this requires commitment, as they need to be ready to learn! Therefore, I have worked with a global team of Facebook experts and developed a complete training and coaching program called “Facebook for Businesses“.

If you are interested in this program, then check out the details on WSI Academy website. I hope to meet with you soon (if you choose to become a winner) at the upcoming workshop where you will learn how to use Facebook for your Business.

Are you ready to know about the success strategy of Facebook for Businesses? Contact me for more details.

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Ecommerce in the Middle EastThe Middle East is the fastest growing region for Ecommerce sales Worldwide.

Many businesses are now considering to shift into ecommerce to tap into this wave and take advantage of the new market opportunity. Various industries are reaping the benefits of this growth faster than others, but eventually we will see a total change in the way businesses and consumers do business in the fruitful region.

Below is all what you need to know about the recent development with regards to Ecommerce in the Middle East:

E-Commerce in the Middle East grew 300% in the Past Year

During Wamda’s COE (Celebration of Entrepreneurship) E-Commerce event taking place in Jordan today, Aramex COO Iyad Kamal gave a little bit of insight into how the company has witnessed the online payment landscape

Meet the International E-Commerce Contenders

The Middle East: Home of the luxury retail experience. E-Commerce in the Middle East is growing at an amazing rate. In 2011, customers in the region spent around $1.1 billion through the Internet. But by 2016, that spending

CNN Interview on E-Commerce in the Middle East

CNN Segment about the increasing role of Social Media in the Middle East featuring interviews with Mohammad Nour (founder & CEO of Shoutit) and Fadi Ghandour (founder & CEO of Aramex) www.shoutit.com

A Growing E-Commerce Opportunity in MENA

A Growing E-Commerce Opportunity in MENAWamdaIn a recent study, eMarketer estimates that while the Middle East and Africa is still the least developed region in e-commerce, sales in the region are growing faster than anywhere else in the world…

MEA Ecommerce Sales Soar

Online retail is growing faster in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region than in any other part of the world, new figures have indicated. Estimates from eMarketer suggest that the  …

Souq.com, the Middle East’s largest ecommerce 

Souq.com, the Middle East’s largest ecommerce site, has just announced the acquisition of Sukar.com, a private Middle East sales club founded two years ago. Sukar.com was one of the Middle East’s first private shopping

Ecommerce in the Middle East | Radio Interview

Last week’s Dubai Eye radio #Unwired digital programme featured a special segment on ecommerce in the Middle East featuring Spot On PR’s Alexander McNabb; Rama Chakaki, Partner at Baraka Ventures

Are you ready for launching your Ecommerce in the Middle East?
Contact me for more details.

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