Stop Talking About Starting a Business and Go Do It

traffic-light-figure-1-1174212-639x651Since starting my business almost 7 years ago, a day hasn’t gone by that I didn’t learn a valuable lesson. During this time, I have also received a lot of questions about starting a business, managing a business, and psychological side of owning a business. So I figured, why not share some of those questions and answers here.

One of the most frequently asked questions is simply, how do I start my own business?

This is a loaded question obviously, and it definitely has a loaded answer.

The very first answer is, you have to want it. You can’t question whether or not you want to own your own a business, because as soon as you start to question it, you’re going to fail.

Why do I say that?

You never know when you are actually ready to do something until you actually do it. You can plan and plan and plan for days, months, years and then first day of operations something happen that you didn’t plan for and all of your planning meant nothing.

You have to be willing to just take the risk of losing everything and just do. You want to start a web design company, just start designing websites. You want to start a fishing supply dropship site, just do it.

The longer you think about whether or not you should do it, and start asking yourself all of the what-if’s the longer it is that you’re going to NOT act on your plan. This is what a want-trepreneur does. Talks about their amazing business, but doesn’t actually do it. “Man, if I had a fishing business I’d be so happy and have so much money, blah blah blah.”

GO

Then why don’t you just go do it?

Are you waiting for your second life and second  trip on this earth?

Stop talking about starting a business and go do it.

Now.

The All New Chris Stocker Inc

For the last 7 years, I have been writing about WordPress, SEO, Social Media, Affiliate Management and Analytics. The focus of my career has changed a bit over the years, so the focus of this blog will be changing as well.

I will be focusing less on the “How-To’s” of WordPress and Google Analytics and SEO, etc. and will be writing more about entrepreneurship, leadership, freelancing, and a much higher level strategy based look at SEO and Social.

The How-To’s and step-by-step posts will continue over at my digital marketing agency site.

If you have any specific questions about entrepreneurship, freelancing, Snapchat, Facebook ads, Instagram stories, then please leave a comment or contact me with your question and I will answer in a post.

Posted in: SEO |

Why You Should Be Using Custom Snapchat Filters

First, if you aren’t using Snapchat for business, then you need to read why your business should be on Snapchat.

I am now assuming that if you are still reading this post, you are currently using Snapchat. If you are, then you may or may not be familiar with the current free Snapchat filters. If you take a picture or video in Snapchat and then swipe left or right, you will be able to use one of the free filters. These filters are also known as geo-filters.

Snapchat uses your location (as long as it is turned on) while you use the app to figure out which free filters to allow. For example, if you are in Manhattan, then you may be able to use the Manhattan skyline Snapchat filter.

A more recent example was the Snapchat filters that were created for the Super Bowl. If you were at the game, you were able to access additional filters that included the score and time of the game, a Broncos or Panthers logo, etc.

Snapchat has recently announced that they are allowing custom filters to be created for a price. The custom filters will start off at $5 and increase based on the amount of time of the filter and the area it will be used.

Below are four reasons why you should be using custom Snapchat Filters

Cost

As previously mentioned, the cost is starting at just $5 for a custom filter. That means for the cost of a latte or frappacino, you could have your own custom Snapchat filter. If you are not able to afford the costs of the Snapchat filter, then I think there are larger problems.

Brand Awareness

Every time someone uses the Snapchat filter and either shares the image / video on their Story or with their friends and followers, your brand is gaining more recognition.

Fan Engagement

Snapchatters love filters. They use them. They may even snap a picture just because of the filter where if there was not a filter, they may have never taken the photo. For example, let’s take a retail brand like Hollister. The benefits of creating a custom filter that can be used inside their store locations so that customers can take pictures and share with their friends is much higher than the costs for creating it.

Cross Promotion

Snapchat also offers the opportunity to download and save your photo to your camera roll. That means, you can use the Snapchat filters, text, and paint brush tool to mark up your photo, and then save. Once that photo is saved to your camera roll, you can then share to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social network that you use. This means that when someone uses your custom Snapchat filter, it can be cross promoted amongst other social media channels. For example, a contest could be ran on Facebook by having people share their Snapchat custom filter photo on Facebook. You are now reaching the audiences of both of the customers followers.

follow on snap (1)

Why You Should Be Using Beacon Technology

 

What is beacon technology?

Beacons that are placed in a specific location, typically inside of a business, use Bluetooth to detect smart phones that are within a specific range. These beacons can then communicate with that device via Bluetooth. This type of technology can be a game changer if you own a small, retail business.

Retail stores are by far the best place to use beacon technology. If you own or manage a retail location, then you must engage in marketing techniques that use this type of tech. Beacons allow a business to know how many potential buyers are in their store at a given time based on the Bluetooth signal from their smart phones. The potential customers’ phone must have Bluetooth turned on a the time, so it may not be able to target every person within the store.

Since you have already spent a lot of money trying to get these customers into your retail location, you want to make sure that you make a sale. Beacons allow you the opportunity to send out targeted ads to people in your retail location on the spot.

Think about this.

You own a clothing store and use a beacon technology. You can send out a flash sale coupon to anyone in the store who has their Bluetooth turned on. This coupon could be emailed, texted, etc. and include a 10% off all purchases within the next 30 minutes.

You can also send personalized coupons or discounts that relate to a specific detail about your exact location.

There are many beacon technologies, however, Facebook may have the best. Facebook offers their Beacons to qualifying businesses.

With this beacon, which is very easy to set up, Facebook uses its Places Tips function to find cell phones within a specific location and brings local businesses’ posts to the top of that person’s news feed.

This means that you can create Places Tips specific content that you know will automatically be shown to people who are on Facebook within your location.

Let’s take a look at an example.

You are the owner of a restaurant / bar and you have a special Happy Hour menu, so you create a Places Tips piece of content that is shown only to people in the restaurant. When a couple comes in and logs into Facebook so they can check-in to let all their friends know where they are, they will see your post at the top of their feed that talks about your Happy Hour specials. That couple now orders or asks the server / bartender about these specials and a sale was made because of the Facebook Bluetooth Beacon technology.

Having the ability to show an ad to a willing and able buyer gives you a huge advantage. Making sure that you have the right type of content created is the difficult part.

Remember, no matter what industry we work in, we are ALL in the content creation industry.

If you haven’t requested your Facebook Bluetooth Beacon yet, be sure to do so now!

How to Setup a WordPress Site from Start to Finish in Less than 10 Minutes

wordpress-logoI  always hear people mention that they want to start a website or start a blog, but they have no clue about web design or no idea how to get started. Luckily, WordPress provides a quick and simple way to start a  blog which can lead to advertisers spending money on your site. If you can create a Word document, then you can create a basic WordPress site.

To help you get started, I created a step by step tutorial on the exact steps to get your new WordPress site up and running within 5-10 minutes. And most importantly, without any HTML or web design knowledge being needed.

You can also download the PDF version of How to Set Up a WordPress Website with BlueHost in Under 5 Minutes which includes screenshots as well.

  1. Go to Bluehost (clickable affiliate link to receive discounted rates)
  2. Click on Products – Shared Hosting
  3. Select the Plus package which is the most popular package offered
  4. If this is a new domain, then type in the domain that you would like to have to find out if it is available
  5. Fill out the account information
  6. Fill out the package information. The best price option is when a 36 month plan is purchased, this is recommended.
  7. Un-select Domain Privacy Protection, Site Backup Pro, SiteLock Security
  8. Fill out payment information and submit
  9. Once logged into your account, you will find yourself at the Control Panel as shown below.
  10. Under Website – Click on Install WordPress
  11. Click on Install
  12. Select the domain where you would like to install WordPress, which is the domain we just created.
  13. Click on Check domain
  14. Click on Advanced Options
  15. Change the Title to the name of your Site, for example – Chris Stocker Inc
  16. You can update the admin username at this point
  17. Create a new password of your choice (Remember security issues and keep it tough)
  18. Agree to the terms
  19. Install WordPress
  20. Once WordPress is installed, you will need to login.
  21. Installing a WordPress Theme can be done for free or by purchasing a theme.
  22. Click on Appearance – Themes – Add New
  23. Find a theme that you like and click on Install
  24. Once the theme is installed, click on Activate

Why You’re Missing Out on Business by Ignoring LinkedIn Ads

 

linkedin-logoAs we approach 2016, we have to remember to continue to market like the year we are in. Where are people’s eyes at most of the day? On their social media accounts, primarily Facebook. I have discussed in the past why Facebook Dark Posts are the most cost effective strategy when targeting a customer. However, LinkedIn is not so bad itself.

In fact, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity for B2B lead generation and their ad targeting is great as well. Let’s get into how you can effectively use LinkedIn ads to grow your business.

Sponsored vs Text Ads

LinkedIn offers two different options of advertising, sponsored updates which show up in a user’s timeline and text ads which typically show up in the sidebars. Both options can be beneficial, in fact, running both at the same time can be your best option. Text ads in the sidebar are typically a bit cheaper, but may not show the same results.

Sponsored updates show in the timeline which means that they will also show up on mobile devices or tablets, as well as the desktop version of LinkedIn.com.

If you choose to use a sponsored update, you can use something that you have posted in the past, or you can create a brand new status update. What you want to include in the status update is totally up to you, but I recommend either a link to an article or a white paper download in order to collect their email address.

Ad Targeting

Now we can get to the targeting of who the ads will be shown to. I can provide a lot of different examples, but let’s just start with one. Let’s say that you want to connect with dentists. Maybe you sell dental supplies and want to connect with the dentist themselves, or even more importantly, the office manager who may actually purchase the supplies.

You can target these people in a few different ways. You can select to target people whose occupation is “dentist, orthodontist, etc.” You can also select a certain radius within a specific zip code. With this, your status update with a link to download a white paper that a dentist would be interested in will show up in their LinkedIn feed.

dental-linkedin-targeting

Here’s a more aggressive approach to targeting that can be even more effective. If you have a specific location that you sell these dental supplies to and know the dentist office name, you can then find out the name of the office manager or purchasing manager of the office. With that name, you can target that specific person if they are on LinkedIn. Create a list of the names that you want your sponsored update to be shown to and add them into the targeting list on LinkedIn.

This is a great opportunity to make first contact with someone and have them sign up for a white paper and provide you their email address.

As I mentioned, there are several more examples that I can provide about how you can use LinkedIn targeted ads to reach your target customer.

If you would like more information about how you can best execute on these ads, then contact me today.