Month: December 2019

Reflections

All marketing takes time, I tell clients it will easily take 3-6 months to see a change, and even then, it may be a small change but small changes lead to big things. We had a client reach out last week, impressed by what we had accomplished for her on one of her accounts. It was an incredible high for me, because she could see a difference. But unfortunately, that high did not last nearly as long as the lows. It’s interesting, isn’t it? This got me thinking, in business, and in life, sometimes our highest highs are outweighed by our lowest lows.

This time of year, is a time when many of us reflect over what happened throughout the past year, myself included. Reflecting back, I can absolutely tell you my lowest low of the past year. But my highest high…that is not as easily determined. It isn’t that I did not have any highs this year, I did. Those times were when I reached goals for myself, my business, and my clients. But that low, it sticks with me. And at times, it haunts me.

I want to go into year three like a three-year-old in a Batman t-shirt

Next week, Symbiotic Marketing turns 3. This is a huge milestone for many businesses because according to the Small Business Association (SBA) only about half of small businesses reach the five-year mark. It’s a scary statistic but I believe in what we are doing and believe we will reach that goal. I want to go into year three like a three-year-old in a Batman t-shirt, confident in what has been built and ready to learn more. But how can that happen if I allow my lowest low to continue to haunt me?

While there may be a whole host of reasons why businesses fail in the first five years, I believe it comes down to the owner’s confidence in what has been built and the ability to learn from mistakes. As a business owner, and as an individual, mistakes are going to happen. It is what we do with them that matters. There’s an anagram that I love, FAIL = First Attempt In Learning. Because that is what we are doing and that was certainly what the first three years in business has been for me, learning opportunities.

 

Symbiotic Marketing has changed and adapted from what it was when I first started it to today. The business has grown as I have grown. But that could not have happened if I had allowed the lows in the last three years to question what this business means, not only to myself, but to those who we have been able to help in that time.

Small steps lead to big things

Reflecting back, I can now say that it is more difficult for me to determine the business’s highest high this year because we were able to reach many goals but rather than celebrating them to their fullest, I treated them as check-marks on a to-do list. As opposed to the lowest low, which continues to be at the forefront of my mind. I look at it as a learning opportunity, to do better, to be better. As, one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” But it takes time. If you are also reflecting and the negatives of the past year outweigh the positives, ask yourself if you are giving the positives the power they deserve and remember that small steps lead to big things.

One final note, Symbiotic Marketing would not be where it is today without you, all our supporters, from clients to family and friends. Thank you for sharing in our dream of helping small businesses find their voice and flourish. We couldn’t be here without you. We wish you a happy and prosperous 2020 and look forward to what the new year and new decade brings.

Building a Website

Most business owners know that having a website is imperative to keep up today however, it’s a much more in-depth project than one may think. While we are able to help you put together a website that showcases your business, we also try to keep within your budget.

There are two main keys to having a website, picking your domain and your Content Management System (CMS) or builder. Your domain is your website’s address. This is a yearly expense, typically at a minimal cost. You can pick up a domain address at a variety of places including Google, Go Daddy, Name Cheap, domains.com and many others. Your domain should relate to your business in some way, such as the name of your company or a shortened version of your business name for consistency and continuity in your brand. You can have a domain without having a website yet, you just want to be sure to pay the yearly fee to keep the domain active in your name. If you lose your domain address, you may be able to retrieve it, but it will most likely be at a higher cost. We recommend if you find a domain name that you like, to purchase it when you find it because it may need to be adjusted or changed completely to remain within your budget.

The CMS or builder is either a monthly or yearly expense depending on the platform you like the visuals of. While we typically work with two main builders, WordPress and Wix, there are many to choose from including: Go Daddy’s Site Builder, Shopify, Squarespace, Website Builder, and Drupal to name a few. While each of these come with a different cost associated with them, the key difference will be the overall look and ease of editing the site. At Symbiotic Marketing, our goal is to create a site that you will be proud of so building your site on a CMS you are comfortable using and like the look of is key.

When looking to have a website built, you will want to ask yourself a few questions before deciding on a CMS that will work for you:

What is the purpose of your site? Is it to sell goods online? Is it to direct individuals to learn more about your services and how to get in touch with you? Do you want to be able to accept payments through your website for goods or services? Understanding how you want your website to perform may narrow your search for the CMS that will work best for you.

Do you need to update the site frequently? This includes adding products to your online store and posting blogs. If you need access to the backend frequently, you will want to use a builder you feel comfortable with using.

Is it more important to you to have something within your budget or something that may be an investment but will last long? You can change your CMS any time you like as your budget increases but remember the time investment spent on building the site. Whether you choose to build the site yourself or have someone else do it, time is our greatest commodity.

We also recommend checking out websites of others in your field to see what their sites include, how they look, and what you like or do not like about those sites. This can help you formulate a plan of how you want your site to look and interact with visitors. From building a website from scratch to updating your site to better suit your business’s needs, determining the CMS that will work best for what you want is an important first step before designing processes can begin.

In the designing process, we prefer to begin with the menu first, that is the number of pages you need or want and the layout of those pages. This may be a simple three to four page menu – Home, About, Goods/Services, and Contact or may include more such as Testimonials, Shopping, Blog, or even pages showcasing your different areas of expertise within your business. The more pages associated with your site; the more time needed to develop those pages for visitors. When designing your site, you will want to ensure it is easy to use for visitors as well as maintaining your brand’s appearance. Remember, the more someone has to continue clicking to get what they want, they are less likely to act so it is best to keep the site clean and easy to use.

Once the site is ready to launch, you will want to connect your domain to the site you have built. This tells the address where to go. You will also need to tell the CMS to publish the page or site you have been working on for it to go live.

When we work with a business to build or update a website, our goal is to create a site that you can be proud of, will work for what you need, and remains within budget however, the cost associated is highly dependent upon the size of the site and what you want it to do. Typically, a website takes 5-10 working hours to design but can easily take longer if you have more to showcase. If you choose to build the site yourself, you may need to allow more time to reach that end result. Remember, building a website is an investment but having a website for your business is almost imperative in today’s society.

Networking And Your Business

Networking. It’s something that as business owners we need to do but we can find all sorts of reasons to push it to the side, time commitments, budgetary concerns, or simply trying to figure out business operations from day to day. It’s a lot and to add in meeting with others to chat, networking can feel like a chore. As an individual with anxiety, networking is a double-edged sword for me. I know I need to get out and talk to people about what we do but actually doing it? That sometimes requires me to go to events I don’t feel like going to because I had a long day or giving myself a pep talk in the car, telling myself that I have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people and can learn about what they do. More often than not, after leaving a networking event, I am glad that I went and at times have a few new business cards in my bag. But the power of networking comes with what you are able to do after the event more than what happens at the event.

Following up with individuals met at networking events is key. This is the beginning of building a relationship because in business, relationships are important. You may meet an individual who does not have a need for what you offer but you can still form a relationship with that person. From this relationship, you may be able to learn things they have found worked in their business that you may be able to use in your own. Likewise, you may find that you have resources that they may not have been aware of. The possibilities are endless when you look beyond the sale. You may even find you have a new friend.

There are a lot of different networking groups to choose from as well. From Chamber mixers to referral-based groups such as BNI, you will want to find a group that works for you. Not all networking groups are created equal and some have member expectations so check out a few meetings before making a decision if the group will work for you and your needs before committing.

Additionally, once you are in a group, evaluate the quality of the networking the group and what you have been able to secure from the group. This is more than just the amount of business you have acquired as a direct result of the networking group. Ask yourself if you could do more to generate interest in what you are doing in your business. Are the members in the group enthusiastic about what they are doing in their businesses? Have you been successful in building relationships with the individuals in the group? Remember, there’s more to networking than getting a sale.

While it feels amazing to be able to connect a direct line from actions you have taken to profits in your business, networking is more than that. When you can form a relationship with other business owners, you are building on your brand awareness, learning about other businesses and how they perform, and forming advocates for yourself and your business. All of which will boost your bottom line when you are consistent and purposeful with your networking.

Using Facebook Groups to Promote Your Business

Whether you should have a Facebook page or group, or both depends on how much you want to interact with your audience. Groups are set up to create more of a community atmosphere whereas a page should be more focused on your branding. Pages are great for getting the word out about your business but can easily become burdened by over posting and people visiting may not be able to find what they need. If you find you are posting too frequently or having others post too much on your page, a group may be a great way to keep your page clean and concise.

Groups are set up for increased communication and discussion between members. This means that any member may post and share their experiences with other members of the group. Creating a group page is great for networking groups to keep in touch and let others know about what is going on. They’re also great to share promotions and special events. But you can also use groups as a tool to promote your business. It all comes down to your sales funnel.

Groups are a great way to maintain your warmer audience in your sales funnel when you have a lot of specials in your business or have a lot of products to promote. Your members are individuals who know about or have used your products or services and want to keep informed about what you are doing and have going on. You will want to encourage the members to post or interact with your posts more on groups than what you will on pages, although that does not mean you can forgo posting on your page. Both are important although they interact with users differently.

Maintaining a group page also means that you will need to post more frequently. Thankfully, you can schedule posts on groups as well as pages. However, you will want to ensure that the posts on your group’s page differs from your business page as you are speaking to a warmer audience. Remember, they already know about you and are interested in what you offer! You may also need to interact with your audience more on a group page and reply to comments or follow up with likes. Depending on the interaction, you may be moving closer to a sale!

Having a Facebook group associated with your page does require a bit more work to keep up but remember, these are people in your sales funnel and need to be worked just as you would in person. Additionally, you may want to share your promotions to other group pages that you belong to. You never know who you can reach through a group page.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Copyright Symbiotic Marketing, LLC 2020
Chambersburg, PA