SelfInformed

Your monthly source for the latest news for your micro-business. From operations and marketing to legislative updates from Capitol Hill, SelfInformed has it all!

SelfInformed - January 2017

With the start of a new year comes the enrollment period for the NASE Dependent Scholarship. Members with a child (or children) that will be attending college in the fall should look into applying for a dependent scholarship.

10 WAYS to Grow Your Business with WEBINARS in 2017

Small business owners that want to grow their revenues significantly in 2017 should add webinars to their marketing mix. Whether you want to get noticed in your community or be a national player, these 30-to-90 minute educational presentations are highly effective in generating quality leads and customers for your products or services.

Start-ups, small businesses and even corporates are experiencing success from webinars. Kissmetrics (an analytical platform for teams) generated $1.7 million from just 77 webinars. This doesn’t shock marketing guru Neil Patel of Quick Sprout, who says that on average marketers achieve conversion rates (attendee-to-sale) of about 20%-40%. This is extraordinary compared to lackluster email conversion rates of 2-12%.

Lewis Howes, business coach and entrepreneur, has hosted over 300 webinars this year and grown his business 12 times over from last year. LeadPages, a popular software company that develops landing pages, reports that they went from 0 to 42,000 customers in just a few years using webinars as their primary marketing engine.

Do you think webinars will work for your business? Here are 10 ways to grow your business with webinars in 2017.

1. GROW YOUR LIST OF PROSPECTS
Prospects are the bread and butter of your business. When you host free webinars and people show up, you can regularly communicate with hundreds or thousands of people that you know are already interested in your topic. The more people who know, like and trust you, the greater opportunity you have to sell your products or services in both the short and long-term.

2. CREATE A CONSISTENT MARKETING ENGINE
Lots of small businesses run their online marketing via trial and error. They experiment with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but they don’t know which efforts will actually generate results. The delivery of webinars, however, is a very consistent process that can be measured, monitored and improved upon. This 24/7 sales machine can give you the consistency you need to generate qualified leads and customers.

3. PROMOTE YOUR EXPERTISE
If you are a small business owner, your webinar can showcase your expertise in solving the challenges of your target market. You can share success stories of real customers who achieved X because of your product or service. If you are knowledgeable about your topic and they appreciate your personality, they will know, like and trust you.

4. DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS IN THE INDUSTRY
You can ask a business owner running a complementary business to do a joint venture with you. You suggest that he markets your webinar to his email list for a partial fee of the sales or you promise to promote his product or service to your list in return. Partnerships within your industry enable you to quickly expand your audience and allow you to make connections that can keep your business growing year after year.

5. TARGET THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Thanks to the targeted marketing function within Facebook Advertising, you can promote your webinar to a specific demographic base on sex, age, location, interests, etc. If your focus is local, your ad only goes to those people in the region you designate. You can also target the Facebook fans of your local or national competitors. If a person follows your competition they probably are interested in your product and service as well. You can also upload an email list of prospects into Facebook and they will see your ad. Targeting your audience becomes a science you can fine-tune, allowing your marketing process to be consistent and effective.

6. SAVE TIME, MONEY AND ENERGY
Live events might be exhilarating but they are also exhausting. You have to account for preparation, travel, technological set-up, and mingling before and afterwards. Webinars allow you to do the majority of your speaking events from the comfort of your own office, saving you time, money and energy.

Your pre-recorded webinar can be promoted effectively for as little as $10 a day on Facebook, or completely free through other channels such as email, blog posts, Twitter, or as a banner on your website. You can also join relevant Facebook Groups or LinkedIn Groups and casually offer the invitation in the middle of a discussion. The possibilities for promoting your webinar are limitless.

7.CREATE A CLEAR GOAL AND CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION
The goal for your webinar is to increase awareness and grow your revenues. In order to do that you need to have a call-to-action at the end of the webinar asking for them to take the next step. The whole webinar is designed to psychologically prepare the prospect for the close. So in essence, creating your webinar forces you to create a compelling case for your product or service, and to actually ask for the business at the end.

8. PREPARE FOR THE BIG LEAGUES
Every time you do a webinar you improve your message and you improve your delivery of that message. Presenting you and your company is a critical skill for growth whether you are online or standing in front of a large audience. When a great opportunity arises, such as being a guest speaker to an attendee list of 10,000 people, you will be ready.

9. GROW YOUR REVENUES
While webinars can definitely improve your brand, the number one goal for webinars is to increase your sales. You are in business to make a profit. With conversion rates of 20%-40% it is not a surprise that more and more businesses are turning to webinars as their primary lead source. They work!

10. YOU CAN OFFER ATTENDEES A REPLAY
Many times a person will register for the webinar, but they are hindered from attending. You can email these individuals and offer them a replay of the webinar that they can watch within a certain time period like 48 hours. This can generate additional sales.

HOW TO CREATE A WEBINAR OUTLINE
At this point you may agree that webinars make sense for your business, but you don’t know exactly how to produce an effective one that will resonate with your audience. Here is an outline that many webinar presenters follow to create a 30-to-90 minute webinar:

1. Killer title that intrigues your target market. Usually a “How to” title.
2. The promise. Tell them what 3 points of information they will get out of this webinar that meets the particular challenge or need of this target market.
3. Introduction as to why they should listen to YOU. Briefly explain how you and your business got to this level of success.
4. Share success stories. Tell them about real people or companies that used your products or services and explain how it transformed their life or business.
5. Explain your unique product or process and why it will work for them too.
6. Share expert advice that can help them now even if they don’t buy anything from you today. This should address the three points in the promise (#2 above).
7. Tell them you have a lot more you could provide to them if they take the next step.
8. Offer a call to action to buy your product or service, or to take the first step in booking a consultation.
9. Close the call addressing common Q&A’s while overcoming common objections, and continue to explain why this product or service is amazing.

THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND WEBINARS
There are a few technological pieces to put together to get your webinar up and running. If you don’t have any tech skills, you can hire an Upwork freelancer to do all these elements for you for about $10/hour.
Here’s the steps to follow:

1. An invitation to the webinar (via on a Facebook advertisement, direct email, a link on your home page, or at the end of a blog post.)
2. A landing page to encourage people to register for the webinar (a template from LeadPages or Unbounce)
3. A recorded Power Point presentation using Camtasia (or Keynote for Mac users)
4. A webinar software program like Stealth Seminar or Webinar Jam to deliver the presentation and capture the registrations while simultaneously integrating attendees to your email responder software.
5. A sales page that specifically details all the wonderful things they get when they buy your product or service (or book you for a free consultation).

Creating the perfect webinar and marketing it to the right audience is a science that you can perfect over time. You can have confidence in the fact that your learning curve is worth it because once it is streamlined, you have an automatized sales process that generates consistent results time after time.

Social Media for Self-Employed Small Business Owners

Q: There are so many website to be a part of, I am not sure if I should be on Facebook or Twitter or Both?  Which is better and what do you recommend?

A: Great question.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a small business owner tell us how much they market their business on social media but they don’t seem to generate new business or higher sales.  A common reason for doing this is because social media is free and as small business owners, we always try to save money.
However, just because social media is free, does not necessarily mean it is wise to spend a lot of time with it.  Yes, it can be helpful, but spending too much time can lead to neglecting other aspects of your business.

Determining which social media network is best for your business is hard to answer without knowing what your business is and what types of services you provide.  You need to research what type of customers you have and then match that with a social media network.  If you have a consulting business and deal with a lot of professionals, spending time on LinkedIn may be your best route.  If you have a local restaurant or sandwich shop, you may try Foursquare.   Sell a lot of goods or crafts online, try Pinterest.

Facebook has established itself as the “go to” for social media, and with good reason, it is very popular and easy to use and understand.  You probably won’t go wrong with creating a Facebook page regardless of what type of business you have.  In fact, having a Facebook page is almost mandatory in today’s environment.  With that said, you probably should have one and update it regularly but you should not treat it as your only method of advertising.  It should be one of a few different avenues to spread awareness about your business.

Again, you should have a Facebook page and you should engage with potential customers through social media but you should not make it your sole focus online.  Be smart, be creative, but don’t be obsessive.


Can You Picture Yourself in the Spotlight

Do you want free publicity for your business? If you're an NASE Member, the NASE can help you promote your business! Simply fill out our "Get Publicity!" form here, and you and your business could be featured in an NASE publication, like our monthly member e-newsletter, SelfInformed.

Fill out the information in our Publicity form so an NASE representative can reach out to discuss featuring you and your business next!

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?

To me, the best part about being self-employed is the freedom to work outside established norms and take risks to facilitate change in an industry that has a status quo of exploiting workers and the environment.
Christian Birky, Founder, Lazlo, Detroit, MI
July, 2016 Spotlight

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?
I would advise anyone starting a business to identify colleagues and professionals who can act as mentors during this process. I would also advise to be financially prepared to reinvest early profits back into your business in order to further grow your business.
Wendy Miller, Owner and Principal, Annapolis Senior Care Solutions, Annapolis, MD, May 2016 Spotlight

What challenges have you faced in your business?
The challenges that I’ve faced have been getting Mainely Cupcakes name out in front of people. Getting people to trust my brand and to know that they are getting a quality, delicious product is always a challenge. Perseverance has been key for me. I am not a quitter and I’ve never stopped marketing my business or building my brand. I do holiday specials and advertise those on social media and my website. In the past, I’ve joined networking groups to have an opportunity to meet different people and introduce myself as well as my product. Now that I have built up my business, I can let my name speak for itself.
Cassandra Tindell, Owner, Mainely Cupcakes, Indian Trail, NC
June, 2016 Spotlight

What's your schedule like, what's a typical day for you?
One of the great parts of being self-employed is that every day has the potential to be different. A typical day may start in our warehouse space or machine shop building a new apparatus or repairing current performance machines. We may have long brainstorming conference calls with our creative team to discuss new project ideas or might have to load a truck with our equipment to head out to an event. Time is spent every day on the computers designing sets, developing budgets, negotiating contracts and casting performers for upcoming events.
Chris Lashua, Founder and Director, Wheelwork Arts, LLC, Las Vegas, NV
November, 2016 Spotlight

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
I had a customer tell me that the person they were dating asked them “How much do you love me?” and their response was, “I love you a lot, but I love my accountant more”.
Teewa Akers, Owner, The Bookkeepers Accounting Service MD, Upper Marlboro, MD August, 2016 Spotlight

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President Trump Issues Five Executive Orders

President Trump wasted no time and issued five executive orders within the first three days of his presidency. All of the executive orders fulfilled promises he made on the campaign trail.

Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal (January 20, 2017)
“It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended (the "Act").  In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.”

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies- Regulatory Freeze (January 20, 2017)
Common directive for a new Administration to freeze all regulatory action and implementation of any published rule for 60 days. This allows the new Administration to review any pending regulation and final rulemakings that the former Administration had directed their agencies to undertake.

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy (January 23, 2017)
The Mexico City Policy has been revoked and reinstated by every Presidential Administration, given its subject matter. President Trump has revoked the policy and directed “the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement (January 23, 2017)
Fulfilling a significant campaign promise, President Trump officially withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacifica Partnership Agreement.

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze (January 23, 2017)
The President froze federal hiring stating, “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.”

The freeze does not impact military personnel. Unclear how the order impacts other public safety positions.


Katie Vlietstra is NASE’s Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs.

Courtesy of NASE.org
https://www.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/selfinformed/January-2017