Home Business Tips – Are You Overloaded With Home Business Information?

The most common problem with new people in the home business scene is they get easily overloaded with information. I admit, I’m part of the problem. After all, I have over 4000 articles on the web at this point in writing. However, if you want to stop information overload, you have got to nip the problem in the bud and basically get organized. That’s what it’s all about – getting organized.

The first thing you might want to do is create two email accounts. Or if you have already have one (which is likely), then create a separate account. For your main account, sign up for the gurus whose information you respect. You’ll want to keep only the best emails in your main account. For your separate account, sign up for all other lists in your niche. This is where you can pick up great marketing ideas from the emails you receive. You do not necessarily want to ‘use’ the emails, but you want to spy on them.

The next thing you’ll want to do, if you are just starting out, is to organize your learning. For example, one week you might spend time learning AdWords, and the next week you can focus on article marketing tactics and strategies. Another week you can learn list building and how to set up an autoresponder and market to a list etc. Doing this is almost like following an organized ‘classroom schedule’ and it will make your learning much more progressive, so you are able to take action faster.

Finally, you’ll want to make a to-do list each day of items you need to take action on. Then work through that list and focus on nothing else. I guarantee that you will get a lot done this way and your business will grow faster.

Investigative Detective – Find Personal and Business Information Like a Professional

Do you love mysteries? Is there a detective lurking there in your subconscious? If you are like most of us, your mind can’t let a puzzle go until you have solved it, but sometimes the answer you are looking for eludes you.

We are all amazed at the flood of information available to us online. Do we need a recipe for chicken? We can find 101 ways to cook chicken. Do we need to know how to remove ink stains from a shirt pocket? We’ll find 99 different answers. We have seen how children and young people have put themselves at risk on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networks. Unscrupulous people are also on their computers in the middle of the night. We need a balance between our need for connecting and our need for protection and knowing the truth.

Most of us want information for very legitimate reasons and public information is available for anyone to see, and this includes our own records open to the public eye. Our privacy is important and we are warned about identity theft and how to protect ourselves. We want to be sure that information about ourselves is correct and then take steps to ensure we keep private matters private.

By the same token we have the right to public information about other people and services that concern us and this is where we can benefit from public information online. In this day and age when people are no longer growing up in places where everyone knows everyone else, we will need information services more than ever before. The data is there for our benefit and to assist us in making right choices in life, and to feel safe.

Here are some of the common kinds of information that you or someone close to you might need:

1. Mystery cell phone number or a misplaced important phone number. You have tried 411, the phone company and yellow pages and are stymied.
2. Background information on a company you would like to do business with. It’s a good idea to look before you leap.
3. Information on someone you would like to hire, but the personal references are insufficient. Perhaps you have moved to a new city and need a doctor or mechanic. Or you are looking for a church or particular kind of a minister. Perhaps you are interviewing for a nanny and you can’t take a chance on hiring just anyone. Our children are precious.
4. Information on possible tenants or even a neighbour that you don’t feel comfortable with. You don’t want to rely on gossip but would like to know more.
5. Your personal records — are they correct? Here is an opportunity to correct mistakes.
6. Doing a genealogical search? You can find this information too in public records.
7. An unexplained item on your bank account or credit card. The credit company has removed the charge, but you would like to know who used your card, for your own peace of mind.

Even though the information is completely open, searching online can be a long and tedious process of sifting through myriad data bases. It’s a good idea to look for packages specially designed to include all the specific needs described above. As the information age takes us into uncharted waters, we all need to be aware of what is at our fingertips to keep us safe and our privacy intact.

When Fishing for New Business, Information is the Best Bait!

People are always looking for information. This is the major reason Google has been so successful. With that as a given, how can we as marketers capitalize on this phenomenon? The simple answer is to give away information. It is the greatest premium item ever conceived. It usually costs less than a pen, a note pad, or a coffee mug; especially if it is repurposed from prior programs, and it’s much easier to deliver. Plus, delivery is actually the first step on the pathway to purchase.

There are several ways to find folks who are looking for the information that you have to offer.

First, to cast a wide net, there are many specialized Double Opt-In email lists available for rent, and a simple, carefully crafted message (usually a text message, no fancy photos or graphics) sent out to a thoughtfully selected group of potential clients, offering a simple report, media file, or white paper, then combined with personal follow up, will yield significant numbers of well qualified leads, and, most important, the start of a dialog. And dialogs frequently finish with sales. I cannot emphasize strongly enough using Double Opt-In lists. These are people who have agreed to get mailings because they are looking for information, and they know that they won’t get spammed from these senders. These people are also much more likely to open your email. Industry trade publications are very good sources for this type of mailing. See additional comments about this below.

Next, you can create web pages to offer your information in exchange for people’s email address. A page that is search engine friendly, targeted at people who are searching for your information will always yield people who will to give you their contact information to get your information – the start of a dialog.

Finally, of course, the people on your own lists. These are people with whom you already have an existing email relationship, so you can legitimately mail offers of additional RELEVANT information to them, and they will very likely respond positively.

In addition to electronic documents, remember also if you have valuable information in other media formats, you can also distribute them. It could be a podcast or other audio file, a video, an informational PowerPoint presentation or other media file. Repurposing works very well here. It all adds to the excitement, interest, and value that you are offering making it all the more likely that you will get high quality leads who will want do business with you.

Step by Step…

  • First, you need a choice of several white papers, reports or other information relevant to your target audience. Make absolutely certain you have all the requisite rights and clearances to distribute these pieces. Like any premium or incentive item, you will give them away.
  • Next, decide how you will reach your target audience. The simplest, most targeted, and generally least expensive way is with email lists rented from trade publications in your field. Usually the mailing will go out directly from the trade publication’s mailing service, so it can legitimately have the trade pub in the “From” field. And, because the recipient will most likely already have the publication “white listed” in his or her email system, you will increase the likelihood that the mail will end up in their inbox, not the spam bucket. It also gives the message added credibility, and increases the chances that the email will be opened and read. And the publication will be very selective about what information that it will send out under its own name.
  • The “Reply To” in the email is a person or group in your company who will respond to each email individually. Though this could very well be done with an auto responder, the personal communication puts you that much closer to an in-depth dialog with the prospect, and therefore, that much closer to a sale.
  • The Subject line should be consistent with the information being offered, and also appropriate from the publication to whose list you will be sending.
  • The message itself should be a simple text only message with no images or graphics.
  • The reply from your staff should have the information papers or media files as attachments, and an offer to immediately get involved to address the prospects’ problem.
  • Decide how much you would like to spend, and how big you want the mailing to be. Negotiate with the list owners to make sure you buy at the best CPM for your budget. You never know, by jumping to the next quantity level, you may be able to send to many more prospects for very little more, which will reduce your cost/lead. Since this is a numbers game, more is definitely better.

The critical element is follow up! The main goal of this process is to open a dialog between a prospect and someone in your company who can affect a sale as quickly as possible. If those people don’t follow up immediately, momentum is lost and must be regained before the sale can actually be made.

One of the major benefits of this type of marketing is its speed. From idea to interaction with clients, it can frequently be turned around in a week or so, and is, therefore, very cost effective.

Extending the value of this technique

There are a couple of things that you can do to easily extend the reach of a program like this.

First, publicize the effort. A well placed press release with the email address to contact (or web page) to get the white papers or media files costs very little, and will get you many additional leads. Also, when people see the information appearing in places other than their inbox, it lends more credibility to the story, and increases the response rate.

Next, using standard online list building techniques as mentioned before, add access to the white papers and media files through Search Engine Optimized pages on your web site. But don’t just put them there as downloads; use the same process as with the email send. If someone is interested, and clicks on the link to get information, get their email address, and respond in the same way as someone who responded to the email promotion. Again, minimal expense for added program reach.

The side benefit, of course, is that you will significantly grow your email list with LEGITIMATE names, ones with whom you can legally continue to correspond.

Last, but not least – Measure!

Remember, “If you didn’t measure it, you didn’t do it!” (See related three part article here.) You must track how many leads and sales were developed and how much they cost. This works on two levels. First, you must know if this effort was worth the dollars spent. Most likely it will be. Next, if you use several lists from different sources, you’ll want to know which performed better. If the program works well only from one publication, it may be worth repeating, but drop the underperforming pub, or select another one. But you won’t know unless you measure. You can also see what media draws best, static (PDF or other files to be printed) or dynamic (files to view or listen to). And, you will know how much those names added to your list cost.

And though simple text emails have proven very effective for programs such as this, you may want to test an HTML version with images and graphics to see which draws better in your situation with your audience.

This is a simple program, easy to implement, has many side benefits, and will yield good results – quickly.

Business Information Systems That Help A Business

In this age of Technology, a business can survive only with the right use of technology to control and monitor various process that’s happening inside the organization. An ever changing business environment gives you strong reasons why your business should use software systems to manage competition successfully.

Right from CRM to ERP, a business can make use of software systems that can manage their processes efficiently. These systems in turn generates lot of data during the day to day operations. Using this data effectively is one of the main concerns every business faces. That effectiveness is derived from how the data can be used to analyze it further to get some in depth information to make the right decisions at the right time.

Decision Making With Business Intelligence

All of us know that a business is successful only through the right decision making. Even a small decision made wrong could land the management into trouble and it may lead to a catastrophic failure. To avoid such failures, management needs lot of data for analysis helping them to understand where the direction a business is heading. Technology is there to help a business to come up with new strategies and give it a new direction.

When it comes to analyzing these data, BI tools or Business Intelligence Systems are the best. BI Tools are not working as stand alone systems. They need data for analysis which they get from other software systems that are in place. It helps management to analyze data from different perspectives to derive some good inputs for the future decision making. BI Tools get their data from CRM or ERP systems on periodical intervals and package the data in such a way that meaningful information is generated by way of reports and OLAP cubes. After such analysis management can make decisions to curb expensive processes or steps to augment sales that have lasting benefits for the organization.

Cloud Computing

Another important aspect technology is providing the power of cloud computing. Whether a business is small or large, it has to deal with the growing data requirements that requires expensive and hardware and software combination and a greater amount of security to protect your data. Many business are now embracing cloud because it adds efficiency to your computing while keeping IT related expenses to a bare minimum. It not only helps you to reduce IT expenses, but also gives you the latest software and hardware platform for your growing computing requirements. Cloud computing has evolved to a mature state that protects your data with the state of the art encryption technology. It frees top management from the menace of IT maintenance and growing expenses related to software and hardware upgrade. Cloud comes in various flavors and you can choose the best one suitable for your computing requirement.