Do you know that it is far important to have a good marketing strategy to keep your business afloat and eventually go heights, later? Yes! You read it right. Imagine, you are opening a new business, and you just simply wait for people to get into your store, and purchase a product. For sure, few months down the line your business is going to close since there is lack of customers that will cover up the operating costs, and for you to earn a decent profit. Thus, as a business owner, you should be able to come up with marketing strategies so that you can bring in more customers, more sales to your business.
The common misconception that companies do commit when it comes to marketing is just they view it as one particular thing that’s it. They do not have any idea that everything that revolves around whatever your customer encounter about your business is already classified as marketing. This includes advertising, customer service, and even when you make a follow up on them.
Before you start juggling with one marketing strategy to the other, you need to learn few things first about this important aspect of any business. After which, you are going to come up with more action-oriented and effective strategies that will surely add more sales for your business.
The following are key things you should know about marketing:
Do you know that marketing has three purposes? Knowing what are they will help you identify your marketing strategy and be able to implement them effectively. First is to be able to capture your target market’s attention.
Second, you can assist your prospect when it comes to purchasing decision.
Lastly, it will provide your customers what is called a low risk, easy and specific action to take.
These purposes will enable you to have your eyes in selling more products or services to the market.
There are all sorts of marketing it includes TV, radio and print ads, Internet marketing, and even direct mail. Some other companies make use of referral marketing to increase their number of customers. With this type of marketing, it is the customers who promote your business to people they know. The best part of this is that you need not spend on marketing costs. All you have to do is to deliver more value for what they have paid for. In this way, you will have satisfied customers who will serve as the bridge to bring in more new customers for your business.
3. 4 Ps.
Marketing comprises of the 4 P’s namely: the product, next would be the price, then, the promotion to be used, and lastly the place. You should have a clear idea about the four marketing mix. This is to ensure that you are on the right path and be able to achieve your goal of marketing. You need to immerse yourself in each of the components so that you can thoroughly come up with a detailed plan on how to go about marketing. When you have a clear identification, it would be easier to go forward and implement your marketing strategies.
It does pay off when you do learn more about marketing, the marketing mix and whole lot more. In this way, you will be able to collate information which will improve the current status of your business in the market today, and increase revenues as well. Make sure you equip yourself with relevant information and start from there.
You might’ve heard people say that they are a Digital Marketing expert. Or watched in one of those YouTube videos that it is necessary for your business to have digital marketing to survive in this era. And it is possible that might have interested you in learning digital marketing. What it is and why is it so important these days.
So, without any further ado, let’s dive right into it.
By definition, digital marketing is the term that is used for any type of marketing of products and services that are targeted, measurable and interactive.
That’s the mind-boggling version of the definition.
In layman’s terms, digital marketing is any type of marketing that involves electronic devices.
That is why you might be surprised to know that digital marketing has existed on this planet for over a century now.
How might you ask?
Well, remember when the first radio was invented? In 1896. It was invented by this dude named Guglielmo Marconi.
In 1896 it was demonstrated that messages could be transmitted wirelessly. And it was then used to send morse signals across open water.
But it would take another decade for this to be available to the general. And that’s when the live broadcasting of messages and other forms of radio transmissions started to grow.
The very first live broadcast was done at an opera performance at the Met. It was to sell the show tickets.
And guess what people did?
They bought the tickets!
And that’s when the world of digital marketing was born. And since then, it has been growing and seeping into our everyday life. Now is the point where digital marketing has been so ingrained in our lives that it is everywhere we see.
It’s on your Facebook account, your Instagram feed, your email inbox, etc. It’s everywhere.
Let me ask you a question: How much time do you spend on the internet? Also, how much time does everyone around you, spend on their laptop or smartphone?
Because according to Statista, the average American is now spending more than 11 hours on their electronic devices on a daily basis.
And the #1 rule of marketing, is to reach and connect with your audience where they spend most of their time.
Billboards and flyers are cool. But people are already spending most of their time on the internet.
So why not reach them there?
And it’s not just about the laptops and smartphones. A recent study showed that at least 9% of the drivers are on their phone.
And if the drivers aren’t focusing on the road, what do you think they are doing?
Probably on their smartphones.
And what do you think the passengers are doing?
Probably the same.
If you don’t believe me, next time when you stop at a red light, turn around and see what your friends/family are doing in the car. They will probably be looking deep into their smartphones.
And with the self-driving cars that are right on the cusp of being released to the general public, digital marketing will become even more important.
Heck, Elon Musk says that it is possible that the self-driving cars will hit the roads by 2020. That’s just 2 years from now.
So it’s probably a better idea to get this stuff understood so that you are ahead of the curve.
There are 2 main pillars that come under the umbrella of digital marketing. They are online marketing and offline marketing.
Since we are only concerning ourselves with online marketing here, we will cover just that here.
We will be covering offline marketing in a different post, so watch out for that.
Here are the 7 categories that come under online marketing:
The entire process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine result pages, like Google, Yahoo and Bing is called Search Engine Optimization. This optimization results in higher amount of organic traffic, aka, free traffic to your website.
That’s the easier to swallow version of what you will read on Wikipedia. Now let’s convert that into something that even a 5th grader can understand J
Let’s say that you have a blog on which you write food recipes. You want your website to be shown on top of Google whenever someone searches for “vegan burgers.”
In this case, there are 3 parties here, there’s the search engine, you and, the searcher. Now let’s assume that you also have an article posted on your website about how to make a vegan burger.
Then SEO is like the magic potion that you blend in your article that persuades Google to add your post as one of the top results whenever someone searches for “vegan burger.”
By definition, Search Engine Marketing is the process that includes buying search traffic through paid listings.
This is different compared to SEO. Because in SEO, we are mainly seeking to get free traffic or organic traffic.
With Search Engine Marketing or SEM, we are seeking paid traffic or inorganic traffic. This can be achieved through the different advertising platforms that each search engine has (like AdWords).
A new post is coming up explaining in-depth SEM strategies for effective and consistent results. Watch out for that.
The definition of content marketing is very boring.
Here’s what the definition is: It’s the promotion of content assets with the purpose of increasing brand awareness, growth in traffic, lead generation and customers.
But it is so much more than that.
It is the art of storytelling that has been around for ages.
There’s a reason why even in 2018, people love reading blogs and watching videos. Stories are being told all around you.
In the 80s it was the comic books and other fiction/nonfiction titles.
Today, it is the movies like Jurassic Park, and social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
It is all about having a long-term strategy for content creation. This strategy not only includes the creation of high-quality content over a course of time. But also the creation of content in other formats.
Let’s say for instance that you are writing a blog post right now. You also want to make sure that you have a video as well. This will capture the attention of people who love watching videos.
Because let’s be honest, not everyone has the time or the patience for reading a 2000 word blog post. They want to consume the information you are providing in an enjoyable fashion.
While there might be people who love reading, and that is the reason why you are writing the blog post in the first place. But you also don’t want to lose out on people who love watching videos.
And when you keep this content creation consistent, your customers will make purchase decisions based on their loyalty to you.
Because you are not like other brands who only do a one-off advertising. You are consistently interacting with your customer through your content. That’s what brings them in and keeps them loyal to your brand for years to come.
The name explains itself.
Social media marketing is all about promoting your brand in a fun way that will lead to people being more aware of your brand, increase in traffic and generation of leads for your products and services.
If you get this right, the whole world will be available at your fingertips and ready to buy what you’re selling. So it is highly important that nail this down as soon as possible.
PPC marketing is very similar to SEM. By definition, PPC is an internet advertisement model in which you, the advertiser pays every time someone clicks on your ad. At the end of the day, it is a way of buying visitors to your website rather than receiving organic traffic through SEO.
PPC is also one of the most common ways people receive traffic these days. That is mainly due to the fact that this advertising model is available everywhere you look. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting someone else’s products or services for a commission you receive every time you make a sale.
This is one of the most lucrative ways a person can start, and it will also help them get their feet wet with different types of advertising.
When it comes to digital products, the affiliate commissions can sometimes go up to 80-90%. Which as you can see why it is so attractive to a lot of people out there.
This is probably one of the most important forms of communication with your audience out there. This is also one of the most intimate forms of communicate you can have.
Most companies use email marketing as a way to promote their content (content marketing), or to provide discounts, and sometimes even directly selling their products through their business website.
Regardless, in order to have a loyal audience, you want to make sure that you connect with your audience on a personal level.
You know how important it is to learn online marketing in this era. But it’s all fine and dandy until you find out how much some of these courses charge.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel; there are a ton of free courses that you can take to get started.
And these are not some low-quality courses either. These courses are being offered by some of the top companies in the world right now. Not only that, they even offer prizes for people based on their performance after learning.
This means that you won’t just be learning, you will also be applying the material in real-time.
You can find a short list of some of the best courses below. Check them out.
We have created a list of the top 6 free online marketing courses that we think you should take to instantly improve your digital marketing skills.
Here we go:
There are a ton of companies offering courses with certification, but you want to make sure that those companies are actually recognized by the people who you will be showing this certification to.
This means that you do not want a certification from Mary & John’s Digital Marketing University. Because nobody in the universe will know whether the things they taught you are up to date. And if you are competent enough to perform in the real world.
Because at the end of the day, a certification is a piece of paper or a digital certificate that shows that you have learned a particular skill and that you are competent enough to perform in the real world.
Let’s say that you got a certification from Google. This will be recognized by almost anyone who sees that certification because of the company’s reputation and the work they do.
Do you see the difference?
Here are a couple of courses that you can take that offer free certifications.
Do keep in mind that if you fail some of their tests, they do not let you retake a test for either 40-60 days, depending on the company. So make sure that you prepare yourself to at least pass the test.
It’s no secret that if you want to build wealth that will last ages, you have to invest in the stock market. And there are plenty of books to learn how to trade stocks. But what if you just want to learn the basics to see it for yourself how the stock market looks after you have the basics covered?
That’s where I come in.
In this in-depth guide, you will learn everything about the stock market; what stocks are, the best ways to make money from them, etc.
So, tell your kids to go play outside, and your wife to watch that Netflix show with headphones because you are about to read something that will possibly make you very rich in the near future.
Without any further ado, here we go.
In simple terms, a stock represents a business. And a share of that stock represents a legal ownership of part of that business, which is also known as equity. Most corporations offer stocks that are called preferred stocks and common stocks. We will get into their meaning in a minute.
Stocks are also considered as “securities”. Because by definition, they mean that they are equities in a business. So do not be surprised to hear if someone pays their debts by transferring their shares.
Common Stocks: The basic meaning of a common stock is that it is entitled to its proportionate share of a company’s profits or losses. These are the stocks that people are usually referring to when they are talking about investing.
So if you buy a share in a company, you are now the stockholder of that company. But you have bought a common stock.
The stockholders then vote to elect the Board of Directors for that company who can decide whether they want to retain the profits, share all of them with their stockholders, or send a portion of them in the form of cash (also known as Dividend). The Board of Directors can also hire or fire the company’s CEO.
Preferred Stocks: People who hold preferred stocks are entitled to a couple of perks that the holders of common stocks are not. For instance, one of the perks of the shareholder of a preferred stock is that there are predetermined dates when he or she is entitled to receive dividends.
This dividend also has to be paid first, before any of the holders of common stock receive their dividends.
And in the case of the company going bankrupt, the preferred stockholders are entitled to recouping their investment from the sales/recoveries of the company before the common stockholders.
Dividend: This is essentially a physical check that is mailed to your address. Or an electronic deposit that is either sent to the broker or the account that holds the stock.
Now that we have covered the basics a little bit. Let’s move on to the exciting part. About how you can make money by buying a stock.
Most people give the wrong impression of what it means to make money from the stock market. You might think that it is all about being stuck to the computer screen for 8+ hours, frantically thinking about what the S&P 500 did recently, or what is the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
That’s certainly not the truth.
Here’s an unpopular secret about making long-term wealth from the stock market – Do not buy and sell the stocks, but hold securities. Receive interest and dividends and wait for them to increase their value in the long term.
In other words, if you are going to pick a stock, be absolutely certain that you are willing to keep that stock for a minimum of 5 years. This means that you will have to only select companies that are well run and have a solid financial background. Not to mention that they should also have a management that is shareholder friendly.
That’s the real secret of how wealth is amassed by the passive investor (the investor who isn’t actively trading stocks on a daily basis).
If you ask Warren Buffett, he too will say the same thing to you. You will be shocked to know that most of their wealth comes from owning stocks and businesses for more than 3 or 4 decades.
We are just getting started with this topic. So, sit back, take another sip of that delicious orange juice and let me now walk you through how everything fits into the stock market earning picture.
Let’s say you want to buy a share of the stock, aka, buying a piece of the company. Let’s assume that Samuel Lawrence Industries is a company (a fictional company). This company has annual sales of $20,000,000 and their net income is $2,000,000.
They are now looking to raise money to expand their business. So the founders of the company approached an investment bank and asked them to sell their stock to the public. When a company wants to sell their stock to the public for the first time, it is called an Initial Public Offering, or IPO.
After seeing their sales and their net income, the investment bankers said that their growth rate is not that great. So they will price their shares so that the investors will earn 11% on their investment, plus whatever growth that they generate.
By that calculation, it works out to $22,000,000 valuation for the whole company.
How did I come to the 11% ROI you might ask?
Here’s how $22million divided by $2million net income = 11% return on their initial investment.
Assuming that everyone agrees on that, the underwriters might want to make the shares affordable to the public. So they decided to cut the company into 440,000 pieces, selling each piece for $50. (440,000 shares X $50 = $22,000,000).
This also means that the owner of each piece is entitled to $4.54 of the profit.
$1,000,000 profit ÷ 440,000 shares = $4.54 per share.
The $4.54 profit per share is also known as the Basic EPS, aka, the Basic Earnings Per Share.
In other words, if you buy 1 share of the Samuel Lawrence Company, you will be entitled to $4.54 of the profit from their annual sales.
But let’s say that you buy 100 shares of this company for $5,000. You will basically be buying $454 in annual profit including whatever their future growth might look like, or if there would be any losses. If you think that the new management can cause the sales to skyrocket in the coming years and your profits would easily turn out to be 5x, then it would mean that this is a very attractive investment.
Now that you know what you will be entitled to when you own the stock, and why you should hold on to it for years. It’s time to show you how to find the right companies to invest into.
This just keeps getting more exciting doesn’t it.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a new investor or a stock market veteran. When it comes to choosing a great company to invest into, no one is sure where to start.
People might tell you that you should invest in Penny Stocks (article coming up very soon) because they are volatile and you can make a lot of money. And while that might be correct, you should also know that because of their volatile nature, the risk is high too.
On the other hand, you can also choose to invest in dividend stocks, which basically pay a good amount of dividends. But those stocks will also be expensive. So it depends on what kind of budget you are working with and how much risk you can handle.
To help you get started, I have compiled some tips to get your creative juices flowing. These tips will help you in picking out the best companies to invest into. Who knows, they might just be right in front of your eyes. You just needed to look at it.
Every year the Standard and Poor’s releases 3 financial guides that include the historical data of the selected companies. These companies are segregated into Small Cap, Mid Cap, and Large Cap. These are also the indices of Standard and Poor’s.
The report includes the company’s full name, industry, ticker symbol, contact information, officer listing, dividend records, and the business summary.
It also includes the sell or hold recommendation that S&P attaches to each report, but you can choose to ignore that. You are mainly interested in knowing the company’s earnings, return on equity and the debt levels for the past couple of years.
Now might be a good time to take out your notepad and start taking notes about those companies. You first want to make a list of the companies that you might be interested in, and then start digging into the earnings reports and so on.
Based on the company list that you make, it will tell a lot about your investment approach and the area of expertise.
If you want more data on a company, you can call them up and request for more information, or you can order their annual report online. The S&P provides information on 1,500 companies in their guides. So you will be busy for quite a while.
One of the more convenient ways to access company data and their historical figures is through Value Line Investment Survey.
The website requires you to subscribe to access that data. So if the $500+ subscription price isn’t for you, you can always go to your nearest library. Chances are that they maintain a subscription. You can use the reports for free and only check out the companies that you are interested in.
This tip is not just specific to the mall, you can go anywhere where you can shop.
Once you are there, start making a list of the brand names of the products that you come across. Products like Coca-Cola, Hershey’s Chocolate, Energizer batteries, etc.
Every company that you’ve made a list of can be a great investment idea. Now, pick up the item and try to find the name and address of the manufacturer. Once you have that information, you can now search the internet to find out if the company is traded publicly (meaning you can purchase shares of stock in it). Or you can call the number provided and ask the manufacturer for it.
If the company is traded publicly, then you can request an annual report. All they will ask is your Name and Address. And they will mail you a copy of their report for free.
And that’s how you find amazing companies to invest your money into. Make sure you have all the data you need to make your decision. It is okay to take your time. Remember, taking your time is always better than making a bad investment.
A stock broker is someone who is going to trade stocks on your behalf. This broker has a trading license and is usually associated with a brokerage firm. And based on your instructions, he/she will buy or sell stocks for you in return for a commission.
Once you have decided to get into the stock market, your first door to entry will be your broker. Your primary relationship will be with your broker and the brokerage firm. With this guide, we will help you choose the right broker.
Here you will not only get to know the things to look out for in a brokerage firm. You will also learn which fees to avoid, how to read your brokerage account statements and trade confirmations, etc.
Now I know what most of you are thinking, Can you buy Stock without a Broker?
Most new investors ask me this question before getting started. And it is a completely valid question.
While there is no requirement for you to have a broker to invest in stocks, but just like everything in life, there are some advantages and disadvantages by going for it on your own. And you will need to weigh them on your own to make the decision.
Usually, blue-chip companies offer a special type of program that is called Direct Stock Purchase Plan, or DSPP for short. These types of plans were put into place ages ago for smaller investors who don’t want to go through a broker.
We will be covering this topic in-depth in a different article at a later date. So watch out for that.
This is also known as the traditional broker. This broker is almost the same as the one you see in the movies.
A traditional or a full-service broker will take your calls and place trades for you. This person might also recommend investments for you. Most of the time, this broker will help you with almost anything related to stock market.
And for this service, you will be charged commissions.
But this type of broker might only appeal to people with a big account. Because let’s say you want to purchase a blue chip stock that is valued at $700,000 and you are not planning on selling it for generations to come. Then you might not notice a huge difference between a $9.90 commission and a $350 commission.
But if you have a smaller account, it can cut into your returns big time.
Unlike the traditional broker, a discount broker provides you with all the tools you will need to trade for yourself.
This means that you will be handling your trades yourself. There is no one standing between you and your money. That means if you want to purchase a certain stock, you just go do it. You do not need to call anyone to do that for you.
But this also means that if you will be making any dumb decisions, there is no one stopping you from that. Or advising you to choose the other option.
The discount broker option is perfect for investors who like managing their own money and do not want to pay for services that they do not need.
That depends on which type of brokerage account you have opened.
If you have opened a full-service brokerage account, that question is less important because you will have direct access to the broker himself or herself. So they can essentially work with you to research almost anything.
But when it comes to discount brokers, the offerings are quite different. They can give you free access to certain mutual fund and equity research data from Thomson Reuters, Credit Suisse, Morningstar, Standard and Poor’s, and other institutions. But it completely depends on them.
So based on your choosing, you will have to decide which type of brokerage account will be best for you.
I know this is a cliche thing but books are really one of the best ways you can quickly learn how to trade stocks, besides doing them of course.
So, here are a couple of recommendations for you:
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig
How to Make Money in Stocks by William O’Neil
When to Sell by Justin Mamis
Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
Stocks for the Long Run 5/E by Jeremy J. Siegel
And that is it, my folks. Now you have all the information you need to gather a list of all the companies that you would like to invest in, get a broker account and start buying stocks. But remember, you want to make moves for the long-term. Don’t listen to the media. Do your own research and make calculated decisions.
Only take risks that you can handle. And do not make panic decisions because that’s how most people burn their money in the stock market.