iPreCheck What it is and How Why it Will Help Sales for Car Dealerships

iPreCheck: What it is and How/Why it Will Help Sales for Car Dealerships

Historically speaking, buying a car has never been anyone’s favorite thing to do. For most people, the process of buying a car is uncomfortable and intimidating.

They have to come into the dealership, negotiate with an experienced salesperson, and share personal financial details with someone that they don’t really know.

Because of this, people almost always feel that they are at a disadvantage whenever they step foot into a dealership.

They feel that the car dealer is in the power seat.

However, there’s a new company out there called iPreCheck that has made it their mission to return the power to the consumer and make the car buying process less intimidating.

Although that may sound like bad news for car dealers, it’s actually going to help you increase your sales and make more money.

Here’s why.

    • How the Traditional Car Dealership Process Works

      For the consumer, there are a lot of problems in the traditional car dealership sales process.

      Here’s how it usually works.

      When they walk into the car lot, they’re greeted by a salesperson who makes their money by getting them to spend as much money as possible.

      With that salesperson, they start discussing the cars that are in their budget. When they find a car that they like, the negotiation for that car starts at the sticker price on the car (usually a higher number than they’ll find with online retailers).

      The consumer then has to go through the entire negotiation process by themselves. Since most people don’t normally find themselves in negotiation situations, this process can be very uncomfortable for them.

      Unfortunately, consumers often feel that they get taken advantage of and make decisions in the moment that they may not have made had they had some time to think about it.

      The deal then closes right there in the office.

      Because of this process, people aren’t exactly fans of the traditional dealership experience.

      In fact, Accenture surveyed 10,000 people in the United States and a group of other countries, and what they found was that around 75% of the respondents said that, “if given the opportunity, they would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back office paperwork and home delivery.”

      That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the traditional sales process.

    • What is iPreCheck?

      iPreCheck took note of how the traditional sales process works in a dealership, and they set out to create a model that works better for both the customer and the retailer.

      With iPreCheck, consumers use technology that helps them learn more about their credit score, terms, APR, and maximum amount financed without ever stepping inside of a dealership.

      Consumers can also get a comparison of their current payment against their pre-qualification immediately.

      It works in three steps:

      Step #1: Get your free credit score. No SSN required. Get pre-qualified instantly.
      Step #2: See featured vehicle offers based on your pre-qualification.
      Step #3: Monitor your credit. See your credit score go up and your rate go down.

      None of it ever costs the consumer a single penny. If they do decide to take one of their offers, iPreCheck gets paid by the partner dealer.

      So, you make money on a sale without the time spent on negotiations, the consumer feels that they get a good price, and everyone wins.

    • Why iPreCheck Will Increase Sales for Car Dealerships

      Although moving away from the traditional sales model may make you nervous at first glance, this new model will actually help you make more sales for several reasons.

      The first reason is that a company like iPreCheck makes the car buying process more inviting to the consumer.

      In the traditional method, the consumer has to drive to the dealership, look at the cars, and then talk financing – and the consumer is concerned that they are getting ripped on the financing. Many avoid it altogether. With iPreCheck, the financing can be entertained before hand.

      Taking the customer away from the pain point of financing negotiation, will pull more consumers onto your lot.

      Also, many consumers secure financing before going into the dealership, so they can avoid the whole financing talk. As customers avoid the dealer financing altogether, this results in less financing by the dealer entirely – which the dealer makes money on. By using iPreCheck dealerships can appeal to that audience that otherwise would’ve walked on to the lot with financing in hand.

      By giving the power back to the consumer, it actually makes them more likely to buy because they feel like they have complete control over their decision. If people feel like they’re getting the best price at their own convenience, they’ll choose that option every time.

Conclusion

Instead of fearing that more convenient options like this will put you out of business, you should be looking into partnering with a system like iPreCheck to actually increase your sales.

Because people are showing an increased preference towards online buying processes, dealerships would be crazy not to be offering their customers an online experience in addition to their in-person experience.

iPreCheck gives control back to the consumer, and that benefits everyone.

It’s going to come to a point where consumers may feel inclined to avoid your dealership altogether if you don’t offer an option similar to iPreCheck.

You don’t want to be left in the dust.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

What Local Businesses Need To Know About Facebook Advertising in 2018

What Local Businesses Need To Know About Facebook Advertising in 2018

The biggest mistake that a small business can make is failing to hop on the potential money train of Facebook advertising. The chances are good that majority of your client base falls within the two billion people on the site, and it’s just a simple matter of using what the site has to offer.

This article is here to tell you how to do just that, along with other pointers to keep in mind for when you finally get around to making the right choice for your business.

  • Facebook Allows You To Reach The Largest Number Of People For The Lowest Cost

    As a marketing tool, Facebook enables your business to fine-tune its ad expenses. When you run ads in your local newspaper or set up flyers around town, there’s no telling if you’re making your money’s worth. With Facebook, you can monitor how many people your ads are reaching, cut whatever ads aren’t working, and focus fire on the ones that get results. Best of all, Facebook advertising is considerably cheaper than other, traditional modes.

    To recap, that’s an advertising platform that you can 1) tailor-fit to reach the exact number of people you want to inform of your product, 2) manage with unparalleled precision, and 3) pull off at a level of cost-effectiveness that leaves other forms of marketing in the dust.

    To recap, that’s an advertising platform that you can 1) tailor-fit to reach the exact number of people you want to inform of your product, 2) manage with unparalleled precision, and 3) pull off at a level of cost-effectiveness that leaves other forms of marketing in the dust.

  • Run Ads That Don’t Feel Like Ads–And Go For Video Content

    Smart businesses turn to Facebook for their advertising, because it’s significantly easier to maximize the quality of their content. Get creative with the ways you plug your business into people’s screen time. You can provide value through strategies like links to news items that lead them to see a need for your product, and behind-the-scenes videos to build a personal connection. Then, when you know you have a great set of content, design your ads to leverage them.

    One last note on the idea of content: the social media marketing scene has been raving about how much more effective videos are compared to text, image, and link-based posts. There’s no limit to the kinds of emotions you can play into, and they’ve been proven to get more shares and reactions.

  • Keep An Eye On Your Marketing Metrics

    There are a ton of metrics to watch on Facebook (ex. Engagement, Reach), and each of them are useful in their own right. But your best shot at monitoring the effectiveness of an ad is to track how well they lead to conversions that contribute directly to your business–like phone calls or online purchases. You can and should use programs such as CallRail to monitor you different ads and web pages lead to conversions.

    Moreover, your offline events and marketing campaigns can be used to channel feedback directly to Facebook, making it a perfect addition to existing marketing plans. The next time you host an event for your business, plan your discounts and freebies around shares and reviews. You can expand your reach and draw in valuable feedback, and it’d only cost your guests the effort of tapping a smartphone screen.

  • Offers & Discounts Are Powerful

    With all the idle time people spend on Facebook, a great deal presented well can make a world of difference for your bottom line. Use the creative control afforded by the site to plug a discount or special offer right when your audience would be hooked (like at the end of a video). When designing ads, make your offer a prominent part of your design so that it’s as eye-catching as possible.

    As far as hosting offers and discounts go, this arguably puts Facebook miles ahead of offer-hosting sites like Groupon, which demand a strict format for how you present your offers and charge you for them.

  • Facebook Advertising Lets You Keep In Touch With Past Customers

    On the subject of customer loyalty, Facebook is a surefire way of keeping your established customer base interested in your new offers and promotions, or just plain connected with your business. For just a couple dollars per day you can stay in front of your customers, in a non-invasive way, unlike email marketing which most customers find invasive, annoying, turn a blind eye to (I hate email marketing).

    All you have to do is upload your customer list in Facebook to create an audience. Just remember that customers don’t usually respond well to ‘sales pitchy’ type of content. Instead I find it most beneficial to focus on maintaining a connection. One simple and easy way to do this by sharing local news. Regular look for uplifting pieces in the local news such as a ‘dog that saved a child from drowning and share it. Your intent isn’t to sell to these customer, but to make a personal connection and be in their mind so they remember you when an opportunity for referral or repeat business arises.

  • You Can Reach More Customers Like Your Current Customers

    Finding the right audience for your Facebook marketing efforts, but the really cool thing is Facebook can do the heavy lifting for you. Recall the customer list I suggest adding to remarket to your existing customers? That list can be used to create a ‘look a like audience’. Facebook’s algorithms while identify their characteristics and then create an audience of the 1% of Facebook users that most closely match your existing audience. Totally rad.

  • Marketing On Facebook Lets You Target People In A Specific Area

    By far, the most appealing thing about Facebook marketing is the way it allows businesses to target audiences down to their most particular demographics. When running ads, you can choose a specific location for the users you want to encounter it, which is perfect for home-based businesses.

    Better yet, you can target users by their existing interests and by the pages that they like, and then limit it to those in your local area. This means that if you have a clear profile of the kinds of people who might avail of your product or services (which you should!), then it’s easier than ever to expand your reach and grab their attention.
    Conclusion

Conclusion

Facebook marketing might look complicated at a glance, but trust me–it isn’t rocket science. These points should lead you’re Facebook Marketing in 2018. Whatever you already know about marketing usually lends itself well to the platform: ads perform better when they’re fun, when they contain offers, and when they’re deployed in strategic places.

As for what you have to learn, just remember that video content outperforms text and image-based content by a mile, and that your safest bet at meeting a good ROI is by minding your metrics.

Like it or not, Facebook is here to stay. So make the smart choice and use it to get your brand out there!

Give Your Pennies More TIme To Make Dollars Start Young

Give Your Pennies More Time To Make Dollars. Start Young

Pennies make dollars.  The more time the pennies have, the more dollars they make.  And we can never buy more time.  Even now at 27, I feel short on time left to let the time value of money and miracle of compounding returns make their play.

Here is a graph businesses insider did where they compared the returns of an investor starting at 25, 45, and 40 under the following scenarios.

  • Investor 1: Starts at 25 and invests $300 per month.
  • Investor 2: Starts at 35 and invests $300 per month.
  • Investor 3: Starts at 40 and invests $600 per month.

It assumed a retirement age of 65 and relatively low return at 5% annually.  Even with a relatively low return over a long horizon, there is a stark difference between ending value.

saving graph

In the end this is where they would stand:

Contributions Ending Value
Investor 1 $144,000 $460,000
Investor 2 $108,000 $251,000
Investor 3 $180,000 $359,00

Now if investor 1 had just gotten 2% better return, 7% annually, which is not farfetched at all, their ending value would be $792,037.

So the big take away is clearly, invest now.  And the cool thing is, it is super easy to start investing now.  20 years ago you needed to physically go to brokers office, with thousands of dollars before they let you in the door, and then ultimately (most likely) pay exorbitant fees.  Today you can just open an account an account with Betterment or any other robo advisor with literally a few dollars and your off.  Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you invest in (as long as it is a good investment),  the worst thing you can do is not have exposure to the market.

Of course many won’t.  There’s fear associated with investing.  While most can clearly see that the market goes up over time, actual investing is delayed, and delayed, in hopes of a ‘better’ time. There’s always some dark cloud of economic doom and gloom lingering off in the distance.  The fed, the dollar value, russia, corruption, debt, whatever the media is pushing today.

For those concerned with that, I suggest you read this other post.  You also need to consider the benefits of dollar cost averaging which makes you less susceptible to the disposition effect.

I also suggest reading: What If You Invested $1,000 Per Month For The Last 10 Years.

US Equities Maybe All The Forecasts Will Be Wrong?

US Equities: Maybe All The Forecasts Will Be Wrong?

US equities have been on a bull run for the last 8 years.  The  S & P 500 TR Index is up over 270% in the last 8 years 13.64% annually and the CAPE Ratio (price to earnings ratio adjusted for inflation) reflects the valuation increases at currently at 32.01.  That’s nearly double its average and higher than it was at the peak before the 08/09 recession.  So US stocks are high priced and have been on a bull run for years.

They’ve got to come down.  Its got to end.

Foreign stock markets on the other end, are a total value when compared to the US.  Developed Europe has a CAPE Ratio of 18.6 and emerging markets have a CAPE 16.5.

Besides providing a relative value metric, the CAPE Ratio has some forecasting power.  It’s been found to have a 70-80% correlation with 10 yr forward returns.  In other words, what is cheap today will have higher growth over the next 10 years (usually).  Nearly all of the leading brokerage and research firms us this metric (actually they probably use a much more complicated formula but it doesn’t do any better — simpler wins) in making their long term outlooks and forecasting.

Based on the current data… everyone project poor returns from US equities for the next 10 years (note I didn’t say a crash).

Our estimates show that, over the next 10 years, stocks and bonds will likely fall short of their annualized returns from 1970 to 2016.
According to Schwab
The ten-year outlook for global equities has deteriorated since last year and is now centered in the 4.5%–6.5%
From Vanguard

And then of course is Research Affiliates Interactive Asset Allocation tool which estimates US Equities returning (nomina termsl) 2.5%, with emerging markets returning over 8%

US equities

No matter where you look on wall street the general expectations are US equities aren’t going to do well for the next 10 years. But as is often the case, when everyone agree’s, usually things are wrong.  What if there’s something in the bigger picture that we’re all missing?  What if the next 10 years are great?

That would be a blessing a for all the investors piling into small cap funds with the smart beta craze.  The current CAPE of small caps is up in the 40s.

Can Private Equity Returns Be Achieved By Quants

Can Private Equity Returns Be Achieved By Quants?

Private equity and venture capital perks my ears, and turns the heads of anyone who has caught 15 minutes of shark tank.  The 2 are different however.  Venture capital invests in small high risk business, with often unproven business models, while generally leaving the current management team (entrepreneurs) in place.  Private equity deals in larger established companies.  Large private equity firms with billions in cash, like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, look to take over existing businesses on a rapid growth track, and then implement better management further accelerating the growth.

Since Sharktank launched, right after the recession, this form of investing has became mainstream.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie.  But I’ve long since thought the returns going forward are going to be abysmal, relative to the past results achieved.

I recently wrote the following 2 pieces, on why venture capital works for the sharks but probably won’t for you, and how Mark Cuban’s portfolio has performed relative to a passive index.

Here’s the thing, everyone knows that small, young, high risk companies have produced returns in excess of market beta.  Because of this, the valuations for such companies is increased dramatically.  They’re inflated to a point where they’re overpriced relative to the returns they can achieve.

Anyways, back to private equity.  The theory goes, that private equity firms identify opportunities in companies that are set to thrive, by using their ‘skill’ (in identifying oppurtunities).  They fund millions into market research by Harvard MBA’s to pull this off.

Then once they identify the opportunities and buy a controlling interest in the companies, they implement management and growth strategies to raise the value of the company.  Sounds legit.

But in an awesome episode on Meb Faber’s podcast, Dan Rasmussen discussed how his research has found that there isn’t much, if any, alpha added by these private equity firms.  He looks towards quantifiable characteristics of common private equity investment in public markets.  Private equity targets are usually:

  • Micro – small cap companies.
  • Highly leveraged (lots of debt)
  • Are generating cash flow and paying down these debts.

He’s found that investing in these types of companies historically would generate private equity like returns thus negating the argument that private equity firms and their teams of Harvard MBA’s, really ‘add value’ or have any ‘expertise’.

Other key takeaways:

  • Private equity valuations are currently 10x higher than they were in the early 80s when many of the big name private equity guys made the bulk of their weath.
  • Private equity as a market has not out performed the S&P 500 since 2010
  • Japan is an interesting place. Their culture really looks down on bankruptcy, as such their companies are really low risk.  In the 08/09 crash, when the S&P 500 dropped about 55%, Japanese Small caps only dropped about 30&.

Here’s the episode.  There’s lots more greatness in it!

Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency: It Will Change The World But Not My Portfolio

Bitcoin is all the rage these days. It’s up over 1000% this year. Everyone and their uncle, with no other assets, is hopping on the band wagon hoping to strike it rich (bubble much?).

I’m an investor and rather knowledgeable, so i get asked about it on a daily basis.  My response generally is not what most people want to hear.

bitcoin index

Crypto Currency / Blockchain Will Probably Change Many Things.

It could revolutionize the world.  It probably will.  It might cut the credit card premium out of transactions.  It could bring credit to the developing world.  Who knows exactly, but we could all agree the potential is endless.  The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, recently said “Instead, citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies (full remarks here).”  Fidelity is even mining Ethereum and many banks are looking at ways implementing / launching cryptos.

But will it be bitcoin?  Will it be Litecoin?  Will it be Ethereum?  Who knows.

Many folks compare it to the growth of the internet as that’s the most visible revolution to happen in the world in our lifetime.  Recall the internet in its infancy as it just started to catch on with the public in 1996.  Compuserve and AOL were the 2 biggest internet service providers.  For help you would Ask Jeeves or search on Lycos.  And if you wanted to make a shitty website you would go to Angelfire or Geocities.

None of those promising and thriving companies are around today.  Thousands of other internet startups disappeared and investors in them lost everything in the early 2000’s when the nasdaq lost 78% of its value between March 11 2000 and October 9 2002.

My point is the future of bitcoin or any particular crypto is uncertain and long term success is unlikely.  Yes the technology, ecosystem and concept my grow, but a single bet of any of the cryptos today is just plain crazy.  Go play roulette instead.

It’s A Gold Rush. A Bubble.

Everyone is afraid of missing out.  No one wants to tell their grand kids they could’ve put $100 in and been billionaires — but they did not.

And everyone is pouring their money in.  Kind of like the internet bubble.  Also like oil in the mid 2000s when there was talk about oil wells running dry (what ever happened to that?) and the price of a barrel of crude oil rose 389% between Jan 2001 and Jun 2008 only to then crash 70% in the nex 6 months… and never really recover.  Statistically speaking these growth trends exponential growth trends don’t last.

Yet, I can count more than 10 people I know personally, who have no invested assets other than cryptocurrency.  All the while the total 300 billion market cap of crypto’s  (that’s an older link when crypto market cap was lower but the visualization is cool) is about 0.1% of the total global market cap.

“But Corey, you don’t understand, the world is going to change.  The fiat currencies are going to crumble.  It will all be worthless”
.  Lol.  People have been saying that since fiat money was created hundreds of years ago.  Maybe one day, far far far in the future it will happen, but for now our currencies are backed up by serious military force and jail time that our society complies with.  When people stop paying their taxes without fear of repercussion, then I’ll consider that argument, but for now ‘compliance with the system’ is strong than ever, and changes from that happen over a long period of time.

Personally I believe crpyto currency will be worked into our daily life, and will just be another currency, and other currencies may devalue themselves against it.  Consider this, 1oz of gold, which has been an alternative store of wealth against the inflation of fiat currency, 2000 years ago would buy you a nice suit.  Today, it would also buy you a nice suit.  Its kept up with inflation, outpaced it at times, but never really beat it.

Some People Could Make A Ton Of Money On The Rise

Many more will also lose, but you won’t hear about them.

If you’re going to play the bitcoin game, don’t just play with Bitcoin.  Please.  Considering how the internet bubble went and the other introductions of revolutionary concepts/investments/products, the first ones don’t necessarily last.  So don’t bank on a Bitcoin windfall.  If you must, hold a handful of cryptocurrencies.  Keep it small.  Remember the market cap is a mere 0.1%.  Want to invest 1% of your net worth in crypto?  Be my guest.  But many people are going far beyond that.

If you’re well versed in quant investing, or have time to learn and are well disciplined, consider trend following.  I would do a momentum, and trend following approach with simple moving average crossovers… Invest in the top 3 crypto’s by 3 month return, and then trend follow. At an exit signal look to see if any other cryptos in the top 3 of 3m return.  That would limit your chances of losing everything and catch most of the upside on the markets.

Or hold an equal weighted portfolio of cryptos, and trend follow the entire portfolio.

But I’m not going to play either of those games.  It’s not worth it.  Trading costs and taxes would take a whack out of it.  Liquidity could be a problem.  It can’t be automated (at least not easily), so it would require time and attention, daily.   If I wanted to take on some high risk investments and volatility I would do that strategy using triple leveraged ETF, in which markets are established and beta is positive (aka statiscally it goes up over the long term).

That’s Not To Say I’ll Never Invest In Crypto / blockchain.

There’s a few scenarios In which I would:

  1. Market beta.  I guess I already am invested in crypto.  As entrepreneurs and business leaders launch startups and ventures in the crypto / block chain space, the premium will flow through to equities.
  2. A Multi Crypto ETF hits the market.  If an ETF which holds a a few cryptos is launched, I’ll probably invest and trend follow.  Just a little bit of money.  As it would be tradeable by anyone with a brokerage account, it would open the flood gates to a tsunami of retail investors, so likely a huge inflow of capital and surge in price.
  3. If a crypto ETF is launched and the crypto market cap as a % of global market cap meets the lowest of the 13 assets classes I trade (currently gold at 2.7%), and the volatility of such is comparable to the most volatile (currently emerging markets), I will add it to my global momentum strategy which means it could become ⅓ of my portfolio… but we are faaaar from that point.
why your business service should be using content marketing

Content Marketing: Why You Should’ve Started Yesterday

Creating a customer base is difficult. I get it. It can feel like a constant hustle to reach out to people, create ads, make phone calls, and convince people to use your service.

What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be like that?

One of the biggest mistakes that I see in the service industry is that too many companies aren’t taking advantage of content marketing. In short, content marketing is creating and distributing content that is both relevant and valuable to your customers (for example, a video about how to fix a clogged sink).  Show them your best your best projects.  Show them behind the scenes of your company.  Trust me, people want to see.  I’ve built a multi-million dollar service business largely on content marketing, and one of oldest pieces is still bringing in sale after sale.  I continue to charge forward with more content!

As one of the few tools that brings customers to you, instead of the other way around, content marketing is one of the most effective (and cost-efficient) methods of marketing.

Here’s how to take advantage of it.

  • Start Now.  The best time to implement a content marketing strategy was five or ten years ago. The second best time? Now. While it can be frustrating to look at more established companies with mountains of content and visitors, that doesn’t help you or your company.Although it can seem overwhelming at first, the most important thing that you can do is to start creating content immediately. It doesn’t have to be perfect content. You can spend hours and hours editing a blog post or a video to make it perfect, but it’s better to simply get some content out there on the web — anything.The older your content gets, the stronger it becomes. Since Google ranks your content, in part, based on how old it is, you have to start getting something out to the world now. As I mentioned earlier, a blog post from 5 years ago still generates a tons of sales…. It gets over 200 visitors per day from organic Google searches, around 150 visitors from Facebook ads, and it is active part of other emails in our sales pipeline.  Personally though, every time I look at the page and read it, I cringe (see here).
  • Create a Strategy.  Just randomly posting content at odd intervals isn’t going to get your anywhere. Once you overcome the initial hump of just posting some content, you then need to think about your strategy is going to be.To create a content marketing strategy, think about the type of content you’re going to create. Is it going to be a blog? Will it be photo series of your projects? Will it be a YouTube channel?Once you’ve decided what kind of content you’re going to provide, think about how often you’re going to provide it. People like to know when to expect your content to be released, so consider choosing specific days and times for which you will release your new content.
  • Provide Value.  Your content is useless if it doesn’t provide value to your audience in some way.So, how do you provide value?Think for a minute about the types of questions that your customers are always asking you. Maybe you’re a mechanic, for example. If people are always asking you how to change their spark plugs, that’s a great place for your business to start. You could create a blog post about how to change spark plugs, or you could create a video that shows people how to change their spark plugs.

    There are all kinds of ways that you can go about finding questions to answer.

    You can go by what your customers are asking you in-person, you can look through comments that people are leaving on your website, you can search industry-related forums to see what people are asking, or any other way you can think of that helps to answer your customer’s questions.

  • Promote Your Material
    • What good is your content if nobody sees it?  The best way to get your content in front of people is to optimize it for the search engines. Your best visitors are the ones that find your content organically through a search engine. While it would be great to rank your content for some of the most common search terms, that just isn’t going to happen for most people. Focus on search terms that are a bit less common but that you can rank on the first page for.In addition to getting your website found organically, you should also be promoting your content through social media networks. Depending on what niche your business is in, you can use networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest to promote your material. Find out which networks your customers are using and post your material there.
    • Be Different.  Anyone can look up an article online and rewrite it. However, that won’t cut it most of the time. You have to be different than your competition.Instead of focusing on rewriting content, find out what your competitors aren’t doing. Maybe their articles are missing some key content. Maybe they just haven’t answered some of the questions that you’ve been hearing.Fill in those blanks. No matter what it is, find out how you can separate yourself from the competition.
    • Your Next Step.  If you haven’t already gotten started, get started now. Today. Write a blog post. Take some photos. Create a video. Sign up on social media.
    • Whatever your next step is, do it now.  I understand that creating content can feel like getting started on a walk at the bottom of a mountain, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Just like hiking up a mountain, focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t even look at the peak.

Before you know it, you’ll be standing on the top looking down at everyone else.

Aside note: While I do have a post about The Problems Of Content Marketing, I should clarify that the problems only exist once you reach a high level of success with content marketing and start generating interest from a huuuuge audience.  Something which many will fail to do.  At that point you’ll be making plenty of money, you’ll be out of the day to day operations, and should look to implement processes to handle the issues, and capitalize on your new audience (coming soon: a post on how to handle the problems that come with content marketing on a large scale).

How I Would Market A Gymnastics Studio With Facebook Advertising

I occasionally crawl the small business forums on Reddit, and offer my 2 cents. This time though I found the following post, with someone looking for help advertising a youth gymnastics studio (or gym).

I suggested Facebook ads, but ultimately they seemed a little lost — Facebook ad can be righteously confusing. Now I don’t know much about gymnastics business, but I do know a good bit about Facebook ads, and reaching a lucrative audience. I’m also working on doing an online course on Facebook advertising that will put my actionable knowledge and a plan in place for anyone who wishes to learn. So I think I’ll outline what I’d do if I owner a gymnastics studio and needed to market on Facebook.

First… The geo targeting. Set the audience to a local base. No one wants to go out of their way to take the kids to gymnastics. A few might, but the vast majority just want to travel a few miles. I’d set a radius really close by.

 

Set Up the Basic Audience

There’s 2 ways I’d go with this.

 

First of, families with children. No surprise, you can’t get people without children to bring the kids in. You can even market based on the age range the kids are in.

Next, possibly income. Obviously you need to market to those that can afford your services. It’s an economic reality. You could do select income ranges or exclude income range. Facebook’s data on income isn’t the most precise, so you may want to try net worth, or home value to identify the appropriate demographic.

A Word About Your Advertisements

With an audience in line, next up is the ads. Here’s the catch, you don’t want to use ads that look like ‘ads’. Nobody, particularly on Facebook, like ads. You’ll need to be more subtle and provide them with something this demographic will be interested in. What I suggest doing is writing a couple articles that would engage parent. Good informative articles that are detail rich. Something like:

‘How Gymnastics Will Help Long Term Motor Skill Development’
— all parents want their kids to be successful long term and you need to appeal to that.

‘How Youth Gymnastics Will Help Little Jimmy Get That Football Scholarship’ — maybe run this one only to men.

‘How Weekly Gymnastics Lessons Helped Jane’s Daughter Do Better In School’

Then post them on your website; your company blog (your website does breathe right?). Now you’re going to want to create ads for ‘link clicks’ so people see these headlines, and click through to your website to read the article.

For images, use actual images from your gymnastics studio. Images that look real. Just like something someone one of your friends would share and role through your news feed. No need for professional photography.

Notice there is nothing about selling here. No buy now. No special offer. Just get your audience to engage and absorb your brand. They will have read your articles — which means you’re the authority, not your competitor. They will have read your articles — which means you’re the authority, not your competitor. If they’re interested in putting the kids in gymnastics, who are they calling? If your article (the ad) was good they’ll share it. And that is where Facebook ads compound like the time value of money.

More Advanced Facebook Advertising Ideas For The Gymnastics Studio

  • Re-target

    Use the Facebook pixel, to retarget customers who read your articles. They already showed interest, so stay in their face. At this point, since they are no longer ‘cold’ to your brand, you could try some more direct ads, but just having them see your ads again is highly valuable.

  • Reach Your Past Customers

    Take a list of phone numbers and email addresses from customers who recently stopped attending, upload it in the ‘audiences’ section of facebook and run the same ads to them as well. Maybe they’ll come back. Or use a promotion for past customers. Promotions and direct ads can work, but you only want to use them on warm audiences (people familiar with your brand already).

  • Try A Look A Like Audience

    Using your past customers list, Facebook will let you create an audience that matches the most similar 1% of the population. In other words, the ones that look like your current customers.

Hope that helps the random person that posted on Reddit. If you have success or failure let me know. .

Content Marketing Why and How To Get Started

Content Marketing: Why & How To Get Started

If you have ever searched for something online and saw a bunch of web pages come up, you are seeing the process of content marketing in action.  Content marketing involves creating material, (blogs, videos, social media posts and emails) in order to attract your audience’s attention. If you haven’t started with your content marketing strategy just yet, then you are late to the game. Bear with me, not all hope is lost!

Here are Some of the Many Benefits of Content Marketing:

  • It can help increase your traffic and brand visibility
  • It can help you create relationships with your prospects
  • It will allow you to build trust with your clients and prospects
  • It will help you to be seen as a credible expert in your industry

If that doesn’t convince you, maybe these stats will.

  • “53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.” (HubSpot, 2017) (Source)
  • “Content marketing has become an almost universal tactic, with almost 90% of companies using it in 2016, and even more utilizing it in 2017” (Source).

One of the best things about content marketing is that once you put it out into the internet world, it will continue to work for you over and over again. You see, once you put an article online, it will stay there forever and the older it is, the better chance it will have at staying ranked. If your content is made up of great quality, then the results will be even better. Getting your content shared, commented on or liked will also help to push visitors and traffic to your website.

Personally content marketing has been the single most effective generator of growth for my contracting company in South Florida. It answers customers questions (before they ask), and establishes us as the resource.  It takes a cold prospect and warms them up before they even pick up the phone to call us.

 


Inbound Marketing

Gone are the days where we need to go door to door to pass out flyers. The new marketing trend is called inbound marketing. This means that people will come to you instead of you going to them. By having great content circulated the web online, you will be able to see this passive marketing strategy in action.

Where Do You Begin with Content Marketing?

It might seem overwhelming at first to not know what to talk about or where to start when it comes to coming up with a content marketing strategy but let me make it easy for you.

I’ve been putting out content  since 2012 when I started my company and it definitely helped me grow into a multi figure business. Since it builds upon itself, there’s no better time to start then… well 5-10 years ago! The 2nd best time to start  is right now. It’s time to get things off the ground and rolling.

A lot of business owners get stuck on not putting any content out there because they don’t have any ‘good ideas’ or they are worried that their content might suck. These thoughts will leave you with not putting any content out there ever… and you can’t afford to miss out on all the great benefits that content marketing can bring to your business.

One of my best pieces which continues to bring in new leads and lead them to closure is the blog post ‘4 Types Of Screen Every  Homeowner Should Know About [And What To Avoid].  It’s a post a wrote up on the fly, and quite frankly I cringe every time I look at it, but it works.

You don’t need to be overwhelmed by how to start. You need to just start getting content out there and you’ll get the hang of it.

Here are Some Simple Blog Post, Article and Video Topics to Start With

If you run a service business you might be sick of the same questions that your prospects ask you day in and day out. You can actually use these questions as ideas for content topics. Answer these common client questions by turning each question into a 500 word blog post answer or a 2 minute video.

I’m sure you can think of at least 5 questions that you get on a day to day basis. Once you have all these answers written up on your websites blog, or in  video format, you will be able to save some precious time by answering your client questions as well as point them to your video or website blog for even further information.

The best content is the content that circulates and gets syndicated and shared. If your clients like what they see, chances are, they will share the post with others and your website may be in front of new prospects at the click of a button.

A simple FAQ page on your site can do wonders. Don’t forget about the call to action at the end of your blog posts. (Give them something they want, like a discount, promotional offer or invite them to subscribe to your blog for more info)

Your assignment this week is to take notes of the common questions your clients ask you, and simply write down the answers. Take your notes and add them to your website. Share these links through your social media outlets, your email campaigns and maybe add them to a few article sites.

If you break content marketing down, you’ll see that it doesn’t always require some big elaborate strategy. It starts with one question and one answer at a time. You’ll get the hang of it.

Keep in mind, I’m not telling you to just tell your clients to get their answers online, you’re still going to have to be personal in your answers, and keep a friendly conversation going.

But by having them head over to your website or videos for more information, you are also making your clients aware of your other services. These clients will be educated consumers and will trust you and your business more. They will be more satisfied with their experiences if you can provide them with the information they are looking for.

Rules for Content Creation:

  • Keep it factual and set a clear line of expertise.
  • Be personal and friendly. Write or speak in a tone that seems like you’re right beside them (kind of like I’m doing here with this post).
  • Point to other similar links on your site.
  • Share your content wherever you can.
  • Add images to your content (preferable from your own photo reel).
  • Be consistent and relevant.

It’s surprising how very few contractors are actually doing this. You may have already noticed but if you take a look at other service business owners, they may have only a few blog posts on their site. That’s a good start… but content marketing doesn’t end there. You need to be consistent with content marketing starting today. And keep building on it. Don’t stop – there’s always something you’re going to want to tell your customers. It’s pretty simple.

Quick Trick: Turning Paid Post Likes Into Page Fans For Free

If you’re running Facebook ads, you’ll certainly have folks who ‘like’ the post – assuming your posts are relevant and engaging.  While post likes are good, wouldn’t it be better if you could turn those people into an audience you can tap regularly?

You can, quite easily.  It’s a little feature often overlooked.  Unbeknown to many is that Facebook gives us the opportunity to simply invite those that have liked our posts, to like our page.  These are people that have already engaged with your content, and now you’ve got the chance to build a further connection with them.  Taking those post likes and turning them into page likes keeps your content in their news feed regularly.

Unfortunately, there is no automated way of doing it so you must click each manually, but its something that can be easily done in only a few minutes per week.