Monday, September 25, 2017

Social Media Marketing: Get A Grip!

D-marketing Is Requisite 

Conquer Your Fear of Social Media
Social media marketing beats traditional marketing in that it is less expensive, provides analytics, is easy to use (once you know the use-tricks), and can reach out to vast numbers of customers all of which are pinpointed down to the smallest demographic.  Termed 'impressions' these pinpointed targets can only be dreamt about by traditional marketing venues.

The only drawback to social media is that there any number of platforms that must be mastered to unlock their full potential; therefore, determining which SM platform(s) are best for your product/service/company is important.

THE SM Must Platforms:

- Google owns search. So everyone must deal with it. A blog on Google is an imperative for any  company, no matter size. Getting a company's name and logo in as many items, posts, articles, etc. improves its Google search position. Post at least 4x per week or more and keep posting.

- Facebook  - Post photos, post videos, post links, post daily. Very good ad platform.

- LinkedIn  -  The B2B platform. Great for networking. Post videos. Post 3x per week.

- Tweeter  - Great for photos, links, and now videos. Post 3-5x per day.

- YouTube - All video, but more importantly linked to Google.

- Instagram - The mobile SM site. Used mainly by teens.

- Pinterest - Images and links. Post 5x per week.

- Snapchat - A lesser player. Not great for businesses.

What's Each SM is Best At:

Networking: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tweeter
Photo Sharing: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tweeter
Recorded Video: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tweeter
Live Video: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram

Best Times To Post:

Facebook:  Thursday & Friday 1-3pm (Friday BEST). Use Fanpage Karma to track optimal times.
LinkedIN: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9am-5pm (BEST Tuesday 10-11am )
Tweeter: B2B Weekdays 12pm-6pm. B2C Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday 12pm-6pm
Instagram: Monday BEST during off-work hours.
Google+: BEST late morning 9-11am Mon.-Thur.

There you have it. Good luck and keep those posts coming.

 Jim Lavorato for FUND - HOUSE

Friday, September 22, 2017

The 'PITCH' - How To Make It Successful

Be it for wooing investors, selling to clients, lining up vendors, or convincing a myriad of people that your business is viable, reliable, and trust worthy - the Pitch is all important.  In many cases, it's the make or break of the business and you have only one shot at it.

So, getting the Pitch right is requisite. Here are the steps you need to make your Pitch successful:

  • Choose your words very, very carefully.
  • Know your 'Pitch To' client. Who are your pitching to and what are their needs.
  • Pitch to the right people. Are you pitching to a decision-maker.
  • Craft a Call-to-Action. Direct the pitch to an end goal by, ie setting up a follow-up meeting.
  • Be Unique. Stay professional but stir-up curiosity and interest.
  • Be Personable. Stodgy, begging, hungry is not the way to portray yourself/business.
  • Be Informal and Personal. Perhaps share something about your life/business.
  • Have a Central Idea. Be concise. Have a central point and repeat it throughout the Pitch.
  • Avoid Metaphors in describing your business, it will only degrade you and your idea.
  • Don't Be a Wise-ass. It's not about you. If possible, Pitch a team approach.
  • Define the Target Audience. 'What's in it for them'. Check out their social sites prior to Pitch.
  • Rehearse Often. A Pitch should never sound like it is scripted.
  • want more, for the entire list email to:
Remember: Pitching is not easy. It takes time to prepare, time to rehearse, and time to properly present. Forget about the 30 second elevator Pitch, that was a 'not to bright idea' from some management consultant who obviously never gave a real Pitch. A Pitch should be concise and to-the-point - don't ramble, but cover all of your central points (which should never be more than three).

Fund-House Hint: All great Pitches start with a Question!

Jim Lavorato

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Millennials Not Entrepreneural

They talk a good game when it comes to entrepreneurship but in reality Millennials don't go into business for themselves. For example, a full 70% of Millennials stated they had interest in business ownership with only 13% having a desire to work in a corporate environment. But, actions and not intentions speak the truth, as only 2% of Millennials are self-employed compared to about 8% for Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. The reason: fear of failure. Millennials carry huge student debt which makes taking risks untenable and entrepreneurship is nothing but risk taking and the unknown.

Starting a business is a very hard endeavor. It takes a lot of self-motivation and is very risky vs. a 9-to-5 job.  In starting Fund-House, I knew that a big part of my efforts would be spent nurturing ideas and concepts with Millennials in quelling their innate fear of failure and financial loss. To accomplish this I needed to understand the demands placed on Millennials so as to allay their fear of failure.

Mentoring and solid guidance in the areas of  self-promotion, branding, PR and planning (the most wanting business functions for Millennials) were essential to succeeding  as a start-up/emerging business consultant - investor.   Millennials are smart, self-sufficient, and possess a great capacity to overcome adversity, most importantly, they are energetic and willing to sacrifice but many are lacking in having a tolerance for ambiguity and find themselves running in sand when dealing with team-building and human resource issues.

Our main must-do at Fund-House is to make our Millennial clients entrepreneurial and managerial. You need both disciplines to succeed at starting a business and seeing it through the emerging and performing stages of business growth.

Jim Lavorato

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Price Discounts Are Brand Negitives

When discounts on products or services are offered it is, in many cases, perceived as a lowering of value.  Discounting can also set a bad precedent and condition consumers to buying only when something is offered on sale.  When the focus is shifted to price, important things such as how your product solves a problem or makes life easier fall to the back-burner.

Once a company starts heading down the discount road, it's difficult to turn back, and over time, this continued discounting erodes margins until there is nothing left.  Instead, get back to the basics and focus on the fundamentals of brand building.

Building Your Brand

In brand building, you have to key in on what makes your brand special, and build off that. Without differentiation, your offering is simply a commodity and you'll be forced to compete solely on price.You must be truthful and precise when it comes to features and pinpoint how the customer will benefit from them directly.  It is also very important to exude confidence about your product or service and the brand behind it.

Know The Target

To effectively market and sell any product it is critical that you know the goals and struggles of your customer. It will help you position your brand in a way that makes purchasing your product the easy choice. Price becomes way less of an issue when you have demonstrated that your product can solve their problems - but be careful and not try to be all things to all customers.

Differentiation Makes For Brand Equity

Develop a creative way to illustrate what's special about your brand, positioning it positively against what's offered by the competition. Be prepared to invest in good, engaging advertising and PR to get your message out.  Building brand equity means that you can charge more for the same product then your competition - strictly based on your brand's reputation and perception in the marketplace.

Adding Value 

Moving away from price-based promotions to ones that offer additional value requires creativity. Forget about rebates or buy-on-get-one ala the fast-food chains.  It could mean something as simple as bundling an additional accessory to the sale. What you are striving for is enhancing the customer's experience beyond your product. For example, offering a lifetime warranty entwines you with that customer for the long haul. Paying for a six month subscription to a content streamer, like Netflix is another example of solidifying the relationship.

FUND HOUSE Hint: Never, never, never, never, never, compromise SERVICE, ever!

Jim Lavorato for Fund-House

Saturday, September 9, 2017

'FULL STACK' Web Applications

Website construction has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Gone are the days of information only, in-house sites that required an IT person to maintain.  Today, websites have replaced entire desktop applications and allow data storage in the cloud - using cloud services and their software.

Now, 'Full Stack' (the term used to represent the skill-set required to develop apps that include all the layers of  the application 'stack' from IT infrastructure, servers and database management, server-side app code, front-end technologies (such as, HTML/CSS/JavaScript), cross-browser capability, visual design, and user experience design.

So, in constructing a modern website you must answer these questions:
- What are the means to writing a 'Full Stack' web application?
- What are your required needs assessments?
- What IT support and maintenance is going to be required?
- How do you manage the third party, cloud-based software service provider to fulfill our needs?
- How does the new site interface with mobile apps?

Constructing a bleeding-edge website is not what it was just a few years ago - be prepared and count on building a 'Full Stack' site.

Jim Lavorato

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Online Reviews: You Must Deal With Them

The dreaded 5 Star Rating
Online reviews can be your biggest curse or the love of your life - and are totally out of your control. A few words posted next to a five star scale rating can be do or die for a business! So, it is imperative that any online review, good, bad, ugly, be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

A recent review of online reviews by ReportLinker discovered the following:

- The level of trust by consumers of online reviews is incredibly high! 59% of consumers believe that online reviews are as trustful as personal recommendations - with a full 7% saying that online reviews are MORE trusted then personal recommendations.

- 33% of consumers go to search to find reviews, with 25% going directly to review websites.  This means that two-thirds of all consumers go to OTHER sites, than yours, to look for reviews of your business and products/services.

- Besides Google, the top social sites for review ratings were Facebook, blogs, and Twitter.

- When needing specific product reviews, Amazon and eBay led the way, with 57% of consumers using these sites for product reviews.

- 51% of the survey respondents admitted they had written a review within the last 12 months. 49% stated they reviewed when they were very satisfied while 34% said they review when very dissatisfied.

- Content matters most in reviews (not credibility). 62% of consumers said that content of the review was MOST IMPORTANT and not the credibility of the reviewer - NOW THAT'S SCARY.

Like it or not, this is the world that we live in. Every business, large or small, must be proactive in managing their online reviews. Address them individually. Respond to all and, if truthful correct any problems quickly.  Remember, reviews are not only going to your  website or social accounts but are resident on other sites as well. Spend time to search these review sites as well.

James Lavorato