4 Things to do Online for setting your business on a rising profit curve

Many times, small and medium sized businesses find themselves falling behind the competition or being stuck in a place with not much growth potential. While sometimes this may be caused by the actual product being sold and its inferior quality or service in the market, there seems to be one more factor recurring for many businesses I had the pleasure to work with – their lack on knowledge or presence online. Equally, there are constantly artists creating marvellous pieces and not being able to showcase them to the right audience or gain the exposure they would deserve, often being only few steps from their escalation to success.

Whether you are the owner of a corner coffee shop, indie music label, small creative agency or local hair salon, this article will reveal valuable steps you can take right away for bringing your business up-to-date online. We’ll keep things brief and straight forward, as I would like to give you as much time as quickly as possible to take these steps and see the value in your account.

1. Get social

Because you are small, you still have the opportunity to be more personal to your audience. In a world full of options and automation in customer relationship management, this can be your most valuable asset in customer acquisition and retention: virality, recommendations, references – these all sound like music to the ears of a business owner. How do we make them apply to our business?

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience: Where do they spend most time online? What platforms to they usually use? Are they on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest? Identify these, and become present. Give them the chance to be in touch with you more often and create multiple touch points between your brand and your audience. Ultimately, this will be a factor keeping your dialogue ongoing and build brand loyalty. Also, you will get exposure to look-alike audience, and will allow you to create content relevant to your public, stay personal and share it on the right channels.

2. Build a database

Direct marketing is becoming more and more popular online, and because of the fast-moving technology we are now able easier than ever before to collect data and use it in highly targeted and customised communications.

You might have heard of “Omni-channel Marketing” or “Advanced targeting” in the top industry talks, seminars and awards ceremonies and weren’t sure what they actually meant – the idea is not that complicated. Essentially, technology now allows you to target your customers with the right message at the right time, on the right channel, customised for each person, without having to put too much effort into it. While this can work very easily for small business with databases up to 10.000 customers using free providers such as MailChimp (for basic communications), there are also highly advanced technologies out there that enable you to create automated programs programmes for databases up to 10+ million customers (such as the Related Marketing Cloud provided by Related Digital). The idea is to keep in touch with your customers, track their individual interaction with your brand online and use this for improving your messages and ways of communication. Direct marketing is also a great way of selling, so you can easily incorporate a call-to-action, discount or follow-up on a customer. Look into it, having a good database is becoming essential!

3. Invest in your presence

Too many small companies are afraid to invest into marketing the amount of money they should in order to raise their business. While in many cases this fear can come as a result from lack of knowledge and confidence in the decisions made, it’s a critical mistake in business development.

Think about it this way: If you knew for sure investing £100 will get you back at least 150£ value not only cash but also brand resonance and market share, would you do it? Probably yes. If you are an investor as well, you would probably be willing to borrow money with a 5% interest to buy shares you knew will grow between 8-12% in the next year (say it’s a small innovative company in a growing industry). The point is, marketing is no different in this perspective.

You have to invest in order to see the returns increase, and you can never remain behind from this perspective, mainly if your competition already does it. Executed properly, online marketing will never lose you money, and it can have a dramatic positive impact on your business. If you have never done it before and you don’t have money to hire an agency, a good starting point would be taking a weekend out and laying the foundations.

You can start off with the Google Digital Garage course and proceed with medium length Google Adwords and Social Media marketing tutorials on Youtube. These will give you a bit of understanding about the importance of Online and you will get a better clarity over where to seek advice next. Nevertheless, keep in mind that as little as £200 invested wisely and on a constant basis can make a massive shift into your audience reach figures and your monthly turnover. As a final point here, you will also show you’re serious about your business and you understand the market trends, necessities and especially your customers (and how they engage with your brand). Believe it or not, it goes a long way!

4. Reach out for help

You’re not alone out there. And because of this, other entrepreneurs or artists as yourself wanted to give back to your community and created organisations and pages that promote good businesses, musicians or art creators. You will especially be able to reach these via Instagram and Twitter, but Facebook is also a great medium for sharing content – and if your campaign or message is good, you stand a chance for it to become viral – Yay! Massive exposure and PR free! The question occurring is now: how to you reach these organisations and find these accounts?

Let’s have a brief look individually, channel by channel:

Twitter: Choose your best content or page you want to drive traffic to. Maybe find a relevant picture as well. Use websites like bitly to shorten your link to the page and create a short and to-the-point message. Make sure it catches the attention. For the remaining space characters-wise, decide which hash tags are most relevant to the topic and place them after your message + link.

Pro tip: If you have already found the accounts that might be able to share or have audience relevant to you, tag them in your post. From here on, you can hope for the best – but you have a good chance to get retweeted and get your message shared.

Facebook: Besides friends and your present audience, you always have the groups. Make sure, again, the content you share is valuable and not spam, and share it there! Usually if you target groups strategically, you stand a good chance of engaging new audience and you never know who can prove to be coming in your help! Remember, here is a pool of people interested in your “kind of stuff” so play your cards right. You want this to contribute positively to your brand image.

Instagram: As a basic, hashtags can go a long way. Make sure first and foremost your picture/video is high quality and your account looks presentable. Hashtags will drive traffic towards your media, and even though in general share rates are small, you can gain valuable new audience.

Pro tip: If you choose to turn your account from Personal to Business, you also have access to insights and integration with Facebook and Twitter (and potentially other platforms such and Tumblr in you are present there as well)

 

While social media is a vast territory and you will find very valuable insights and road maps to build a great audience and engage beautifully in the new product due to be released with Marketiu, only doing the four above mentioned steps can have a great impact on our business. If you choose to follow point 3. more thoroughly and invest in multiple online marketing means – AdWords, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,while creating a brand strategy, you are very likely to be surprised by the power of it. You can also get in touch for additional advice with myself via Linkedin or Marketiu and we will be happy to provide you with a marketing audit and consultancy/training in finding what’s most suitable for you (as an artist) or your business.

Good luck, enjoy and (most importantly) have fun!

Andrei Tiu is an online marketing and PR specialist, musician and international award-winning student entrepreneur. His passion for music performance, having 8 years of experience on and off stage, is blended with his applied expertise in marketing and PR in three European countries in order to help musicians and SME’s bring up their online branding in today’s digital era.

For business enquiries:

andreimtiu1@gmail.com

For music enquiries:

andreimtiu@yahoo.com

Keep in touch:

andreitiu.com

linkedin.com/in/andreitiu

marketiu.wordpress.com/

6 interesting things successful musicians and entrepreneurs have in common

Being an artist or an entrepreneur is never an “easy” or usual career or life path. However, sharing thoughts with any successful one of them, there always seem to be some common denominators brought into the discussion.

1. They live differently

Routine? They will either run away from this word or ask you what it means. Neither musicians, nor entrepreneurs will be fans of 9-5 schedules or doing the same thing over again, every day – unless it’s instrument practice or work on own business. The interesting part about this aspect is that, when you meet them, they will actually have a genuine answer to “what have you been up to” rather than the usual “not much”, and will be more than eager to share – so make sure you have your patience there when asking.

Different has, however, many meanings – from lifestyle to tastes in music, furniture, food, sleeping time or holiday choices, be prepared to be surprised when entering any subject. You might not always agree, but you will find it fascinating how someone would rather give you 5 reasons of sleeping in a forest on the other side of the world rather than in a 5* hotel on a beach.

2. They own full responsibility for the quality of their own life

As a musician, if you don’t perform, you don’t gig. Or record. Or earn your place in a band and recognition from public. As an entrepreneur, if you don’t do good business, manage people and relationships well and deliver great service to your customers, your numbers will fall. Both have to be smart and fully responsible over their performance – which directly impacts the quality of their life. While this may be viewed by many people as a “risky” situation to be in, it is by far the best place to be in when you know the quality of your work over-performs the average expectations upon it – and you deliver. While a regular job can give you the comfort of an average life with a bonus of few vacations, hours spent with friends and (if lucky) few good relationships with people, being in either of these categories of people gives you the chance to be way above average on all terms if you are really worth having the place – and you are willing to risk losing all you have in case your performance drops. Watch out, it’s a big commitment – but once taken, it turns you into a completely different person.

3. They place their relationships over their material assets

An entrepreneur will always tell you how important it is to create and maintain great relationships – with clients, customers or business partners, this is always a core point in the discussion. A musician will also bring up the importance of making music with the right people, have the right label and managers to look after you and the relationship they maintain with their fans. Why? Because ultimately these are the core things that bring them up – from appreciation to contracts and fulfillment, this is the starting point of everything. But you have to know one secret. They are always the ones to first give value -beforehand. They understand that it is important to become a “person of value” – business or music, and deliver in order to partner with and receive appreciation from valuable people.

Successful musicians and entrepreneurs never put material things over relationships, because they know their relationships are directly influenced by the person they are and are a representation of themselves. This acts as a guarantee for them – if they become valuable to the environment they activate in, they will create good relationships with people in the environment. If they do, and they deliver, the material aspect will always come only as a side result. They never chase things from others, instead they give out as much as they can, and focus on how they can deliver to the relevant people the most valuable products.

4. They tend to smile a lot.

It might be because they are actually happy or because they know people generally mirror the body language of the person they interact with – and they want to influence people around them positively as much as possible. It might even be the singer or actress smiling because she knows somewhere out there, there might be a “paparazzi” waiting just for the “wrong” pose.  We can’t really tell. One thing is for sure – we would always want to be talking to them, and find out why they seem so happy!

5. They make us feel something

Look in their eyes, there’s a light there! Even if it’s a Monday morning, if there is a label meeting the musicians need to attend, and 2 coffee’s already down, they always have that spark in their eyes saying “I am here for a reason, and I’m glad to be here, living the life I chose and being the person I have become”. Not only this, but looking at their life and talking to them, you will feel power and emotion. You don’t need to do anything, just listen to the passion in their voice when talking about how they will change the world, or how they managed to write that very last song on the album they’ve been struggling for ages, feel the pain and joy in their voice and be fascinated about the beauty of the effort put into it. They are not just sitting next to you. They inspire you, they make you feel – through wrds and through their creations.

6. They won’t listen to you

Not in a bad way – but we shouldn’t even try anymore. They know what they want, and there’s no way to get them thinking differently. Rebellious? Bold? For sure! You can tell them they’re crazy, or their idea or music or style is not worth the effort, if they believe in it, they will do it. And is rarely a bad thing – see Pink Floyd, Apple, Facebook, Foo Fighters. They all have some things in common,

…And the list can continue! However, turning the perspective there is one more interesting aspect to musicians, especially: In their own way, they are also entrepreneurs – whether they realise it or not – their product being themselves and their craft. From the way they brand themselves, to how they go about reaching their audience and selling their art or managing their team, successful musicians know there’s more than just the music that has to be taken into account and managed – and they’re happy to be part of it all. All of it, while being the most creative version of themselves.

Andrei Tiu is an Online Marketing and PR specialist, musician and international award-winning student entrepreneur. His passion for music performance, having 8 years of experience on and off stage, is blended with his applied expertise in marketing and PR in three European countries in order to help musicians and SME’s bring up their online branding in today’s digital era.

For business enquiries:

andreimtiu1@gmail.com

For music enquiries:

andreimtiu@yahoo.com

Keep in touch:

andreitiu.comlinkedin.com/in/andreitiu

marketiu.wordpress.com/