Small Advertising Budget? Pay-Per-Click is the Answer

Your average small business, especially if it’s young, doesn’t have a lot of cash on hand for a marketing budget. With pay per click or PPC however, they can still run a successful, highly measured advertising program that delivers an excellent ROI.

The first thing to do before starting any new PPC campaign is simply to figure out exactly what one customer is worth to your business and, more importantly, how much you’re willing to spend to get that customer. Knowing, for example, that each customer is worth approximately $100, and that you are willing to spend $50 to get them, is vitally important.

Of course there’s no business on earth that can convert every lead into a customer, and so you’ll need to use a formula based on conversion rate to determine exactly how much you can actually afford to pay for leads.  Using the example above, you would pay $5. per lead if you converted 1 in 10 of them into a paying customer.

Here are another few reasons why PPC for small businesses is an excellent idea.

First, using PPC to target visitors at every stage of the buying funnel is possible if you focus on keywords that your potential customers use when they are getting ready to purchase. By adding geography, language and time you get an excellent way to pinpoint qualified customers.

With PPC you want to avoid broad matching so that you don’t pay for unqualified clicks that drain your budget. In order to get a higher relevance you should start with a broad match and, since PPC is an auction format, your price will be driven by demand/value.

Remember that there’s actually no direct correlation between the budget you have and the results you’ll get. For example, tripling your PPC budget won’t necessarily mean that you triple the volume of quality leads you’re going to get.

Another great feature that comes with PPC is the ability to test many messages. Testing content and combinations of words and messages is a great way to find out if the keywords you’re using, and their relevance to your ad copy and landing pages, is increasing leads and sales.

For example, you might find that rearranging the copy you have in the headline, or changing the description line to a customer quote, can increase your CTR.

PPC also allows you to test lots of markets using their collaboration tool because it’s used in 165 countries and eight different languages. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have native language speakers review your content and not rely on Google translate to do it.

Lastly, especially when your funds are tight and every single lead counts, don’t rely on your opinion to make decisions but data instead. In almost all situations numbers will trump any opinion or emotion that you might have. Any PPC campaigns that you have that are performing you should ramped up and those that aren’t should be turned off.

At the end of the day a carefully planned, highly detailed PPC campaign used in conjunction with a metrics program can generate excellent results without the need to spend a huge amount of money.

Author and businessman Jack Welch put it best when he said “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”

T-Mobile making strides, and passes, in mobile market

It seems that, while Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was the best quarterback on Super Bowl Sunday, Tim Tebow was also making quite a splash even though he hasn’t thrown a football in almost 2 seasons.

During the big game Mr. Tebow was seen shilling for T-Mobile and their “no contract” phone plans. Based in Seattle, investors are starting to see T-Mobile take on the rest of the carriers in the industry, including AT&T, whose shares have dropped 14% while T-Mobile’s have increased 84%.

One of the biggest gambles that T-Mobile and their CEO John Legere have made recently is a big one; terminate your plan early and T-Mobile will  pay for the early termination fees for 5 members of your family who switch from another company to the heirs, something that seems to be putting quite a dent in AT&T’s profit margin.

AT&T has responded with price cuts on big data family plans  as well as softening its upgrade policy for its phones.  While it is stated that AT&T won’t sell a customer a new phone at the cheaper, subsidized price more than one time every 24 months, it’s been found that they’re actually letting customers get away with doing it only after 18 months. It’s quite a big step backwards for the company, even though Apple CEO Tim Cook should be pleased, as he blames low iPhone sales of late on AT&T’s extended upgrade policies.

For families who use over 10 GB of data per month, the new AT&T plan just rolled out can save them upwards of $80 a month. The fact that they didn’t promote it during the Super Bowl was interesting and has some analysts saying that T-Mobile has AT&T a bit rattled.

2013 was an excellent year for T-Mobile as they gained nearly 900,000 postpaid customers in the last quarter alone and over 2 million during the entire year.  Some of the reasons are that they cut monthly service fees, now allow customers to upgrade their phones more frequently and also lowered the cost of international roaming, along with their recent promotion to pay the termination fees from other providers.

There is one measure however where T-Mobile has yet to put a real dent into AT&T, and that’s in actual revenue per phone user. T-Mobile might be growing faster, but AT&T increased their average revenue per customer by nearly 4% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Of course the largest carrier in the United States, Verizon, seems to be unaffected by all of these price wars and continues to sail above them. Their average revenue per account rose 7% last year while he added over 4 million postpaid accounts. They also did absolutely nothing to increase their holiday sales and still did quite well in the fourth quarter of 2013, thank you very much.

So while Tim Tebow might have thrown a great pitch (rather than a pass) for T-Mobile during the Super Bowl, it’s going to take a bit more to knock Verizon from their throne than that. If only Peyton Manning had taken some tips from them ahead of the game.

You might be surprised how some Super Bowl ads are actually created

In advertising  they say that “any publicity is good publicity”. Simply put, the main goal of advertising is to get people to take notice and, hopefully, remember the content that they saw from whatever advertising medium was used. While Internet advertising continues to become more powerful and mobile advertising on devices like smartphones and tablets continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the crown prince of advertising dollars is still the National Football League’s SuperBowl.

For SuperBowl XLVIII dozens of companies are going to be advertising, spending approximately $4 million for a half minute commercial during the game. That’s some huge money and of course limits these commercials to only the really “big hitters”, and you can be sure that they use  everything at their disposal in order to make sure that it’s money well spent. However, being able to spend that much on TV doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.  While some SuperBowl TV ads are very memorable, it’s the companies that take advantage of  all media tools available that really make the biggest mark.  Below are three examples from last year’s SuperBowl that might surprise you and will definitely, if you are a marketer, give you some insight into how engaging advertising linked to the SuperBowl is created. Enjoy.

Dunk me!

One of the most memorable ads run during last year’s Super Bowl wasn’t on TV at all but instead was on Facebook and Twitter. It was from Oreo, the cookie people, and it was thrown together at the spur of the moment after the lights went out down in New Orleans. Incredibly, the people from Mondelez,  Oreo’s parent company, had been working around the clock for 100 days prior to the big game in order to make sure that they were ready to do something “different” should something “different” happen during the game.

They got their chance when the lights went out. Within 15 minutes of that happening, less time than it actually took to put them back on, Oreo had an advertisement on both Facebook and Twitter with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark.” It was an instant hit and within an hour had been “retweeted” over 10,000 times and had garnered over 18,000 “likes” on Facebook.

For the love of horse!

One Super Bowl TV and you can always count to be endearing and engaging every year is from Anheuser-Busch and their Clydesdale team. Last year’s spot was entitled “Brotherhood” and featured the story of a baby Clydesdale growing up to become one of the mighty horses that pull the Anheuser-Busch beercart in the commercial. While riding by it recognizes the young man who trained it  and stops, a gentle and touching moment that resonated with viewers.

That commercial actually started nearly seven months before it was shown, and the advertising company had to wait for an actual baby Clydesdale to be born before they  could start shooting! They also had to find someone who was extremely comfortable around the giant Clydesdale horses as part of the commercial involved that person  sleeping in a barn next to the baby horse. In the end was so well received that Anheuser-Busch is going with something similar this year about the relationship between a Clydesdale and one of the dogs that rides the Anheuser-Busch cart.

Jamaican me crazy, mon!

Volkswagen got into a short but heated problem last year after their “Get Happy” advertisement for their VW Passat was released during the big game.  After a number of months of testing and five different concepts that were focused on showing the optimistic nature of Volkswagen drivers, they settled on and add that showed a Passat driver breaking into a Jamaican accent because he’s so happy.

It was cute, clever and well done. The problem was that many people saw it, as happens too often these days, as racist. Luckily for Volkswagen, Jamaicans themselves, including the Jamaican Tourism Board, stood by their side and said that not only was it not racist but also was quite endearing and that they had no problem with it at all.  Problem averted.

Which, again, shows that sometimes even the worst publicity can be excellent publicity.


The Essentials of Digital Marketing for Small Business

Digital marketing is a very cost-effective tool for small business owners with a high ROI that beats most any of the traditional marketing forms. That’s good news for a small company that has limited resources because it  let them launch effective digital marketing campaigns and, in some ways, gives them an advantage over larger companies. If you’re looking for a number of excellent digital marketing tips then you’ve come to the right blog because we’ve put together a few of them for you today. Enjoy

First and foremost you need to create  excellent digital content. If that sounds easier said than done you may be right. It involves posting to your blog on a regular basis, tweeting interesting stuff out to your Twitter followers and occasionally producing an entertaining and fun video and posting it on video hosting site you to. In most cases this online  digital content should not focus on your business but rather give the viewer something interesting, entertaining or valuable that they can use in order to build an affinity for your company. That affinity will, in the long run, pay off in sales. A smaller business also has the advantage of the “personal touch” as well as being able to position themselves in the local market more strongly.

The next thing to do is engage with your customers and start conversations. If you’ve heard about how great “social media” is for building a business, you’ve heard right. Three of the best places to start your online conversations is the giant of the social media world, Facebook, as well as Twitter, the micro blog website and the up-and-coming Google Plus. Local businesses have the advantage here because they can actually keep up with what their customers are saying, posting and asking and  implement any good suggestions much faster than a bigger company ever can.  For example, if you are the owner of a local restaurant you can find out what your favorite daily special is among your “followers” and put it on your regular menu, or you can find out what customers want you to stock in your boutique clothing store and order it immediately.

Today’s digital marketing also allows you to precisely measure your results. Whether your operation is 1 person or just a couple of guys and gals working together, setting goals and tracking your results is getting much easier. Looking at things like what brings people to your brick-and-mortar location or keep them coming back to your website is not only easy but vital to your success as well as knowing what’s NOT working. The best thing about being a small business is that, good or bad, you can make the changes necessary much more rapidly than a big business can.

The simple fact is that no small business today can really afford to neglect digital marketing. From identifying what social sites are delivering the most customers to your door to what media they prefer and what devices they use to engage your online content,  digital media can be a huge boon to your business and your profit margin. Indeed, if you manage your strategy carefully you can, in time, expect huge returns.


5 Steps to Maximize Conversions on your Landing Page

If you use a Landing Page to attract and then send people to your website, and you’re not satisfied with the results that you’re getting, it’s possible that the headline, body copy or your call to action aren’t as persuasive as they should be. If that’s the case, the 5 Steps you’ll find below will help you maximize your conversions and drive much more traffic to your website.

Although some might disagree, writing an effective landing page isn’t a complicated process by any means. The problem lies in the way you lay out your content and the words that you use as anything “wrong” may cause a prospective customer to leave your page and surf on to the next. It’s for that reason that, no matter what you have on your landing page, it must be as tight and focused as possible.

To make your Landing Page copy tight and focused you should…

  1. Remove any distractions. The more unneeded copy or buttons that you have on your landing page, the more likely that someone will wander away from it and never make it to your website or make a purchase. For this reason you should remove any navigation to the left or right and leave only the main menu items that are a constant reminder that you are potential customer is still on your site. Also, keep the copy as short as possible. Unless you’re selling a very high end product or service it’s been found that between 100 and 300 words are usually sufficient to get someone to make a choice to keep going and/or make a purchase.
  2. Keep all content above the “fold”. If you force your potential customers to scroll, and scroll, and scroll down and endless page of content to get to your offer, you’ll find that your results are poor at best. Better to keep your offer and other important info above the fold to avoid this.
  3. Remind people about how great your product or services are. Use all headlines and subheads to emphasize why people clicked on your landing page in the first place. Use bullet points to emphasize your benefits and use a “highlighter” to point out anything vitally important that they should know.

It’s also a great idea to put your best testimonial  in full view as well as your “buy now” button or any other call to action you need to help your customers make the decision to make a purchase. You can also use engaging words on your call to action button like “Get Started Saving” or “Start Learning  Today”, words that will reinforce the benefits that your new customer will immediately get once they make a purchase.

  1. Create a simple Order Form. Let’s face it, filling out online forms is really a pain. If you ask for so much information that your prospective customers start getting teary-eyed it means that your order form is much too involved and will cause them to give up in frustration. Simply ask for the most vital information that you need and nothing more.
  2. Ask for the sale. Once a potential customer gets finished reading your landing page’s content, you don’t want to shy away from giving them the extra push to commit to a purchase. To that end, tell them exactly what they need to know in order to close the sale. If your offer has a guarantee, is “limited”, is new or comes with an excellent discount, now is the time to tell them.
  3. Bonus Step. Create several different Headlines. Prospects will more than likely find their way to your landing page via different marketing channels like email blasts, flyers, online ads and so forth. Your headline should be aligned with those different channels in order to align with the people coming from them. This will help you to give a clear message and have a higher conversion rate.

Hopefully these Steps will help you to create a Landing Page that creates a high level experience. You can use them on practically any landing page with any type of product or service and, if you use them correctly, you’ll find that they work.

Did your SMS Marketing campaign tank? This is probably why

If you’re an entrepreneur you have probably been told by marketers everywhere about how amazing SMS marketing is and what it will do for your business. You probably heard about how easy it is to create campaigns and send personalized messages to people in your community who have shown an interest in your products or services, and then use that interested to turn  them into paying customers.

It’s also quite possible that you  “tried” SMS marketing and were left disappointed because it didn’t do nearly as well as you had hoped. If you are, there’s really only two things that are possible; you were given false information or you didn’t take the right approach to SMS marketing for your particular business. As anyone in business knows, there’s always a “right” way to do things in a “wrong” way to do them. The “mistakes” below will hopefully show you the former. Enjoy.

You didn’t have an excellent Offer. Here’s the thing; unless you’re offering a truly awesome deal, your response rate is probably going to be quite low. People are inundated every day with text messages from family, friends and, to a lesser extent, businesses. Unless you’re offering something that makes them stop and take notice, as well as being personalized, your message will more than likely be ignored. On the other hand, if you are offering something that’s truly a sweet deal, not only will you get a higher response rate but the people responding will  “share” your offer with anyone that they are “connected to” like friends, family and colleagues.

You didn’t market and advertise your SMS capabilities to your existing customers. The problem, if you can call it that, with SMS marketing is that, unless you have an excellent opt-in list to send your messages, it will be very hard to get any response at all. Because of this you need to market and advertise your SMS campaigns and offer potential customers something for signing up with your text list. You also should be advertising about your SMS marketing campaigns anywhere and everywhere that you can. In your store (if you have one), online, on social media, on billboards and, if you use them, on TV and radio.

You didn’t tell people what you want them to do. This is called a “call to action” and it’s vital if you want to get an excellent response to your SMS marketing campaign. You simply need to tell people what to do next whether it’s to redeem a coupon, visit your store at a particular time, refer a friend to your website or whatever. A call to action is a definite must if you want to have a successful SMS Text message marketing campaign.

You didn’t have a Mobile Website. One of the first things that many people do today when they receive an SMS text message is use their smart phone to go online and do more research on your company, your offer and your products or services. If you don’t have a mobile website many people will become frustrated because, frankly, navigating a website on a small smart phone screen is a real pain. In fact, it’s been shown that a person who lands on an website that isn’t mobile optimized will leave within approximately 6 seconds! If you wish to continue using SMS marketing, you need to get your website optimized for mobile.

You started your SMS campaign without a Plan. When implementing any new marketing strategy it’s essential that you don’t do it “blind”. If you went into SMS marketing without a plan before your first advertising or marketing was put into action, it’s going to be very difficult for your marketing to succeed. Before you start any SMS marketing campaign, make sure your plan is set and you know exactly what you’ll be doing.

Okay, so let’s say that you had all of those points covered and your marketing campaign still failed. Well, not all marketing goes perfectly right out of the gate which means that, as the old adage says, try and try again. The simple fact is that statistics show that SMS text message marketing is an excellent, economical and engaging form of marketing with an excellent ROI. Just because it didn’t work for you the first time doesn’t mean that, with some trial and error, it won’t turn into an excellent marketing tool for your business.

Marketers Capitalizing on 3 Emerging Social Media Trends

If you’re a marketing expert (or would like to be) you probably already know about social media and probably, like most, have been migrating between social media platforms. You probably already know that social networking is now considered to be one of the best ways to not only get in touch with potential customers but stay in touch with them. It also can help you to find out what your customer base really likes about your company and, conversely, what they don’t.

One thing’s for certain, social media is definitely going to continue to rise in popularity and, with that in mind, we’ve put together a little blog about the 3 Emerging Social Media Trends that any marketer or business owner should be keeping an eye on. Enjoy.

Trend 1) Spending for Social Media Marketing is Increasing.

For 99.9% of all businesses, marketing is an integral and vital part of their business. It also eats up a huge amount of their resources and social media is definitely no different. A recent report showed that nearly 70% of marketers are expected to increase their social media spending in 2014 while almost 30% are planning on raising their word-of-mouth marketing efforts at the same time.

The fact is that social media marketing is now an integral part of the business operations for many companies because it is very good at gaining interest from said company’s intended audience. One of the biggest expenditures with social media marketing is having the people available to answer questions and queries immediately when they come through a social media site. Being able to handle live client calls as well as provide “chat” is vital to a social media campaign’s success, but it doesn’t involve a big investment in time and people.

Trend 2) More and more people are using social networks.

Everyone knows that Facebook started the whole social media trend but today there are literally hundreds of social media sites that are popular, especially now that smart phones have become an ubiquitous part of our daily lives. In fact, eMarketer recently reported that nearly one in seven people worldwide uses a social media site at least once a month, a number that’s set to grow to nearly 2 billion people by the year 2017. Interestingly, the country with the highest penetration in social media is the Netherlands with nearly 64% of their population using social media sites on a regular basis. The United States comes in at sixth with approximately 51%.

Trend 3) Social Media sites are coming in bigger and better varieties.

The game is definitely changing and social media marketing, and one of the game changers is the emergence of social media sites that are driven by teenagers and young adults. Instagram, Vine and Snapchat are three of the most popular right now and, due to younger users, became popular extremely fast. Of course what that means for business is that they must establish yet another social media profile, something that should only be done if they understand their client base well and will get a significant enough return. The good news is that with such a wide variety of platforms the “shareability” of any business content is increased as well as the ability to give prospective customers that “personal touch” that they are looking for these days.

These new social media sites come with new tools like the six second videos that are popular on Vine, something that is definitely a new and interesting challenge for marketers but also offers quite a few added benefits. As with any marketing, tools and campaigns need to be customized to a specific market segment that a company is hoping to reach. The good news is that there are now a lot more avenues available to do that.

Online Marketing Tips for the Entrepreneur

If you’re an entrepreneur using the Internet to make a living there are always new ideas, new changes and new information to learn. Online marketing changes fast and changes often and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. With that in mind we put together a list of some excellent online marketing tips that every entrepreneur can use to build client lists, attract visitors to their websites and increase profits. Enjoy.

Tip 1:Take good care of your website. Here’s the thing; there are literally millions of websites online and, if you have any hope of attracting visitors, keeping them on your site and converting them into customers, your website better be attractive, have excellent content and be extremely easy to navigate. If it is you will be among the 10% of websites that actually follow these three rules.

The fact is, if you haven’t updated your website in at least the last 2 years the new technologies that have come about have basically rendered it obsolete. If you want it to be a lean, mean, money making machine, updating it and keeping it full of fresh content is the only way to go. If you don’t, you might as well not have a website at all because people are much too busy today to deal with a website that isn’t top-notch.

Tip 2: Stop using “megaphone” or “shotgun” marketing. These two catchwords basically mean the same thing; shouting out your advertising to people and interrupting them with either print, yellow page, directory or untargeted banner advertising. Cold calling and “email blasts” fall into this category as well. The simple fact is that today’s consumer doesn’t want to be interrupted by your marketing, they want to be in control of the information they receive if they are searching for a new product or service.

Tip 3: Start using “magnet” marketing. The opposite of “megaphone” marketing is magnet marketing and, like the name implies, it attracts people to your products or services and puts them in control. It also helps you to earn their trust and build an affinity for your brand. Magnet marketing includes content marketing like blogs, white papers and so forth, search engine optimization, marketing on social media websites like Facebook and pay-per-click advertising. One excellent advantage to magnet marketing is that, in general, it’s less expensive. Research shows that the cost per lead is 62% lower with magnet marketing then with megaphone marketing, which is obviously a huge savings.

Tip 4: Content marketing is the way of the future. As we mentioned in Tip 3, one type of “magnet” marketing is content marketing. Content marketing offers you a platform to engage directly with customers and visitors to your website through search engines, blogs and social media websites. “Content” is simply the information that you give on your various online sites and can include valuable info (like this blog, for example), entertaining information and even “how to” videos. You can put together a free e-Book or a “white paper” as well, content that will greatly increase the affinity that your visitors have for your brand and also increase the chance that they will actually make a purchase.

The simple fact today is that people aren’t going to choose to do business with your company just because you have the product that they are looking for or even the best price. What they want to know is that you stand behind your product, have specialized knowledge that will help them and will continue to help them even after they make their purchase. Excellent content can help you to do that as well as make you the “expert” in your particular field.

 Tip 5: Use Responsive Design for your website. As amazing as it might seem, mobile devices like smart phones and tablets have actually surpassed desktop and laptop computers as the most common access point to the web. Is your website built on a “responsive design” platform? If not, you should definitely have it updated. Responsive design platforms will adapt your website to all of the different sizes of tablets and smartphones, making them easier to navigate and showing your content in the best possible way.

Tip 6: Don’t forget to brand yourself. Social media giant LinkedIn (now the second largest social media website on the web) has made “personal online branding” the norm. The fact is, if someone wants to know about you all they need to do is “Google” your name to find out, well, all sorts of interesting information. Building a personal online brand is a great way to give them information about yourself that you yourself have created. It will come in handy when selling, building business partnerships and even finding a “job”. (Not that we recommend you get a real job or anything crazy like that.) Since there is no way to actually keep people from finding out about you online, better to embrace the fact that they can and take charge of your online image yourself.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog and that the Tips and advice were valuable and insightful. If you want a great example of “content marketing”, it is Blogs like this one. We’ve given you, our dear readers, some valuable and insightful information and in exchange we expect that some of you will become our customers and purchase our services. You can do the same exact thing on your own websites and, before long, people will love you just as much as they love us. (You do love us, yes? Good.)

Entrepreneur Tips on Using LinkedIn from the Pros

Social media powerhouse LinkedIn is an excellent way to make connections and introductions that can help you in your job search and in your career. It’s also changing as of the last two or three years and becoming a powerful platform that can actually supercharge any type of content marketing that you might be doing, even if you don’t happen to be a LinkedIn Influencer.

Today’s blog has several tips and some great advice that successful entrepreneurs have shared with us (and that were now sharing with you). If you want to use LinkedIn to get lots more eyes in front of your content, keep on reading. Enjoy.

LinkedIn Tip #1: Start or Join Discussions. If you’re writing articles for content marketing, every time that you post one you should also begin a conversation about the same topic in any LinkedIn groups that you’re associated with. If you want to go further than just simply linking to an article, post a topic of discussion or asking a question will help you even more.

LinkedIn Tip #2: Get your Employees on the content-sharing bandwagon. One of the keys to an effective strategy on LinkedIn is to get your employees on board with sharing your content and one of the best ways to do that is simply to email them and ask for their help. The fact is, most of them are staring at their computer screens (as well as their smart phone and tablet screens) all day and all night and checking their email constantly. If you can write an excellent Subject Line that has a simple yet powerful call to action, the likelihood of it being shared between professionals is high.

LinkedIn Tip #3: Don’t forget to use LinkedIn’s Product pages and Service pages. On every LinkedIn company page on their site you’ll find two things that can amplify your business content; product pages and service pages. These pages allow you to give more details about the products and services that your offering, as well as spotlighting customer product recommendations and adding powerful images to make your products and services stand out from the crowd. Even better, since you’ll be able to see the number of impressions that these service pages and product pages receive (thanks to LinkedIn building it into their system) you’ll be able to see exactly which of your services are the most popular and how many people are actually searching for your company online.

LinkedIn Tip #4: Use Groups to promote your Brand. This is one of the best ways on LinkedIn to promote yourself. By joining groups you can greatly expand your reach and share your experience and expertise at the same time. Under the target keyword “writer” for example there are over 740 groups and one of them even has 13,000 members! By joining several groups at the same time you’ll strengthen your brand, boost your expertise and network yourself in a big way.

LinkedIn Tip #5: Create your own LinkedIn Page. If you don’t have your own LinkedIn page yet, he definitely need to put one together as it can greatly increase the amount of people who will have their eyes on your company and also can help you to put together content for some of your other social media platforms at the same time.

LinkedIn Tip #6: Remembered to Update your Status. What many people often forget is that LinkedIn, just like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, is a social network that you can leverage to share your content with people all over the world. Because of the fact that LinkedIn is connected with a lot more “groups” your status update on the site will have more traction than some of the other social media sites.

LinkedIn, amazingly, is now the Number 2 social media website in the world, still a good bit behind Facebook but just slightly ahead of Twitter. As with all social media websites it’s going through changes and morphing into something completely different from where it started. For entrepreneurs and content marketers looking to increase their readership and spread their content far and wide, it’s quickly become the “go to” social media website on the web today.


TOMS- Creating Magic with Shoes

Today’s blog article is a little bit different than the usual. We’re going to be looking at a company that, surprisingly, puts charity before profits and puts people ahead of their bottom line.

That company is TOMS and, while they may appear to be just another “trendy” footwear company like so many on the market today, TOMS recently gave away their 10 million pair of shoes to a needy child. In fact, for every single pair of shoes that they sell, TOMS gives a second pair to a child who doesn’t have shoes. Considering that they’ve already given away 10 million pairs of shoes, you would think that they been in business for ages but in fact they’ve been selling shoes for just under 7 years.

Blake Mycoskie, founder of the TOM’S brand, got the idea to start the company after competing in “The Amazing Race”, the reality TV show, in 2002. It was on a return trip in 2006 that he saw a group of eight workers in the country giving out used shoes to children who had none and were running around the streets barefoot.

Mycoskie was taken aback by the fact that there were so many children running around shoeless, and also by the fact that there were selfless people who were there in the country giving away used shoes to help them. As he puts it, when he saw the joy that these children (and their families) got when they received their shoes, he realized that he wanted to do his part to help.

Starting on that trip he brought back 250 pairs of “alpargata”, a traditional and simple Argentinian shoe. Back home in California he sold all 250 pairs on the boardwalk close to his Venice home. He then went back to Argentina with the profits that he made selling shoes and was able to have enough shoes made to bring back more to sell as well as give a pair to all of the children that he had met on his first trip.

The name TOMS is actually short for “tomorrow’s shoes”, a name that was going to be used until Mycoskie realized that it was too long to fit on the small tag that they were going to attach to every pair of shoes that they sold.

Since those first 250 pairs were sold TOMS has become one of the most popular shoe brands in the United States. As amazing as it is that they’ve done this in just 7 years, there are some other facts about this highly successful and philanthropic company that are even more amazing.

For example, TOMS has absolutely no advertising budget. All of their advertising has been through word-of-mouth and profiles in magazines like Vogue and newspapers like the LA Times.

TOMS has no outside investors, something that founder Mycoskie says allows them to stay focused on their mission and keep their long-term vision intact, something that’s very rare in business today.

Many of the shoes that TOMS gives away are even higher quality than the shoes that they sell in the store. They recently released a boot for children to wear during the cold winters in Argentina as well as an athletic shoe that they’re giving to needy children in the United States.

When someone who has received a donated pair of TOMS shoes grows out of them, they get a replacement pair.

More than 60 countries around the world now sell all TOMS shoes. One of the goals of the company has is to create jobs in the countries where they are donating their shoes and, by the end of 2015, they expect that roughly a third of the shoes they give away will be made in the same country where they are being donated.

Incredibly, one of the newest goals for this 36-year-old philanthropist from Texas is, within the next two years, to give away 10 million more pairs of shoes as well as the secret to his “1 for 1”  business plan.

If you’re an entrepreneur we can’t think of  a better example to follow in your business practices, your mission and your goals, than TOMS.

We hope you enjoyed this blog today and that it’s inspired you as an entrepreneur, and as a person, to go out and do your best in business as well as for your fellow man.