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How to Find Specialized Marketing Agencies

You’re experiencing slight pain in your chest.

So you visit a general care physician who performs a series of quick tests. 

Based on the results, they offer you general advice, but in the end, they refer you to a cardiologist to look into the issue in more detail.

This is a fairly common practice in medicine.

You start seeing a general practitioner, and when things go beyond their expertise, you go to a specialist who has the knowledge as well as equipment to handle your situation better.

Business is no different. More so, marketing.

While you’ll find several end-to-end marketing agencies, it’s nearly impossible to get results without specialized knowledge – something that specialized or “niche“ marketing agencies offer.

Not only are they able to identify and address your unique pain points, but they can also make your business operations more effective.

In this guide, our team at Neil Patel Digital has outlined some vital tips to identify and hire specialized marketing agencies, as well as help you understand how these agencies fare when compared to an end-to-end agency.

How Specialized Marketing Agencies Guarantee Success?

Specialized agencies, with their high skill set in a specific niche, can identify opportunities for success and analyze problems with great precision and detail within any given marketing campaign.

They bring specialized depth and focus into the service offering, which allows them to see potential issues that can be missed by others as well as provide creative ways to implement solutions.

An important thing to note here is that specialized marketing agencies go beyond their deliverables. You can enhance your marketing efforts by correctly leveraging the strategic insights, experiences, and partnerships offered by them.

Due to the greater level of detail and expertise, there is a higher possibility for you to maximize your company’s marketing ROI.

Precisely why you need to think of ways to strategically align your agency partnership that brings your company maximum value.

How to Identify and Hire the Best Specialized Marketing Agency for Your Company?

Before signing up for an agency, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your company generating sufficient marketing leads?
  • Are all your marketing plan elements being carried out efficiently? 
  • Is it possible for you to employ new staff to improve your marketing activities? Does your current budget allow it?

If even one of these questions raises concerns, you should go ahead and consider working with a specialist marketing agency.

But… hiring the right agency isn’t going to be easy.

It needs patience, along with practice and some good ol’ trial and error.

Here are a few tips to help you find your next marketing mastermind:

Determine Your Business Objectives and Desired Outcomes

Specialized agencies cater to the specific needs of businesses.

These agencies generally specialize in one or two areas. Hence, the first step of choosing the right specialized marketing agency is to know your business goals and what you want to achieve by working with the agency.

Let’s consider an example to help you understand this better: creating a series of marketing videos.

You want to improve your social media presence and boost engagement on your website. You decide to create a series of marketing videos to achieve this, but you aren’t sure where to start.

In this case:

  • Goal: Greater social media presence and increased website engagement.
  • Deliverable: Make engaging videos and similar visual assets that communicate your new offer in a creative and fun way to capture your audience’s attention.
  • Result: A set of finished videos, along with supplying you with the knowledge to walk you through the process.

You can enlist the services of a marketing agency that specializes in video marketing or maybe graphic designing to achieve this goal.

Similarly, you can choose your agency based on the other types of services you want. Here are a few other examples:

Market Research

These agencies help you make better-informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes by carrying out primary market research, such as surveys, interviews, and experiments, and secondary market research.

Marketing Strategy

These agencies understand the art of creating strategies backed by research, experience, knowledge, and wisdom. They can help you formulate a well-aligned marketing strategy that supports your unique business goals and objectives.

Content Writing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Content writing agencies can create excellent content that is optimized according to SEO principles to boost engagement and conversion. This can include posts on social media networks, company blogs, or creating gated assets like PDFs and whitepapers.

You’ll also find agencies that specialize in optimization, which offer well-written and formatted content to drive traffic through a search engine results page or SERP.

Email Marketing

Email marketing agencies can help you move your prospects down your sales funnel. They send emails that motivate people to buy products and services while keeping your past and potential customers in the loop.

Advertising

Advertising agencies can enhance your audience targeting efforts and amplify your reach by creating attention-grabbing advertisements that force the customer to take action, such as visiting your website, viewing your products and services, etc.

Ultimately, you should choose a specialized agency based on your requirements and end goals.

Skills and Experience

It’s no secret that specialists should have technical skills and experience that actually make them experts at a specific niche.

To help you find the right agency, we have two lists below: Must-haves and Nice-to-haves.

These are the skill sets that are a must for your agency:

Specialized Knowledge

What’s the point of calling themselves an expert if the agency doesn’t possess the necessary business growth and inbound marketing knowledge for a specific niche?

The agency should be able to demonstrate their ability to apply marketing techniques and up-to-date inbound marketing tactics and strategy that can promote business growth.

Tech Savvy-Ness

Agencies should have the expertise to navigate and use a variety of modern tech tools and platforms. After all, it’s the only way that your brand can have a competitive edge over its competitors.

Job Functional Skills

Job functional skills have a broader concept as it goes deeper into the actual role for which the agency is being hired.

For instance, if you want to hire a digital marketing agency, you should take a look at past digital campaigns created by the agency. Ask them to explain the campaigns and how they will apply their knowledge to help you achieve your business goals.

Effective Communication Skills

The agency should comprise members that have excellent written and verbal skills to drive meaningful conversations.

Nice-to-Have Skills

These skills aren’t deal-breakers if a prospective agency doesn’t have them, but if they do, you should give them brownie points.

The following are a few nice-to-have skills:

  • Certifications that prove their expertise and ability to implement effective marketing tactics and strategies.
  • Previous experience working with clients that operate in your niche.
  • Their passion for your target mission.

Partnership Capabilities

Specialized agencies should have strategic partnerships as a means to expand their offerings – one that goes beyond complimentary deliverables.

You see, buying marketing services goes beyond à la carte for clients, which is why specialized agencies have to take the time to foster strong relationships with their partners to create value and efficiencies from the client’s viewpoint.

If you hire an agency that boasts of this synergy, it can be very beneficial for you.

You might have to add another vendor to your list, yes. But the fact that you get excellent content, along with the SEO, rather than subpar work does seem like the better option, no?

Take a Look at the Pricing

There’s a reason why Versace costs 20 times more than Fashion Nova, and in most cases, you get exactly what you pay for.

It’s really that simple.

If your prospective agency is charging unrealistically low rates, it’s probably because they are inexperienced or they just… suck.

And yes, before you ask, many specialized agencies claim to have “expert knowledge” but don’t.

You‘ll also find agencies that charge you an arm, a leg, and a kidney to work with them, which isn’t right too. 

While many can justify their pricing, hundreds can’t.

Treat the Agency Just Like You Would a Potential Employee

When hiring a specialized marketing agency, conduct the interview in the same way you would when hiring a potential employee.

So in addition to going through their merits, make sure they are a solid cultural fit for your company.

The agency partnership won’t be a success if you don’t share similar values or have completely opposite mindsets.

Why Choosing a Specialized Agency is better than an End-to-End Agency?

According to a 2016 Statista study, 24% of US-based companies had hired roughly three marketing/advertising agencies, while 23% were working with two agencies.

That said, the following are the main reasons why you should go with a specialized agency over an end-to-end agency:

Lots of Flexibility

Niche agencies don’t provide a one-size-fits-all focus. Instead, they believe in creating a more personalized and unique marketing plan that can help you stand out from your rivals.

Additionally, they have the resources and methodologies that equip them with expert knowledge about the specific niche, allowing them to be more in tune with your pain points. This, in turn, enables them to deliver a much more effective strategy as well.

It’s this flexibility that helps them adapt to your needs and requirements constantly, and offer dynamic solutions through their relationship with you.

More Personal Attention

As mentioned before, working with a specialized agency will make your experience more personable.

You’ll be in direct contact with specialists who are fully dedicated to your brand. Moreover, you‘ll have direct oversight interactions with people who are working on your marketing campaign, irrespective of their position.

Such agencies work on various campaigns, which makes them proficient in offering a completely different perspective to yours. You can also expect new insights and opportunities that can generate fresh ideas.

In addition to this, the overall flow of information and communication is also much better. With the questions delegated more efficiently, you get your answers faster too.

Greater Suitability for SMBs

Specialized marketing agencies and small- to medium-sized businesses can have an excellent working relationship built upon commonality. 

Both the agency and company are trying to grow and expand, which makes them more invested in each other. Having overlapping roles is another motivating factor that ensures successful outcomes for both parties.

Most of the time, these agencies monitor their growth based on your success since they aren’t only in it for money. They genuinely want to build meaningful relationships for a sustainable business.

Unlikely to Outsource Tasks

Multiple end-to-end marketing agencies outsource their work. 

We don’t claim it – Hubshout stats do. For instance:

  • 48% of full-service agencies outsourced PPC services
  • 28% of full-services agencies outsourced content marketing services.
  • 68% of full-service agencies outsourced SEO to a white label SEO provider

These agencies focus on a few single areas of marketing expertise and then outsource the work from white label partners. In short, there is no guarantee that the agency will actually be doing the work for you.

Specialists, on the other hand, do not outsource. 

Why? Because you don’t have to.

They have all the specialists they need right there in the organization. When you work with a specialist marketing agency, you get access to a specific set of services that are usually absent from general marketing and communication teams.

Consequently, you know exactly what you‘re getting into and who will be working on your project. 

You can focus on your areas of expertise, while the agency can focus on those specialized services to help you achieve your business goals.

More Creative and Innovative Ideas

This is honestly the best part of working with a specialized agency.

End-to-end agencies use the same strategies and methods for each of their clients. 

Time is naturally very crucial for them, which is why if they see one marketing test working well, they tend to use it for every customer they take on.

Contrarily, specialized agencies don’t take advantage of time trials. They build a customized strategy that is adjusted according to your suggestions and demands – all aimed at establishing your brand reputation.

Still, End-to-End Marketing Agencies Aren’t a Bad Choice Either

An end-to-end agency or a fully integrated marketing and advertising company that can provide you with a complete list of services, including:

  • SEO
  • Systematic planning
  • Social media
  • Digital marketing
  • Paid advertising 
  • Interactive marketing services

They are larger in size and can easily handle all your advertising and marketing requirements, helping you make the most out of marketing. 

Here are a few reasons that your company may want to pursue an end-to-end agency instead:

Knowledge of Latest Trends, Systems, and Software

End-to-end agencies, also known as full-service agencies, are well accustomed to the latest trends and technology

They know how to target the right offers, use analytical reports and data correctly, and the right tools that can help you target your audience at the right time.

Cost-Effectiveness

Agencies are hands down way more cost-effective, and sometimes the only way that companies with smaller budgets can afford professional services.

Usually, specialists charge a higher amount for their expertise and knowledge, which can be way out of budget for most brands.

Scalability on Demand

You can scale your marketing activities up and down according to new products, seasonalities, and so on.

When you have an in-house team, you have to hire and train to scale up or layoff staff to scale down; with an end-to-end agency, you simply pick the phone.

Expertise and Experience

Working with full-service marketing agencies lets you work with a pool of talent who have experience working with various clients, technologies, and industries. They have broader skills that can help build and launch a comprehensive marketing campaign to drive results.

Think of the agency as a deep pool of specialists.

There is also no secret that today marketing involves content, branding, social media, paid ads, and SEO. Handling this requires bandwidth and the right know-how – something that end-to-marketing agencies can offer.

Time-Saving

Irrespective of your business size, you do need an effective marketing strategy.

This needs a strong team, and when you choose to work with a full-service agency, you have a team that can focus 100% of their knowledge and expertise in developing your campaign as efficiently as possible.

Indeed, end-to-end marketing agencies may not provide you with the same level of expertise as specialist marketing agencies. But if you opt for a major marketing company that offers full service, you do get the best of both worlds.

At Neil Patel Digital, we have the expertise and experience to provide comprehensive marketing and advertising strategies tailor-made according to your needs. We offer:

  • SEO
  • Paid search marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Data, analytics, and insights
  • Programmatic advertising

Whatever You Do, Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

Regardless of the marketing agency you choose – whether generalists or specialists – make sure you ask the right questions.

Who is working on your account? What are the specialties? How will you clear your doubts? What results can you expect? What are the KPIs? – ask everything.

If you really want to take your business to the next level and are ready to think big, contact us here and let us help you disrupt your industry.

The post How to Find Specialized Marketing Agencies appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Create Your First Website Like a Pro

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

You’ve decided to create your first website—great! I’m going to teach you to set up your site like you’ve done this thousands of times before.

What You Should Know About Starting a Website

In order to get your website online, you will need a domain name and a web host

  • A domain name is where people access your website. For QuickSprout, that would be www.quicksprout.com (also called a URL, the technical component of a domain name).
  • A web host is a business that you pay to provide storage for all of your crucial website data.

Bluehost allows you to buy and register both a domain name and hosting plan. 

What If I Want a Free Website?

You can start for free at WordPress.com.

To use the free plan, you will not need to register a domain name or choose a web hosting provider since your website will automatically be generated as a sub-domain of WordPress.com. For example, if you wanted to start a blog about vintage teacups, your URL could be www.vintageteacups.wordpress.com.

If you’re in this for the long haul, keep in mind that your audience will be much more likely to trust your brand if you own your domain name (i.e. www.vintageteacups.com). Investing in domain registration and hosting is the first step towards growing an independent business.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Website

Ready to get started? These 8 steps will walk you seamlessly through the process from sign-up to beginner content building so you won’t have to worry you’ve left anything out.

Step 1: Consider your website goals 

Do you intend your website to be a portfolio of your work? A niche blog? An eCommerce site? You can do all of this and more via WordPress, which opens up the world wide web of possibility with its full-powered CMS.

How do you want to be known by your audience? That’s your business name. 

And how do you want them to reach you? That’s your domain name. 

Since your domain name will be a major face of your business, you’ll want to put some good thought into it. 

A strong domain name serves your business goals by referencing your product or service. It should be catchy, memorable, and easy to type. Try for shorter rather than longer names where possible.

How can you come up with the right name?

Let’s take the two businesses we’re working with in this guide as an example. 

WordPress is short, iconic, and evokes images of text (“word”) and potentially a printing press (“press”). It’s clear that their business model is based on sharing content. 

Similarly, Bluehost includes the word “host,” suggesting they are a web host provider. The combination of “blue” and “host” is simple and catchy. 

Both names are highly brandable and easy to remember.

Step 2: Choose your Bluehost plan

The benefit of hosting on Bluehost rather than just WordPress.com is that Bluehost takes care of your site’s security, speed, performance, and updates for you.

We recommend shared WordPress hosting, which gives you access to a server specifically attuned to the WordPress software package. This means that safety, security, and speed are all built in—put another way, managed for you. 

To choose a plan, go to Bluehost’s pricing page. You’ll see this:

Bluehost offers four hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. At every tier, the plans include a free SSL certificate (adding an extra layer of security to your site), unlimited bandwidth, and plenty of storage. For most sites, the performance of the hosting will be more than good enough. 

Select the plan and that’s right for your budget. You can always upgrade later.

Step 3: Register your domain name

After selecting a plan, you’ll be prompted to register your domain name. 

If you already own a domain name, enter it on the right. You may need to change your DNS records to make sure your domain name servers point to Bluehost, allowing people to access your website. 

If you are registering your domain name with Bluehost, enter it on the left. Domain registration is free for one year with a managed WordPress hosting account. Always be sure to note when your domain must be renewed so it doesn’t expire without your notice, leaving your website inaccessible. 

You’ll be asked to fill in personal information before finalizing your purchase. 

Be sure to choose a strong password for your Bluehost account (preferably not the same one you use to log into any other site). You’ll then be ready to install WordPress.

Step 4: Install WordPress with one click

Connecting Bluehost with WordPress is incredibly easy. In your Bluehost account control panel, navigate to “MOJO Marketplace” and choose “One-Click Installs.” 

This will bring you to the Scripts and Platforms page. After you click the WordPress icon—found under “Blogs” at the top of the page—an installation window will open. Click “Start” to begin installation.

  • Choose the domain name on your account where you want to install.
  • In “Check Domain,” you’ll make sure your domain name is pointing to your account. This is especially important if you bought your domain name before signing up for Bluehost. If you get a warning that you are overwriting files, you can check the box without worry—since this is your first website, there’s nothing to overwrite. 
  • In “Show Advanced Options,” you can choose your WordPress username along with a strong password—or log in if you already have a WordPress account. Check “Automatically create a new database for this installation.” 
  • Read the terms and conditions and check the box.
  • Almost there! Click “Install Now.”

You’ll now be taken to the progress page. After installation is complete, you will see your site URL, admin login URL, your username and password. Print and store this master list in a safe place.

Time to log in to WordPress! Log in at your admin URL and you’ll find yourself at the Dashboard, where you can begin on the visual design for your site.

Step 5: Try on some themes for size

Also called “skins,” your site theme is like an outfit for your website. The theme you choose will affect your site visuals, content layout, and some of the customizable design features you have access to. 

WordPress has a number of both free and premium (paid) themes.

When choosing a theme, pay special attention to:

  • Good design: Is the design clean and organized? Is it responsive to optimize for the roughly 50% of people who prefer mobile viewing? How easy is it to navigate?
  • Compatibility: Is the theme compatible with the latest version of WordPress and with popular plugins?
  • Back-end: Is there active development on the design? How easy is it to access support and documentation? 

Most themes allow you to try a Live Demo so you can see how it will look and compare its appearance to your design and content goals for the site.

When you’re ready, click “Activate theme” to install. You can always add plugins for additional functionalities or switch themes when you are better accustomed to WordPress.

Step 6: Add some helpful plugins

If your website theme is like a “skin” or outfit that gives the website substance, design, and form, your plugins are the accessories that pull the outfit together. 

Plugins work alongside your theme to provide desirable functionalities, like a comment filter, contact form, or search engine optimization (SEO) toolbox, and are built to work seamlessly with WordPress’s back-end operations. While some are best-suited to a particular type of site, like eCommerce or blog, many are all-purpose. Plugins can be free or paid.

In most cases, you will need a WordPress Business plan or higher to use plugins. Aspects of Jetpack and Akismet (see below) are included with your blog.

Popular plugins:

  • Jetpack: This integral plugin enhances your site security, performance, marketing, and design capacity. Site speed, image serving, and SEO are just a few things it can help you with. 
  • Akismet:  A “spam-fighting service” that protects your posts, trackbacks, and messages from spam.
  • All-in-One SEO pack or Yoast SEO: These SEO plugins help you optimize your site to be found organically in search results when people search for similar products, services, or content.
  • WP Forms or Ninja Forms: You can use either of these plugins to build professional contact forms within minutes, without any coding experience required. 

Be sure to vet your plugins before installing: A large number of positive user reviews alongside information about the developer, functionalities, and latest release date can all help you make the best decisions for your site. 

Step 7: Begin building your site content

On WordPress, there are two meaningful distinctions when it comes to organizing your site content, pages and posts.

  • Pages make up the main framework of your website, and generally appear in the navigation bar for easy access. There are a number of essential pages you’ll want to add, including your Homepage, About page, and Contact page.
  • Posts are individual pieces of content, each with a unique URL, that make up a blog. Many people choose to make their blog a central focus of their website, but you don’t have to. Many businesses keep blogs as a tool in their content marketing toolbox, and WordPress makes it possible to designate as a secondary page (see Step 8).

When you start adding content to your website, it may be helpful to get inspiration from existing websites, both those where you spend a lot of time and sites that have a similar function to yours. Ask yourself:

  • How is the content of these websites organized? 
  • What are the major pages? 
  • How prominent is the blog? 
  • Does the site include subpages, and what are they? 
  • Where is the contact form located? 
  • How do they use media to create an engaging experience?

Here’s how to create your first page (ideally, the homepage):

After creating the essential pages, consider your website’s functionality from the point of view of your future site visitors. Although it may be tough in the beginning to put yourself in their shoes, successful site content is laser-focused on the audience. Ask yourself: 

  • What will my visitors want to do on my site? What will be less useful to them?
  • How can I structure my pages, content, and media to create a positive User Experience (UX)?
  • How can I set up site navigation so that important information and features are easy to find?
  • What information do my visitors need to understand my offering?
  • What information do my visitors need to trust me? 

Don’t feel pressure to include all possible content at once; less is often more for a new website. Your site will likely change over time based on your evolving business model as well as the needs of your audience. You can always add more content as you go. 

Additional pages

On the one hand, the beauty of website creation is that your site design is completely up to you. Depending on the purpose of your website, however, you may be required by law to include certain content, like:

  • Contact details
  • Cookie handling
  • eCommerce: terms of service, refund policy, privacy policy

Be sure to check the relevant law in your area and update your website regularly.

Step 8: Finalize your homepage and navigation

Do you want your homepage to appear as a traditional homepage or a blog?

WordPress allows you to choose whether you want a static (unchanging) or dynamic homepage (shows your ten latest blogs). The dynamic version is the default.

To designate a static homepage, find the “Site” category in the left-hand sidebar and click “Pages,” then “Add new page.” You can choose a premade layout or click “Use Blank Layout,” as in the photo just above. Then name your page and click “Publish.” For example:

Now, navigate to the “Design” category in the left-hand sidebar of your Dashboard and click “Customize.” 

There are many things for you to play around with here, including adding your Site Title, Tagline, and Icon, adding a header or footer, and changing the site colors. For now, click on “Homepage Settings” and toggle the option for “A static page.” Beneath, you can choose the page you just created.

It’s time to start adding content to your homepage!

Once you add more pages, like About or Contact, they will show up as part of a navigation bar that is designated by your theme. In “Customize,” click on “Menus” to change the page order and location. 

What’s Next?

You’ve just created your first website. Congratulations on this exciting new step!

Now you can start familiarizing yourself with the WordPress interface. While creating Pages and Posts, you’ll be using the Block Editor, which uses Gutenberg blocks to help you add content and make your site engaging and interactive.

Since your website is a representation of your brand, I recommend building your content with a critical eye. At the same time, learning as you go is part of the experience. You can always delete or click the back button—no change is permanent, so feel free to play around.

The post How to Create Your First Website Like a Pro appeared first on Neil Patel.

Fund your Business with Crowdfunding During a Financial Recession

Financial Recession Got You Down? Then Fund Your Business with Crowdfunding

There are thousands of businesses using crowdfunding to raise money to fund their next business venture. For some entrepreneurs, crowdfunding is the ticket to financial independence. Starting a new business without adding debt or taking out equity, can be unheard of for startups. But with a little planning and creative marketing, starting a new business can be more enjoyable than disappointing. Yes, you can fund your business with crowdfunding, even during a financial recession.

Financial Recession Period Funding

The number of American financial institutions and thrifts has been decreasing slowly for a quarter of a century. This is from consolidation in the market along with deregulation in the 1990s, minimizing obstacles to interstate banking. See: https://www.fundera.com/blog/happened-americas-small-businesses-financial-crisis-six-years-start-crisis-look-back-10-charts

Assets concentrated in ever‐larger financial institutions is troublesome for local business proprietors. Big banks are a lot less likely to make small loans. Economic recessions imply banks become more careful with financing. The good news is, business credit does not count on financial institutions.

Beating the Financial Recession: What’s Crowdfunding All About?

Crowdfunding gives today’s business owner a new way to build a successful business. Don’t be fooled. Not everyone with a campaign on a crowdfunding site becomes an automatic millionaire! Success on crowdfunding doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, being an instant success on a crowdfunding site doesn’t usually happen. To succeed at crowdfunding, do your due diligence. And see if you would be successful at crowdfunding.

Beating the Financial Recession: What’s a Good Crowdfunding Platform?

Find which crowdfunding platform is best to use for your business. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular crowdfunding platforms to use. If you’re like most new business owners, you’re looking for investors. Before you start putting your campaign out there, make sure that you have everything ready and perfect. This way, you can get the investors that you want to fund your campaign.

Beating the Financial Recession: How Do You Get Creative With Crowdfunding?

Trying to get the investors you want will take time. You need to brainstorm, create, and perfect the right pitch that gets investors pouring money into your campaign. To help you get your campaign started in the right direction, use this quick guide.

Getting the Best Crowdfunding Platform For Your Needs

Pick a Crowdfunding Platform. Before you get started with your campaign, pick a crowdfunding platform that’s the right fit for you. There are several crowdfunding platforms to choose from. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two to start looking into.

And you need to be aware of what you are doing when you’re developing your campaign. If you’re raising rewards and not investments, then Kickstarter and Indiegogo should be on your list.

Kickstarter is great to use for creative projects, but it’s all or none. This means that if you don’t raise 100% of your initial funding goal, then you don’t keep the pledged money. Indiegogo is a little different from Kickstarter. If you choose to pay up to 9% of your funds raised, then you can keep the funds pledged to your campaign. The only drawback is that your project will need some minimum funding to work.

GoFundMe is another choice; they let you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding Pitches

Prepare and Get your Pitch Perfect. Remember that the content in your campaign is vying for the attention of your potential investor and client. There are so many other distractions that pull for the attention of your viewers. For this reason, your pitch and its messaging has to grab their attention immediately. Once you get their attention, you can’t stop there. You’ll want to keep your viewers engaged, which means that you need to have a great story to tell about yourself or your project.

Pitch Videos

Your pitch video will need to be good. Use a professional to film it and develop the script. Unable to afford professionals? Then try schools, both pupils and instructors.

Your script doesn’t need to be word for word but you must have points you want to make and not babble. Create a script and stay with it. This is not the right time to wing it.

Show the Evidence

If you have physical evidence of your project, then make sure to show it in your campaign video and on your campaign web page. This means an image of your spa’s sign or a short video recording of your prototype robot.

Address Skepticism

A great deal of people don’t trust crowdfunding. A photo and a tangible thing will go a long way to demonstrating to them that your project isn’t vaporware.

Good Manners Matter

Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome to everyone. Use these magic words in your pitch and in your interactions with your donors. And use them in the cover letters you deliver with your perks (even virtual perks can include a cover e-mail). You don’t need to grovel, but you must be polite.

Financial Recession Credit Suite

Demolish your funding problems with our rock-solid guide about 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

Don’t Be Greedy!

If you need $250,000 for your campaign, but you ask for $1,000,000, that does not do anyone any good.

You’ll just seem like you want to bum off others’ generosity. As an alternative, explain your overhead as transparently as possible. Because if you misuse your funds, you may find yourself in an unpleasant meeting with your state’s attorney general. So be truthful!

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding and Focusing on Your Investors

Focus On What You’re Giving to Your Investors. One of your goals in crowdfunding is to raise funding. But you need to focus on your investors. You want to create rewards or terms that will help you raise the money that you want. When developing the rewards for investors and backers, have your rewards tie back into your story.

One way to come up with a great reward for your campaign is to check out the most successful campaigns which raised the most money.

Donor Strategy

Line up the most significant and most reliable donors you can before you start. Tell your mother to postpone handing over her donation till you launch your campaign.

And ask them (nicely!) to release their money at a very specific time. Which time? The first or final day of the campaign. Separate the expected funding as well as you can. If the split isn’t around half and half, then ask for more to come on the final day of the campaign. Make the most of the novelty factor of the very first day of the campaign, or the urgency factor of the very last.

It’s like a busker with a few of her own dollars in her hat. To motivate people to donate, you want your biggest donors to show other donors that they believe in you and your project. It helps if they tell other donors that they’d best get in on investing in your company before the opportunity ends.

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding Supporter Engagement

Get Supporter Engagement. Don’t make the common mistake of not engaging the people in your network of friends, family, and supporters. When creating a campaign, be ready to start funding once you launch everything. It’s especially important if you are using equity crowdfunding. Supporter engagement is vital. Because these people are your stakeholders, advisors, board members, partners, and existing investors.

Courtesy Counts

Be gracious if your campaign fails. Even with GoFundMe (where you can keep the money even if you fall short), you still may not get enough to make a significant dent in your funding needs. If you wanted $100,000 and you only got $500, your best option may be to give back the cash.

If you almost got there with $95,000, then thank everybody who donated. See what you can do, although there’s a deficiency. And tell them what you are doing! Perhaps you’ll buy your building next year, or hire four people as opposed to five.

Once more, give your donors a stake in and an inside look at your startup. This will help them to feel invested. And they may decide to make up the shortfall themselves. Just because your crowdfunding campaign ends doesn’t mean a donor can’t send a check or buy more goods or services. If that comes about, then politeness is crucial.

Financial Recession Credit Suite

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Beating the Financial Recession: Finding Influencers

Get to know Notable Investors. Get the attention of people who have never heard of your project before. One of your main goals should be to get people, organizations, and businesses that are familiar with you involved with your campaign. And ask them to spread the word. This sort of networking can only help you.

Social Media

Share your campaign on social networks and ask your friends and family to do so, too. Tweet the link. Add it as a Facebook status. Turn it into a Tumblr blog post or a snap on Snapchat or publish a blog post about it. Ask your network to distribute the link. The best technique to get your network to help you out is by assisting them in return. If your nephew’s band is on Facebook, share their page, or tweet about it.

Be a cooperative member of your own personal community. Then your online community will be more likely to help you out when you ask. And rerun these social media posts. Consider time zones and our all-too busy lives. People might not see your message the first time around. Mix it up and send it at irregular hours. Use scheduling software such as HootSuite for this. This includes what is the middle of the night where you live.

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding Strategy

Plan your Marketing and Outreach Strategy. You will need to put hours into creatively marketing your campaign before it launches. Successful campaign owners spend hours developing a plan that will market their campaign. And they have a defined goal that raises funding efforts both online and offline.

COVID-19 funding Credit Suite

Demolish your funding problems with our rock-solid guide about 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

Stretch Goals

Your stretch goals should be a mix of easy to get and pie in the sky. If you are crowdfunding for $100,000, a pretty easy to meet stretch goal is $125,000.

Pie in the sky will be more like $300,000. Make it clear what you will do with any added cash if you are fortunate enough to get it. Will you buy the property your startup is in? Hire five more people? Replace your worn out equipment? Open a brand-new market on some other continent? Let your donors know what you are striving for, so they can dream with you.

Beating the Financial Recession: Takeaways

Starting a new business venture doesn’t have to be restrictive or stressful. This is especially when you know how to use crowdfunding and its various platforms. Crowdfunding can be another way to fund your business or a new project without having to pay for upfront marketing costs. And you get to keep your equity!

As a business owner, you should always look for ways to grow your business. And by using crowdfunding you can provide your business with new avenues to get funding.

The post Fund your Business with Crowdfunding During a Financial Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

5 Companies that Build Business Credit

Building business credit is not hard, if you know what you are doing.  It doesn’t happen without some intentional action on your part.  You need to know how to set up your business, and then you need to do business with companies that build business credit. 

How to Use Companies that Build Business Credit to Your Advantage 

It can seem almost impossible to get business without business credit.  They cannot get approved for accounts because they do have business credit.  But they do not have business credit because they do not have accounts reporting positive payment history. 

What do you think of when you hear about companies that help build business credit?  Probably  not what they actually are.  These are companies that will offer net terms on invoices without a credit check. Then they will report your payments on those invoices to business credit reporting agencies.  Of course, they have to reduce risk in other ways since there is no credit check.  They may require a minimum order, a certain amount of pre orders, a minimum amount of time in business, or any number of things. 
Companies that Build Business Credit

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. 

Why Business Credit?

What is business credit, and why do you need it?  Many business owners ask themselves this very question, especially if they have good personal credit.   They think they can get all the business funding they need with their personal credit, and fail to understand the need for business credit.  

The thing is, you need your personal credit for personal things, like buying a house and a car.  Generally, business expenses are much higher than personal ones.  They can eat up personal credit limits in a heartbeat.  This means your balances are always hovering at your limit, even if you make payments like you should.

With personal credit, this means your debt-to-credit ratio is always high, which knocks your personal credit score down.  Then, not only do you not have the open credit you need to handle your personal finances, you also ruin your personal credit score.  That crushes your chances of additional personal credit, and reduces your ability to grow our business in the future. 

The solution is business credit.  That is credit in the name of your business that is not attached to your personal credit report at all.  Typically, business credit limits are much higher.  This means you do not run as much risk of maxing out.  Also, the debt-to-credit ratio does not affect business credit the same way it does personal credit.  Even if you do max out business credit, your score will not be affected.  Your business credit score is much more reliant on making consistent, on-time payments. 

More Differences Between Business Credit and Personal Credit

Business credit is vastly different from personal credit.  They are affected differently by late payments, amounts reported, balances, and even inquiries.  

Of course, both are affected greatly by late payments.  However, business credit is affected much more quickly. Late payments are not typically reported to your personal credit report until they are 30 days late.  Late payments on business credit accounts hit your business credit report when they are as little as one day late.

Here is the biggest difference though.  With personal credit, almost every account reports to the credit reporting agencies.  In contrast, only about 7% of business credit accounts report to business credit reporting agencies.  This means you have to be intentional to get accounts reporting to business credit. 

Start by setting up your business as a separate entity from you as the owner.  Then, work with companies that build business credit.  

Companies that Build Business Credit: Set Up Your Business to Be Fundable

If your business is set up properly, you are very likely to meet most of the requirements set forth by companies that build business credit.  other than minimum time in business or minimum revenues.  These things, of course, are a function of being in business for enough time.  

How do you set up your business to build business credit and be fundable so you can take full advantage of companies that build business credit? 

There are a number of steps you need to take to ensure your business is set up in the best way to build both fundability and business credit

Get Separate Contact Information

Your business needs it’s own business phone number and fax number.  You can get both pretty easily that will work over the internet instead of phone lines.  In addition, the phone number will forward to any phone you want it too so you can simply use your personal cell phone or landline if you want.  Whenever someone calls your business number it will ring straight to you. 

Faxes can be sent to an online fax service, if anyone ever happens to actually fax you.  This part may seem outdated, but it does help your business appear legitimate to lenders. 

You also need a separate business address. You can use a virtual office to accomplish this, even if your business is run out of your home. This is a business that offers a physical address for a fee, and sometimes they even offer mail service and live receptionist services.  In addition, there are some that offer meeting spaces for those times you may need to meet a client or customer in person. 
Companies that Build Business Credit

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. 

Get an EIN

Next, get an EIN for your business.  This is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally.  You can get one for free from the IRS.

You Have to Incorporate

Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability.  It makes your business appear more legitimate and offers some protection from liability. 

The option you choose does not matter other than for your budget and needs for liability protection.  The best thing to do is talk to your attorney or a tax professional.  Keep in mind that your time in business will start over at the time of incorporation. Remember many companies that build business credit require a minimum time in business to extend net terms.  That is why it is essential that you incorporate as soon as possible. 

Open a Business Bank Account

You have to open a separate business bank account.  There are a few reasons for this.  First, it will help you keep track of business finances.  It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes. Also, a lot of companies that build business credit want to see a business bank account with a minimum average balance.  

Licenses

For a business to be legitimate it has to have all of the necessary licenses. If it doesn’t, credit issuers will be concerned.  Do what you have to make sure you have all of the licenses necessary to legitimately run your business at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Website

Spend the time and money necessary to ensure your website is professionally designed and works well.  Pay for hosting too. Don’t use a free hosting service.  Along these same lines, your business needs a dedicated business email address.  Make sure it has the same URL as your Website.  Don’t use a free service such as Yahoo or Gmail. 

Companies that build business credit may not check this, but they may.  Regardless, your website is your first impression on almost everyone, and this is a vital part of setting up your business to be fundable. 

Finding Companies that Build Business Credit

Once you set your business up right, you still have to find the companies that will extend net terms and report payments.  That first part is pretty easy.  Lots of companies extend net terms on invoices.  However, most of them do not report those payments to the business credit reporting agencies like Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax.  

Furthermore, the ones that do report do not make that information readily available. Here are a few however, just to get you started.  

Strategic Network Solutions

Strategic Network Solutions sells eBooks, software, and even office supplies.  You do have to register to see their products, but the process is fast and easy.  You will have to make a $75 or more initial purchase to be eligible for a net30 account.  They report to Experian and Credit Safe.

Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger Industrial Supply sells industrial equipment for outdoors as well as standard tools, and more. To gain net 30 approval you will need a business license, a DUNS number, and bank reference among other things.  You will also need to make a $50 initial purchase.  They report to Dun & Bradstreet.

Summa Office Supplies

This is another office supply provider.  You can order anything from paper to staples, pens to printer ink, and pretty much anything you can think of in between from Summa.  They require a $75 initial purchase to report. They report to Equifax.

Uline

Uline sells shipping, industrial, and packing materials.  They also offer industrial and janitorial products. As a general rule, orders ship the same day.  You can get approval for net 30 terms when you order, but the credit department may make you do a few pre-paid orders first. 

Crown Office Supplies

Crown Office Supplies offers paper and other office supplies. They report to all three of the major business credit reporting agencies, which of course include D & B, Experian, and Equifax. It can be hard to find vendors which report to Equifax, so getting credit with Crown is a good move.  They do have a $99 membership fee.

This is a good start, but it isn’t enough.  You will need many more of these types of accounts to really build business credit.  How do you find them if they don’t make it publicly known whether or not they report?  You need a qualified expert to help walk you through the process. 

Another Option for Building Business Credit

Doing business with companies that build business credit is a vital step in the process, but there are some ways to make it go even faster. One of these is the credit line hybrid. 

What Is the Credit Line Hybrid? 

A credit line hybrid is a way to fund your business without putting up collateral.  Also, you only pay back what you use.  You do need a personal credit score of at least 605.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Furthermore, in the past 6 months you should have less than 4 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit. But, if you do not meet all of the requirements, you can still use this type of funding.

Here’s how.  You use a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to help fund their business.  If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding, and as long as you make the payments, you can still build business credit.  

Companies that Build Business Credit

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. 

Companies that Build Business Credit: Next Steps

Once you have companies reporting your on-time payments you will start building business credit pretty fast.  Then what?  Then you will be able to get approval for business credit cards.  In the beginning, it will be easiest to qualify for store cards like those offered by Office Depot or Best Buy.  These are cards you can only use at the specific store that issues them. 

After that, you should be able to get approval for fleet cards.  These cards can be used for vehicle maintenance and repair, and gasoline purchases. 

Once you have several of these different types of accounts reporting consistent, on-time payments, your business credit should be strong enough to handle whatever comes its way.

Companies That Build Business Credit Can Help You Meet Your Goals

Unlike personal credit, you have to work to intentionally build business credit.  The first step is setting up your business to be fundable.  It doesn’t stop there though.  Since few business accounts actually report to D&B, Experian, Equifax, or any other business credit reporting agency, you have to work with companies that you know will report.  That takes some work and intentionality.  Find a qualified business credit expert that can help you find these companies and get approval.  Then you will be well on your way.

The post 5 Companies that Build Business Credit appeared first on Credit Suite.

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