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Capturing The Millennial Dollar: Make Your Business Millennial-Friendly

Coastline Marketing Group Newsletter GraphicI know there are plenty of stereotypes about millennials. They're supposed to be lazy, selfish, entitled - you know the drill. In reality, though, millennials represent a fantastic generation, one that works hard, plays hard, and takes life incredibly seriously. Given that a huge percentage of this generation is also well into adulthood, they're also a generation that can't be ignored by businesses. Below are four steps towards getting millennials through your doors.

Be Authentic

Millennials are great at sniffing out insincere businesses. I don't know if it's because they've spent a lifetime being exposed to the 24-hour news cycle or because they've had the fortune of coming to age in an era where you can find out anything with a quick Google search, but this generation is good at figuring out who is telling the truth and who is putting on a front. If you want millennial customers to take you seriously, you've got to be honest with them. Do what you do and do it well - that's the first step towards getting them through the front door.

Engage Them on Mobile...

I've had a smartphone for years. Honestly, everyone's had a smartphone for years. The difference when it comes to millennials, though, is that they've always had smartphones. They look at their phones as a primary way to engage with commerce and they'll ignore any business that won't take that path. Mobile phones are already the primary method of browsing the internet and a fantastic amount of online commerce takes place on mobile devices. If you want millennial business, you've got to make sure that your website has a great mobile version - and you might even want to invest in an app.

...and Social Platforms

I know that I use social media platforms on a daily basis, and I'm still not as connected as your average millennial. Social platforms are just an outgrowth of the same services we've used for years, but they've been perfected for the smartphone generation. Millennials like to be engaged with the brands they prefer and they like to have access to the businesses they frequent. If you want to capture their business, you need to go ahead and make a social media profile. Like most things millennials love, these platforms are low cost with high rewards - you don't have an excuse to ignore them.

Don't Be Evil

If you remember back to when Google first started, their prime operating principle was 'don't be evil'. It's a simple phrase, but it's something that matters a lot to millennials. This is a generation that actually cares about how your business is run and how you treat your employees, so try to be one of the good guys whenever you can. This generation gives you a great opportunity to stick to your principles and be rewarded - something that's not always common in the business world.

Millennials care about every dollar they spend, so make sure you keep that in mind. Make it easier for them to shop with you, but also make it easier for them to care about your business. If you can capture this generation's hearts, you can capture their spending power.

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Passion Is Contagious

Coastline Marketing Group Newsletter GraphicAnyone who doesn't believe that running a business is hard has never run a business. Between the uncertainty of customer demand, the challenges of local competition, the burden of paperwork, the difficulties of managing employees and the never-ending cries of your bottom line, there's no end to the obstacles that crop up on a daily basis. If you find yourself struggling to devote yourself to your business, it's important to rediscover the passion that led you to create your business in the first place.

When you love and care about something, it shows through your actions and your attitudes. Passion attracts people in a way that nothing else can. It bleeds through in the small touches that show your customers that you care, such as a well-kept shop or a personalized note at the end of each invoice. When your customers can tell that you're passionate about your business, they'll respond through visiting more frequently and using your services more often. Sharing your passion with your customers invites them to become a part of the story of your business; in the age of social media, bringing your customers into your own story gives them a reason to do business with you rather than with a faceless online entity. Your customers are people, and one hundred times out of a hundred, they would prefer to be doing business with someone who cares about their business and treats them as an individual rather than a transaction. They're more likely to feel respected and valued when you put obvious care and energy into your business. For example, if you own a tropical fish shop, customers will be more likely to visit you if they can see evidence of your passion in the form of a well-organized shop, tanks that are clean, and fish that are healthy and attractive.

Don't Do It For the Money

It's obviously important to bring in enough money to pay your bills, but there are easier ways to bring in money than running a business. If money is your only goal, you won't have the drive necessary to outlast the bumps that inevitably accompany business. Passion provides that extra push to get over the walls that sometimes seem insurmountable. If you realize that you don't have the passion to get through tough times, you'll be better off finding a way to get out of your business.

Rediscovering the passion behind your business will pay dividends to both your bottom line and your personal satisfaction. If you're struggling with giving your business the devotion it deserves, going back to your roots can help you kick-start your motivation.

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Facebook Is Only 1% Done

Coastline Marketing Group Newsletter GraphicFacebook is a great tool. It allows you to keep in touch with your friends and grow your business. It has a lot of growing to do, however. If you take a look at WeChat, an app in China, you can see where Facebook is heading and how this tool is ultimately going to help you take your business to the next level.

What is WeChat?

WeChat is an app that has 700 million users. It is what the East is using instead of Facebook. It is packed with a lot of features that makes it possible for people to enjoy group chat, be entertained throughout the day and connect their bank information to it.

WeChat is allowing people to live in a cashless society because of the super app’s functions. There are a lot of apps that the Western world is using and none of them compare to WeChat. It truly has everything that a person could ask for – and Facebook has seen what it does and how wildly popular it is across China.

What are Its Features?

WeChat uses a lot of different features in order to help its members compete. Users have the ability to store their financial information on it to make purchases without a credit card in hand. Tencent, the company behind WeChat, also introduced a payment system for ecommerce. All of the online purchasescan be run directly through the app.

Networking is made easier with WeChat as well. A person has the ability to use a shake function so that contacts are linked with other users.

The list of features go on and on. Various people in Silicon Valley have already chosen to give up Facebook and switch right to WeChat. More people in China use mobile phones and shop online than  those in the U.S. The Eastern World is becoming more innovative, so Facebook has a lot of catching up to do.

Where is Facebook Headed?

Facebook has already taken steps to make itself bigger and better. They acquired WhatsApp in 2015, which was actually inspired by WeChat. They are also looking at online-to-offline messaging, digital content and finance.

Facebook is at approximately one percent of its potential. As it starts to add features to be more like WeChat, you might notice that it will be easier for you to start getting involved in ecommerce and more through the social media platform. It’s innovative, and that’s what people like about it.

You don’t have to be the best sales person in the world. You don’t have to be the savviest entrepreneur. What you do have to be is aware of what’s available to you. Various tools can give you the power to connect and the power to sell. WeChat is a great tool and Facebook is starting to build new features that you might soon be able to take advantage of.



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Do You Work In Your Business Or On Your Business?

Coastline Marketing Group Newsletter GraphicAs a business owner, you have a responsibility as both a manager and an employee. If you are running the company yourself, you may play the role of customer service representative, sales manager and technical support. With so much to do each day, it can be hard to work on your business as much as you work in your business. What are some steps that you can take to shift your focus back to growing your company?

Hire Employees to Help With the Workload

Yes, employees do cost money. However, by attempting to run the business by yourself, you are robbing your customers of a quality buying experience. Just like you don't like long lines at the store or being put on hold for an hour, your customers don't want to deal with that either. By hiring more workers, you can improve customer service, and that goes a long way toward developing loyal followers who can become ambassadors for your brand moving forward.

Focus on Getting the Right Customer to Find Your Business

If you were the owner of a sneaker store, you wouldn't want to market to people who are looking for flowers. Even if you had 1,000 people in your store per hour, that traffic wouldn't lead to a lot of sales. Therefore, your advertising and marketing dollars would be wasted.

Instead of focusing on increasing customer traffic to your online store or physical store location, focus on finding a customer who wants or needs what you sell. In addition to increasing sales and getting a larger return on your marketing investment, those who find your company will be more receptive to your brand and its message.

Unfortunately, so many business owners get bogged down working in their businesses that they neglect to identify or market to their target customer. By taking a step back, you free yourself up to learn about marketing techniques that work in 2017 and why you need to be constantly evolving your strategy.

The Market Is Always Evolving and Changing

Spending too much time working in your business may cause you to stop making new products or improving on the ones that you offer. That is practically a death sentence for any company. If one thing is certain in the business world, nothing stays the same for very long. Social media is a fine example of how fast innovation can change the business world.

A decade ago, MySpace was the popular social media site that everyone flocked to. However, Facebook came about to take over its market share before companies like SnapChat and Instagram carved out their own niches. MySpace died out because it didn't adapt fast enough while Facebook is still around because it evolved to meet market demands. To create a successful company, you have to work on your business as much or more than you work in your business. Neglecting to do so could result in a poor experience for customers or a loss of market share as you fail to adapt and keep up with market preferences.

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Are You an Entrepreneur or a Wantrepreneur?

Coastline Marketing Group Newsletter GraphicWhen you decide to go into business on your own, you have to make an important decision. Running a business is so much more than being your own boss. As tempting as it might be to get into business because of wanting to set your own hours and coming and going as you please, you need to make sure that you are prepared for all of the various headaches that go along with being a business owner as well.

Entrepreneurs are those who know what it takes to have a successful business. They are willing to do what needs to be done in order to succeed.

Wantrepreneurs are those who want to be a business owner but don’t want to deal with all of the headaches. They want to come and go as they please without having all of the responsibilities of marketing campaigns, training employees and everything else that goes into a successful business.

Based upon these descriptions, you probably already know who you are.

Make Your Business a Priority

If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you need to make your business a priority. If you are all about “having fun,” than business ownership probably isn’t for you. Time has to be set aside on a regular basis in order to examine your business. You need to determine what needs to be done, and actively get involved in all of the different processes.

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on your own. You might be great at research and development, schmoozing clients and building your empire. However, you might not have the skills that it takes to create engaging marketing campaigns, maintain all of your books and handle HR and payroll.

As long as you know what you can and cannot do, the rest is a matter of working with people who are good in the areas that you don’t want to get involved. Find business partners or hire third parties to help with various departments of your business.

What Happens if You’re Failing

What if you’re already in business and what if your business is failing? 

The first step is to acknowledge that it’s not as easy as you thought it was going to be. Look at the areas where you might be struggling: product development, training, accounting, marketing or any other area. Raise your hand and ask for help from a business consultant. Look for help from a company that specializes in the area where you are struggling.

You’re never going to be the entrepreneur that you want to be if you simply wanted to get away from someone else. The “boss” is the one responsible for a lot of big decisions. If you don’t want to make those decisions, then it’s best to realize this and go back to a job where you have a boss making the important decisions for you.

Being a wantrepreneur is only going to last for a short while. At some point, you have to decide to step up to the plate, and dedicate the time to making your business work.