Chatbots are all the business buzz – and for good reason.
They give customers of any-size business critical answers to pressing questions quickly.
Boost your average order value.
Accelerate the buyers’ journey.
Reduce your customer service costs.
A new report finds that a good number of small businesses (29%) are spending somewhere in the sweet spot of ($750-$2499) monthly to get the data needed for good online advertising results.
WordStreams Online Advertising Landscape in 2019 report also found that only 10% of the respondents had a monthly advertising budget less than the low end plateau for effectiveness of $750 monthly.
People have a lot of opinions when it comes to debt and borrowing. At one extreme, some believe that all debt should be avoided and there’s no room for argument on the subject. Others perhaps borrow a little too freely, taking out new financing with little thought about whether doing so will be a benefit or a hindrance in the long term.
Cybersecurity remains one of the most challenging issues for small business owners. And the problem leads small business owners to seek out managed service providers to present them with solutions.
But a new report from Continuum says the state of cybersecurity among small businesses in 2019 still needs to improve. The data suggests great opportunities for service providers who offer cyber security as part of their package.
It is hard to start a profitable business in a competitive landscape. No doubt, business starts with a primary goal of making profits. Getting these profits from the phase of no client to multiple clients is a period of learning, falling, getting through and finally managing to sustain.
Ranking a business website higher enhances its chances of gaining a lead that could ultimately turn into a new business sale. To rank, a website higher needs quite a few steps and does not happen overnight. Let’s figure out the five most common and impactful professional SEO tips that a CEO insists upon.
Spreadsheets have long been an important tool for businesses. You can use them for just about anything. This includes budgeting and planning out important marketing campaigns.
No tool seems more synonymous with spreadsheets than Excel. Microsofts tool allows you to easily fill in spaces and create tables. But it also takes advantage of some more advanced features. However, starting from scratch will not give you a productive business.
You may want to take advantage of all that Excel has to offer. But maybe you don’t know exactly how to get started. So templates become a great option. Check out some sources for Excel business templates that can help you in 15 different areas of business operations.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, owning a business comes with a lot of demands, pressure and hard work, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Thanks to an impactful conversation with an old friend and fellow business owner several years ago, I realized that I was wasting a lot of money by just having one credit card to pay business expenses.
Multiple credit cards can provide big bonuses.
Credit card companies are fighting a turf war, and they all have enticing offers to get us to sign up with them. My rationale is, why be exclusive to one bank? Why choose only one credit card? Why not enjoy the benefits from multiple banks?
Owners of small businesses should consider hiring their children.
A young person whos claimed as a dependent on their parents return can still have $12,000 of wages in 2019 and pay no income tax. The Standard Deduction offsets the wages.
The parents probably provided more than 50 percent of the basic support of the child (housing, food, clothing, medical and transportation expenses). The parents can still claim the exemption for the child, but dependent exemptions are no longer done (allowed). If the child is younger than age 17, the parents do get a Child Tax Credit of $2,000. That credit directly offsets income tax of the parents.
If the business is a sole owner business, a single member LLC or a partnership owned only by the childs parents, there are no payroll taxes for the child or the employer to pay on the wages.
As a (new) small business owner myself, I am very much talking from experience with these stay sane tips. You will find that you can never prevent work from piling up but you can lay down some strategies that will help you manage the work.
You need to consider your own state of mind and do what is best for you. Whatever your goal is in a business, your dream will eventually turn into an illusion when you become overwhelmed. There are a few secrets to staying sane by breaking up stress. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Owning and operating a small business is challenging in today’s market. And common issues that small business leaders often must handle on their own are the countless HR tasks and responsibilities that take a significant amount of time and energy to properly manage.
The frustration and stress involved with modern HR has resulted in an increase in the use of outsourcing solutions. But one in particular can prove to be valuable to small employers: professional employer organizations (PEO).
A Small Business can be identified as a being a privately-owned corporation, partnership, or sole proprietor that have fewer staff and less annual revenue than a regular-sized corporation. The European Union (EU) defines a small business as one with under 50 employees.
Small business or as they are sometimes known, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute 47% of revenue to the U.K. economy. They have a key role in boosting productivity but need support to expand activities and increase their economic impact.
Smart companies are not just those that have intelligent leaders. They also have systems, tools and proper planning in place that allow every department or function to run together seamlessly. To become a smart company, you need to integrate smart ideas into every facet of your business. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community.
Manage Your Website Effectively
Your website is one of the most important tools your small business has. To manage it effectively, you need access to the right tools. In this WP Buffs post, Brenda Barron provides a full explanation and walk-through of GoDaddy Pro, so you can see if it may be helpful for your business.
SBDC Centers offer free consulting and free or low-cost training. (Find yours here.) Their results speak for themselves: SBDC clients grow sales by an average 18.1%, which is 4.3 times the national average. March 20th is SBDC Day, and to celebrate, we assembled some tips from their experts.
Small businesses can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies because they often do not have sophisticated and comprehensive systems to protect themselves from hackers, viruses, malware and whats called ransomware. And owners who are focused on customers and employees may not ensure that their defenses are up to date.
But there are things small businesses can do to improve cybersecurity.
Whether you are an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? Would you attract better talent in Austin or Atlanta? With the new Surge Cities Index, Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome crunched the data to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators–from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. Finally, here’s the smartest way to answer the age-old question: Where should you go next?
We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.
Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life.
Big companies often have big perks. That is especially true in the technology Opens a New Window. space, where free meals, gyms, and even day care are quite common. Even more traditional large companies that do not offer those kinds of benefits still have things that smaller businesses Opens a New Window. do not — there are more opportunities for advancement, more training opportunities, and maybe even the option of transferring to another location.
The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees.
This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce sites to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do the heavy lifting.
Some small businesses have already created a digital presence. And the job of sales and marketing generally goes to in-house staff. This job often goes to employees with the necessary skill sets or to someone learning on the job. But remember how important these positions figure in the company’s growth.
Billing your customers is, of course, vital — but even more critical is getting paid for those bills. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, there are more payment tools and platforms to choose from to help find the perfect option for your business based on how many payments you receive, the type of business you have and your budget.
Ever wonder how people get chosen to speak at TED? Well, it is curator Chris Andersons job to weed through the thousands upon thousands of possibilities and choose who will appear on the events prestigious main stage. Clearly, the guy is amazing at separating the wheat from the intellectual chaff.
Which is why TED fans (or anyone looking to make themselves smarter and more aware in easily digestible 20-minute chunks) should pay attention to Andersons picks for the 10 best TED talks of 2018. Touching on topics ranging from astronomy to social justice to artificial intelligence, they are guaranteed to change how you think about the world.
Switching careers can feel intimidating, but you have got to make some moves if you’re spinning your wheels at your current job. Tech industry jobs are hot right now, and you can make great money once you’ve got the know-how to compete with other tech candidates. Here’s a breakdown of the fields with the best opportunities.
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:
1. Aggressive Marketing
It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.
But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.
Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.
1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.
Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.
Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.
Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.
But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.
Here are some sure-fire tips for improving your productivity.
Productivity is all about efficiency — doing more, faster and with less. Here are three simple productivity tips that will help you organize your work life.
- Use your commuting time to complete simple tasks. During my morning subway ride, I go through my inbox and mark messages I need to respond to. By the time I get to work, I’m ready to respond.
- Work “offsite” when it makes sense. When you need to write a document or research a topic, the absence of office interruptions will improve concentration. Just make sure your boss is cool with it.
- Converse, don’t email. Pick up the phone or walk down the hall and talk directly to colleagues. You can give precise direction and clear up misunderstandings quickly.
Get more info to sharpen up your professional life on entrepreneur.com.
Feeling overwhelmed with the many social media video marketing tools? You won’t be for long. I’ve found five of the best DIY Marketing tools you can use to create marketing videos on social media. Check them out.
Five Tools To Simplify Your DIY Social Media Video Marketing Strategy
It’s certainly not boring to be a social media marketer in 2019. Platforms keep changing and evolving as a million new ‘helpful’ video creation tools and apps appear and disappear. Meanwhile, customers are savvier and more demanding than ever about what they expect from the brands they follow and how these brands conduct themselves on social media.
Ultimately, you are responsible for putting out professional videos. For example, Facebook live videos, explainer videos, Twitter video, and so much more. You would need an entire team to create all of the user-friendly, online videos your customers want to see. And for that, you’re going to need simple drag and drop video editors or tools that create an animated video from static images or video clips.
A recent survey of more than 600 marketers found that more than 87% are using video as a key marketing tool, up from 63% less than two years ago. Meanwhile, up to 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions and at least one digital marketing expert arguing that one minute of video content has the same impact as 1.8 million words!
90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions and at least one digital marketing expert arguing that one minute of video content has the same impact as 1.8 million words!
It may sound overwhelming trying to take all this on, but life as a do-it-yourself video marketer on social media doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself! So here are five tools that will definitely help make your life across your core platforms just that little bit easier, and take your online presence from good to great in the process.
1. Loomly is a Simple Social Media Scheduling Tool
A hundred little post-it notes. Tabs upon tabs of spreadsheets. Calendar reminders that clog up your phone. Does any of this sound like a familiar process for those of you trying to get a handle on their social content calendar? The good news is there is another way! Enter Loomly.
Now on its third iteration, Loomly has had plenty of time to refine its streamlined calendar interface to help you wrangle all your social content ideas and timeline into one spot. Loomly also gives you post ideas and optimization tools, management of your media library and more. They count BMW and L’Oreal Paris among their user base, so if you do decide to give it a whirl, you are in good company!
2. Mixkit and Pexels Offer FREE Video Footage
While access to millions of high quality, free stock photos has been the reality for a while now (we see you Unsplash), the same thing has not been true for stock video. But in 2019, you can now go to places like Mixkit and Pexels and download hours upon hours of high definition footage for free. Everything from animation to nature shots, inspiring city views through to drool-worthy coffee and food shots…it’s all there, just a click of a button away.
Having compelling visuals is one of the most obvious – and most challenging aspects of creating an eye-catching social media video, and finding that footage no longer has to break the bank. Once you’ve downloaded as much free HD video content as your hard drive can handle, make sure you check out this handy little video resize tool from Kapwing. Whether it’s for your Twitter or Facebook feed, Instagram TV or story, Kapwing has you and your precious moving pixels covered.
3. Placeit Video Maker Makes You an Instagram Story Posting Pro
So you’ve planned out your social content and got your video assets ready to go…but now you need to go and actually make it. If you’re a DIY marketer, the chances are you don’t have readily available access to a videographer and full video editing suite. This is where the Placeit Video Maker really shines, providing a browser-based video maker that requires no technical skills and can bridge the gap between your video editing skills and your tight marketing budget. Whether it’s an Instagram story or a slideshow display, simply choose from the thousands of templates, customize with your choice of fonts, colors, images, and transitions……and just like that, you will have created a high-quality, on-trend video. It even lets you import your own images and videos and add a-rockin’ soundtrack, so you can personalize your creation to your heart’s content.
4. Later Helps You Plan and Schedule Instagram Posts
You’ve got your video made, now you need to get it out into the world. Many social media users will be familiar with Later as one of the better social media scheduling tools available to do just that…and then the Later team went and made plenty of social media manager dreams come true by adding video scheduling to their platform earlier this year. What is even better is that your scheduled videos now auto-publish – that means no more waiting for a notification that directs you to press publish yourself. If you’re managing social media for a business that spans multiple time zones, this could be just the thing to get your sleep cycle back on track.
5. Hashtag Calendar Keeps Your Social Media Posts Current
It’s not enough to have great content on social media, you still need people to find it. Enter the Hashtag Calendar, a beautifully designed and free resource for suggesting trending and timely hashtags on your Instagram posts. From trending topics to relevant holidays, you’ll never be stuck for inspiration again. Or if you’re always on the go, check out Hashtag Key for mobile, which gives you the power of curated tags across all the major social networks in a cleverly-executed smartphone keyboard.
Bottom Line — Just Do It
It can be daunting to start using social media video marketing. If video hasn’t been a part of your social media strategy, you might be apprehensive about it. That’s normal. Don’t let it get in the way of starting.
These social media video marketing tools are an easy way to get started posting great looking videos in your social media.
Airbnb, the home rental company that connects travelers with apartments is planning to start its own video streaming service. There have been talks about the company’s intentions of creating mini-series and documentaries about travel and shows featuring Airbnb hosts and guests for marketing purposes since some time now. The company has already worked on a show called “Home” which will be available to stream on Apple TV. The executives at Airbnb are hopeful that original video content, through its own Airbnb video streaming service will boost its brand image and show it in a good light in the eyes of people who are apprehensive about staying at a stranger’s place while traveling.
“We’re very much in the R&D phase here. It’s not just limited to video. It could be audible. It could be physical,” Airbnb spokesperson Chris Lehane, told Reuters. “The more we put content out there, the more you’re going to bring people to the platform,” he added. The room-booking platform is not just used by nomads. Last year, the company reported that bookings through Airbnb Work tripled. Valued at nearly $30 billion, the company is set to launch its IPO next year.
However, this is not Airbnb’s first step into the media landscape. The company has previously collaborated with global publisher Hearst and created the Airbnb magazine. Content, both written and video has proved to a lucrative marketing tactic. Small and goliaths alike, have invested in content. Apple TV Plus was recently launched and Disney Plus is expected to launch in the coming months. Hence, its own Airbnb video streaming service seems like the next step in its endeavor of being an end-to-end travel platform.
Airbnb wants to distinguish itself from other booking platforms like Expedia. It has extended its features beyond just booking. It added restaurant reservations features and launched the trips initiative that let Airbnb hosts offer experiences like cooking classes and tour guides. It wants to be referred to as a lifestyle brand. Considering the amount of digital content that people consume daily, offering original content to woo people to travel more and use Airbnb when they do, seems like a good step.
Get started without breaking the bank.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Starting a business can be expensive and risky, but it doesn’t have to be. Owning a franchise provides a proven business model, a built-in brand and corporate support. Here are three you can start for less than $10,000.
- Dream Vacations: Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this franchise deals in travel packages such as hotels, tours, travel protection and more. The initial investment can be as low as $3,500.
- Buildingstars International: This commercial cleaning company has regional offices in Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, New York and many other cities. Services include carpet and floor care, as well as green cleaning and consulting. Initial investment: $2,245.
- Town Money Saver: This monthly direct-mail company distributes advertisements to homes and businesses. The initial investment can start at $5,700.
Watch the next 3 Things to Know video
By Hope Horner
Everyone’s talking about video, and that trend isn’t likely to change any time soon. Google’s algorithms are now prioritizing pages with video content and consumers are increasingly preferring video over other types of content, like text and still images. But why exactly is that? Sure, video is more engaging than written text alone, but what is it about video that’s winning over tough-to-crack search engines and finicky users?
Well, turns out video helps your bottom line. There’s a lot you can do to help your site appear on that crucial first search results page – the top three spots get 55 percent of all clicks – but adding videos specifically helps increase your search engine results page (SERP) rank in a couple of ways:
- Increasing your click-through rates: Including video on your page drives a 157 percent increase in organic traffic from SERPs.
- Lowering your bounce rates: People spend over twice as long on a page with video than without.
- Creating quality backlinks: The higher the quality of your content, the more likely you are to get backlinks.
Combine video’s SEO-boosting magic with valuable, high-quality content, and you’ve got a winning combination. That’s when you create that elusive unicorn content – content with a high average position ranking and high click-through rate.
How do you get there? Let’s take a look at a few ways adding video to your website can help boost your SEO.
5 Ways You Can Boost Your SEO with Video
- Use videos on your website.
The first major tip? Actually USE video! Use video everywhere you can think of, from your homepage, to your landing pages, to your blog pages, and beyond. Because videos help increase dwell time, you want to use them strategically on any page where you’d like to see greater engagement. Publish your brand video on your homepage. Publish informational how-to’s and tips and tricks videos on your blog. Publish recruitment videos on your careers’ page. The opportunities are endless, so be creative!
- Optimize relevant information.
Just like you’ve (hopefully) optimized your website’s title tag and meta description, you want to do the same for each of your videos. Make sure your video’s title tag uses the keyword you’re trying to rank for, and include that same keyword in your video’s description, which will be used by search engines to qualify the relevance of your video. Make them attention-grabbing, so users are more likely to click, and includes words that have been shown to increase click-through rate, like “tutorial,” “fast,” “easy,” and “free.”
- Don’t forget the technical details.
Video title and description are hard to forget – lots of video hosts won’t even let you publish your video without this information – but other technical details, like video tags, image thumbnails, and more are often ignored. Don’t forget, these details are reviewed by search engines, too, so ignoring them could be detrimental to your video’s SEO ranking. Make sure to go through them all before publishing your video.
- Transcribe your video’s text on your site.
The reality is search engines cannot recognize the content of your video based on the video’s audio alone. That’s why giving search engines contextual clues is helpful, so they recognize its relevance and the quality of the content. The best contextual clue of all? A complete transcript! Embed a transcript of your video’s audio wherever you post your video. This tells search engines not only what your video’s about, but how it relates to your targeted keyword, your website as a whole, and how to recommend it as a suggested video.
- Use the keyword you’re trying to rank for in your video.
Again, this is all about relevance. Because you’re transcribing your video’s audio, you’ll want to use your keyword in your video’s voiceover or dialogue as many times as you naturally can. That means you’ll embed the keyword text on your website, telling search engines exactly what your video is about and increasing its chances of showing up as a primary result.
With these tips at hand, you’ll be ready to optimize your SEO, bring more traffic to your website, and generate more leads in no time. Whether you create your video in-house – preferably multiple videos! – or hire a video production company to create video content for you, using the right video at the right time and on the right page is paramount for proper SEO. So don’t wait!
Hope Horner is the founder and CEO at Lemonlight. Horner is a three-time entrepreneur that has been featured in Inc.’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017, Entrepreneur’s 11 Marketing Experts that Could Change Your Business, and Pepperdine’s 40 Under 40. Horner is a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc., and multiple other publications where she shares startup insights and scalable solutions. She is currently working on her third startup, Lemonlight, an LA-based business that produces and distributes branded video content at scale.
Here’s how to extricate yourself from a sticky financial situation.
1 min read
- Know the difference between good debt and bad debt. Good debt comes in the form of loans, a mortgage, or lines of credit that can be used to benefit the company. Bad debt is money that isn’t working for you in any productive way.
- Get bad debt out of your life as quickly as possible. Determine how much of your monthly income you can commit, then focus on small debts first. This will provide you with money to pay off the next debt, and so on.
- Now, stay out of debt. Minimize your expenses, only hire new employees when you can afford to, avoid wasteful spending and always have ample cash reserves.
These great tips and more can be found in The Business Owner’s Guide to Financial Freedom.
Creating videos that pitch viewers on a product or service can be quite lucrative, even if you have zero on-camera experience.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Few skills will put more money in your bank account than learning how to make high-converting video sales letters.
Video sales letters are videos that pitch viewers on a product or service. They resemble sales letters you may have read online, except with a richer media experience. Some sales pages for products and services may consist of a single video and no copy.
We’re visual creatures, and we’ve never had more visual content to consume.
The average consumer watches hours of Netflix, streaming content, and television per week. More video is then consumed on Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram. We love video, and video sales letters are an insanely effective way to leverage this format to capture attention and convert it into action.
Video sales letters, along with other high-income skills like copywriting, helped me build a multimillion-dollar business from scratch. They’ve also helped me build captive audiences in the tens of thousands on YouTube and Instagram. And they’ve put more dollars in my pocket than most other advertising and sales formats combined.
In the process, I’ve learned the following core principles behind million-dollar video sales letters. No matter your skill level or business, you can use this high-income technique to beef up your bank account.
Remember that video sales letters are fundamentally about copywriting.
Video may be a different medium than text, but the same principles that you would use in effective copywriting will result in a great video sales letter.
At the end of the day, video and copy are the same. You are capturing a prospect’s attention, addressing their top pain points and objections, then persuading them to take action.
You’ll want to follow the core principles of good copywriting in order to write a good video sales letter script. Deeply understand your market. Speak conversationally. Write no higher than a third- or fourth-grade reading level.
Pick one big idea.
The most successful video sales letters succeed or fail based on whether or not they have a single big idea. If you have a powerful big idea behind your letter, it stands a much better chance of converting — even if the other elements aren’t perfect.
One example of this is the extremely popular workout program P90X. The product’s video advertisements all centered on a single big idea: muscle confusion. The reason to buy the product over all others was because its different workouts confused muscle groups, which led to extraordinary results in a short time — extraordinary results that anyone, even the overweight and out of shape, could achieve.
This single big idea led P90X to sell millions of copies.
The big idea is so important that advertising legend David Ogilvy said, “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”
You must captivate viewers in the first 30 seconds.
We all know attention spans are short. Every marketing communication must have a great hook to reel in your audience. But the stakes are much higher for video sales letters.
If you write copy that has a lame introduction, it’s possible your prospect will keep reading if your headline’s promise is powerful enough. After all, they can skim your sales letter for the information they want.
The same cannot be said for video. Nobody skips around a video the way they would scan a sales letter, looking for the information they need. They don’t have the time.
Bore your viewers and they’re gone forever.
I’ve built a substantial business on video sales letters, and my data shows that more than half of viewers drop off in the first 30 seconds of the video.
The solution? You must grab and keep attention in the first 10 to 30 seconds of your video.
Don’t be afraid to address your prospect’s pain point head on. Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops right away to gain attention. The beginning of your video is not the time for subtlety. Hit people right away with the most arresting information, messaging, or visuals.
The rest of the video will describe all the details of your offer, but you must get the viewer’s undivided attention first.
My experience shows that if you do the first 10 to 30 seconds of your video sales letter right, you buy yourself another five minutes of your prospect’s attention.
Practice making a video every day.
The tips above are essential for creating great video sales letters, but you also need to perform well. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice all matter enormously when you’re on camera. Even the perfect pitch will fall flat if you don’t know how to deliver it.
The problem is that a lot of people think they need coaching or practice before they make their first video. It’s the opposite. You get great at being on camera by practicing being on camera.
If you want to create better video sales letters, I recommend you do a 30-day challenge: Post a video on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram every day for a month. It can be about anything, and it can be any length.
The point is to post daily and publicly, so you see exactly how you come across on video and have pressure to improve. It’s uncomfortable, but it works.
Most importantly, it’s worth it. Being great at video sales letters will take you from broke as a joke to high income faster than you can imagine. But that only happens if you take action.
Want to share your insights in a future article? Join The Oracles, a mastermind group of the world’s leading entrepreneurs who share their success strategies to help others grow their businesses and build better lives. Apply here.
Leave with great ideas and prospects, not aching feet and headaches.
1 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Franchise trade shows can be a great way to gather information and make connections — but they can also be overwhelming. Here are three ways to prepare before you go.
- Know your goal. Consider what you are looking for in a business investment. Part-time or full time? What type of business do you think you’d enjoy? Consider your hobbies and passions.
- Know your resources. Before you can decide what to buy, you need a clear picture of your finances. Do you have liquid assets? How much can you borrow from lending institutions, and from friends & family? What are your realistic first-year goals of the business?
- Get serious. Dress for business and leave family and friends at home, unless they are partners in the venture. Bring business cards. Show representatives that you meet that you are a serious prospect, and they will spend more time with you and make sure your questions get answered.
Watch the next 3 Things to Know video