Marketing for Educators

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As the child of two educators who both ran successful side businesses, I know how important it is to leverage your skills and strengths on your terms and schedule.

You may not know that I seriously started pursuing my teaching certificate. After graduating with a journalism degree and a business minor and working in the journalism field for several years, I started the process of obtaining my post-Bach certification in elementary education.

Before I completed my student teaching, I was offered the job of my dreams combining my journalism degree and education classwork at an education-related non-profit. I love what I do.

I also love helping educators supplement their income with side businesses. After years of consulting one on one, I developed an ecourse to be able to reach more educators who want to grow their business.

This course will give educators (and anyone else interested in marketing a side business!) the confidence to apply their current skills and convert classroom teaching experience (which is really selling when it comes down to it) into growing a business.

Most marketing information and courses are aimed at people who have a different skill set than educators and more time on their hands. Everything in this ecourse can be done after school hours or on the weekends, which is exactly when you will be working to grow your business any way!

Over five lessons you will learn the basics of marketing your product or service including homework assignments to move you along in the process.

You can check out the ecourse here. If you’d like to register to take the course, email me at aurora@jacreativegroup.com for a $5 off code!

Small Business CMS Systems

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,“what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Good marketers need good CMS services. They’re the backbone of everything you do in relation to digital marketing. It isn’t always easy to know what to pick, however. CMS services have changed over the years, and there are a lot of choices on the market.

WordPress
This is the one you’re most likely to have heard of. WordPress has a widely-used CMS in addition to the blogging platform. It’s really easy to install and it can be adapted in all sorts of ways through plugins and themes. Everything from specialized hosting to WordPress SEO services are available to complement the CMS. 

Joomla
While even the most technophobic of business owners might have some success with WordPress, the same probably won’t go for Joomla. You might need the help of a web designer to use Joomla to the best of its ability. Joomla shares many similarities with WordPress, boasting a large selection of plug-ins. Ultimately, Joomla will suit more technological-minded coders. It’s a great way of bolstering a basic website into something more professional.

ocPortal
There are a lot of CMS services out there that start at the bottom and ramp up the cost as you need more features. The same can’t be said for ocPortal, which packs all the basic tools into one application. This service has also been known to provide excellent customer service for its users and is included as part of many web-building packages. It’s going to suit small and medium-sized businesses the best, making it a worthy purchase for those getting off the ground.

Drupal
Drupal certainly isn’t a program for beginners, especially if they don’t know anything about CMS services. But, for those in the know, it offers all sorts of benefits including a high degree of flexibility. Whether you’re looking for the most basic blog in the world or a complex, professional website, it can achieve that task. Some will argue that Drupal offers the most power behind the hood for an advanced site that can handle masses of traffic. For that reason, it’s a very popular solution.

 

Others
Of course, we’ve only touched the surface when it comes to great CMS services. There are a plethora of potential choices out there, and some suit certain businesses better than others. Ultimately, you need to find something that ticks all the boxes on your checklist. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get the experts in if you really don’t know how to proceed. An effective CMS is important, and you need to make sure you make the right decision.

Keep Your Employees Safe

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,“what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Workplace injuries can be devastating for employees and employers. A lot of people associate workplace injuries with construction. However, health and safety incidents can occur in all kinds of workplaces.

Protecting Your Business Before going into the kinds of risks your workplace might face, some measures can help all businesses. Many people who are put out of work with injuries seek compensation. It’s worth investing in (and may even be required in your state) workers compensation insurance. This will protect the financial interests of your business and your employees in an accident. Protection from harm is one of the main things your employees expect from an employer. It’s better to identify risks in advance and prevent them from happening. Here are some of the problems that can occur in different workplaces.

Work Premise Problems
Sometimes, all it takes is a poorly maintained building to affect workers for the worse. Some buildings have asbestos in the walls, which can cause anyone inside severe health issues if exposed. Poor ventilation can cause headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath. It can be particularly problematic to those with asthma. Indoor contaminants such as carbon dioxide, toxic mold and chemicals can also cause health issues. If workers get sick due to the premises, the building owner can be liable.

Offices
You don’t have to work in a high-risk environment to experience health problems- even offices have their own risks. Falls and slips are the most common accidents. The amount of electrical equipment can often lead to a lot of wiring on the floor. Broken chairs and wet floors can also cause problems. Office employees may also develop some problems from sitting at a desk all day. Ergonomic chairs or standing desks can help alleviate back issues. Looking at a screen for too long can affect people’s eyesight. Employers should put safety measures in place to protect workers.

Restaurants/Cafes
Restaurants, cafes and other food service companies have other issues to try to mitigate. Expired food must be disposed of properly to avoid bacteria spreading or customers getting sick. These kinds of businesses also need to be especially careful of slips and falls. Food dropped or liquid spilled on the floor can make owners liable if a customer or employee falls and hurts themselves. Extra focus on cleaning is required. Employers also need to give chefs and cooks regular breaks. Repetitive use of utensils in food preparation can cause RSI in the wrists, arms and shoulders.

Six Questions to Help Boost Your Marketing Efforts

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,“what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

By answering six marketing-related questions, you can improve your marketing techniques.

  1. Is Your Website The Best It Can Be? Have you had a look at your website recently? Is it communicating your brand clearly and concisely? Giving your site a makeover can rejuvenate your brand. Think about what aspects of your site need updating. Is your contact information up to date? Are the colors too strong? Is there too much text? Telling potential customers what you are about in simple terms is far stronger can chunks of text which nobody can be bothered to go through.
  2. Is Your Business Accessible Across All Devices? Can your website be viewed on smartphones and tablets? Trying to view a full desktop site on a small screen is difficult. The vast majority of sites are now mobile ready. Make sure your site is accessible on all platforms and devices, not just the computer in the corner of the upstairs office. While you’re at it, consider reviewing your site for those with visual impairment.
  3. Are You Getting The Customer’s Feedback? Customer feedback sites have gained popularity but there are ways other than annoying “take our survey!” pop-ups. Be proactive in requesting feedback and the more personal you can be, the better. If appropriate email a customer or client at set intervals after the initial transaction to ask about the experience and happiness with the product or service. If you’d like to outsource this aspect, consider hiring a market research agency. Market research agencies can do the work for you, by giving customers questionnaires and providing you with a report and actionable information. Bonus: consider rewarding customer loyalty with something other than another rewards card to add to a customer’s key chain. What else can you do to reward customers who keep coming back?
  4. Are You Communicating With The Customers Offline Too? While online advertising might be right for your business, don’t be afraid to use traditional methods in conjunction with online efforts. A well-placed and memorable sandwich board, pull up banner or poster might work better than a Facebook ad. 
  5. Are You Trying Different Platforms? What platforms are you already using to share your information and products or services? Have you put together a behind the scenes or day in the life blog post to enhance your about us section? You might consider putting together a regular podcast or Facebook Live video showcasing an element of your business.
  6. Do You Need To Collaborate With Others? Consider working with influencers in your field, such as a blogger who can advertise your product on their blog. Or invest in an hour of an expert’s time (like J & A Creative Group!) or take an ecourse to enhance your skills (Marketing Basics is a great place to start). Working with more diverse ranges of talent can spread your brand much further.

 

Content Marketing

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,“what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Content marketing is not just for bug businesses. Solopreneurs and small businesses should be thinking about how to make content marketing work for their organization.

Done well, content marketing can boost online presence, increase customer engagement and get useful material in front of the right audience. Channels include everything from Twitter to YouTube. SEO statistics show content marketing is growing among all sectors. Businesses should be thinking of ways to capitalize on the opportunity.

Brainstorm Your Ideas Ahead Of Time
Ben Young is the founder of a digital marketing agency. His advice is that businesses sit down and just have a brainstorming session at the beginning of every month. He recommends coming up with 20 ideas and topics and then drip feed those ideas and topics across multiple platforms over the course of a month. Experts then suggest that you use analytics to follow trends on your posts. Keep a log of which are the most popular and to which people return most often. This way, you can discover the type of content your audience is interested in, and what they’d like to see more of in the future. It’s also worth regularly checking sites like Quora. Questions often appear on Quora when the answers are not readily available through a conventional search. By producing high-quality, informational material, you can attract these people to your site. This is particularly helpful if your business can solve the questions that they are asking.

Generate Eye Catching Content
The evidence suggests that people typically spend less than a minute on any given web page. That means you’ve only got a small amount of time to capture their attention and communicate your ideas. Posts should be short about 350 words or less with easily digestible chunks of information. The best strategy, according to web designer Tom Warthen, is to provide tidbits. Give general overviews or heading titles, and then let site visitors drill down into the details when needed. It’s also important for small businesses to make their headlines as attractive as possible. One good strategy is to use a pop-culture reference familiar to the audience.

Optimize For Search
It’s important that modern content marketing is optimized for search to get the most traffic possible. Optimizing for search is relatively easy to do, using tools like Google keyword tool. Try using keywords in titles and the names of images on the blog.

Make Your Content Easily Shareable
Once you’ve produced new content, promote it through your business’s social media accounts. This should help build interest and generate views. If your business is B2B, it’s a good idea to post using LinkedIn groups. When you post on the news section of groups, the group admin sends out an email to all members linking to the blog. The blog itself can then be easily shared, using social plugins, like AddThis.

What Your Employees Expect From You

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,“what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

You may only have one part-time employee, but even part-time employees have expectations.

Security
The economy can be a fickle thing. One minute, your services as an employee are in demand. The next, things have moved on, and they’re surplus to requirement. Unless you’ve got a job in the public sector, nobody expects to have the same job for life. With that said, it’s no fun working knowing the guillotine could come down at any moment. It’s hardly the sort of environment conducive to doing a good job. There seems no point working your socks off if you’re in for the chop anyway. Thus, the best employers give their employees a sense of security in the office and are transparent about the viability and longevity plans.

A Place To Relax or take a brain break
Many modern offices come equipped with perks from shower pods to at least a coffee machine. But even if you don’t plan to invest in a nap pod for your home office, consider finding a way to take a brain break and encourage your employees to do the same. According to science, places for relaxation and taking a break is essential to happiness and well-being.

Coaching
We’ve all known those managers who want to control every little decision a worker makes. It’s suffocating, and it makes doing your job almost impossible. That’s not to say, however, that employees don’t need help from time to time. There’s an important distinction here between micromanaging and coaching. Micromanaging is where you just tell somebody else what to do at every stage, and it’s exhausting for both parties. Coaching is where you give an employee the capacity to make their own decisions and solve their own problems. Remember you hired this person to do a job and you thought this person was the best of all the applicants. Give the employee space and freedom to do the job. If they need help, they’ll ask for it. If not, they’re happy to get on with their job

A Personal Life
Bosses (particularly entrepreneurs) and employees fundamentally differ in their attitude to work. Employees view work as something you do to pay the bills and support your family. Entrepreneurs often see the job they created as a way of life. Employees don’t want to be up all hours working on projects. They want to be at home, with their families, enjoying movie nights. Give yourself permission to take time for a personal life and of course give your employees the same opportunities.