GFF expands entrepreneur initiative | News | fergusfallsjournal.com - Fergus Falls Daily Journal

GFF expands entrepreneur initiative | News | fergusfallsjournal.com - Fergus Falls Daily Journal


GFF expands entrepreneur initiative | News | fergusfallsjournal.com - Fergus Falls Daily Journal

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 12:40 PM PDT

In an effort to continue growing the business community, Greater Fergus Falls (GFF) launched an entrepreneur initiative earlier this spring; a no-cost, one-on-one, confidential business coaching program for new and early stage entrepreneurs. Due to the increased demand, GFF is pleased to announce a partnership with Rural Ideas Network to expand service offerings to entrepreneurs extending throughout their 10-mile service area.

Since inception, GFF has received over 430 inquiries requesting technical assistance from new and existing entrepreneurs, and this year alone, this program resulted in the creation of 20 new businesses. Expanding these services beyond the boundaries of Fergus Falls will provide rural entrepreneurs increased opportunities to move their ideas from conceptual to open for business.

The Rural Ideas Network is a consortium of people and communities sparking growth in rural America using proven programs and services. The Rural Ideas Network is a nonprofit organization that partners with rural communities and economic development organizations like GFF to provide a full spectrum of consulting services and programming to entrepreneurs. GFF's new virtual entrepreneur lab will offer one-to-one startup coaching, business management coaching, entrepreneur roundtables, and professional development panels without ever having to leave home.

Executive leader Jordan DeGree said, "At the Rural Ideas Network, we're seeing a growing number of rural communities across the country refocus their economic development efforts on supporting the entrepreneurs who are already within their communities," he continued, "this 'grow your own' approach to economic development makes a lot of sense when you consider that more than 50% of jobs in this country are generated by small businesses. We're thrilled to help communities like Fergus Falls amplify how they support their local business owners."

GFF will continue to offer traditional in-person consulting to those located in Fergus Falls. To learn more about these free and confidential business support services, please visitgreaterfergusfalls.com/elab.

CEO Annie Deckert said, "This partnership allows us to provide professional one-on-one expertise to both those who want to start a business, and existing business owners in our community. The demand for these services has continued to increase, especially within the last six months. Rural Ideas Network provides a team of confidential experts and a setting for our entrepreneurs and businesses to access from the comfort of their own home, at no cost. Encouraging entrepreneurial innovation and strengthening our existing business climate is a crucial piece of our strategic framework, and compliments our proactive business recruitment and attraction efforts."

How Instagram Helps Marketers and Work-From-Home Professionals Increase Their Influence - Entrepreneur

Posted: 15 Sep 2020 12:00 AM PDT

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sixty-two percent of Americans were working from home as of late spring, according to a May 2020 Gallup survey, making ecommerce even more critical to any successful marketing campaign. Social channels are especially helpful in encouraging , which offsets risk amid a deep recession.

Instagram in particular is one of the most profitable sites for promoting goods and services, especially if you operate in a niche — think fashion and beauty, travel, health and fitness, food, consumer goods, home and decor and digital services — that makes heavy use of multimedia content. In fact, ecommerce makes up 15.8 percent of total interactions on Instagram, according to a January 2020 report by Socialbakers.

Here's how marketers, independent contractors, freelancers and small- owners can expand their reach and acquire new customers on Instagram.

Create a business account to draw inbound interest

Instagram has 120 million U.S. users, according to analytics firm NapoleonCat. More than 200 million global users visit at least one business profile daily, according to Instagram, and 60 percent of people say they discover new products on the platform.

"Create a business account so the Instagram marketplace knows that you exist," advises Tony Noskov, founder of Snoopreport, a firm that developed Instagram Activity Tracker for individuals and businesses. "An Instagram business account lets you see real-time metrics on engagement so you can adjust strategy, interaction and content to attract inbound interest on goods and services. A business profile enables brands to publish location, store hours, website and phone number. Put a call-to-action button that moves consumers along the funnel to possible conversion."

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults are Instagrammers, and 63 percent of them visit the site daily, according to Pew Research. Noskov's Instagram Activity Tracker lets anyone monitor a public user's likes, comments, follows and other activities.

For businesses, the tool is helpful for building a list of influencers and for benchmarking competitor strategies. Instagram also comes equipped with native tools that allow users to optimize photos and videos without having to pay for additional software or services.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

Make time for social outreach

Between March 1 and July 10, 132,580 businesses closed around the country, according to Yelp's Economic Impact Report. can mitigate economic risks by unforeseen forces. It's prudent to seek deep-pocketed clients or customers who refresh the work pipeline so you can better sleep at night. Allocate one day per week to be actively engaged on social channels or with online promotion.

If you're busy with current projects, you should still commit at least 10 percent of your workweek to marketing. You may find higher-paying gigs that come with less headache. Delegate by hiring a low-cost intern who won't mind earning money and class credits to use Instagram for business.

An effective approach when using Instagram is to first define your target buyers. Businesses can define market segments in several waysm including demographics, values and lifestyle, consumer behavior, disposable income and geography. By identifying their ideal buyers, marketers can customize messages and offers, as well as concentrate on a smaller group of consumers who benefit the most from a product or service.

Companies are in a better position to optimize marketing efforts, pricing, product design, shipping and other aspects of their businesses when they better understand their customers. This can lead to improved (KPIs) like click-throughs, conversion rates, profit margins, customer satisfaction and other important business metrics.

Who is your ideal client or customer, and how do they interact with your Instagram content? What keywords, hashtags, photos and videos do they respond to? What communication styles best resonate with them? One helpful approach is to create a buyer persona — a fictional representation of a few ideal customers based both on experience and data. By knowing who specifically you're targeting, you can improve content, sales and marketing, product design, delivery and other aspects of customer acquisition.

Related: How to Land the Job of Your Dreams

Benchmark top performers

An Instagram strategy shouldn't be set in stone; it should be liquid. You must continually optimize methods based on new preferences and trends, but once you've gained actionable insights from top accounts, you can begin to create aesthetic visuals for your .

The key is to capture amazing photos and videos and to tell stories that spark lively discussions from people who will like, comment and push your brand. Write compelling captions that convey the essence of your craft, i.e. what makes you tick and why you're the right person (or product) for the job. Display client stories or give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how things operate at your place of business.

The end strategy you settle on will depend heavily on your industry and target buyers. That's why it's important to observe and understand why top performers are converting the way they are. Something in your approach resonates with them and aligns with how they consume and engage with your Instagram content.

Once you've found a good fit, keep your foot on the proverbial gas pedal.

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