Are You the Best Leader You Can Be? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you a new manager? Or an old pro? Or somewhere in between? It really doesn’t matter because there’s always room for sharpening your edge as a leader.

Here are ten things you should ask yourself to determine if your leadership needs to be honed.

10 Leadership Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Do I treat my employees like friends or employees?

When it comes to employees, you may have once been a part of their team, but as a manager, you are a part of the management team.

This means you should not treat your employees as friends in an informal way. You can have fun with them, but maintain your leadership role and keep things professional.

2. Do I use situational leadership?

There is no cookie-cutter answer for dealing with people.

Employees need to be handled individually. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses, and your leadership should involve a tailor-made interaction with each of them. You will need to coach some people in one area, and other people may be strong in that area, and vice versa.

3. How well do I know my employees?

Do you know how many children your employees have? Do you know what their career goals are? Do you know what they do for fun?

Getting to know them on a personal level will make all the difference. Make sure you do this for all employees, so that there’s no favoritism. Take time to truly know them as people because it will build loyalty and trust.

4. Am I an active listener?

When employees come to you with a problem, whether it’s work-related or personal, do you truly listen? Or do you try to give advice without hearing the whole story?

Practice actively listening to your employees. This could be the most important attribute of a great leader.

5. Do I focus on the big picture?

Sometimes it’s hard for a leader, or manager, to step back from the daily tasks at hand.

Rather than trying to do a job for your employees, focus on their improvements and overall accomplishments. Sometimes the details of how a job gets done are not as important as the fact that it gets done. Your employees may have a different way of accomplishing a task that is even better than the original way they were taught.

6. Do I deal with problems right away?

Even if the former boss was used to ignoring issues in hopes they would disappear, your job as an effective leader requires you to deal with issues as they come up.

If there are performance issues, you need to address them with that employee and work on steps to improve.

7. Do I ask employees for their opinions?

Sometimes the best way to help an employee is to encourage them to take ownership of a situation.

If they constantly come to you with issues, ask them, “What do you think?” This is a great tool for an effective leader. Get the employees to think for themselves and provide solutions. Then, empower them to make some changes if it’s appropriate.

8. Do I spend time with other leaders?

As a manager, you will benefit from spending time with other managers.

These relationships are just as important as managing your employees. Take time to meet with other managers, whether in your building or a business network situation. Build friendships, and ask for advice. Give advice as well, if it’s requested.

9. Am I available?

Do I hide in my office, or am I accessible?

Be visible to employees, so they know you are around to help should they need it. It also allows employees to feel like they are a part of something larger and are important, and it builds morale.

10. Do I schedule individual meetings as well as group meetings?

We all have a busy schedule filled with things that need to get done right away.

But don’t forget that meeting with individuals is just as important as holding group meetings. Employees need to know how to improve, and they need to know what you expect of them. Meet one-on-one with them on a monthly basis if possible, or at least on a regular schedule, so they have a deadline to use as a guide for improvement.

No matter if you manage like a well-oiled machine or you need to tweak a few things, remember that no one is perfect. There’s always room for improvement. Being a good leader takes practice and is hard work.

A Better Leader

And being a leader in the business world takes practice and teamwork too.

That’s why our printing firm is ready to answer your questions on how to make sure you stand out as a leader in the sea of businesses in town. We offer graphic design and high-quality printing that will help you lead the way to success. Call or stop in today. CCPRESS.NET is here to help.

Business Writing Made Easy


When it comes to business writing overall, how do you measure up?  
Overall, businesses spend $3.1 billion on remedial writing training for their employees annually. We’re not offering a class, but we have compiled a list of professional writing tips to aid you in your business communication.
Even if English wasn’t your favorite subject in school, using these tips will make you look like a pro.
Writing Like a Pro with These Tips
Know your audience.

Think about who you are writing to.
Is it a customer? A potential customer? A coworker? Your boss? There are different ways to communicate with all of these people. Keep the audience in the forefront of your mind when you start your composition.
Think about your tone.

Think about how formal you want to appear.
Do you want to sound like a corporate store or a friend? Do you want to be lighthearted or more serious? Think about this as you write; then, keep your tone consistent.
Watch your punctuation and grammar.

Some people in your audience care a lot about grammar and punctuation.
If you make a lot of mistakes, it will cost you your professionalism, causing your audience not to trust you. Use spellcheck for sure, even if you won all the spelling bees in school. Sometimes when we write quickly, we make tiny mistakes.
If you’re not sure about grammar, there are programs that will help you with this, too. If you are lucky enough to have a trusted coworker who is good at writing, have them look it over for you. They might find something you missed. 
Focus on your point.

Many people ramble on about things that are not pertinent to their goal in writing.
Think about if you want to sell something, tell your customers about a new technology you have, or promote a particular service. Then, focus on that. Review your writing when you are done so that you can edit out unnecessary information that doesn’t directly relate to your point.
Don’t use jargon or buzzwords.

Your audience may not be familiar with jargon or buzzwords.
Make sure you use clear language that anyone can understand. Don’t assume they understand what you are saying. Make it clear, and leave nothing to chance.
Be organized.

If it helps, outline your business writing before sitting down with pen and paper (or finger and computer).
If you can organize your thoughts in an outline, you will be more effective in your composition. Then be sure to stick to your outline by referring to it constantly.
Watch your font usage.

You may think it’s fun to experiment with fonts, and it can be.
But when you are writing a business letter or advertising copy, make sure not to use too many different fonts. Stick with one or two.
Be concise.

Some people think that by adding a lot of words to their writing, it makes them appear more educated.
Actually, the contrary is true. A good writer can edit their copy so that it’s concise and to the point. This will help your audience remember what your point is.
Wait a day to proofread if possible.

If you can, give yourself a day to proofread. By waiting a day, you will catch more mistakes.
Research the competition.

If you are writing advertising copy, or a letter to promote an event or product at your business, be sure to research what the competition is offering.
You shouldn’t mention the competition, but keep it in mind so that your offer stands out. Be sure you have a better offer or are offering something totally different that will be even more appealing to your audience.
Perfecting Your Writing
No matter how much you write, these are great tips to refer to when writing business correspondence.
Even expert writers need to be reminded of these simple steps from time to time. Since it’s easy to ramble on, we all need a reminder to edit ourselves. Not only will these tips help you improve your writing, but they will position you as a leader in your field.
At our printing firm, we want to help you be number one. That’s why we offer professional layout and design services with high-quality paper to help you finish off your perfect marketing materials. Call us today or stop in to see how we can help.

Boost Your Productivity in 10 Steps

Happy business woman with multitasking skills sitting at his laptop with office icons on a background. Freelance worker. Multitasking, time management and productivity concept. Vector illustration.

Employees lose an average of 581 hours a year to distractions, such as cell phones, emails, and other social media, to name a few.

This is over 14 weeks, per person, spent not actually working. You might be wondering if there is anything you can do to become more focused. We’ve compiled a list of 10 steps you can take to ensure you’re working smarter, not harder.

10 Steps to Boost Your Productivity

1. Limit how often you check your email. 

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit report In Search of Lost Focus, 70% of critical-thinking employees disrupt their own progress in order to check email at least once an hour.

And 18% check their email every few minutes.

Try to use email as a reward for accomplishing a large task. Set a time limit so that you don’t get caught up in social media. Then, go ahead and turn it off until your task is done.  

2. Get up and move around. 

Getting a little exercise is shown to improve concentration.

So, get up and make a cup of coffee or get a glass of water. However, use this as a break after you’ve finished a task. 

3. Quit multi-tasking.

Research shows that productivity can be reduced by as much as 40% by the mental blocks created when people switch tasks.

Try to finish one task before starting something else, which can take discipline.

4. Make a to-do list at night. 

Not only will this will help you relax and be able to sleep better, but it will help you get right to work in the morning without having to figure out where to start the day.

A word of caution, though, is to make sure your list isn’t overwhelming. Make sure it’s attainable. Cross off items on your list that are repetitive and don’t need to be done tomorrow.

5. Delegate tasks to capable people. 

If you micromanage, you will waste more of your valuable time because you will be watching over the other person’s shoulder.

However, if you truly delegate, you will free up your time. Pick someone you trust, then let them handle the task.

6.  Plan your phone calls.

Even if you don’t have a secretary to hold your calls, you do have the ability to turn off your ringer.

Set aside a certain time each day in which you will make your phone calls. It’s okay to use voice mail as long as you return those calls later during your scheduled time.

7. Get enough sleep at night. 

It may sound crazy, but 70% of Americans admitted to sleeping on the job in a survey done by William A. Anthony, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and director of Boston University’s Center for Psychological Rehabilitation.

It should go without saying, but make sure you get enough sleep at night to be more productive during the day. Set a schedule for bedtime and stick to it, then your body will get used to it.

A lack of sleep decreases your concentration, working memory, mathematical capacity, and logical reasoning. Shoot for seven to nine hours of sleep per night for ages 27 to 64, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

8. Decorate your office area with aesthetically pleasing elements. 

Grab some plants, candles, pictures, and anything else that puts you at ease.

By doing this, it can increase productivity by up to 15 %. It will help put you in a positive mood, which helps boost productivity.

9. Minimize interruptions as much as possible. 

It may seem trivial, but when coworkers pop their heads into your office to chat, it takes away from your productivity.

Keep your office door shut when you are working on an important project. If that’s not an option, choose to work at home until you are finished.

10. Set a timer. 

Research says that only around 17% of people can accurately estimate the passage of time.

With this said, you should set a timer for about 25 minutes up to 90 minutes maximum, with a 5-minute break afterward. This should help keep you on track and be more productive.

Saving Time Matters

Saving time is important when it comes to business.

And we want to see you succeed. That’s why we offer so many services to take projects off your plate. Our professional staff understands that your time is precious, and we make it easy to get your printing done right the first time. Call us today so we can help boost your productivity. 

How-To Tips for Pain-Free Print Ordering

When you’re ready to bring your creative ideas to life in print, these tips will ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. 

Always Include High-Resolution Images

If you have specific images you want to be included in your print marketing, you need to use high-quality photos. If the images are not clear enough, they will not turn out well when printing. A few tips to keep in mind include:

  • Stay away from random images you find on the internet, as these usually do not show up clearly on the final print.
  • Use JPEG or TIFF files for your prints because these are easy and familiar file formats for the professional service.
  • Take advantage of preflight tools that can help you catch issues with your images before you submit them.

If you use high-resolution images, you place your order in the best position possible to be successful. 

Do Not Drag Logos Off of Your Website

If you are ordering branded content, you need to think carefully about where your logo comes from.

Ideally, you should use a high-resolution image or a preferable vector version of your logo. When you submit this image, try to avoid scanning your letterhead. Do not drag the logo off of your email signature or your website. Otherwise, this is not going to produce a high-quality image.

If you have questions about how to include the correct vector version of your logo, reach out to us ahead of time. 

Make Sure the Files Have Been Packaged in an Organized Way

When submitting a folder full of files to be printed, make sure they are organized clearly.

Go through the folder ahead of time, making sure you remove any old versions that should not be printed. If you include multiple versions of the same file, it will be more challenging to determine which one you want to use. 

If you have specialty fonts you want to be included, make sure you specify them. Ideally, the files you submit should already contain the fonts you want to use. This will ensure you are happy with the finished product. 

Ask Questions

When it comes to ordering professional print products, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

You need to know what you are ordering. If something is not clear to you, or if you do not understand specific jargon, make sure to ask. That way, you are not blindsided by the final product. If you think we need to know something before we start your order, make us aware. We want you to be delighted with the result.

Ready to get started? Give Patti or Greg a call today!

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis 

Whether you’re starting a business, you’ve been around for 100+ years, or you’re somewhere in between, it’s important to conduct a competitive analysis.

A competitive analysis allows you to see gaps within the market that you can take advantage of. You can find ways to improve your business, create a better marketing strategy, and ultimately produce a stronger business.

Although time-consuming, breaking down the process into steps will make it more manageable. 

Tips to Help You Analyze the Competition

Find Businesses

Find businesses similar to your own.

These competitors will help you learn valuable information. When scoping out the competition, try using such tools as web searches, social media, and websites specifically geared to help answer your questions about other businesses. 

When looking for competitors, keep in mind that they can be divided into two categories: direct and indirect.

  • Direct competitors sell the same products as you to a similar customer base.
  • Indirect competitors sell similar products to a different customer sector.

Research the Business 

Now, it’s time to collect data on the businesses you’ve found.

Look at their online presence. Is their website consumer-friendly? Do they have social media accounts? How often do they interact with their customers? Research how happy their customers are.

Look up online reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, and Instagram. Try reaching out to the customers who left negative reviews to learn more about their experience and direct them to your own business. Throughout this process, try to brainstorm ways your business could do better. 

Follow the SWOT framework 

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

This is an invaluable framework to keep in mind as you research businesses. SWOT is fairly straightforward:

  • Strengths are factors that set the business apart from others.
  • Weaknesses are areas the business falters in.
  • Opportunities are external factors that give the business a competitive advantage.
  • Threats are external factors that could potentially harm businesses.

Conduct a SWOT analysis on the businesses you are researching and your own. Then compare. Can you make their strengths your strengths? Can you benefit from their weaknesses? What external opportunities are available to you? Is there anything threatening other businesses that perhaps doesn’t affect you? 

Print Can Help You Beat the Competition

Print can be the tool your businesses can use to succeed.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that other businesses may not be utilizing print advertising. They are losing out on the advantages that print provides: enhanced customer respect, greater visibility, better customer attention and retention, and much more. You can turn their weakness into your strength to draw in a larger customer base. 

Create a Competitive Analysis Report

Simplify and organize your data into a competitive analysis report.

Your report should include your business’s target market, how your product(s) compared to your competitors, current and projected market share, sales, and revenues, pricing models comparison, marketing strategy and social media strategy analysis, and an overview of customer ratings.

Improve your business

You’ve acquired all the data; now it’s time to use it.

Your competitive analysis will have unsurfaced countless ways your business can improve and beat out the competition. Take action and create a better business! 

Improve Your Business Through Atomic Habits

James Clear’s widely successful book Atomic Habits breaks down habits into four parts: the cue, craving, response, and reward.

This method shows readers how they can also form habits. Luckily, Clear’s formula can be applied to business.

4 Habits That Will Improve Your Business

The Cue

When developing a habit, Clear suggests making the cue as evident as possible.

A cue is an outside stimulus that reminds you of the habit you wish to form. Therefore, your goal is to make your business as obvious as possible.

With your advertising, you want your prospects and customers to see your ads and then associate them with the habit of buying from you.

To do this, make your ads big, bright, and hard to miss. Use large banners to capture attention with design that pops.

The Craving

After your customer has seen the cue, they then need to want your product or service.

Therefore make it as attractive as possible. Clear writes, “Every behavior is preceded by a prediction… every purchase is preceded by a prediction. The customer does not buy your product; they buy the prediction it creates in their mind.”

It’s your job to make that prediction as ideal as possible. Explain the benefits in a clear and compelling way. If possible, personalize the message to your client, sneak in some bandwagon advice (e.g., John Doe is doing/using it!), and use effective framing techniques.

The Response

“Great businesses remove every point of friction they can think of to make the desired behavior as easy as possible,” Clear says.

Break down the process into steps. Then try to eliminate or simplify the process. The easier it is to purchase from you, the more likely the customer is to do it.

The Reward

Make sure your customers feel instant happiness and success after their purchase. Your quality product and services should take care of the rest.

Interestingly, this reward is inversely related to the craving. If you make your product or service seem too good, then the customer’s expectations will not be met, and they will leave disappointed.

You may have secured one purchase, but another one is unlikely. If you make your product or service seem less attractive, then the customer’s expectations will be exceeded. That is if they even buy it. Finding the balance is key.

Your business will certainly improve if you use Clear’s formula. Simple, small changes can make big results!

3 Profitable Strategies for Building Customer Engagement

Want to know your biggest asset?

Engaged customers. 

The depth of relationships between a business and its clients is one of the best predictors of lifetime value. Companies with improved customer engagement cross-sell by 22%, drive up-sell revenues from 13% to 51%, and increase order sizes by as much as 80%. 

Tailor Engagement Strategies for Your Customers

What might engagement look like for you? The strategies are as unique as your business! Here is one example:

Recognizing the power of holiday hospitality, the Penha Longa resort makes December travels extra special for its guests. While Christmas decorations might brighten the mood for lonely people, celebrations are even better for engaging guests. To get travelers involved in the festivities, Penha Longa gives guests bare, shrub-sized trees for their rooms, along with crafty kits full of everything needed for creative decorating.

This is just one magical, zero-tech model of connecting with customers. Instead of building relationships with social media or chat features, engagement is constructed through pipe cleaners, scissors, googley eyes, and a glue stick.

Any human-to-human connection will draw people closer to your brand because you offer people more than a message but an experience. While there is no bond-building formula, here are three principles for shaping your approach:

1. Personalize Products and Client Interactions

Due to the daily onslaught of digital noise, people ignore messages that aren’t specifically for them.

Adopting a conversational tone can make all the difference in cutting through this clamor. Whenever possible, address customizers by name. Use photographs of real individuals in your advertising, and use fonts or print materials that make your messages feel handcrafted and direct.  

You can also personalize products to build engagement, which is especially powerful in younger markets. This may be as simple as engraving someone’s name on a glasses case or upgrading products with matching accessories. French cosmetics brand Guerlain started offering customizable lipsticks by allowing clients to choose their own combination of case and lipstick color.

2. Incentivize Each Touchpoint

Customer engagement comes from every act of commitment people take toward your company, so make your communication reader-focused and action-oriented, like this:

Describe improvements you’ve made to your product: “Upgrade today for service that’s 20% faster.”

Pique interest by telling people about their account: “Spend XX more, and your reward points will qualify you for a 20% discount.”

Offer an incentive to come back: “Give us another try, and we’ll knock 25% off your bill for the next three months.”

3. Prioritize Loyalty Programs or Continual “Streams” of Encouragement

People don’t want to feel like they’re missing out on something.

When you add value to every engagement that a customer has with your brand, you’ll create a powerful switching barrier that makes it harder for people to shop from your competitors. 

Did you know that loyalty program members purchase more often and have an average order value of 12% higher than their non-member counterparts? Whether you use simple punch cards or elaborate tiered loyalty programs, remember that people like free stuff, and they love to save money.

71% of consumers decide to join a loyalty program because it gives them money off every purchase, and 63% join so they’ll receive a free product by signing on.

Put Relationships First

Dynamic relationships are probably the only guarantee for a strong return on your marketing investment.

With each enhanced touchpoint, engagement grows, and your influence expands. Invite customer participation and watch the magic unfold!

5 Low-Cost Customer Appreciation Strategies

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.” 

~ Sam Walton (Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club)

They say every business has three types of customers.

There are price-conscious people – clients who will leave if they find a better deal. There are fence-sitters – those who like your brand but could be persuaded to go elsewhere. And there are loyalists – people who are willing to pay more to maintain a relationship.

If you move people toward loyalty, your bottom line will thrive. The success rate of selling to new customers ranges between 5-20%, while that rate soars to 60-70% for existing customers. And a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by as much as 125%.

With limited time and energy, devoting some of your marketing budget to customer appreciation makes good sense.

Here are five simple ways to build loyalty by showing customers you care:

1. Handwritten Notes

Over 70 years ago, Hallmark crafted one of the most memorable slogans in history: “When you care enough to send the very best.”

The phrase was spot on – thoughtful written communication speaks volumes. When you want to touch your most valuable customers, a handwritten note is the gold standard. Though these notes take time, they really do work.

Put this goal in your task list and pen one appreciation note per day.

2. Giveaway Contests

Sharing is caring!

There is nothing like the word “free” to grab attention and earn fans, especially when you give away something of value.

As soon as you post a giveaway contest, your popularity will soar. Try weekly email giveaways featuring business books or tutorial freebies. Onsite contest entries or selfie social media posts that tag your brand are a fun option. Or build engagement with a “caption this photo” challenge.

3. Happy Kids, Happy Parents

When you put kids first, parents will notice.

What are some ways you can honor families in your line of work? It may be countertop treats, mini water bottles, waiting room play areas, a coloring contest, or sibling discounts. Even a fish tank or a set of wooden puzzles can boost the happiness factor by ten.

Appreciate your families by welcoming their kids.

4. Learn & Share

Whether you’re building your content marketing or strengthening B2B relationships, giving away wisdom is a no-brainer.

When you find a great online resource, a quick life hack, or a useful industry resource, make a point to pass it along. Or create tip sheets and videos demonstrating beneficial ways to use your product. Helping people succeed is a smart way to build relational currency.

5. Promotional Swag

Double your marketing efforts by combining a gift and your brand.

Stick your logo on USB drives, notebooks, stadium cushions, and more. People love getting something for nothing. And they’ll be reminded of your appreciation again and again.

Show Your Appreciation Through Print

As business author Michael LeBoeuf says, “a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” Give people time, words of appreciation, or gifts and turn price-conscious fence-sitters into loyal followers and friends.

In a digitally saturated generation, print materials are one of the best ways to solidify your business relationships. Want to win over customers month after month so your business will thrive? When you’re ready to talk options, we’re here to help you inspire loyalty through print.

Turn Prospects into Clients with Unforgettable Envelopes

Turn Prospects into Clients with Unforgettable Envelopes

In a world besieged by digital noise, there is something refreshing about collecting your mail.

Tangible and memorable, print media leave an emotional footprint in the psyche. Like a waft of perfume from a love letter, the experience of receiving and opening mail is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Want to increase the impact of your message? Non-traditional print envelopes are sure to make a strong impression. When you’re ready to think outside the rectangle, here are some creative custom options:

Colored Borders

When you want an envelope to pop in the mail pile, a colored border sets your piece apart.

Like a beautifully framed photo, edge accents bring extra attention to your message. Your design should flow with the shape and features of the interior message. For example, pair bold borders with a more modest typeface. Or compliment an embossed label with gold accent trim.

Side Splash Accents

A side splash is a print style that covers a significant portion of one side of the envelope, usually just under ¼ of its total length.

Examples include:

— A colored logo that bleeds off the back edge of the envelope

— A bold stripe down the middle with a mailing label featured in the center

— Triangle accents on two frontside corners

Another color splash option is to use classic white or neutral colors with a pattern splash of color on the envelope flap or its interior. Color splashes make opening an envelope or flyer surprisingly fun!

Photograph Envelopes

Did you know you can make an envelope from a photograph?

Whether this is a filtered, manipulated photo or a simple black and white image, building your design from an image adds depth and staying power. Pictures naturally communicate on many levels, so replacing envelope text with images is a smart choice for any promotional materials.

Building brand familiarity for your bookkeeping services? Enclose sell sheets in a calculator or a ledger book envelope. Promoting your dental practice or salon? Send print promotions wrapped in photos of gorgeous, smiling customers.

Photo envelopes are especially useful if you’re promoting a particular product, like a garden center wrapping coupons in an image of a seed packet. When the benefit is visual, the envelope essentially becomes a postcard, allowing you to kickstart your pitch before customers read a word.  

Oversized Logos

While many firms design envelopes with a traditional left corner logo, you can mix things up with an oversized or background logo.

Here are some variations:

— Place a larger version of your vector logo in the center envelope, leaving space for an address label in the center

— Use a transparent or watermarked logo to cover between 50-75% of the front

— Offset an oversized logo to the left or right side of the envelope, so it is partially cut off

— Rotate your logo or colored brand name by 90 degrees and display it on the left margin of your envelope (like the classic FedEx sleeves)

Break the Mold

Want to break the mold and stand out from the crowd? Creative envelope options are boundless! Give us a call when you’re ready to preview estimates or put our full-service design team to work.

We’re here to help you craft compelling envelopes that turn prospects into customers.  

Grow Your Business Through Instagram Marketing

If you’re looking for a way to boost the results of your print marketing, integrate your next campaign expand your reach with Instagram!

Instagram is a cost-effective marketing tool that houses many resources to help your business grow.

As the second most accessed network behind Facebook, with 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram boasts highly engaged users, browsing an average of 53 minutes per day.

Instagram can be a handy tool if you’re trying to reach ages 18-44, as 45% of Instagram users are within this age group. 

4 Tips to Get Your Business Started on Instagram

Before initiating an Instagram business profile, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy.

1. Know Your Why.

Why do you want your business on Instagram?

For example, are you there to sell products, share portfolio content, build brand awareness, share user-generated content, and/or use Instagram’s analytic tools? When you discover your why, you’ll have a beneficial framework for moving forward.

2. Determine Your Target Market.

Think about age, location, gender, income, interests, motivations, & pain points.

If this is challenging, try looking up competitors on Instagram to see who their audience is. 

3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis.

A competitive analysis is when you research your competitors to see how they are doing.

Then, using this data, you develop a plan to improve your own business. When doing this through Instagram, see what and how often your competitors are posting, what posts are getting the highest engagement, what they are using for captions, how quickly they are growing, etc.

Acquire data that can then be used as a benchmark for your business. You can also brainstorm ways you can stand out from your competitors.

4. Create an Editorial Calendar.

An editorial calendar is a visual representation of your workflow.

You can develop a plan for when, what, and how often to post on both your main Instagram feed and Instagram stories.

5 Tips for Gaining Instagram Followers

Now that your marketing strategy is in place, you can get on Instagram to grow your follower base and engagement. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Create a Business Account.

Perhaps obvious, but make sure your business is under a business account.

Go to your profile page, click the three horizontal lines at the top, click settings, account, then scroll down.

If it says, “Switch back to Personal Account,” then you have a business account. If it says, “Switch to Professional Account,” your business is under a personal account.

No worries! Just click “Switch to Professional Account,” follow the prompts, and now you have a business account. This is important because it will give you access to useful features, including analytic tools, promoted posts, and a contact button.

Instagram’s analytic tools allow you to see who (age and gender), when, and where you generate the most engagement. You can also see data for follower growth. 

2. Make Sure Your Instagram Bio is Strong.

Your bio is your potential client’s first impression.

Add all the necessary information and use keywords that will draw in your target audience. 

Your bio is also the area where you’ll put your call-to-action URLs. Because Instagram is image-based, URLs don’t work well on each post. Instead, update your bio URL to correspond with anything unique you’re posting.

3. Create a High-Quality Instagram Feed.

Ensure that your Instagram feed flows nicely by choosing consistent editing styles and adding filler photos.

Filler photos are posts that serve to improve your Instagram feed’s aesthetic. They are important because Instagram is such a visual app. Space out busy photos with minimalistic ones. You can even try posting six to nine photos in a row to create one large picture on your feed.

4. Don’t Forget to Use Your Stories.

Because Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, they’re a great way to post various content and drive engagement.

Plus, thanks to Instagram’s stickers, you can create quick polls to drive follower engagement while simultaneously receiving follower feedback.

5. Add Instagram to Your Networking Cards.

Networking cards are business cards that highlight your social media presence. They are a great way to increase your follower base and sales. 

Instagram is a wonderful tool to grow your business. Apply the above advice, so you can stand out and increase sales.