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Category Archives: Marketing Technology

Promoting your small business online. Five top tips and tools

By | Business marketing, CRM and lead generation, Facebook Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

As a small business, no doubt by now you are venturing into the online world in trying to promote your small business. No doubt you have heard about Pay-Per-Click, social media and other tools but promoting your business can be expensive and ineffective if you are not given the right advice. You can also spend a lot of time experimenting with out getting great results, time we all don’t have.

Here are my Five Top Tips and Tools for Promoting Your Small Business Online. Remember it is not about traffic. The name of the game is getting leads and conversions or sales!

1. A website presence

You need to have a website that says what you do, who for and why they should use you. Your website is your shopfront and is 24×7 so you need to invest in one that is professional and represents your brand. A key tip is that it is easy to manage and a content management system that you can update. Content and relevant fresh content is a very important way to drive visits to your site so you need to be able to add new content regularly. It is also important that you add google analytics to your website so you can see information about how your website is working.Here is how to do that in a video. To build a website you can view my apps and see which platforms I like or our how to section on how to build a website. It is also a good idea to see how your site looks on a mobile device with go mobile app and build a mobile version using wire node. You can also use a tool called Lucky Orange to see how your website works from a customer perspective and we love that!

Remember if your website doesn’t have a call to action you are wasting your money. A call to action is the step you would like your prospect or customer to take. It needs to be appropriate. A free trial, download, meeting, sample etc. You need to nurture the relationship overtime.

2. Pay-Per-Click

If you build it they might not come is very true for a website. You need to spend as much time on building your website as you do promoting it. This may start with some initial SEO and directory listings to ensure you are found but I suggest a Pay per Click campaign to ensure you are on the right track and for some great feedback quickly.

Maybe you have heard about other small businesses getting great results with Pay-Per-Click, but it looks like a lot of time to manage and you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Maybe you just aren’t sure you know where to start, what to do or how to do it? Pay Per Click campaign can you get immediate results. You get immediate feedback, you can see which keywords are performing and then you can tweak it very easily to get it to actually to bring you the sales. The key tip is set a very restrictive budget. Don’t set the budget that Google tells you to set.  Set something that you are comfortable with.You’ve got to watch it very, very carefully at the start and also think about whether this is the right thing for your business too. Using google keyword tool you can start to work out what keywords bring you traffic. You can also use Wordstream which gives you more information and I think is better than Google’s keyword tool. Remember, while google domains advertising online it is not the only medium. Now you can advertise in LinkedIn and Facebook. Both are more affordable than Adwords and might be a more relevant medium depending on your audience. They key tip is to track what works. Display advertising can be good but you have to be really careful with that.  It’s less controllable than pay per click or SEO is and so you can run through a lot of money very quickly and so the thing with that is you have to decide which of other sites where my customers are really engaging and you really need to know the demographics of your audience to engage in display advertising. If you choose to use a consultant which is a good idea if you are educated in the process, and if they say that they can guarantee you a 1 page off google, run! It takes about 6 months to get any real effect on google using AdWords but I wouldn’t lock in for longer than that in a contract. Raven tools is a good aggregator tool for looking at many online metrics if you want to do it yourself.

3. SEO

So once you see the keywords that are performing in your AdWords campaign, it’s really easy to then start doing your SEO and setting up an account on SEO and then you can sort of see the things that you want to follow on social media as well. So if you know the keywords that are performing for you with Pay Per Click, you can use those keywords to actually follow those keywords on Twitter and see where the conversations are happening and then engage in those types of conversations. If you set up a Google Alert you can track what is being said about you (or your competitors) to see what words people are using to describe you. Remember you should have SEO on your website as a given but tweaking it is really important. The descriptions for each page appear to be more important than the key words but google is always playing with this.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is an important part of online marketing and often overlooked by small businesses. Customers need reminding you are out there. It is not spamming if it is valuable information and you always provide an opt out function. To have an email campaign you need a list. You can start with your existing customers but often small businesses haven’t been in the habit of collecting names, emails, mobiles etc. START!! You also can have a landing page on your website with a form and an attractive offer to start this lead generation process. Don’t try and run an email campaign using Outlook because you’ll get blacklisted all over the place on a bunch of the ISP’s.  So you want to use something that is guaranteed to kind of get through to your customer and by using a good email solution and that can really make a difference in the deliverability of your emails. I use Mailchimp because it integrates nicely with my form generator wufoo and it has great social sharing tools and analytics but there are many tools out there including some fully automated marketing software like Infusionsoft or Hubspot.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the next level of online marketing for a small business. Many have started to play with Facebook or Twitter but without a real strategy.

Facebook is more geared towards the consumer environment in that retail businesses can use it to make offers and run contests. Having said that it is a great engagement tool for local businesses to share content and build an online community. Having a blog can position you as an authority in a B2B company and can gain you credibility amongst your peers. I find a blog, email and PR strategy very important for a service based business, while a Facebook, Twitter and social interaction strategy  more relevant in a retail business.

You need to monitor the conversation on every social platform. This can be daunting for the small business owner, so it is important to only engage in those tools you are going to manage and use. It is better to be committed to LinkedIn and leverage that as a forum rather than be on Twitter and Facebook and U-tube if you have a HR business for example. Choose where your audience is and go there.

I like social aggression tools like sprout social.

Finally as a small business you can’t do everything all at once so start with one of these tips and do it well. Learn about it. Add google analytics to your website and understand what is happening so you can make better business decisions.  The real measure of effective online marketing is leads, contacts in your database, new opportunities and returning customers that buy again. You can control how much it costs you to create leads and work out what is the right mix for your business if you are informed about the tools you need to be aware of.

If you need more information visit me at macinnismarketing.com.au

 

Your customers are already mobile. Are you?

By | Business marketing, Marketing Technology, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

By 2013, Gartner Group says, “more people will use their mobile phone than their PCs to get online. Mobile searches have grown 4X since 2010. There will be one mobile for one person on the earth by 2015! ” With more of us accessing information via our mobile phones, do you know how your website looks?

Go mobile is a great site that will show you how your site looks on a mobile phone. Go to  http://www.howtogomo.com The site is a google initiative and gives you valuable information on:

1. How you site looks

2. How fast your site loads

3. Tips and best mobile practices including these:

  • Keep it quick – mobile users are short on time so prioritise your content and features they want most
  • Use your desktop analytics to see what mobile users are doing
  • Reduce large blocks of text and use bullet points
  • Compress images for faster loading
  • Minimise scrolling and keep it vertical only
  • Use clear menus
  • Have a search function for complex sites
  • Use large buttons that are easy for thumbs
  • Design for visibility (contrast)
  • Make it accessible (no flash)
  • Reduce the number of steps for a transaction
  • Click to call functionality for all phone numbers

Google survey: “54% of all Smartphone owners now use their handsets to access the web on a daily basis.”

By | Business marketing, Marketing Technology, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

 Consumer behaviour is increasingly becoming multi-screen in nature. We spend more time on tablets like the iPad than watching tv, more time on the mobile phone browsing than our laptops. This dramatic shift around the way we communicate brings up new challenges as small businesses to connect with our customers.
A report by the Latitude Group suggests that:

  • Smartphones will account for 10% of all website visits by the end of 2012.
  •  7% of all website visits will come from Tablets by the end of 2012.
  • As many web visits will come from Android based phones as iOS by the end of the year.
  • Mobile and Tablet collectively will represent 20% of all Paid Search clicks.
  • Mobile conversion rates will continue to improve as more sites become optimised for mobile.
  • Google will introduce algorithmic penalties for websites that are not optimised for mobile. Affected websites will see drops in Adwords quality scores and Organic rankings.
  • Nokia will announce plans to release Android based handsets following low consumer adoption of Windows Phone.
  • iPhone5 to be released late Q3? Guaranteed to get huge press coverage, this will be another major growth driver for the mobile web, both in terms of buzz and in terms of hardware hitting consumers’ hands.

TV broadcasters and advertisers will adapt to a four-screen audience. Programmes and TV ads will increasingly be augmented with tablet and Smartphone based services. Look out for the BBC’s four-screen approach to the Olympics this year.

Tablet usage is growing and sometimes surpasses time spent on desktop and TV findings from Admob research
43% of respondents spend more time with their tablet than with their desktop/laptop• 1 in 3 respondents spends more time with their tablet than they do watching TV. Tablets are used widely for playing games, searching for information and emailing• Most popular activities on tablets include gaming (84%), searching for info (78%) and emailing (74%) • Least popular include shopping(42%), reading e-books (46%) and consuming entertainment (51%)People are spending at least an hour a day on their tablet and using it primarily at home• 68% of respondents spend at least 1 hour a day on their tablet • 82% of respondents primarily use their tablet at homeTablets are used mostly on weekdays and in the night• 69% of respondents said they use their tablet more frequently on weekdays relative to weekends • Tablets are used more during the night according to 62% of respondentsTablets are replacing time spent with desktops/laptops• 77% of respondents reported that their desktop/laptop usage decreased after getting a tablet • 28% of respondents said that the tablet is their primary computer

What does this mean for the small business.

  1. You need a mobile strategy to reach your customers. This means a mobile website. 79% of major online businesses did not have a mobile optimised website.Latitude Group – March 2012..
  2. You need the tools to see how your website is working.HowToGoMo – a Google initiative to help businesses understand how their website is seen by mobile users, including resources to help build mobile optimised websites. This is a great tool for quickly assessing how well a website is serving mobile visitors .
  3. You need need to get educated about what your buyers are doing so you know how to access them. Email may not be the best way anymore.
More information see our digital marketing services.

Outsource your marketing has become a smarter choice for SMB

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Maturity, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Marketing Tools | No Comments

marketing landscapeAt one stage as a small business it was possible to do your marketing in-house, much like you might do your book-keeping and manage staff. Now SMBs are outsourcing their marketing as the landscape has changed.

Here are some of the reasons:
1. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years and has become more specialised. It has become more technical with more areas of specialisation. Think of the landscape for today; google SEO, Adwords, customer databases, social media, event management branding, mobile marketing, marketing automation,PR, research,telemarketing and strategic planning. Each of these areas of marketing requires a certain skill set and so while managers can get there it is very time consuming and not a good use of the time.

2.The breadth of marketing touch points now reflect the buyers journey. Because our customers are using different tools and resources to find us than they once did (i.e. word of mouth and advertising before and now social media, websites, reviews on line, etc) our marketing needs to be where our customers are and this has created more marketing avenues to be ontop of. It is time consuming and almost impossible for a SMB manager to do this and run the operations of a business.

3.Customers do more of their journey without interacting with sales. THe role of sales has reduced and the role of marketing has increased because of customer behaviour. We do our research before we engage with a company we want to buy from be it buying a new car or health insurance. It is marketing job to provide those resources, tools and advice where the customers are looking and so content creation has become a big part of the marketing mix. Content is time consuming and these days also requires SEO and customer mindset to be effective.IBM-outsource-traditional-sub-process

4. Marketing has become more scientific as we have access to more data. From google, social media, email campaigns, forms, third party research we are now able to know more about what marketing is working and what isn’t and improve it month on month. We are also able to see what our customers want and adjust on the fly. The issue is most SMB don’t have the time.

5. Having a cohesive marketing approach is more important than ever before. We have all been to that website that has a post that was done over 12 months ago, seen a logo on a business card that doesn’t match the letterhead or gone to search a person on LinkedIn not to find their profile. Having an integrated marketing approach is critical to gaining trust and a consistent profile and marketing approach is now more visible.

6.If marketing is not your core business outsourcing frees you up to focus on what you are good at. Outsourcing can be a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time marketer and many times they might not have the core skill set that you need in all the areas of marketing. This variable cost of outsourcing means you can plug and play as you need but still have that expertise. Outsourcing also allows you to step away from the tactical and use your business knowledge on the insights that your marketing expert provides to assist you to make better marketing decisions.

7.While it might be tempting to off-shore your marketing make sure you have done the cost V benefit analysis. Some of my clients have gone down the path of odesk, glance, freelancer and alike to outsource their marketing. The regular response I hear is that the time it takes to manage this resource is making the low fee seem irrelevant. So while we are not limited by geographical boundaries any more and we can access any resource, finding someone that you can communicate easily with, understands the local business environment and has the experience will save you time and money. Keep in mind some functions of marketing are make more sense to outsource and others don’t. Marketers outsource Even as a marketer I outsource writing, design and SEO as these are highly specialised skills.

8. The key reason for outsourcing to a marketing professional is growth. If you want to continue to grow your business you need a marketing plan and continually be implementing in good times and bad. Marketing has shifted in importance as a lead generation tool and with sales being less influential in the customer journey, marketing has shifted into top gear for many companies.

So it might be time to think about your business model and what you spend time on day to day. If it is doing marketing in when you can and you don’t have the expertise then it might be time to change. If it is not at all and you have ignored marketing, maybe be it is time to rethink that strategy. If you hate marketing but you recognise it is important in generating new business talk to us.

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