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Category Archives: Online Marketing

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

 

Mid Year SMB Report Card

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing | No Comments

The 30th of June marks the end of another financial year for businesses in Australia.  For small businesses it is a time to assess the previous 12 months and plan their next years business strategy. So how are small businesses tracking?

According to Paul Barclay from Radio National

“Talk to people in retail and they say they can’t remember a quieter pre-Christmas period, and you hear the same story about housing and construction, manufacturing and other businesses. Yet, the official figures show the Australian economy grew much faster than expected in the past three months, up a full one per cent, meaning the economy has grown two and a half per cent in the last year.”

However, the Reserve Bank has cut interest rates several times this year underpinning a low consumer confidence in spending. While Australia seems to be holding up, what is happening to economies overseas is affecting our buying habits. So what exactly is the small business owner facing and what should we be doing about it?

1. Buying online and offshoring. There is a define trend for purchasing online. Thankfully most of this online shopping still remains in Australia but this means those businesses without an online e-commerce presence are at a disadvantage. So what should the small business do? Have an online presence is essential and using local SEO techniques to ensure that the business is found locally. The government recognise this trend and have a new website Digital Business, assisting small businesses make the transition to online.

2. Manage your cashflow. People are delaying paying any debt. Incentifying clients to pay on-time or early with a discount, providing online payment options are ways to manage your cash flow. Working out creditor terms with key suppliers is also helpful in managing relationships and cash flow.

3.Push the saving message. If your product or service saves money or time this is a message that customers are ready to hear. High value services, bulk buying and save messages have high cut through at the moment. With the carbon tax about to effect prices of our electricity you see several suppliers looking to lock us into deals that have that saving message.

4. Prepare a forecast for the next 12 months. Even if this is in an excel spreadsheet it is important to have a system to forecast business so you can predict the resources you might need and if you need to beef up your marketing. Having a estimation of what you think your business will do in 2012/2013 will help you set goals for your business pro-actively and head off potential lulls in business by putting together a lead generation model.

5. Invest in Technology. One of the key advantages of technology is that it keeps coming down in price. Small businesses now can pay for use rather than purchase software and many platforms have a free model where you can try before you buy. Looking at replacing lagging technology can make huge productivity gains for your small business. Key business technology tools include:

  • Website: content management system that pay by the month
  • Database: to collect customer details and send email campaigns, e.g zoho or mailchimp
  • Accounting software that allow you to bill using online tools like paypal: freshbooks
  • Telecommunications tools like Skype for video conferencing
  • Online learning like Lynda.com to learn how to set up a Facebook page for business, use google analytics etc

6. Focus on your core value proposition to your ideal customers. It is so tempting to try and market to everyone. However it is a very diluted message you send when you try and be all things to all people. By developing a strategy that focuses on ideal customers with a solution that is made for them your will be able to attract them more easily. Narrow and deep is much more effective especially when resources are tight. Look at the most pressing problem your business solves for that ideal customer and build a marketing strategy around that core competency. Remember, try and only do a few things well.

 

Resources: Sensis June 2012 Small Business Index

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

Facebook Advertising for Small Business

By | Business marketing, Facebook Marketing, Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Facebook advertising does work and what’s more it is a lot more cost effective than Google ad words. For less than $50 you can place an add on Face

book to a selected audience and build your likes and a database.

Competitions work well to build a list of likes and using some great new tools you can also add a database link so that you capture names and emails so you can continue to build a relationship with potential customers. Unlike Google you can profile your potential customers by geographic, and some key demographics, age, income, martial status, and even interests. This sort of targeting allow you to advertise to those prospects that are most  interested in your product and service.

If you are interested in how you can leverage Facebook advertising look at our Digital Services page and contact us.

 

Here is a good podccast on Facebook marketing from Online Marketing Secrets.

Have you noticed that traditional advertising is not working as it use to?

By | Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

As a small business you must have noticed the advertising you always depended on to make the phone ring is not working as effectively as it use to. As more and more customers look online for Local businesses it is becoming critical to be where your customers are.

The new mediums to reach customers are:

  • Search Engine Optimisation: ensuring your business comes up when potential customers search.To receive traffic from search engines you must be in the top 30 results. This is an ongoing investment to ensure your company is found by your ideal customers and involved Key word research, In-page and  Off page, strategies, Content authority, PR optimisation and Content Management evaluation.
  • Pay Per Click Advertising: paying for words on Google and or Facebook so your company is positioning well when people search online. It is driving qualified leads to your site.
  • Social Media Marketing: is important for a number of reasons. It assists with local search, it assists sharing of content can build links back to your site, it involves rating and reviews and reputation management. Ultimately it builds a community around your product or service using new tools.
  • Local Search is all about finding those local search directories that your industry and customers use and making sure your profile is up to date and optimised.
  • Conversion: on your website is a big indicator. If 80% of traffic is leaving before taking action then you have a conversion issue. Looking at how to improve your conversion involves a site assessment.

Make no mistake you still need to leverage traditional marketing if it makes sense for your target market but a online marketing strategy is now more important. The key question you need to ask your self is how do potential customers find my small business? Chances are most Google their problem or service they are seeking. Are you there?

For more on digital marketing services click here.

Build a web presence, or be invisible

By | Online Marketing, SEO, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

You have a choice to either create a web presence or be invisible. It is all about being online but more importantly being active and engaging customers. To do this effectively to need to manage your web presence.

1. You need to have a web presence that is easily found. This means knowing your target audience and understanding how they would search for your product or service. Once you know this (through some research) you can then put together some directory listings.

2. Directory listings on Google Places, Yellow Pages online and True Local will help you get found when your customers are searching online. However if you optimise your listing with key words and offers you can stand out from the pack!

3.Using social media to engage your customers and prospects is a must. Go where they are. Posting great information, resources, competitions and offers can all assist you build a loyal following.

4. Have an marketing strategy that uses your website, email and mobile to build a list to nurture is a very important objective. You can only build a relationship if people, know, like and trust you. It is all about pulling them to your service with great value.

To learn more about building a web presence visit our digital marketing page.

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