Category Archives: Business marketing
Is marketing online in the too hard basket? Well these days if you aren’t online your business may as well be invisible.
At MacInnis Marketing we have become Digital marketing gurus. We didn’t start that way but over the past 5 years we have honed our skills because of the dramatic change in customer interactions online. With this revolution has come a whole new way to market and thus Digital marketing services are now a big part of a small business marketing kit-bag.
There is only one problem. Most small businesses still don’t have the time to understand it and so can be paying for a service without really understanding its value. It is understandable as the terminology let alone the technology is confusing.
We help educate you to be able to make informed decisions and ensure that you receive a report and measurement of everything we do online. We match your marketing goals with the technology and ensure your budget serves you best.
Ready to learn more Click here.
One of the biggest tips is to interview your customers. This is a definite part of my approach. How else do you know what your customers want? How they look for your services? What was their buying path?
Kristin states that search engines, have lost their appeal. Buyers have changed their behavior and now turn to friends and social network communities to help them decide who to hire. Especially for service based businesses they ask questions on Linkedin Groups and look for recommendations. Consumers looking for products are going to Pinterest for the product recommendations.
“In the last year or so, something switched. I was interviewing customers for my clients, and instead of saying [they go to Google when starting the buying process] they started saying something else,” she says. “What they said was, ‘Well, first I go to friends. I go to people I know on LinkedIn.’ Basically they were saying look, I found people like me in social networks.”
“They may make their entire buying decision without ever talking to a salesperson or even going to a website. They may reject somebody because so many people have said, ‘No, don’t go to them because they say this, but they actually do that,'” she says.
Now buyers turn to their friends, they get a short list of providers, and then they go to the web.
“Buyers have these customer recommendation engine communities, and they use those to find out who they should be going to, who they can trust, who’s got the good stuff. And then that’s how they shop,” Zhivago says.
Marketers and sellers need to wake up to this, she says. They can’t pretend buyer behavior hasn’t changed. If they ignore it, they won’t be part of their conversations and won’t have a clue about what buyers really want.
Listen as Zhivago discusses:
- How buyer behavior has changed
- What marketers must do to adapt to this behavior
- The importance of thought leadership in the new buyer environment
- Why you need to ask current customers about their experience working with you
- Common mistakes service firms make
Most of you will have discovered by now that there is a real advantage in creating valuable content to increase your organic search results in Google. However, is it all about being found or is it being found by the right customers? If the latter is true, then your content should really be focused on giving customers information that they can actually use.
Here are my top 5 tips when creating content that results in lead generation.
1. Start with the concept that your customer couldn’t care less about your product or service. Most of us assume that prospects are interested in what we have to offer. We are kidding ourselves. They are interested in their problems, their concerns and issues. Create content that addresses their concerns. When you start from their mindset of ” of couldn’t care less” you are more likely to create customer centric content.
2.Begin where the customer is in the buyer journey. I see so many e-books, downloads and case studies that have been created with a “push” approach. It is important to understand that many times the potential customer has no relationship with you and so providing the appropriate information at the right stage of the sales process is critical. If you have a service based business describe your process and how it might solve their problems. Checklists, cheat sheets, FAQs and tips are good examples of how you can provide education without trying to “sell” before the prospect has had a chance to learn about how you could help them with their problem.
3. You don’t have to create it but curate it. The content does not have to be yours to be great but it does have to be credible. Often I pull together resources and add them to my blog because it saves you searching for information. Being a good curator is a skill and it is valuable and saves you (the reader) time.
4.Associate with something topical. By talking about what your customers are thinking about you will grab their attention. If you are a financial planner and it is June then the end of the tax year is probably a good topic. If you are a beauty business and it is February then Valentine’s Day is appropriate. By piggybacking on current issues or topics you can give your prospects timely and useful information.
5. Don’t always make me sign up to get the information. I use to do this. Always have a form with an email address and name before you could download information. These days I hardly ever do this. I figure that my best customers are those that are educated about marketing and understand how I approach it. To do this effectively I make my content and how too’s freely available. Actually, it is a big point of difference between me and other online marketers. So think about your strategy before you put your content behind a form. Sometimes it is worth just giving it away.
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.
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.
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
Most of you understand the value of building a list of customer contact details. However fewer of you understand that suppliers, PR and prospects are equally important. To do this effectively you need to have a customer database to manage and segment these lists so you can use this information effectively.
Today if you are a small business there are a number of resources to manage your lists effectively at a low cost. Zoho is a great example. There CRM is free for 1 user and will give you an immediate database resource that you can leverage for email campaigns, forecasting and so much more.
Loopfuse is another great resource as a marketing automation tool that is free for up to 500 contacts. Perfect to track and create marketing campaigns.