6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

 

For businesses that rely on local customers, marketing used to mean putting an advert in a shop window or local newspaper, or maybe handing out flyers. Now, local online marketing has really come into its own and provides businesses with a whole host of different tactics to get in front of new customers.

 

But, to really get the most out of local online marketing, businesses need to make sure they’re doing it right and not just wasting time and effort. Here are our Top Tips on How to Really Succeed in Local Online Marketing.

 

  1. Have a plan and stick to it

 

This should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s a crucial step that many businesses forget. If your marketing isn’t planned out it becomes almost impossible to track and measure any improvements, or lack of improvements that you make.

 

If you have no previous experience of putting a marketing plan together then take some time to do a bit of research, dull as it may seem it is a far better use of your time than going in blind! A basic local online marketing plan could start off by listing your business goals, then breaking down how you intend to achieve them.

 

For example, do you want to increase revenue by 10% across the quarter? How do you intend to get there? Will you employ an additional sales person, or will you sell higher value products? How will you get that message across to potential customers?

2. Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

  • 40% Of Mobile Searches Have Local Intent (Source: Google: Creating Moments that Matter)
  • In October 2016, mobile internet web usage took over desktop (Source: Telegraph)
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead. (Source: MicKinsey & Company)

Make sure your website is mobile ready

 

With Statistics like these it’s pretty obvious that you need your website to be mobile ready! People who are searching from their mobile are likely to be out and about, looking for what they need at that moment. If your website can’t be opened from their phone because it uses flash, or because there is too much to load then you could be missing out on valuable business leads every day.

 

3. Make Sure Your Campaigns Are Geo-Targeted.

 

geo targeting

 

If you want to attract customers within a specific local area, then it’s no good aiming your adverts far and wide where people from anywhere in the world can see them but can’t take action!

 

Sites such as Facebook and Google Adwords and other Display Ad networks, allow you to target ads using a geo-location feature, meaning your adverts will only be seen by people in the locations that you specify.

 

Think about how far people are likely to travel for your service and then target those areas to find your new customers.

Research conducted by Bright Local conducted a survey asking respondents how far they would drive to for 13 different local services. The results are below.

 

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

 

Interestingly people are willing to travel for 5 minutes longer to visit a Dentist/Doctor than they would a Solicitor or an Accountant.

 

Alarmingly people are willing to travel an extra 2 minutes to go to a Pub then to a Gym. What does that say?

 

Make sure that your location is obvious to anyone who might be searching your kind of service within your area. Don’t leave this information confined to the contact us page. Include your location details on every page of your site so Search engines recognise it and more importantly potential customers know exactly where you are.

 

4. Engage with Customers Online.

 

social media engagement

 

When you’ve spent a lot of time building up your local online marketing you also need to be seen as a real human presence, not just a marketing machine. This means you need to take some time to engage with your customers, respond to comments they leave on your website, have conversations via Twitter, and thank people for their feedback.

 

Social Proof is now all important, and online comments and actions that remain searchable and in the public domain are often viewed as being just as important as recommendations from Friends and Family.

 

Don’t undermine your own marketing efforts by forgetting to be a real person!

 

5. Be Top of the Search Engines

Basic SEO strategies can help generate sales and customers so it’s vital to get it right. If the search engines recognise your site as being filled with valuable information on a subject then it also helps your credibility with customers.

Being at or near the top of search engine rankings will ensure you get the best of the search engine traffic coming to your site on a regular basis.

It’s not just SEO that gets you to the top of the Search Engines. Tools such as Google My Business also help, along with Videos, Images, reviews and a strong social media presence.

 

6. Get 5 Star Online Reviews

 

 

Local search user reviews help build new customer trust. If a person isn’t acquainted with your business, they’re going to want to get an idea that other people, past customers, are happy with the work or service you have provided before spending their money with you.

 

If they do not know anyone whom they can ask about your services they turn to online user reviews to get a feel for how you operate.

 

90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel that they can trust a business (Source: BrightLocal)

Therefore it is imperative that you have in place a system to get clients to leave their positive feedback online.

 

Local Online Marketing is not complicated but with increased competition for people’s attention, time and money it is vitally important to have a plan and continuously act on it to build a stream of new customers.

Get 5 star reviews fast

Why Content Marketing Will Educate Your Prospects And Produce More Profitable Sales.

Why Content Marketing Will Educate Your Prospects And Produce More Profitable Sales.

As a small business owner who is looking to increase sales via the internet you will recognise that most of your competition is already investing in one form of internet marketing or another and in some cases will have a well structured online marketing campaign in place that is consistently driving new and repeat business.

 

 

In order to implement an online marketing campaign you need to invest in quality content that speaks directly to the problems that your target audience face.

 

Without that compelling content getting in front of the right people at the right time, your voice will not be heard, your business offerings will go unnoticed and you will watch as your competitors thrust open their doors to new clients that could and should have been yours.

 

Articles, videos, blog posts, pillar content, follow up emails, social media updates, presentations and proposals: the list is endless!

 

To many business owners it may seem daunting or even off putting to have to produce an array of meaningful and compelling content on a regular basis that empowers your target audience to reach out and connect with you, and trust me it is.

 

But the truth of the matter is without the commitment to truly encapsulate your audience, online marketing will never see the results that you may have been promised or dreamed off.

 

But we already have a website!

To say that you have a website is not good enough. It is not.

 

A website on its own is NOTHING. It is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back and not knowing how to pull the chord. Useless.

 

cost

 

In fact it is less than useless, your website becomes a cost that sucks cash from your business instead of becoming an investment that adds to your bottom line on a monthly basis.

 

The content that you create is the means to attracting those profitable clients. Both on your website and on other targeted websites across the internet where your audience may be visiting. When your content creation dries up or doesn’t even get off the ground in the first place you will get fewer eyeballs looking, less subscribers and even fewer sales.

 

Content drives the internet and quality content engages your targeted audience, arouses their interest, creates a desire and encourages them to act.

 

4 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

1. Highly Visible Social Proof

If you claim to be the biggest, the best or the most efficient in your niche or industry then you’d better make sure there is evidence on the internet to substantiate those claims.

create social proof

 

It is not difficult for anyone to search the internet to find out information about your business. One simple search in Google of your business name will bring back search results highlighting the most relevant pages on the internet about your business.

 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have not put anything on the internet about your firm that no one else has done it either. There are so many ways that people can talk about your business: Social media, local business directories, blogs etc that you should implement an online reputation management strategy to keep informed of how your business is being represented online.

 

If you are the best, then social proof will occur naturally to support these claims and then you will have some great third party generated content that you can use to market your business and win more customers with.

 

2. Be seen as a Thought Leader.

 

Pick up a trade magazine and look at the expert opinion articles, those people are providing interviews, writing articles relating to their niche and adding insight around topical issues that may confuse potential clients. By taking time to put that content out there they become a thought leader, the “go to” person in that industry, and when that happens opportunities and business relationships come your way.

The same thing happens on the internet, in fact, the very same content or remarkably similar content to the trade magazine article will be converted into a blog post, a video, an article on an industry related website, an email through to your existing database.

 

Staying in the spotlight at the top is not easy. It requires attention to detail, original ideas and of course, constant updating.

 

TIP: Sit down once a quarter and brainstorm a list of topics that you would like to cover and jot down at least 3 bullet points for each content piece so when you sit down to produce that content you have a starting point. Knowing what to produce is often the hardest part.

 

3. Improve Search Engine Rankings.

improve-search-engine-rankings

Having your business website listed in the top of the search engine rankings for your business niche, the products or services you offer or even the problems that your services solve is a great way to increase sales in your business. In the majority of niches there is fierce competition for the top spots in the search engines.

 

Google is continually updating they way they rank websites on the internet, one of the key areas they look at is the content both on and off the website. Is it related to the niche, is it good quality, is it being shared by other people, does it have third party comments, does the content get linked back to or linked out to other informative content.

 

 

All of these factors and many more are used to make a decision on the relevance and quality of your website and where it sits in the search rankings. Ultimately none of these factors can be taken into consideration if you do not have any content or create content on a regular basis.

 

The more QUALITY content you produce which is related to your core competencies, the easier it is for you to place in context links and also get your articles published in leading sites within your niche, which again helps your content marketing strategy by raising your profile.

 

 

  1. Content Allows you to sell the next step in the relationship.

Not everybody will buy from you the first time they come across you. In fact according to a study by Salesforce it takes between 6 and 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead.

 

But content is not just about getting the first sale, it is more than that it is about developing a relationship where that potential client or existing client comes back to you time and time again for further services or different products. By continuing to drip feed content after the initial purchase you increase the prospects confidence in you, enhance the trust factor, educate the individual on how you can help them and sell that next step in their personal customer journey.

 

 

Content marketing alone is not a quick win strategy. It will not bring a horde of new business tomorrow but it certainly plays a significant part in setting your business apart from your competition, highlighting you as a thought leader and the go to player in your industry and educating existing clients on how you and your services can help them achieve their goals.

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

 

How much does your website contribute to your business goals, success, or income? What’s the return on investment (ROI)? How does it compare to your competitor’s website? Maybe you’ve already asked yourself and many others these questions regarding your website but did it lead to change and improvement? If you want to ensure success, then make these six questions be the catalysts to turning your website into a leading business performer. If you struggle to answer these questions, then you might just realise why your website is a liability and not the asset it should be.

 

What Problem is Your Website Solving?

 

what problem does your website solve

 

Your website should verify your position as an expert, as THE expert, the one person or business that can solve the particular problem that someone has. What is that problem? What is the purpose of your business?

  • A dentist’s purpose would be to encourage and practice great oral hygiene while providing a person with a winning smile.
  • A driving instructor would want to get nervous drivers qualified in a stress free, practical environment, in as short a time as possible.
  • A family law firm wants to ensure the security of the children during a marital breakup.

 

Ultimately your website should highlight the problem your business solves as that is why people are looking for your business or service. When people find you, provide them with relevant information that matches their needs.

 

Who is Your Website Solving it For?

 

who is your webiste for

There are far too many people in this world and online to make your website for everyone. Your website is not there to attract 2bn people; let companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon worry about that. Your website it is there to attract a select group, a micro niche of people, who would qualify to receive your products or services.

 

The criteria may be:

 

  • That the person lives within 30 miles of the physical location of your business.
  • Divorced women over the age of 50
  • Men aged between 18 and 35 with income of £30,000
  • Pet owners who take more than 5 holidays a year
  • Retired couples with savings of £250,000+

 

As you can see the groups are completely different. Could you imagine sending a retired couple to a small business website designed for men aged between 18 and 35? By then the days of fast cars and even faster women are usually well behind them. The point is the website content needs to be relevant to the targeted group of people that you are looking to service.

 

Take the time to work out exactly who your ideal customer is.

 

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where are they located?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What websites do they use?
  • What do they buy online?
  • How do they find new products or services?
  • What words would they use to find your website?
  • What device do they use to search?

 

If you know your customers well enough then you can answer these questions yourself. Otherwise, create a questionnaire and send an email to ask some of your loyal customers, customers who you would like to replicate, to complete the survey so you have the real answers.

 

How are you solving the problem?

  how does your website solve the users problems In other words what is in it for me, for the ideal client? People don’t look at websites to hear about how your business has invested in a Wide area network for your regional offices. That means nothing and it does not solve the prospective user’s problem.

 

If your business solves the problem of giving people winning smiles. Show it to them. Show what the smile was like before and after and what the patient had to say.

 

For nervous learner drivers, show your pass rate, show a video testimonial of a previous learner who failed with another instructor then came to you and passed first time.

 

If you are a pre eminent divorce lawyer who represents high earning females then highlight a successful case where you have done just that!

 

Your business website should have these results front and center for everyone to see, what practices you put in place, what safety measures are in place, the qualifications that you have. Everything on your website should be there to reinforce you as the best and ONLY person qualified to help them solve their problem.

What’s the most important thing people can get only from you?

 

stand-out-from-the-crowdLet’s not kid ourselves, in most towns there is always more than one choice for a service provider and with the internet, location often does not matter as searchers can access a pool of resources from all over the world. So what is it that makes your business stand out? What is the unique picture that places you and your business head and shoulders above the competition, resulting in them picking up the phone and calling you?

 

That is what you want to highlight: your unique selling proposition. It should be front and centre so that everyone in your target audience, can see exactly why you are the very best at helping them solve their problem.

 

What is your primary conversion goal?

convert-to-new-customers Each business website page should have a different conversion goal or call to action. It could be;

  • to sign up for an email newsletter,
  • click on an advert,
  • share on social media,
  • pick up the phone and call,
  • make an appointment,
  • place an order.

 

Whatever that goal is for the website, the content, structure and design of the website should support that end goal. Why? Because if you have an end goal then you have something to measure against. If your goal is to get people to join your mailing list then you may have a goal to start with of 2% of visitors sign up to your email list. If after a set period of time you assess this and find that less than 1% of people are signing up then you need to make changes to improve on the conversion goal.

 

Websites are living, breathing organisms and are a fundamental part of your marketing arsenal. If you don’t have conversion goals then the website is pretty worthless. Set a goal and test and track your website against that goal. If your website does not meet this goal then think about making changes so that next time it will.

 

How can your ideal customer find your website online?

 

how do you customers look for your website in google

 

With all the effort that goes into developing a website to capture the attention of  a specific target audience, you want to make sure that the key demographic who you can help, can find your website easily. This means that you have to consider how your website is represented and indexed online. This refers to search engine optimisation.

 

Your website helps the user solve a problem, when working out who the ideal target audience was you should have a clear idea of the questions they would ask. For example somebody looking for a dentist might be entering into the search engines;

  • toothache remedies,
  • fix broken tooth,
  • dentist in (YOUR AREA HERE),
  • teeth whitening procedure.
  • price for clear aligners

 

There are hundreds of individual search terms that could be relevant to your business. The keys are;

  1. select the ones that are the most relevant to the problems that you solve,
  2. have a good number of people looking for them
  3. choose those that are commercially feasible to target.

 

By getting your website in front of the right people at the right time it means the chances of that individual impacting your conversion goals are much greater.

 

It is absolutely crucial to establish the marketing significance of your website so that you can plan & execute a strategy that provides results for your overall business goals. You also need to make sure it is consistent with your marketing efforts so that the overall business message or brand is seamless.

 

Just like running a business, maintaining a website is an on-going effort, not a one-shot deal. The sooner you realise the commitment, the sooner you will reduce the chances of being disappointed and increase the chances of success.

If you are looking to at least, double the number of leads and sales your website produces, what this video now.

3 Online Website Tips to Build Trust and Win More Sales.

3 Online Website Tips to Build Trust and Win More Sales.

 Improve the User Experience

 

If you had a shop and the only way customers could access this shop was by climbing three flights of stairs, knocking on the door, then waiting for 30 seconds to be allowed to enter. Then when they finally gain entry they have to fight their way through a complicated maze to reach the check-out. Your shop would probably have very limited footfall, a low sales conversion and very few customers who would come back or recommend you.

 

Clients don’t want to climb up stairs, knock on doors, wait, fight through a maze or see unrelated information.

 

Today’s Clients want exactly what they were looking for, RIGHT NOW!

 

As a business owner, getting targeted visitors on the Internet can be easy. However if you don’t know where to start it can also be very difficult and at times, costly.

 

When you put so much effort into attracting visitors to your website, the last thing you want them to do is to leave before following your call to action, either because they didn’t like your content, were confused by the layout or it simply wasn’t clear what they were supposed to do next.

 

Google’s goal is to provide the user with the most relevant and best search experience possible.

 

When a user lands on your site, courtesy of a Google search, will they be satisfied? Will your information be relevant to that search term? If over a period of time people leave your website prematurely then your Bounce Rate will increase.

 

Google is inclined to believe that a web page with a high bounce rate is not answering the users’ search queries, so the search engine will eventually move your page further down the ranking and replace it with another page that it feels can provide a greater experience for its customer.

 

Develop and Implement a Content Markting Strategy

 

content marketing

 

On the Internet the content you create is the fuel for your website. Without the creation of fresh and relevant content that attracts readers, ignites conversation and encourages social media sharing, then both users and search engines will lose interest in your site and go somewhere else.

 

Think of it like this, would you continue visiting the same cinema that showed the same movie over and over again? No, you wouldn’t. And neither would anyone else, they would simply move on to the next cinema to see the latest Blockbusters.

 

The same goes for your website, if the information is stale and out of date people move on. As a business owner it is not easy to produce content on a regular basis but the truth is you should be or you should have a content marketing strategy in place where a member of your staff produces a piece of content each week in line with the theme and brand of the company. Just think about the most common questions that your clients ask and use that as your basis of a content marketing plan.

 

However you decide to create content, whether it’s yourself, staff or outsourced, it doesn’t matter as long as the content is of high quality and relevant. The greater the quality of the content then the greater the chance of the content getting Liked, Tweeted, +1 and generating extended visibility and SEO benefits via social signals.

 

Build and nurture relationships

 

Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. Therefore you need to make sure that your website speaks directly to that golden 4% that are ready to buy right now but you do not neglect the 96% who may be in need of your services in the future.

96-percent-of-website-visitors-are-not-ready-to-buy

 

 

Take a proactive approach to capturing leads through a variety of appealing offers that target customers at different stages of the purchasing cycle. Make sure your calls to action lead to a congruent lead capture page so that you can gather their email address and begin a lead nurturing campaign.

 

In order to generate new leads and sales send an email, or a series of emails, to your existing database- or invest in a mailing list so you can inform those that have shown interest in the past, or people who fit your targeted demographic, about your expertise.

 

Make sure that you follow the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations:

  • Have the person’s permission to send the email
  • Provide a means for the recipient to unsubscribe from future mailings.

 

Email should be an integral part of your marketing campaign, as such there should always be a method for new visitors of your website to sign up to your mailing list so they can learn more about how your business can help them solve their problems and position you and your business as the experts to do it.

 

A good way to incentivise this is to provide a free giveaway; this could be a series of videos, a report or an eBook that would be of value to your potential clients and in the process help highlight your expertise in your field.

 

Online marketing is more than setting up a website, putting up a few adverts and sending a couple of promotional social media messages. Online marketing is about providing an excellent online experience, and establishing your company and employees as experts to increase your value to customers and make them more likely to buy from you.

banner-for-4-online-marketing-tips

4 Things You NEED to Make the Internet Work for Your Business

4 Things You NEED to Make the Internet Work for Your Business

Business success online today is all about connection and conversation, community and collaboration.

 

While traditional online marketing methods and social media complement each other, it is no longer good enough to be found on Google alone. You have to have a solid and positive presence on social media networks and ultimately where your targeted client spends their time online. Not only so you can take part, contribute and be an active participant in relevant dialogue to attract and engage with potential customers, but also so you can harness the power of the people and have others generate a buzz about your business on your behalf.

 

In order to get others speaking highly about your business you need to invest in the four following factors that will influence your online success.

 

Visibility

 

business visibility

 

Getting your business in front of as many targeted users as possible is paramount to success no matter the size, format or niche of your business.

 

Many business owners believe, or are mistakenly told, that by getting online and developing a website they will be inundated with phone calls, bookings and sales.

 

The truth of the matter is that’s not how it works. Your website will simply add to the hundreds of millions that are already there competing for the same traffic.

 

In the past a business owner had to attend networking events or seminars in order to raise their profile and get in front of targeted business partners. Now social media means that you can connect with like minded people online and if your profile is right then people will be attracted to you and connect with you.

 

Select a social media platform based on the business partner you want to attract.

 

  • 50 year old business owners might use LinkedIn
  • 17 your old males might prefer YouTube
  • Twenty something girls could be on Instagram.

 

Then select a group where your niche will like to spend their time, join, watch and learn how people are connecting but more importantly study how those who are getting the most interaction are engaging and use some of their strategies to help increase your visibility in the group.

 

Incidentally I plan to put more time into collaborating on LinkedIn the future so if you would like to stay connected then send me an invitation to connect here…

 

CREDIBILITY

 

We all want our message to be heard by as many people as possible. That right has to be earned through building credibility in your subject or niche.

 

Getting people to like you or follow shows that you have demonstrated a reason for them to connect with you. From that point on your focus should be on motivating them beyond the like to connecting with you, speaking with you, sharing conversations with you and with the people that follow them.

 

Credibility online is a two way street. It should be viewed in terms of conversation. The better the quality of the conversation you have, the more trusted, well liked and respected you will be and as a result the more people will introduce you and refer business to you; and the more business you will generate.

 

Make your conversations meaningful. Interact and converse, don’t just broadcast.

 

Credibility is not all about what you say. It is about how you listen to other people and the value of the responses and information that you share.

 

POSITIVITY

positivity helps business growth

When looking to build long term business relationships it is all about quality and not about quantity. Having ten thousand Facebook fans or followers is great as it means that you have great visibility but it is counterproductive when looking to build true and meaningful relationships.

 

One of the mistakes that I made when first starting on social media, Twitter in particular, was to follow too many people. This meant that it wasn’t a stream of valuable information presented to me by people I respected but more of a tidal wave of deafening noise. There was no value to be had because it was impossible to digest.

 

I therefore took the decision to cull the number of people who I followed down from 10,000 to around 150. Now, I actually enjoy spending time interacting and sharing on Twitter because it is relevant to me. You can follow me on Twitter here..

 

Interact and engage with people that have a high profile and large influence on their following. Be positive and add valuable input to their conversations and you will find that people stop and take note of who you are and interact with you.

 

Likewise you need to make sure that your brand is reflected in a positive manner online. Take the time to research what is being said about your reputation and if there are any negative sentiments make an effort to contact that person and set the record straight or help them overcome the problem they had with your brand or business.

 

For people who are looking for someone with your skills for the first time, being presented with negative information from other people is not a great way to start a relationship. Make sure that when people search for your online reputation, what people find is positive and a true reflection of you and your business.

 

PROFITABILITY

business-growth and profitability

  • How can someone in your network help someone else?
  • What do others need?
  • How can you help?

 

Profitability might mean what is in it for you but rather than going in with the “what’s in it for me?” attitude, think about how you can be a conduit for others?

 

Your relationships and the connections you have developed are one of the most valuable assets that you have and will ever have.

 

By introducing and interweaving your connections with others you are building a stronger web of connections that you can turn to when you need something like an introduction or referral.

 

Keeping everything you know and everyone you know locked away in the annals of your mind is not going to get you anywhere. Share what and who you know and build more and more connections. Those connections will manifest themselves into relationships and profit. People do business with people they know, like and trust.

 

Ultimately the success of your business will come down to how good you are at building relationships. The more value you can add to other people, the more relationships you will develop giving yourself the greater chance of closing more sales.

What strategies have worked to help grow you authority and business online? Share your thoughts below and then hit reply.

Have You Earned the Right to Win New Customers?

Have You Earned the Right to Win New Customers?

Do you know the most effective way to spread the word about your business or increase awareness of your latest service online?

 

Whilst every business and every campaign is different, there are three ways to go about it for maximum exposure.  To succeed in online marketing, in fact any marketing, we first need to understand the differences between these strategies and combine them to create an effective, results driven, online marketing campaign that targets the right people at the right time with the right message.

 

Let’s start by learning what these 3 strategies are and how you can employ them in your business to produce positive results.

 

The 3 Different Online Marketing Strategies

 

paid owned and earned media

PAID Media.

A paid online marketing strategy is where you are quite literally paying someone else to drive “targeted” eye balls to your content or call to action. You use this type of strategy to cast a wide net and drag qualified prospects to your offering.

 

Examples: Paid media activities include advertisements for TV, print, radio, social media and email, as well as product placements, sponsorships, paid search and content syndication. Any time you pay to reach an audience you didn’t generate yourself it’s considered paid media.

 

Benefits

The benefits of paid advertising are that it is the most scalable and predictable of the three online marketing strategies. It also has the longest track record with banner adverts having been around since near the birth of the internet. Typically, paid advertising is the best understood online marketing strategy.

 

Disadvantages

Click through rates on unstructured campaigns are typically low and are continually declining as people are less inclined to be sold to.

 

OWNED MEDIA

Owned media is a closed channel that is controlled by a person or a brand. This could be your website, email newsletters or press releases. These assets cannot be edited by anyone other than you, your business or your brand.

 

Advantages of Owned Media

The advantage of owned media is that you own the brand and the platform therefore no one else can come along and pull the rug from under you. You do not have to dance to anyone else’s tune and your content is governed by you and you alone. As an online marketing strategy, owned media is a must. You should be in control of your own brand and messages.

 

Disadvantages of Owned Media

The disadvantage to having your own platform is that you have to manage, maintain, and update content regularly to attract and inspire the interest of your audience to take action. Click on the following link to learn more about content marketing. As soon as the content dries up the audience will move on.

 

EARNED MEDIA.

Earned media is quite literally the icing on the cake. It is when the customer becomes the marketing channel and talks about their experience with your business to their following through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter or leaving reviews online on Google+.

 

In traditional marketing terms this would be known as referral marketing; someone who has had a great experience working with you and then lets everyone know what a fantastic job you did and how pleased they are with the results. That kind of marketing is absolutely priceless and that is why it is earned.

Get 5 star reviews fast

 

You cannot go out and simply turn on the taps like you would with paid online marketing strategies. It is a result of hard work and persistence.

 

Disadavantages

Although earned media is without doubt a great way of growing business it can also work against you. If for whatever reason you have a disgruntled customer, then just as easily as people can heap praise, they will also paint your business in a negative manner. There is no direct control with earned online marketing. The best you can do is to be involved and if somebody mentions your business in a negative way then do your best to uncover the problem and rectify the situation as soon as possible. This in itself can add to your earned reputation as people will see how effective your customer service really is.

 

Forrester categorised Paid, Owned and Earned Media in the following way;

forrester research

Where Does Social Media Sit?

 

There is a case for social media to be in all 3 paid, owned and earned. And while months and months of hard work to build and grow a following in the thousands might represent the fact that you have earned that media, you never truly own that relationship.  You don’t own the conversation, you don’t own the vast number of followers, you are not in control of what changes the platform (Facebook, YouTube, Google etc) make with regards to how you can interact with THEIR owned subscribers.

Social Media For Business Free Download

 

This leaves you in the position that you will have to pay to reach the followers that you worked hard to build. In effect it becomes a mixed or converged marketing media.

 

What is Converged Media?

Paid, owned and earned media channels play a critical role in your content strategy. Merging them to work together on any campaign or project will take your content marketing to the next level. This combination of two or more channels is referred to as converged media.

 

converged media

 

Converged media works well because it’s characterised by a cohesive storyline. All channels work collectively for a brand so that it reaches its customers precisely where, how and when it wants. Take our brand, for example. At Big Thinking Online, we apply converged media to create a well-balanced and established marketing content strategy.

 

To incorporate paid media, we use pay-per-click advertising and retargeting on Google and Social media dependent on the campaign that we are running.

 

Our owned media includes the content in our website and newsletters, as well as any collateral we produce for our brand.

 

Owned media for us is the hub of our marketing, everything else we do in our marketing campaign is designed to get potential and existing clients back to this website, it could be through an email, a Facebook post or long tail search engine term.

 

However readers get here we have the ability to increase awareness and educate that individual by providing value that will encourage them to want to know more about how we can help them and to take the next step in their relationship with us.

 

That next step is taken by following a call to action such as completing a contact us form, subscribing to one of our email lists to get one of our content upgrades, or calling us directly.

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And our Earned media is generated through past clients who share their experiences of working with us by leaving reviews and by referring us to other business owners who they feel we can help and add incredible value to.

 

The best practice today is to use a combination of “owned, earned, paid media.”  Use one media channel to amplify or extend another type. They need to work hand in hand and there should be a specific business goal behind each campaign.

 

So don’t think about a single marketing technique in isolation, such as a website or being active on Facebook. Think instead about how you can combine techniques to reach people at different stages of the value journey.

 

At Big Thinking Online, we want to learn about your business, empower your sales team and be your online resource. Your online marketing goals deserve a conversation: contact us today on 0161 850 4413.

10 Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

10 Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

Today there are over 1,000,000,000 websites on the internet.

 

And they’re all vying to capture the attention of your customer.

 

I’m not telling you this to scare you. In fact I am probably not telling you anything you are not aware of already.

 

I’m telling you this to demonstrate that since there are over one billion websites online, the chances are there are at least ten, maybe even a couple of hundred in your niche and location alone.

 

And with figures like that, you need to make sure that your website is successful at helping you reach your business goals, capturing the attention of and building trust with your target audience.

 

In this post you will receive ten specific and actionable strategies to turn your online presence into a marketing asset so you can increase the number of leads you generate, the prospects you convert into customers and ultimately enable you to rise above the competition.

 

Have a Mobile Friendly Website

have a mobile friendly website

 

Whether it’s performing a search, opening an app, visiting a website or watching a video, people turn to their mobile device to get answers or take action.

 

If the website you have is not mobile optimised the user experience will be poor; it will be harder to click on buttons, more difficult to read the information and the user may not even be able to “click to call”, all of which can result in them moving on very quickly. Worse, if Google notice this, and they will, you will effectively be penalised and your website will be pushed further down the search rankings as a consequence.

 

Claim Your Google My Business Listing

 

Google is the most powerful and popular search engine, every second there are 54,907 searches globally and it has loads of great resources on offer as well. By taking advantage of Google’s resources you will also make your business more easily searchable. One of the best things to do is claim your Google my Business Profile and make the page your own

 

It’s important to make sure you’re including key contact and location information on your website and Google my business profile.

 

According to research by comScore, address and location are the primary pieces of information sought by local searchers. Here are some of the other types of info searchers are looking for:

 

local-search-intent

  • Businesses by category (In other words, searchers are looking for a particular type of business but haven’t yet decided which one to select.)
  • Phone number
  • Products or services (Again, they don’t have a particular business in mind, they’re searching for a specific product or service.)
  • Opening Hours
  • Driving directions
  • Coupons and special offers
  • Ratings and reviews

Given the desires of local searchers, it’s important to keep your content concise and actionable.

 

CLAIM PROFILES ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

claim your social media profiles

Social Media can have a huge impact as it can put you in front of a huge targeted audience in a relatively informal setting. It’s also great for backlinks, getting your content shared and increasing the awareness of your brand. Having your own profile to link to also reinforces your brand image and gives you a good link back to a very highly ranked source.

 

These social media profiles are very relevant for your brand and can be used to protect your reputation from other companies or unwanted press articles appearing in brand related search terms.

 

Exclusive Report Reveals 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

Including How to build relationships with you customers so they come back again and again and again! 

Click Here to Get Your Copy Now!

 

Optimse Your Website for Search

 

If you want your site to show up in the search engines, then you have to make sure that the terms that people would use to search for your type of product or service are on your site for the search engines to see. For example if you are a Dentist, your potential customers might be searching for “loose tooth”, “straighten my teeth” rather than just “dentist”. Find out what your customers search for, and then optimise your site for these words and phrases.

 

optimise your website for search

Sit down and create a list of your products and services. Take each service individually and add the problems that you can solve. You then have the basis for a content campaign.

 

PRODUCE QUALITY CONTENT

 

Search engines are hungry for fresh content on websites. They see it as a measure of how up to date and relevant a site is. If you produce a great, fully optimised website don’t think you have done it once and can leave it forever without updating it. You need to add new content to your website regularly, not least because if people see that there is a lot of fresh new information they are more likely to come back time and time again.

 

The more good quality content you have, the greater the opportunity you have to have your website presented to a targeted user in search.

 

Grow your email list.

 

There should be a focus, a desired result so to speak, for everything that you do online. If you are going to create a website and provide educational, entertaining and enlightening content for your target audience then you should enable those targeted users to take the next step and become leads and future clients of your business.

captur

 

In order to do this you have to provide the website user with something of incredible value that will help them solve their problem.

 

An example of such would be that a legal firm who offer conveyancing services could provide a download for a user to subscribe to called “5 Reasons Choosing the Least Cost Conveyancing Quote Could Leave You Thousands of Pounds Out of Pocket”

 

If you are looking to buy a new home then this is something you want to know, so you can provide the user with that information in exchange for their email address and more importantly, permission to email them and market your strengths in that area.

 

ENCOURAGE COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK

 

Social Proof is very important. Think of any major purchase you’ve made and the chances are you did some research online. Customer reviews and feedback are often more valuable than a blurb or product description. They show that real people have bought, used and enjoyed the product or experience enough to come back and review it.

 

MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION

 

The internet is a huge open forum and no matter how many happy customers you have there will always be someone who leaves a bad review or a negative comment. While you can never stop these entirely, you need to be aware of what is being said about you online and make sure that you control your image and reputation as tightly as possible.

 

On the flip side when customers leave great feedback about your business you need to make sure those reviews and testimonials are everywhere that potential clients may be online.

feedback

 

ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS

 

It can be all too easy to hide behind the brand, with an online presence it’s good to be visible. Let your customers know who is behind the business, let them know who they’re talking to on Social Media. You don’t need to give away anything personal, just be personable, reply to comments so that people can see they’re being listened to and engage in conversations to create a bit of a buzz about your business.

 

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE!

 

A fully optimised, engaging online presence that draws customers in and encourages customer interaction takes a lot of effort and skill. If your online presence isn’t working for you, it more than likely means customers aren’t finding you, or if they are then they don’t like what they see. Done correctly, your online presence with your website at the centre should provide a constant stream of leads and ultimately be a full time sales person for your business.

 

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Local Knowledge Panel Now Includes Reviews From the Web

Local Knowledge Panel Now Includes Reviews From the Web

Google recently announced that they were adding “reviews from around the web” to the local knowledge panel for businesses. Find out how this may affect you here: http://bit.ly/2cpHQTv

Last week Google announced that they were adding “reviews from around the web” to the local knowledge panel for businesses.

Google stated

“Whether your site publishes editorial critic reviews, best-of places lists, or aggregates user ratings, this content can be featured in local Knowledge Panels when users are looking for places to go.

Reviews from the web is available globally on mobile and desktop, Reviews from the web brings aggregated user ratings of up to three review sites to Knowledge Panels for local places across many verticals”

 

What is the Knowledge Panel?

If you were to Google any business name (take your own business as an example), on the left hand side of the page Google will return a list of the most relevant sites on the internet related to your business and on the right hand side of the page there will be the knowledge panel for your business. Take a look at the example below:

 

Knowledge graph example of Bath Spa Dentistry

 

The knowledge panel will display your location on a map, the Name, Address and Phone Number Citation (NAP), your opening hours, images of the exterior and interior of your office. It will also show the customer ratings that your business has from Google My Business, as well as some snippets of those reviews and now “the reviews from the web” section that will showcase reviews from other relevant sites. Good or bad.

 

Why have Google Added Reviews from the Web?

 

Reviews from the Web is intended to increase the number of sites that can display user reviews allowing the user to gain a more informed buying decision.

 

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, customers look for trust signals, and so does Google. One of those trust signals is online reviews, with 90% of customers  saying that their purchasing decisions are influenced by them. Google also uses user generated content including online reviews as a ranking signal for how your website will perform for keyword phrases in search.

 

Here are a few examples of what “Reviews from the Web” Look Like

dental reveiws from around the web

 

In the example above you can see a dentist that has reviews being pulled through from NHS Choices and Yell along with the reviews they also have from Google My Business. This gives three separate social signals for any potential patients to read and decide for themselves if they are a good practice to choose.

 

jmw solicitors manchester knowledge graph

In the above example Google is displaying user generated reviews from Facebook and Trustpilot.

 

Slater and gordon knowledge graph

Slater and Gordon have optimised their website and used structured review snippet data on their website to alert Google of their user reviews.

 

What sites can you get reviews from?

 

Google has not yet provided a definitive list of sites that it is pulling reviews from. Sites that have been seen are sites such as Yell, Facebook, Trustpilot and NHS Choices to name but a few. As the roll out continues to take place we will see more and more sites being added to the knowledge graph.

Actions that all business owners should take.

 

  • Build Your Reputation

 

Put in place a system that actively asks and makes it super simple for your patrons to leave reviews for your business on the sites that are included on the knowledge graph.

 

  • Manage your Reputation

 

Understand exactly where your business is listed online and what reviews are out there. Once you know this, monitor those sites to check for new reviews, good and bad, that could alter your review score. Direct your patrons to these sites, for example Google+, Yell, NHS choices, Facebook, or industry related sites that are relevat and are present on your knowledge graph.

 

  • Market Your Reputation to Help you Win More Customers.

 

Implement the Google review snippet and use each and every one of your reviews on your website and across social media to shout about the benefits of using your business to all who are watching and in need of your services.

 

Google cares what people say about your business because its users, your customers, care. Make sure the information that Google presents to your next customer is strong enough to make your competition irrelevant.

The next step for you to take is to implement a 5 Star Review strategy. Find out how to do this by downloading our free report below.

 

Get 5 star reviews fast

Do Customers Really Trust Your Business?

Do Customers Really Trust Your Business?

I’m sure your gut reaction says that yes, they do, but how can you prove it?

 

Let’s look at this from the customer’s point of view. If they are looking for the kind of service you provide, how does your business prove to those customers that you’re the best company for them?

 

The answer is, they look at your track record, and the quickest way for them to get a good idea is from your past clients who have already employed you to do the job that this new customer wants. So, they look at your reviews.

 

Online reviews and recommendations are now incredibly important, in fact they have contributed to the biggest shift in consumer buying in the last 100 years and few businesses are really harnessing their power.

 

Do you know how many reviews an average consumer will look up before making a decision?

It’s 10, yes that’s right, TEN.

 

If your business doesn’t have 10 reviews online then you’re giving your next potential customer their first reason not to get in touch with you (Source: Brightlocal).

 

Taking this one step further, the number of reviews that a consumer wants to see before they trust a business is actually very similar. Studies report that consumers want to see between 6 and 10 5 star reviews before they think a business is trustworthy (Source: Searchengineland).

 

The bottom line is that without those 5 Star reviews, your business isn’t trusted online. And that’s what we’re here to help you solve: How to Build Your 5 Star Reputation.

 

You might think that this sounds a little extreme, after all, how many people really read reviews?

 

Astonishingly, 97% of consumers aged 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business (2015 local consumer review survey). This age group are the millennials, the next group of buyers. When 97% of them are using reviews to judge a local business before they call, or before they set an appointment, and way before they spend any money, it means improving your reputation is the most critical thing that you can do online for your marketing and to get customers.

 

If you’re sitting there feeling quite smug, knowing that millennials aren’t your target audience therefore online reviews and reputation needn’t concern you. WRONG.

 

If you widen the statistics for the whole population, that is ALL age groups, it’s 92% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses (2015 local consumer review survey).

 

So how does increasing your positive reviews actually translate to an increase in business?

The University of California Berkeley published the results of a study of 328 businesses where they found that by increasing the rating by just half a star could increase revenues by 19% (Source: Economic Journal).

 

More importantly when we asked consumers – when you’re searching for a business online who would you call first? Only 18% said they would call a business that actually showed up at the top of the search results. 27% said they would choose the cheapest service. However, the majority of respondents said they would call the business with the best reputation.

 

The game of marketing has changed dramatically. You don’t need to be the business with the best SEO, and you shouldn’t have to offer the biggest discounts to attract peoples’ attention. What your customers are looking for is the most reputable company to do business with. Which is something we all should have been aiming for all along!

 

The next step for you to take is to implement a 5 Star Review strategy. Find out how to do this by signing up for our free report below.

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66% of Your Clients Are Willing to Spend More!

66% of Your Clients Are Willing to Spend More!

In Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive age Tom Peters says,

 

“Excellent customer service is no longer good enough. That should be the de facto and in order to maintain a healthy client list any business should be looking to deliver OUTSTANDING customer service.”

 

Doesn’t that make so much sense! I mean it’s not exactly rocket science to realise that as a consumer if you pay for a service you expect a good result. Not a mediocre or ok or average result; as a minimum you want Good results. Or else why would you be spending your hard earned cash? So as a business owner as a bare minimum you need to be providing a good service, but if you really want to progress and build a successful business then you really need to be providing an excellent service, something that is truly outstanding.

 

66% of customers are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service.

Source: Global Customer Service Barometer That is 2 out of every 3 customers are willing to spend more with a company because of great service. 2 out of 3!

 

If 66% of clients spent more with your firm do you think that would help? You are damn right it would help, it would more than help, It would mean that each client is worth more to your business, turnover would increase, profits would increase and all from the same number of customers.

 

Every single customer’s journey through the business lifecycle with a firm is unique, the touch points and interactions they receive from the business before, during and after the sale are all taken into consideration when a person thinks back about the service they have experienced. Is your client’s last interaction with your firm positive or negative? Do they leave feeling valued and pleased or disappointed and neglected?

The fact of the matter is that if a person feels like they have had a good experience with your firm then they are likely to come back and revisit and reuse your services time and time again facilitating a long term business partnership.

 

How Can You Capitalise on These Positive Client Feelings?

 

What if a small percentage of those satisfied clients were happy to share their personal story with others about your business and the outstanding service they received. Would that help convince potential clients who were in need of your service to choose you over your competition?

 

We already know that 66% percent of customers are willing to spend more with a company that is perceived to have excellent customer service, so why not use the positive experiences of your past clients to help win more clients and not just more clients, but clients who are willing to spend more with you?

 

Your positive online reputation are one of the greatest assets your business has, combine those glowing reviews with the power of the internet and the ability to have these endorsements speak for your business when ideal clients are looking for you then you have the basis of a lead referral system that can grow your business.

 

Takeaways for great customer service

 

Given how customers are rewarding outstanding service more than ever, American Express offers the following tips to companies seeking to bolster the service experiences they provide and as a result increase the life time value of a customer:

 

  • Cherish your connections with customers. Service shouldn’t be a clean-up operation. Turning service interactions into relationship-deepening moments can strengthen your business.
  • In everything you do, put the customer first. Start with what the customer needs. Customers can’t be wowed by personalized service if their basic needs aren’t met or their questions go unanswered.
  • Service is a people business; give care professionals the freedom to shine. Customers want to be helped by empowered, efficient people.
  • Measure success through the voice of the customer. Let customers tell you how you’re doing, and truly seek to improve based on their feedback.

 

Your history of excellent customer service can be, and should be front and centre for everybody to see to allow you to win profitable new business today, tomorrow and for years to come. To find out more about how we can help you be seen as the market leader in your field with a positive client experience and be in a position to win more profitable clients call 0161 850 4413.

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