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.

click here

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

We’ve worked with countless businesses over the last few years,

to help them improve their online reputation and to help them grow and reach new clients. Social Media has become an increasingly important part of a businesses online presence, and an area that the vast majority of businesses seem to think they are comfortable and happy to use without guidance.

The problem is, that using social media for your business is vastly different from using it for your social life. In personal terms, you use sites like Twitter and Facebook to catch up with friends, share photos, gossip and find out about what’s going on in people’s lives. You don’t have a particular goal, or target to meet and can either share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. 

In business, whatever your line of work, your social media should be used to help you win more customers, to help solve your customers problems, or to spread the word about your business to potential new customers. Do you see a pattern here? Social Media for your business is part of your business marketing, and you shouldn’t go into it with any other attitude.

With that in mind, I’m continuously surprised at the number of supposedly professional businesses who make very basic mistakes with their social media presence. Mistakes that can undermine the hard work they’re putting in in the real world to grow their reputation and business, and can even damage their perception or put new customers off.

Here are some of the most common errors that I come across that you could easily fix to improve your reputation.

Broken Links From Your Website

Broken Link to TwitterHaving links from your website back to your social media pages so that people can follow you is great – provided those links work! If you put in the wrong link to your social media pages then your visitors will be confronted with images like these.Broken links to Facebook

You’ll have to hope that those people are keen enough to search for your pages so that they can find and follow you some other way – the chances of this are slim as most people have too short an attention span. Fix the problem by fixing those links!

No Profile Picture

No Profile PictureThere is no excuse for not having a profile picture. Having no profile picture suggests that you can’t be bothered to complete your details, or that you have something to hide. Even if you are actively using your account, having no profile image suggests otherwise. Given how easy it is to take a picture on your phone and upload it to social media it’s hard to justify not having an image even if your account is new – you can take an image and upload it within seconds. If you have a business account, then you don’t even have to have a picture of yourself – you could use the business logo. Using a logo or image gives your business an identifiable “face”. It means that your customers and prospects know that there is someone behind the brand.

Protected Account

Protected Twitter accountAs a business, in order to grow you need to consistently attract new followers. Those new followers over time could turn into leads, referrals or clients. If, like this company on the right, you have a protected account it means that people can’t follow you unless you approve them first. It might seem like a small step to take, but it puts a lot of people off. Ask yourself what you are hiding by keeping your tweets private? If something needs to be private then there is probably a better way to deliver it than via Twitter. Do your business a favour and make your Twitter account public.

Profile Instead of a Page

Businesses should have a dedicated Facebook page. A page is different to a profile that you will have for yourself. The image below shows a business with a personal profile page, which is actually against the Facebook terms of service. As a profile, you have friends meaning that you have to either request or approve someone to be friends with you. Pages have fans, meaning anyone can Like the page and follow the updates. Pages and profiles also have different permissions when it comes to interacting in Groups and promoting offers. Pages also give you access to useful stats and insights, whereas profiles don’t. Profile not a page

If you’re using a profile for you business, close it down and set up a genuine Business page.

For more tips and advice on how to manage your business’s social media presence then you can download my free guide, 49 exclusive social media tips for business.

What are your biggest bugbears that you’ve come across with business social media accounts? Let me know in the comments!

Social Media For Business Free Download

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Big News from Twitter last week!

They are increasing the cap on how many people you can follow from 2000 to 5000.

The follower limit is been in place as a way for Twitter to try and stop Spam accounts, or what it calls aggressive following. Following other accounts is one of the ways for other users to notice your account and many people will follow back someone who follows them. Following or unfollowing large numbers of accounts is therefore one of the things that Twitter monitors as it’s seen as being outside the realms of reasonable usage.

 

With the Follow limit in place, every user is now allowed to follow 5000 other accounts, once that limit is hit you see an error message that stops you from following any more people until you have more followers of your own. The number of additional followers you can add above 5000 is different for every user, but it is based on the number of followers you have. Twitter keeps the exact science behind this a secret so as to further discourage spamming.

 

Seeing as the previous Follow limit of 2000 seems huge, you might be wondering just how exactly having a limit of 5000 could benefit you and if you should even attempt to follow so many people.

 

Find out how Twitter’s increased Follow Limit can benefit your business! <-Tweet This!

 

Growing a targeted following on Twitter is a tough task, but once you have that following it is a very valuable asset. It means that those followers are interested in what you have to say, and are likely to be amongst the first people to react to new offers, updates and information that you Tweet out. There are many ways to go about growing a targeted Twitter following, and following your ideal accounts is certainly one way to get noticed. If that is part of your plan, then Twitter now allows you to follow an extra 3000 people, so it is a big deal!

 

There are several ways to find targeted users to follow, one suggestion would be to take a look at a similar business to yours and to follow the same people they do. If a certain number of these followers follow you back then you know they are interested in the type of things you’ll be tweeting about because they already follow an account similar to yours.

 

Make Lists

If you already follow more than a few hundred other accounts on Twitter then you know how quickly the tweets come through and how easy it is to miss updates. One way to manage your followers when you follow thousands of accounts is to create lists. Lists can be public or private, and can be made up however you want them to be.

 

For example, you might want to create lists organised by industry so you can see everything that the Legal industry is tweeting about, or everything that the Estate Agents you follow are saying. You might want to create a list of accounts that you know in real life, such as people you’ve met at networking events, or a list of businesses in your local area. If lists are public then anyone can follow them. A well curated list can attract a lot of followers in itself.

 

Public Vs Private

There are reasons to keep lists private too, you might want to have a list of your own customers and not want the world to know who exactly you are working with. You might also want a list of your competitors, or prospects so you can keep an eye on what they are doing.

 

Be More Social!

Another reason to follow as many accounts as you can is that the more you follow, the more information you will see. Whether it is news, opinions, blogs, jokes or anything else, bu following more people you are giving yourself more opportunity to see something that catches your eye, and to interact with the person on the other end. The whole point of social sites such as Twitter is to develop relationships and friendships, and to discover other like-minded people, and if you interact regularly with more people then that is a major positive.

 

Twitter has raised this limit for a reason, and while we may never know Twitter’s reason for doing this, us as Twitter users are left with a two options: Ignore the changes, or work with them. Which one will you choose? Leave me a comment to let me know, or better yet, Tweet me, @Big_Thinking

 

If you’d like more Social Media tips then download my free guide – 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

Social Media For Business Free Download

The Many Uses Of Social Media

The Many Uses Of Social Media

To get the most out of social media for your business,

You need to think of it in a completely different way than you would for your personal life. In business, social media isn’t just about liking everything your friends do, or sharing pictures of all your meals. You have to consider all the ways that you can use social media.

Customer Service

Social media is great for customer service. Not only can your customers get in touch whenever they have a question, but other people can see your answers too. This means that you may answer one question that benefits multiple people in one go. If you’re lucky, other customers may even see the question and answer it for you! Even if you are asked difficult or awkward questions publicly think of it as an opportunity to show the positive and helpful side to your service to let other customers know that you’re willing to deal with any problems.

 

Reputation Management

Your public image is a huge asset to your business – or at least it should be! Social media allows you monitor what is being said about you, try searching your business name on Twitter and see what comes up! You can also use social media to share positive feedback from your customers, and as an added bonus, now that Tweets show in Google for branded search terms if anyone Googles your business they’ll see your recent messages and know you are proactive about your brand’s image.

 

Getting Feedback

Because of the instant reactions on Social Media, it’s great for getting a snapshot of public opinion. On Facebook you can post quick polls on group pages, on Twitter you quite often see people asking “RT for X or Favourite for Y”. Next time you are working on something and need some advice, why not try asking your followers and see what they actually want? The answer might surprise you, and cause you to take your work in a slightly different direction than you’d intended.

 

Lead Generation

Whilst it’s almost impossible to sell anything directly over Social Media, what you can do is use it to find yourself some great leads and prospective customers. Social Media is excellent for building up trust in your brand, and helping people to get to know and like you. These things are key to converting followers to customers. Make sure that from each of your social media pages there is an obvious way for people to find out more about your business, sign up  for email updates, or to check out your latest offers.

 

News Updates/PR

In the not too distant past, businesses that had an announcement to make had no choice but to try and get a story published somewhere. Now, every time you have any news, whether it’s a new CEO, a great Customer Case Study or a regular blog post, you can get it out to the whole world at the click of a mouse. There is no excuse not to publicise your brand on social media! In fact, the more you put out there, the more it will do to help spread the word of your business!

 

Brand Awareness

Social media allows smaller businesses to compete against much larger rivals in a way that isn’t possible with traditional media. Whereas big brands can spend a fortune on television adverts, that’s out of reach for small businesses. However, those big brands will still use social media, and YouTube, and smaller businesses will show right alongside them. For that reason, social media is great for brand awareness.

 

Networking

Whoever your ideal customer is, they will be on social media – it’s just up to you to find them! Different social networks have different networking styles. For example, on Facebook you should try and join groups that are relevant to your business. You can also join groups on LinkedIn, but on LinkedIn you can optimise your profile so that people can find you more easily in search. On Twitter you can follow conversations via a certain hashtag, something that many groups do regularly.

 

What other ways do you like to use Social Media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, so why not follow us on your favourite network and let us know more about you.

 

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to know more, then download a FREE copy of my ebook, 49 Exclusive Social Media Tips for Business

 

Want to know more about how we help businesses to stand out online then check out our Social Media PackagesSocial Media For Business Free Download

Effective Email Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Effective Email Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Email Is Still One Of The Best Ways

To keep in touch with both your customer base and people who are interested in your business but who may not be customers yet. We’ve all received countless business newsletters, some good, some terrible and many that don’t get read at all.

 

So how do you make sure that the email updates you send from your business fall into the “great” category?

 

  1. Create Compelling Content

The first thing you need in order to conduct a successful email campaign is some fabulously written copy. Regardless of your subject matter, there are four elements that you need to nail.

  • A Compelling Subject Line: This is what entices your readers to open the email. You have one short line to get your point across and convince someone that your message is worth reading. Think of how many emails land in your inbox every day, and how many of those you open. What is it that makes you click?Create Compelling Content

  •  

    One Central Idea: People are busy, so don’t confuse them or waste their time with multiple or scattered thoughts. Make sure that after reading you email, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to what you were talking about.

  • A Clear Call to action: Why are you sending this email? No matter how compelling your subject line, and how concise your point it, if you’re not asking people to do anything after reading your message, there is virtually no point in sending the mail. Do you want people to watch a video? Click through to your website? Reply with a comment? Whatever action you want them to take, make sure you ask them to do it in a way that leaves no confusion.
  • Relevant to Your Audience: This should go without saying. If people have signed up to your mailing list to hear news and updates about your business, don’t send them photos of your Cat (unless your business is cat related…) Keep your newsletters on topics around what your audience expect to hear about from you – otherwise you will not hold their attention for very long.
  1. Make It Look Professional

If you’re sending out a newsletter, or a group marketing email then you must make sure that your email looks professional rather than spammy. There is no excuse to just write the email in your regular mail format and copy and paste everyone’s email addresses into the BCC line, or even worse, the CC line.

 

There are plenty of mail programs out there that allow you to make smart email newsletters, or to prepare any other kind of group mailing and these are often easy to use and relatively inexpensive. If you’re not sure where to start take a look at Mailchimp, iContact or Aweber.

 

  1. Ensure Compatibility

    Compatible across all Devices

 

Don’t assume that just because when you check the newsletter on your own browser that it will look exactly the same and perfect to all other readers – it’s often not the case. There are so many options for people when it comes to different web browsers, and the different email packages that your list are using themselves may also format your email differently. There’s also more chance that people will read your email from their smart phone than from their desktop, so make sure your message is mobile optimised.

 

It’s also wise to give people the option to view the email in either HTML or Text format. Finally do your best to ensure that your email won’t end up in their spam filter by running it through a spam analysis checker.

 

  1. Know Your Audience

If you want to stay on the good side of your audience then adopt a policy of “one size does not fit all” when it comes to your email updates. This might mean you have to keep several different email lists and send slightly different messages to each one. For example, you might want to send a certain offer to customers who are on you database to thank them for their loyalty, or to let them know of a new service you’re offering before the general public see it. Alternatively, you might want to have a different welcome offer for prospective customers who have signed up through your website.

 

  1. Track and Analyse

Being able to track and subsequently analyse everything that you send out means that you can get a great understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Every time you send something out, compare it to your previous message. You’ll be able to build up a picture of what headlines work the best to get people to open your mail, what topics people respond best to and more. Good analytics can tell you which links in your emails are getting the most attention, and which ones you may need to tweak in order to get them to work for you. You should also pay attention to the number of emails that bounce, and if necessary remove them from your list.

What is your most effective tip when it comes to Email Marketing?

What You Need To Know About Digital Marketing Trends!

What You Need To Know About Digital Marketing Trends!

If you want to stay current in the online world here's What You Need To Know About Digital Marketing Trends | www.bigthinkingonline.com

If There’s One Thing You Can Take For Granted About Digital Marketing,

it’s that it changes all the time. What worked well six months ago probably doesn’t give you the same results today and if you find something that does work for you right now, chances are in a few months everyone else will have caught on to that too.

 

Don’t Sell!

Digital Marketing is not about sales. Instead, you need to promote your business more subtly, through offering value to your audience in the form of information, asking questions of what they want and need from you, or answering questions about your industry. The more value you’re providing, the people will pay attention.

 

Think Mobile!Is Your Website mobile optimised?

 

As of this year, the UK has more people accessing the internet via mobiles and tablets than via computers. You need to think of ways to get your message to your audience on their phone, and not just hope that they will spontaneously navigate to your website to see what you’re up to. Social Media is a great way to get your business in front of people, particularly on their mobiles.

 

Personality Counts!

So much has been said about the importance of Social Media, but the most important message that so many brands fail to maximise is that you need to show who you are. You need to be human, not just a machine sending out blog updates twice a week. Let your audience get to know the face behind the brand, use a storytelling kind of style to build up a picture of your brand or products. Also, make sure that even if you are posting your own content on Social Media that you also post a mix of other content too. Tag relevant people or brands, and above all, be consistent!

 

Re-Think Your Social Media Strategy!

You really can’t underestimate the power of social media, and if you don’t think social media works for your business then you are definitely doing the wrong thing. Even if you had a clear picture of your ideal customer last year and a clear strategy to reach out to that person, as I mentioned earlier the trends change so quickly that you are probably not reaching that ideal customer any more.

Are You Social Media Savvy

You also need to keep in mind that social platforms change at the drop of a hat. A year ago no-one had heard of Periscope, but now quick thinking business owners are using it to show their audience live behind the scenes updates and question and answer sessions. Again, this fits in with the culture of showing the personality behind your brand and of course, it’s mobile.

 

Video Is Becoming Increasingly Important!

Who would have thought a year ago that we’d be saying that video has moved on from Youtube? While YouTube is still the main platform of choice for any video that you want to keep around for a long time, Facebook, Instagram and of course Periscope are all proving to have a strong hold on the rapidly growing Video space. 

 

Worldwide, there are more than 4 billion video views on Facebook every day, and video uploaded directly to Facebook rather than embedded from YouTube will play directly in a user’s newsfeed meaning they get a glimpse of the action to entice them to click through. This has allowed creative thinking businesses to take advantage of the opportunity to grab people’s attention with the first few seconds of footage and entice new fans to their brand.

 

Periscope offers a different format again, the idea being live video streaming that anyone can join in to watch and ask questions. The video is saved on Periscope for 24 hours, but can also be saved to YouTube if you choose.

 

Analytics Can See What You’re Missing!

Understanding Analytics can help you follow Digital Marketing Trends

With so much going on in the Digital Space and so many different ways to reach your target audience, it is simply impossible to be everywhere at all times. The good news is that your analytics will be able to show you exactly what is working and what isn’t, and you should make sure you monitor everything you do to understand what works, what works better, and where you really need to focus your energies.

 

Automation Is Your Friend!

Marketing automation is not a new tool, but with the ever growing online tool kit, it really is a huge benefit to take advantage of. Automation means you can schedule your blog posts in advance, have your social media updates go out when the most people will see them and allows great access to tracking tools and statistics that I mentioned above. By automating posts in advance you are also able to free up time as you won’t constantly have to go back and post individual items, you can find and post all your updates at once. Just remember that you still need to comment and reply to your audience, consider logging on at certain times twice a day to respond to any comments or questions that might have cropped up.

 

You Must Be Eye-Catching!

In order to stand out online, beautiful visuals are now one of the most important criteria to fulfil. Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are built on images, while pictures and video are the most liked and shared type of post on Facebook. Even business who don’t consider themselves to be image based should invest some time in figuring out a “look” that represents their brand visually.

 

What Digital Marketing tactics are working best for you at the moment? If you have any favourite tips or insights then let us know in the comments.

 

We specialise in helping businesses be found online and it’s our businesses to stay on top of Digital Marketing Trends. If you’d like our insider tips on building websites that sell then take advantage of our Free Download!

Power your business with a website that sells

It’s Time To Re-Think Video Marketing

It’s Time To Re-Think Video MarketingVideo Marketing

We’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about online videos and how great they are. The truth is though, that unless you are using video correctly it will add no value whatsoever to your business.

With all the talk of how valuable videos are, many businesses seem keen to jump on the bandwagon and add video to their website without giving a second thought to what the point of it is. It seems that some businesses only want to add videos because everyone else is doing it, or because they seen a competitor do it and it looks good, or because they’ve told that having a video on their website will attract countless new customers.

In reality, just making a video and posting it to your website will do you no favours whatsoever.

In order to get real value and a return on your video investment you need to remember that the video itself is not a whole strategy, it’s just a tool used to make a bigger marketing machine.

Having said that, video marketing shouldn’t be seen as an overcomplicated expense, particularly for small or local businesses. The reason I mention small and local businesses is that often those types of businesses have limited resources and cash flow, meaning time and budget become an even higher priority. Small businesses perhaps don’t have the resources in house to manage and produce videos so concentrate their efforts on other areas.

This is a real shame. There are lots of ways to introduce video to your marketing mix without blowing the budget, or without having to appear on camera yourself.

Video is easier for people to assimilate than text, meaning it’s a fantastic way to get your points across. A good marketing video can even solve your customers’ problems, sometimes problems that they didn’t even know they have!  As with any strategy, you must understand your ideal demographic, but the real trick is not to alienate people outside of that. Video can allow for more flexibility and creativity than text or images alone so can be a great way to achieve this.

The most important thing to think about before committing to any video is to be clear on what the objective is that you want to achieve and to track your results.

With a clear objective and an eye on the numbers, video can, and should be, one of the best ways to increase awareness of your brand. It’s highly shareable, can be watched again and again and can be used across email and social media as well as your website. When done correctly, Video can help you to grow your email list, help you stick in people’s memory and attract additional customers to your business.

Surely every business owner would like to achieve these goals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

 

 

Turning Your Business Website Visible into a Glowing Beacon

Turning Your Business Website Visible into a Glowing Beacon

Turning Your Small Business Website Visible into a Glowing Beacon

business websiteIn the digital world you need to be smart about putting yourself where people will find you. Just setting up a business website and expecting a swarm of cash rich, pre-sold and hungry buyers is not going to happen. You need to actively push your deals, your content, how you are as a business, and how other people see you as a business, into places where people are. Ideally, to people that are genuine future clients of your business.

It’s that principle of cascading and syndicating outwards that makes your site visible online and attracts people in.
Turning Your Small Business Website Visible into a Glowing Beacon

Here are 7 things you can do to help your business website shine!

Create Multiple search Lights.

Think of your small business website as a lighthouse. The search light in the top of the beacon goes around and cascades the light in the direction it is facing notifying the ships where the beacon is and the land. Rather than having one light, have several, and by this I mean leaving a trail of search lights around the internet leading back to your business.  You need to be everywhere that is relevant and have active accounts on all social networks used by your audience such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Additionally seek out industry blogs, review sites and local online communities and make your light shine there too.

Illuminate Your Value.

Just registering for these sights is not good enough. You need to take the time to complete the profiles and leave enough information to rouse people’s curiosity. Unless you are Coca-Cola, Apple or Disney then nobody is going to know or care who you are, much less what you do. Make your profile and your content shine out above the rest.

Be Human and Be Honest

Inject your brand personality into your content, comments, tweets and videos. What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? Chances are there is more than one person out there that feels the same and this kind of honesty will truly help your business personality to shine.

Building up trust online is a difficult process but by being involved and interacting with people, others looking in from a distance, can see that you are real and over time will connect.

Be Active

As soon as you turn the light out in the lighthouse it becomes useless. As soon as you stop being active, posting fresh and useful content, interacting with others then the light blazing a pathway to your virtual door will also extinguish.

Seek and Connect

In order to keep the light shining back to your small business website make it part of your method of operation to regularly follow and connect with other relevant people and businesses within your niche or your target group.

Keeping the light fuelled with your own content is difficult. Connect with others who are relevant and provide good insights that will help others in your following and share their content. By creating valuable connections you keep your audience happy, while at the same time broadening the range of your search light.

Research

Before connecting with someone take the time to uncover some information about them. Influencers online, the ones with the brightest lights, will be inundated with people trying to connect and leverage the power of their reach. Be courteous and give that person a reason to look twice at you and your business and share their light in your direction.

Doing this will leave you in a better place to add value, discuss topics of interest and be better placed to connect people with other well matched connections. Increasing the power of your attraction beam.

Make Your Connections and Content Count.

Always, Always, Always think quality before quanitity. That £25 for 10,000 Facebook or Twitter likes may seem like a good idea but it isn’t.  Just one evangelist for your business online far outweighs those who are online to collect followers and fans like Panini stickers.

The same goes for your content. It can be difficult to get the right ratio of content but the best way to go about it is to honestly asses each piece of content and ask “does this make sense and is this relevant to my audience?”

Putting out low quality content is akin to turning the wattage down on the search light, the reach will be far less and it will not provide the strength or value to draw people back to your website.

Keeping a small business website illuminated takes effort, patience and persistence but if you get it right you will be rewarded by leading the way for targeted users to come out of the darkness into the light.

How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

how to advertise your businessBrilliant advertising is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. It is about the one brilliant idea that sweeps people off their feet and compels them to take action, get in touch with you and further their relationship with you and your brand. For a business owner this can be quite daunting, but the truth is if you don’t know how to advertise your business in a way that makes people remember your business and act upon that message, then your business will be destined to failure.

9 Methods to Successfully Advertise Your Business

Make the most of the money you spend on marketing with the following advertising plan.

1. Think outside the box.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when promoting their company is to produce their own adverts.Obviously, it’s tempting (money being tight) but these ads often don’t do justice to the business.

Consider getting some professional help – there are plenty of advertising agencies that are willing to work for small businesses. If your product or service has a national market, you could also consider using a media buyer – they should be able to secure cheaper advertising space than you could.

2. Who is your most valuable customer?

What do they look like? What do they do for a living? What is there annual income? What do they do in their free time? Do they like holidays? How many times a year do they travel? What books/magazines do they read? What internet browser do they use? What websites do they visit? Do they buy products online? Do they own their own home?

There are literally hundreds of questions that you could ask and maybe you will never know the answers to all of them, but knowing as much as you can helps you position your brand and services.

Build yourself a straw man or an avatar (a model of your ideal customer) and put it above your workstation to remind yourself on a daily basis who it is you are looking to provide services to.

3. Which adverts make you look twice?

When you are walking down a street and you see a billboard. Does it resonate with you? Does it make you look twice? Does it make you stop and think about the context of the message? Do you think it works? Could it work for your audience?

Do some research, browse around your competition’s website, have a look at the terminology they use, the adverts, the calls to action and take note of the things you like and you don’t like.

Use the press, newspapers and magazines for inspiration for copywriting messages. After all they are paid copywriters and journalists who eat, sleep and breathe this advertising stuff. Keep a swipe file of the adverts that provoke a reaction and think how you can tweak that message for your most valuable customer.

4. What’s your budget?

When starting up a business it is quite easy to think that you don’t need an advertising budget, that your value proposition, amazing services and your flashy store or website will do all the advertising for you. It won’t, period!

Advertising is an unavoidable expense. Not allocating time and money to promoting your business is like having a Ferrari without an engine. It looks good but is absolutely useless. That being said, the cost needn’t lead to financial ruin. Decide how much you can afford in the first year and pick methods and marketing channels that match your budget so you can carry them out regularly. Avoid blowing your entire budget on one high-profile advert – think about drip feeding your message to your target audience over a sustained period of time.

5. Why are you advertising?

Do you want to build your brand or are you more interested in generating sales? Remember, even if you are having your best sales period then you should still allocate a percentage of your sales to advertising because it can help you build a strong reputation that will sow the seeds for future growth.

6. What’s your message?

The message that you convey to your customers is constantly changing. This can be down to individual offers or promotions, seasonal changes or simply to remind your audience of the benefits you offer. Figure out what you want to say and keep the message in keeping with the brand reputation you are looking to build.

7. Which advertising channels?

There are many different channels that you could use to advertise your business. Use the template of your ideal customer and think hard about where that person may be. Pick a selection of marketing methods that match your budget and your customer behaviour. These could include:

  • A website. With more and more consumers turning to the internet for information and to purchase goods and services it is almost obligatory these days to have a website. Even a small business can benefit from setting up a website as it can provide people with information about your business such as your contact details, information about your products and services and help legitimise your operation. However you choose to set up a website, if you want to see results, you also need to think about and invest in advertising that website and making it visible to people who are searching for products and services that you offer through search engine optimisation (SEO) and other online marketing techniques.

There are many ways to get a website up and running at little to no cost. There are free contact management systems such as WordPress where you can get access to a range of templates that can be used to set up a basic web presence. There is the “Getting British business online” initiative backed by Google that also provides templates for you to design a website. If you lack the time and skills to create something that reflects the image of your brand, then you may consider working with a digital agency that can do this for you.

  • Social Media. The number of people who actively participate in social media sites has grown rapidly over the past five years and continues to increase at a rapid pace. The premise of social media is for people to like, share and connect with others and share the things that impact them, both positive and negative. Share yourself and your business with others but spend as much time, if not more, listening to what others are saying in order to generate conversations and interest. Social media can be a great way to spread the word about your business but by no means is it something that should be taken lightly. Social media can and will take an investment of time and or money in order to see results.
  • Business directories. There are many sites on the internet that allow you to register your business for free: Yell, Thompson Local and FreeIndex are just three examples. These sites will allow you to add a basic listing free of charge. While they may not provide a huge amount of leads for your business they may allow you to provide a link back to your website, which acts as a citation for your business and will increase the chances that search engines will pick up your website and may even increase your ranking the search engine results pages.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.  A highly effective form of advertising that can drive instant results for your business. PPC marketing is where your advert is triggered when someone types in a keyword phrase related to your business that takes them to your website, or more specifically a targeted sales page with a conversion goal. You’re charged only if someone clicks on your ad.  You can do this through Google Adwords or the newly named Bing Ads.
  • Local newspapers and magazines. There are still a lot of people that like to read the local newspapers that get posted through the door on a weekly basis. If you have a fixed location and require footfall to your store than local newspapers can be a great source of leads.
  • Daily Deal Sites. Groupon, Happli and Living Social all give businesses the opportunity to advertise their products or services to their members. This may seem like a great idea however you need to read the small print. Most of these companies expect you to offer a huge discount and also sacrifice up to 50% off the revenue of a deal. Before committing to such a deal do your due diligence and make sure the deal works for your business.
  • Niche magazines. Is there a specific magazine that people interested in your business read? If so price out how much it would cost to run an advert in the magazine, or perhaps see what it would take to get an editorial piece?
  • Local radio. Although this is relatively expensive it can attract immediate results and along with internet advertising is one of the only sources of advertising that is growing*. Meaning that it is providing results for other businesses or they wouldn’t be using it. *Source
  • Leafleting. In order to drive brand recognition for a local business, leafleting is a good if untargeted method of advertising.

8. Is it providing results?

Any advertising campaign is measured by the results that it brings. After all it is no good spending money on advertising if you are getting no reward. Ask new clients to your business how they find out about you, use specific tracking codes so you know where and how people on the internet have reached your site. If doing a leaflet drop or radio campaign think about setting up a specific web page solely for that purpose or use an individual telephone number to track the results. Once you have the results you can analyse them and re-invest in what is working and change or shut down advertising methods that are not.

9. Tomorrow is a new day

Be sure to constantly review your advertising plan and don’t be afraid to rethink your strategy if it isn’t working throwing good money after bad will get you nowhere fast. Also, as your business grows, you may find you have more budget for advertising and want to try new channels to reach out to a whole new audience. Your advertising plan should evolve along with your growing business.

There is no defacto, all encompassing, fail safe method for knowing how to advertise your business. The simple fact is that you continuously need to get your name and business out in front of the right person at the right time. Advertising is a fundamental part of your business growth strategy.

 

6 Client Grabbing Online Content Marketing Tips

6 Client Grabbing Online Content Marketing Tips

6 Client Grabbing Online Content Marketing Tips

Fact: Great content attracts customers and boosts user adoption.  click here to tweet this

online marketing contentIn other words, unique online marketing content creation is the new Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Therefore, small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to gain traction online today can tweet, blog and post their way to building an engaged online community. This not only raises brand awareness, but also by generates inbound links and engages the audience directly.

It’s not about generating “noise” just for the sake of it. The content you put out has to be top quality and provide real value in order to encourage the level of engagement that you’re after.  Here are 6 client grabbing Online Content Marketing Tips.

Online Content Marketing – Grabbing Clients and Turning Readers into Customers and Brand Advocates 

1. Update Content Regularly

The last thing you want is for visitors or potential clients to see a post on your website relating to a sponsored walk that you did 3 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to highlight the newsworthy events that your business participates in but the point is that old news gives the first impression that your business is out of touch. Potential clients want to deal with people that are in the know, not living in the past. So make sure that your online marketing content is up to date, relevant and speaks directly to the end user.

2. Speak to your target audience.

Most 50+ year old women are not going to be interested in the fact that a car’s top speed is 150mph, can lap the Nurburgring in 11minutes and goes 0-60 in the blink of an eye. On the other hand she may be interested to know the safety rating of the vehicle, the average miles per gallon and the fact that the car has an extra seat in the back that is perfect for the grandchildren.

Know who your online marketing content is directed to as targeting their specific needs gives a much greater chance that you will convert the reader into a subscriber or customer.

3. Define what your audience is using and where they are going

In order to get increased levels of engagement you need to determine which social platforms and tools will best enable your content to be viewed and shared.

Does your audience spend most of their time on Facebook?  If so, then that is where you need to be and you need to have a content marketing strategy to address those users.

Are most of your users accessing your website or your web 2.0 properties using a mobile device? Then you need to make sure that your online marketing content is accessible via mobile phones and tablets.

4. Keep an eye on your  competitors online content marketing strategy

While regular, fresh and relevant content is King this still doesn’t mean if you produce the most content  that you will pick up the most readers, subscribers and sales. In order to be King of the online marketing castle your content needs to really grab your target audience by the short and curlies and compel them to want to view and share your online content more than they do your competitors.

Make a note of what your competition does:

  • how often they publish content,
  • what kind of content do they produce,
  • what level of sharing and engagement do they get,
  • what type of content do they share.
  • where do they promote their content for best results.

When you have an idea about this then you can look to counter and improve.

5. Remix your content into different formats.

Duplicate content on the internet is a big no no and reproducing the same piece of content time and time again will only result in negative rankings from the search engines. However that does not mean that you cannot be clever about how you use your content.

Turn blog posts into an eBook or a podcast, turn poll results into an infographic or a slideshow, turn a video into a blog post. There are many ways that you can reuse the same piece of content to interact with a different segment of your audience on different platforms while at the same time increasing your brand awareness, reputation and getting more links back to your site.

6. Make your online marketing content easy to find , like and share

All the effort that goes in to creating quality unique content is wasted if your target audience cannot find it in the first place. You can enhance the chances of your content getting found by implementing search engine optimisation techniques, publishing the content where your audience will be and making it very easy to share, download or embed the content.

The easier your content is to find the greater the chance of it being shared and subsequently the greater the chance of your online marketing content being found, liked and shared by others with similar interests.

There is no doubt that getting this level of engagement for your online marketing content can be difficult, however if you are willing to invest the effort then the results will be visible for a long time to come.