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

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.

Click here to get access

 

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.

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.

click here

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

How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool for Your Business.

How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool for Your Business.

I’m Sure You’ve Heard About Social Media.

I’m also sure that if you have a business, you’ll also have some form of social media account for that business. What I would be surprised to hear, however, is that you’re successfully using your social media channels to generate new customers, clients or patients.

 

Whilst there are many businesses who generate much of their income from social media, and others who rely on social media for a large percentage of their leads, the vast majority of businesses do not manage to gain any discernible benefit from the time they spend Tweeting, liking and commenting on social media.

 

Winning new customers and generating leads via social media is not impossible, but if you’re not successful at it right now then you need to change the way you think about it, what you do with it and consider who you are targeting.

 

Which Social Media Platform is Right for My Business?

Focus on 1 or 2 Social Media PlatformsFor your business to thrive, you need to provide your customers with the best product or service you have to offer. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to show your best self on every social platform, and it’s also unlikely that your ideal customer will use every platform in the same way. Therefore to bring in new customers, you need to determine which social platform you can effectively and consistently utilise to extend your business to new customers. If your ideal client is another business owner, try LinkedIn. If you target general consumers try Facebook, if you have a products that you sell maybe Instagram will suit you. Focus your efforts on just 1 or 2 platforms.

 

Engagement is Key

A great way to get new business on Social media is to have your existing customers engage with your pages. Most of your existing customers should be happy to like or connect with you – after all they have hired you to do something for them! Your priority initially should be to keep your social media pages updated with content that is engaging and relevant to your existing customer base, so that they will want to interact with you.Interact on Social Media

 

Build Relationships

By doing so you will start building stronger relationships with them, putting you in a position to retain business and repeat customers. These loyal social media followers are the ones who will see your updates first. Get your message right, and your followers will be compelled to like your content, sign up for your offers, and spread the word to their own friends who are likely to be interested in similar things.

 

Update Regularly

With frequent, attention grabbing status updates and content that gets “shares” and “likes”, the more your page will be exposed to other people. As your page is seen by more people, your following will start to grow also.

 

If every update is about your business, then you may end up annoying even the most loyal of your customers. Remember, the goal here is to keep your current customers here for the long term, whilst growing your following at the same time. Growth is important, because if you don’t grow your following, or increase the audience you’re talking to then your sales will plateau. This is true however you market your business – if you don’t reach out to more people you won’t make more sales.

 

How Can I Grow My Social Media Following?

Grow Your FollowersTo grow your audience with relevant followers who may actually want to buy from you, you should make it as easy as possible for other people to share what you do. If you’re already sharing great content on social media then continue to do this! But you should also make sure that you have great content on your website that people want to share and that you have sharing buttons so that they can share it. Take a look at this web page – there are sharing buttons for all the main social sites – go ahead, share this to your followers!

 

“To get more people to share your content, provide more opportunities via social share buttons in numerous places throughout your site.” <-Tweet this!

 

Growing a relevant following on social media is not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It takes continuous effort and a good amount of determination but it is worth getting right! If you can consistently grow your following month on month then guess what – you will be creating those leads and opportunities that your business needs!

Did you like these tips? If so, you can download my free e-book 49 social media tips for business for a whole lot more!

What are your best Social Media tips? Leave a comment below.

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

Every Business needs a little inspiration from time to time - so here's 7 Ways To Win New Customers | www.bigthinkingonline.com

New customers, clients or patients are the lifeblood of any business.

For small businesses in particular, keeping a steady flow of new clients coming through on top of serving existing clients and tackling the day to day running of your business can be a constant struggle.

 

So, for any business that needs an injection of inspiration as to how to continually attract those new faces, here are some of the best tactics to add to your toolbox.

 

  1. Ask Your Customers To Refer Other People They Know.

Asking for referrals is definitely something that you should be doing. If you have given a great service to someone and they are happy, the chances are that they will know more people in a similar position to themselves who may also need your services.

 

If you ask every customer you work with to refer 3 people you know, you then get a “warm” introduction to a new group of people who will already have heard good things about you from their friend.

 

  1. Follow Up With Old Leads

We’ve all lost out on a few customers in our time, but getting a no doesn’t have to mean that you’ll never get a yes. It’s always worth keeping up a good relationship with anyone who you have never quite done business with, because as circumstances and requirements change you could find that you have another opportunity.

 

Similarly, just because that person wasn’t the right client for your business doesn’t mean that they won’t know someone else who might be – referrals can come from anywhere, but they typically come if you ask for them!

 

  1. Build Up A List Of Email Subscribers.

A list of email addresses allows you to stay in regular contact with a huge number of people cheaply and simply and in a non-intrusive manner. An email list is a great way to send out updates about what your business is working on, offers that might entice people back to you and most importantly, it’s a great way for you to build your authority by offering incredible value and be seen as the thought leader in your niche.

 

The next time that person needs something along the lines of what you do, they’ll remember your details because they see your emails and know that you can help, and that you want their business.

 

  1. Be Active On Social Media. 

No matter what your business is, social media is the main place where all your customers will be online. For many people, social media is their main experience of the Internet, it’s where they see recommendations to buy, read their news and chat to their friends.

 

The trick for businesses to do well on social media is to be friendly and conversational rather than sales focused. Asking and answering questions on Twitter is a good way to join the conversation there, try searching using relevant hashtags to find topics related to your business.

 

  1. Join And Participate In Relevant Facebook Groups.

If you manage a Facebook page for your business you’ll know how hard it is to reach more than a few of your fans with any given post. That being said, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful tool for businesses and shouldn’t be ignored. Try joining some of the millions of groups there are and joining in conversations, offering relevant advice and sharing appropriate updates from your business.

 

It might take a little searching to find the right groups for you, but it is worth it. Try searching for local groups if your business is location dependent, or groups geared at business owners, women, or groups for certain hobbies and interests that your business may align with.

 

When one of your page updates does well, consider boosting it as an advert. Typically if one of your posts gets a far higher than average engagement Facebook will ask if you want to boost it. It’s worth considering, because if your core customers and fans like the update, then the chances are that an extended group of people would also like it and you can raise your profile relatively cheaply to a much larger audience.

 

  1. Write Every Blog Post As Though It Is Directed To Your Ideal Customer.

Posting regular updates to your blog is a fantastic way to be seen as an expert, and to stick in people’s minds as someone they can turn to for advice, information, and eventually when they need your service, as a paying customer.

 

The thing to remember about blogging though is that you need to be consistent, not just with the frequency of what you write, but the actual content itself.

 

If your blog topics are vastly different every time you post then it will be hard to grow a regular reader base as they will be put off by the fact they never know what they’re going to get.

 

For example, readers of this site know to expect updates about Internet Marketing related topics, such as SEO, Social Media, Web Development and Online Reputation. What you won’t see on this blog are updates about holidays, family life or what I eat.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Website Is Search Engine Optimised. 

SEO is a great tool, and you should use it to your advantage. If your site is correctly optimised, then it won’t matter if people don’t know your business name, because when they search for the service that they need, your business name will appear.

 

It’s particularly powerful for locally based businesses, because if someone searches for a Dentist in their town you only have to compete against those few other Dentists near to you in order to show in the Top 3 of the Search results. A well optimised website can help attract a steady stream of new customers.

 

So there you have it, 7 ways to get new customers! I’ll even throw in a bonus number 8… Cold Calling! It may be unpopular, but it still works.

 

Have you tried any of these tactics for customer acquisition? What has been most effective for you? 

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?

5 Tips For Building Successful Joint Venture Partnerships

5 Tips For Building Successful Joint Venture Partnerships

Partnering with another Business to promote each others services is a sure fire way to grow your customer numbers and boost your profile. Here are our top tips on how to do it successfully! www.bigthinkingonline.com

 

For Any Business, Winning New Customers

and generating new leads is a huge part of the daily grind. Without new customers even a business with incredible customer retention will run dry sooner or later.

 

One of the best ways to reach out to a new group of prospective customers or clients is to form a joint venture partnership with another like minded business where you send each other leads or referrals for a mutually agreeable term.

 

If you think this wouldn’t work for your business, you’d be wrong. All it takes is for two businesses who may want to target similar customers for different reasons to figure out a way to get each other’s clients through their doors.

 

For example, a Dentist could team up with a local hairdresser and offer a tooth whitening deal to the hairdresser’s customers, or the hairdresser could offer half price highlights to anyone who has had treatment at the dentist.

 

Partnering your business up with another business can be one of the quickest ways to access a whole new pool of targeted clients, or to raise your business profile in a new area. It’s a great way to reach out to a new audience, and yet many businesses are missing out on this great resource.

 

The reason that joint ventures or partnerships are such a good promotional method is that you are tapping into a group of customers who know and trust your new business partner. They have a history with that business and a relationship, so they will trust recommendations that come from that business.

 

So what exactly does it take to reach out to another business and convince them to help you promote yours? Here are my top 5 tips on the Dos and Don’ts of seeking out new partnerships.

  1. Build A Friendship:

    Almost every successful partnership begins with some kind of prior relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, try going to some local networking events or if there is a particular business that has caught your eye why not approach them directly and introduce yourself?

  2. Make Sure Your Offer Is Awesome:

    Don’t expect to throw an idea out there and for your prospective business partner to accept it straight away. Show them you mean business by offering a fantastic customer experience so that there will be no bad reflection on either party. Take the time to understand how this partner will be able to support the offer (or not!), for instance if their customers go back to them with questions about your deal, what will they do?

  3. Keep it Personal:

    Do not use a template or cookie-cutter type email when approaching a potential business partner. Take the time to write a personal email, or even better pick up the phone and call them. The more personal the message, the better chance for a response.

  4. Don’t Approach By Asking For Something:

    The fact is, even if you are offering this partner a commission for sending their clients your way, you are still asking for a favour. Approaching someone for the first time and asking for a favour gives them no reason to trust you or listen to you, they may even delete your email without a second thought. May I remind you of point number 1, build a friendship first!

  5. Bring Value:

    Once you’re on the way to building a great relationship with your potential joint venture partner find out what their needs are first and see if you can help them out. Support your partner and bring value to the relationship. By proving that you are willing to help, you also increase the chances of them wanting to return the favour and help you out too. You’re also building a far more solid foundation for any future working partnerships and business referrals.

 

Have you had any success in building joint venture partnerships with other businesses? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments below!

Why You Should Use Education Marketing For Lead Generation.

Education Marketing

Why you should use Education Marketing for Lead Generation.

Almost everyone who uses the internet is using it to look for information. Whether they’re researching a holiday destination, looking at cars or getting ideas for a project, the vast majority of browsers are browsing for information. That’s what education marketing is, delivering information that your customers are looking for.

Whilst many of these browsers aren’t planning on buying anything straight away, the chances are that they’ll remember the sites they’ve visited and what they’ve seen there so that when the time comes to make a buying decision they will go back to that same trusted source where they got the best information from.

Whilst every business and every purchase is different, the idea of providing information or education to generate leads can be applied to pretty much any niche. By offering information for people to read on your website you’re taking the first steps to building a relationship with that person, they are getting to know about your expertise, your personality, and whether or not they want to trust you with their money.

Millions of Bloggers and website owners cottoned on to this a long time ago; by writing engaging content that keeps people coming back to their websites week after week they’ve been able to make a living from simply providing information for other people online. People go back to the same sites time and again if they like what they see there.

When people come back time and again it’s because they feel they are getting a benefit from the content on that site. They will see that website as an authority on its topic; they will start to rely on that information, or will look forward to new updates.

This method of marketing is not for those needing a quick win. It’s likely that ninety-eight percent of people who visit your website aren’t going to buy anything. It’s also highly likely that the vast majority who visit you website will never come back; it might be that the information they found there wasn’t exactly what they were looking for or that what you sell doesn’t suit them.  

What matters is to keep in mind the type of customer you want to attract and write as though you are talking to them. Keep producing information that sets you apart from your competitors, even if it is something as simple as giving your opinion on industry news, or reviewing new products. As long as you keep reaching out, your targeted audience will find you and keep coming back.

The good news is that once you are known to someone as an expert then you will be the first one that they turn to when they are in a position to buy, or use your service. In fact, 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are also more likely to buy from that company (Custom Content Council).

The trick to keeping people coming back is not to sell. The idea behind Education Marketing is to educate. Instead of posting new offers every week, think about Case Studies, How To Guides, White Papers or special reports. If your information is compelling enough, people will gladly sign up to receive further updates from you and you can start to build up a subscriber list of names and email addresses. And these subscribers are the ones who you can think about selling to directly.

Although this is not a quick win, there really is nothing to lose, after all, by providing information and education online you are building trust, loyalty and credibility with your readers which in the long run  will help you to add further value to relationships which will translate to increased customer retention and higher revenues.