10 Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

10 Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Have a Mobile Friendly Website

have a mobile friendly website

 

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

 

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

 

Claim Your Google My Business Listing

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

local-search-intent

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

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

 

CLAIM PROFILES ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

claim your social media profiles

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

 

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

 

Exclusive Report Reveals 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

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

Click Here to Get Your Copy Now!

 

Optimse Your Website for Search

 

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

 

optimise your website for search

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

 

PRODUCE QUALITY CONTENT

 

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

 

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

 

Grow your email list.

 

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

captur

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ENCOURAGE COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK

 

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

 

MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION

 

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

 

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

feedback

 

ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS

 

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

 

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE!

 

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

 

Click here to get access

 

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!

2013 Is The Time to Make Your Local Marketing Digital!

2013 Is The Time to Make Your Local Marketing Digital!

2013 Is The Time to Make Your Local Marketing Digital!

A recent study commissioned by Balihoo of 384 brand marketing executives in North America has shown how national brands will be prioritising their local marketing in 2013 with Digital tactics playing an increasingly important role.

Balihoo’s survey results are in line with other industry research showing the growing importance of local marketing for national brands,” said Pete Gombert, Balihoo’s CEO. But why is this?

One answer could be that the emergence of tools such as Google + Local means that local customers are now more inclined to leave reviews, search for local alternatives and expect more from a business they intend to spend their money with.

The strength of the Internet and Social Media now means that Local Marketing has gone global. A customer with a national base, for example a law firm with sites in several different cities, has good reason to focus their marketing in each local area as customers from Manchester will want to know what other Manchester customers think, not necessarily what a customers in Bristol found. Likewise, a bad review in one area could damage a reputation nationally and businesses need to be aware of how to best manage this.

expected_2013_marketing_spend

With 91% of the businesses surveyed expecting to spend the same or more on local marketing in 2013 as they did in 2012, local reputation, localised blogs and mobile sites are only going to become more relevant.

In fact, the top three areas earmarked for additional spending in 2013 were

  • Mobile,
  • Local Blogs,
  • Online Customer Reviews.

use_of_local_digital_tactics

*Images via Balihoo Research Micro Study: National Brand Use of Digital in Local Marketing

Interestingly, these are also the only three areas where 2013 spend is predicted to be higher than 2012 spending.

So where does this heightened interest in Local Marketing leave the existing Digital Marketing spend? Perhaps only time will tell, but companies that expect to spend more on local marketing in 2013, are currently using less digital tactics than ones not planning to spend more, and two of the biggest spending drops predicted for 2013 are Facebook and other Social Media sites.

At the moment, it has been the businesses with the largest turnovers that have placed the highest importance on Digital Marketing, perhaps because they have the biggest budgets to invest in what has been seen as emerging technology. This may all be set to change, as less than 5% of businesses ranking Digital Marketing as “Pointless” or “Unimportant” to their National Marketing success.

One thing that is usually certain though, where big businesses spend successfully, smaller businesses are generally quick to follow so it seems that 2013 will be the year of Digital Local Marketing!

Do you think 2013 will be the year of Digital Local Marketing? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Does Local Search SEO Matter for Small Business Marketing?

Does Local Search SEO Matter for Small Business Marketing?

Does Local Search SEO Matter for Small Business Marketing?

local search seoWhen was the last time you went out to the theatre, or the cinema or indoor sky diving? Did you go there and then go straight home? Probably not, the chances are you probably stayed local and got a bite to eat or a drink. If you were super organised perhaps you searched Google before you left and typed in something like “restaurants near theatre x”, “places to eat by indoor skydiving centre”, or maybe you checked on your mobile while you were at the venue.

The point is that people are constantly looking for places, items of interest or things to buy in and around the vicinity of where they are. The question is, what are you doing as a business owner to capitalise on that?

Trying to go after the local search seo market for the keyword “restaurant” is difficult, in fact it is very difficult. But targeting the keyword phrase “restaurant in north Manchester” or “restaurant near the playhouse theatre” might be more achievable. Plus, you have the added incentive of knowing that the searchers are highly targeted customers for your offer and (this maybe a positive for restaurateurs) those people will not spend all night in your restaurant as they have a show to catch meaning you will definitely have the table free for another party of guests.

So if you are keen to capitalise on local search seo traffic for your business then here are a few changes that you can make to get results.

1. Target the Right People

Until you know who you are targeting there is not much point doing SEO. What words are your potential customers using to find your business? Ask them! When people are in your store, restaurant or practice ask them what terms they used to find your business in the search engines. Ask them what search engines they used and ask them what other search terms they would enter into a search engine to find business similar to yours.  Once you have a collected a good volume of results use Google’s free Keyword Tool to carry out keyword research and narrow down the result to the ones that are actually getting searches and use them for the basis of your SEO campaign.

2. Alter Your On Page Optimisation

On page optimisation is a process by where you tailor your copywriting, so the search engines can index them in the correct place and your targeted users can find them. To help them index your page in the right place, relevant to your keyword, make sure your keyword is prominently displayed in the title of the page.

By having your keywords in the title tag you will also be making sure that when targeted people land on the page they find exactly what they are searching for, resulting in increased conversions, phone calls, bookings and sales.

3. One Page, One Keyword

Even though “Restaurants East Cheshire” maybe a keyword that you are targeting it should only be used on one page. If you have two or more pages optimised for the same keyword then the search engines will choose the page that it feels is more relevant and this may not be the page that you have optimised for conversions.

If you are not happy with the page that you have then either edit the page or delete it and start afresh leaving you with one targeted page per keyword.

4. Go into detail

Sticking with “Restaurants East Cheshire”, in order to provide the search user with greater detail about the search you may consider providing a page on “things to do in East Cheshire” or think about providing information on the specific town your are in, in this case you could do “Italian restaurants in Crewe” or simply “Italian restaurant”. The link is relevant to the search user and this is a great way of attracting targeted links back to your most important pages.

5. Add your address to every page.

Local SEO is all about getting people to convert into buyers or visitors to your local store. That being the case, make sure it is obvious where your store is by having your address on every page of your website. Make everything as easy as you can for the user to find your details and act upon them. It also reinforces your location to the search engines so when people are searching for localised information your pages should be indexed.

This is by no means a defacto list for optimising your website for local search SEO but by adopting these 5 principles you will definitely put your business on the map and be in a great position to capitalise on local people that are searching for your products.

To get a free report that details your businesses prominence in your local area Click here!

5 Reasons to Add Your Business to Google Maps?

5 Reasons to Add Your Business to Google Maps?

5 Reasons to Add Your Business to Google Maps?

add business to Google MapsPeople frequently use search engines to find locations, addresses and business services. There are several free, map technologies available that your business can use to advertise your brick and mortar location help drive footfall, leads and sales. Adding your business to Google Maps makes great commercial sense. The free to use platform gives you a wide coverage and ensures performing local search can find you.

1. More people in the UK have Google Maps app than Facebook.1

In the GSMA Mobile Media Metrics Report Issued on UK Mobile Applications Usage there were 8.75 million mobile users that had applications on their phone. 6.42 million of those users accessed Google Maps while only 3.46 million accessed Facebook.

Social media may well be the talk of the town but more people are using Google Maps to find information about local places. If someone is new to an area or is just visiting on business or pleasure then they will use the map to get around. If your business has a prominent position for your business category in local search you have a great chance of being found

By adding your business to Google Maps you get access to over a tenth of the population of the UK, for free.

2. Local Search Grew by 207% from Sep 2007

More and more people are turning to search in fact in June 2011, 28 Million people searched Google with 1.4 bn search queries.

The greater the amount of people that are turning to search for answers means that more and more people will be looking locally for trusted suppliers.

3. 6% of Users say they conduct a local search every day.

Taking the fact that 28 million people search Google in one month that means, taking a month with 30 days leaves 9.333 million people search Google every day and that means that throughout the UK there are 56,000 searches for local businesses each and every day. By adding your business to Google Maps you stand a great chance of your business being found by new and interested business partners.

4. People frequently use search engines

More local business, 53% of searches are being conducted without a specific business in mind, once again showing that more research is being done online in the early stage of the search process.

29,680 is the amount of people looking for a business or service in the UK when they have not yet decided who they will use to provide that service. While 26,320 of those searches know who they want to deal with and are looking for further information. Regardless of which camp your business sits in you need to make sure that when the user searches for you; be it your business or your product or service your business is represented in a way that compels them to get in touch with you.

5. Local Search results are the most relevant and trusted.

61% and 58% of people said that local search results were the most relevant and the most trustworthy respectively. Part of the problem in the past with online marketing methods was that people were dubious about the results. More and more people trust the local results online and that is another reason to add your business to Google maps.

Why should you add Your Business to Google Maps

Putting aside the facts from above Google Maps is free and allows your business to capitalise on local searches. Adding a detailed map of your location makes it easy for customers to find you or contact you – your website, your physical address and phone number are also listed. The set up procedure in Google Plus Local, also allows you to offer discounts or vouchers to provide an extra incentive for those online customers to become real life customers.

Google Plus Local takes all the elements of local search, business directory listing, daily deal sites, review site and rolls it all into one and then places it in front of a targeted local audience.

Things to ensure when adding you Business to Google Maps

Google has an authentication process that requires business owners to verify that they are the true owner of the business in question. Take the time to verify your business so you can take control of your businesses online repuatation.

Add all the information that Google gives you the opportunity to add. Include relevant descriptions and add flair with images and videos. A thorough map listing contributes to your business being more prominently displayed than others.

How do you put your Business on The Map.

In order to add your business to Google Maps you need to open a Google plus Local Account. Click here to learn more about Google plus Local, register the address and accompanying details of your business. The service is very simple and easy to follow. You can learn more about Google plus Local here!

Sources:

GSMA Mobile Media Metrics Report Issued on UK Mobile Applications Usage

Econsultancy – Evaluating the Search Marketing Landscape. 

The Top 6 Trends Shaping Local Search in 2012 and Beyond

Build Your Brand Reputation and Blossom Online

Build Your Brand Reputation and Blossom Online

Build Your Brand Reputation And Blossom Online

brand reputationThe Internet and Social Media has meant that it is now much easier for people to build their own business brand reputation, spread their own messages and connect with a much wider audience. Your reputation has never been more important.

Whatever business area you are involved in I’m sure you can name someone who is a leading expert in that field. You may or may not know them personally, but their reputation precedes them. People follow them on social media, read their articles and wait with baited breath for a new opinion. You may find yourself disagreeing with some of the things they say, or you may think their every word is gospel and I’m sure you’ve wondered on how they managed to create such a successful brand reputation for themselves.

Similarly, for potential customers who know nothing of your niche, when they look for advice and information who is it that they find? That’s right, your competitor with the really strong online reputation will be the first one they find. Having a great reputation goes hand in hand with growing a successful business brand.

So How do You Grow a Successful Brand Reputation?

Successful people and successful businesses all had to start at the bottom. The playing field isn’t always level, some people will have access to better funding, skills, knowledge or even a better business idea in the first place, but even so a successful reputation and brand cannot be built overnight. It takes time, effort and persistence to be the best but it’s not impossible!

Whatever your field is, if you want to be known as the best, the steps you take to spread your reputation and grow your brand are fairly universal.

3 Things You Can do to Enhance Your Brand Reputation

1. Have a blog.

Blogs are fairly easy and cheap to set up and run.  A blog will give you an online presence that can be found by anyone, it also gives you a chance to air your opinions, thoughts, advice, information and skills. A blog is a great opportunity to advertise yourself and your business 24 hours a day, every day. It means people can contact you and ask questions whenever they need to. A blog is also your own platform, meaning that you can run it as you choose, and not according to the rules of someone else (as in the case of some social media platforms).

Setting up your first blog may be daunting, particularly if you’ve never written or published work before. Take it easy at first if you find it difficult, something like a “how to” guide or a “top 10” list might help you get in the flow. If you’re stuck for ideas try these 25 Blog ideas that will rock your readers world

2. Network

Networking both online and offline is very important in growing your reputation. People need to know you as the “go to” person, and they won’t know that unless they know who you are! Look for networking events in your local area, this will give you the opportunity to  meet other local business people who you can swap ideas with. Think about how you can work with people from different industries to create joint ventures that will boost both of your businesses.

Online networking on social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked in can provide you with valuable contacts from all over the world. This can be particularly interesting as someone on the other side of the world who does the same business as you may not be a direct competitor in the way that someone from across town might be. You can learn what works for each other, and see if you can put it into practice yourself.

Let’s not forget business networking is also a great way to win customers! Treat everyone with the respect and courtesy they deserve, answer questions, face criticism fairly and remember that online, anyone can be watching, so even if you don’t directly speak to someone they might still know of you and remember the time you gave great advice to a friend of theirs, or a time that you didn’t….

3. Offer opinions & Give Advice

What better way to prove that you know your stuff than by sharing what you know? Generosity goes a long way, particularly in business. By offering help and advice to people for free you’re giving them a reason to remember you. If you’re know as someone who has helped in some small way, then when that same customer needs something more they’re more likely to come back to you.  Knowledge can be shared in so many ways, it doesn’t have to be you going out of your way to physically help someone (although if that’s what you prefer then go for it!). If you’re a plumber you could film a video showing people how to seal a bathtub, a lawyer could write a guide on easy ways to avoid fraud, or a recruitment firm could have a template for a perfect CV.

Think about organising a Webinar or help group for a number of customers. This way you can share tips and strategies, answer questions and take calls. This is a great way to really highlight your expertise while at the same time showcase your website, products, services and get feedback from multiple people at the same time.

Encouraging a solid brand reputation is about positioning yourself as an expert in your field. If you make a lot of noise but can’t back it up with real success stories people will quickly see you for what you are – a fraud. If you follow the advice above and represent yourself in an honest way then you’ll find that in time, you will be seen as an expert in your field, and people will start talking about you, thus attracting word of mouth marketing for your brand. After all who else know more than you about your own brand?

Word of Mouth Marketing is Harnessing the Voice of Your Customer for the Good of Your Brand.

Word of Mouth Marketing is Harnessing the Voice of Your Customer for the Good of Your Brand.

Word of Mouth Marketing is Harnessing the Voice of Your Customer for the Good of Your Brand.

word of mouth marketingWord of mouth marketing is not new but it is without doubt one the most powerful forms of marketing on the planet and with the growing rate that people and brands are interconnected it will only become more and more important in the near future.

According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) – Word of Mouth Marketing is: Giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place. It is the art and science of building active, mutually beneficial consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications.

Word of Mouth Marketing in Numbers

  • Word of Mouth(WOM) conversations still predominantly take place face to face. 94% of WOM brand impressions occur offline.
  • The Internet is both the leading spark of WOM conversations and the #1 resource utilised to take action after conversation.
  • Search impacts more than 15% of all Word of Mouth conversations.
  • Google is the #1 spark of Word of Mouth conversations and the #1 place people turn to after conversations for more information.
  • Google directly informs 146 million brand conversations a day. Click Here to ===>> click here to tweet this
  • Word of Mouth impressions generated by search are 25% more credible and 17% more likely to lead to purchase than those generated by online social media sites.
  • More than 50% of consumers say they are highly likely to purchase an item based on word of mouth marketing.

Source:Word of Mouth and the Internet Study

Word of Mouth Marketing in Practice

Imagine you are hoping to go out to a local restaurant tonight. You open the local newspaper and there are scores and scores of restaurants all offering similarly priced 3 course meals. Let’s be honest, most of the adverts are pretty rubbish, price led and with limited information. You are still undecided.

You go online and Google the said restaurant and there are no reviews whatsoever, which in itself makes you question whether it actually is that good. You look at another restaurant and the reviews are a mixed bag and so now you are really stuck as to what to do.

So you phone a friend and the friend says “we went to the restaurant A last week, the food was amazing, the service was great. Love it!” Which restaurant are you more likely to choose?

After having a great experience at the restaurant you speak to your friend to thank them for recommending that restaurant as it was great! Suddenly restaurant A has two advocates agreeing the restaurant was good, the food was amazing and the service was great. You may have even been that enamoured with the experience that you take the time to complete an online review sharing your recommendation for everyone to see.

What are the Benefits of Word of Mouth Marketing for Your Small Business?

1. Builds brands – At the heart of a great business is a first class product or service and every business wants to be a customer’s ‘first choice’. Building and managing a brand can play a large part in making this happen and if you want to strengthen and manage the perception of your business, then a strong brand is needed. Word of mouth marketing elevates your brand, differentiates your like-for-like products or services and gives your customers a reason to choose you over your competitors.

2. Educates people about your products and services – A salesperson, a website or a glossy brochure will not compete with a recommendation from a friend. Ever! It is as simple as that.

3. Drives sales – Undoubtedly the benefit that most people want from word of mouth marketing is to increase sales. If you can get people to start talking about your business in positive manner then it can and will only result in increased sales. The more people that are spreading the good news the better. After all, nobody wants a bad service or product, do they?

4. Sparks conversations – As outlined in the example above, if as a small business you can provide an excellent service or give a great product or superb experience, then people are going to talk about it. Take a moment to think about your business being the topic of conversation in your local area and the positive impact it could have on your business. It sounds good doesn’t it!

How can you drive word of Mouth Marketing?

Well quite simply you need to have a great product or service. Without that then there is nothing to talk about. Go back to basics and make sure that every consumer touch point is efficient and enhances the experience that your customer receives.

Forget about satisfying your customers’ needs, focus on surpassing them on every level. Think about ways in which you can deliver an experience that impacts the customer in such a way that they want to shout from the roof tops, leave online reviews which will enhance your online reputation and spread the word across their social networks about how great they feel thanks to your business offering.

 

How to Give Your Local Online Marketing the Best Chance of Success

How to Give Your Local Online Marketing the Best Chance of Success

Local Online Marketing Success

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

But, to really get the most out of local online marketing, business need to make sure they’re doing it right and not just wasting time and effort. Here are our;

Top tips on How to Really Succeed in Local Online Marketing.

Have a plan and stick to it.

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

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

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

Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

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

Make sure your campaigns are Geo-Targeted.

If you want to attract customers within a specific local area, then it’s no good aiming your adverts far and wide where people from anywhere in the world can see them but can’t take action! Sites such as Facebook and Google Adwords allow you to target ads using a geo-location feature, meaning your adverts will only be seen by people in the locations that you specify.

Likewise, make sure that your location is obvious to anyone who might be searching your kind of service within your area. Include your location details on your site so Search engines recognise it, and link to other local pages wherever possible.

Engage with customers online.

When you’ve spent a lot of time building up your local online marketing you also need to be seen as a real human presence, not just a marketing machine. This means you need to take some time to engage with your customers, respond to comments they leave on your website, have conversations via Twitter, and thank people for their feedback. Social Proof is now all important, and online comments and actions that remain searchable and in the public domain are often viewed as being just as important as recommendations from Friends and Family.

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

Be top of the Search Engines

Basic SEO strategies can help generate sales and customers so it’s vital to get it right. If the search engines recognise your site as being filled with valuable information on a subject then it also helps your credibility with customers. Being at or near the top of search engine rankings will ensure you get the best of the search engine traffic coming to your site for free.

It’s not just SEO that gets you to the top of the Search Engines. Tools such as Google + Local also help, along with Videos, Pictures and customer citations.

Click on the following link to learn more about the benefits of SEO.

Local Online Marketing is not complicated, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job. There are several elements to understand, but once you have the foundations in place you should start to see that all important increase in local customers.

Boost Your Local Internet Marketing With These 5 Proven Strategies

Boost Your Local Internet Marketing With These 5 Proven Strategies

Boost Your Local Internet Marketing With These 5 Proven Strategies

local internet marketingLocal internet marketing is an increasingly important business and sales tool, for both business to business and business to consumer companies. Purchasers love it because it is information rich, meaning they can conduct research and easily make comparisons. Businesses love it because online efforts are traceable and measurable. Business owners are investing more in their online presence today than ever before and for good reason because there is a large and ever growing marketplace that is actively looking to be satisfied. In this post we share with you:

5 Local Internet Marketing Strategies that Will Boost Your Sales

 1.       Build Relationships

In the early days of local Internet marketing it was possible to succeed despite little or no relationship with your customers. It’s interesting that the ability to sell products and services online without a direct relationship with the buyer is what led to the practice of spamming, which of course is not tolerated at all today. Whether you are marketing online or offline, your success is dramatically enhanced if you have previously earned the trust of your community. Social media is obviously a significant component for accomplishing this online. The more you integrate with your community, the better you will be able to relate to them. It starts with being likeable. The next step is to be helpful by sharing valuable content.

2 – Content Marketing

Content marketing is a process of sharing valuable information with your community that helps solve many of their problems. It’s not intended to replace your professional services, but to illuminate your capabilities. The most common concern is giving away so much that your prospects don’t need to hire you. That is indeed possible in some situations, but it’s a risk you have to take in order to expand your circle of influence. The true intent is to make your prospects better buyers of your products and services. You are not selling – just creating alignment with those you can best serve. This is why the best form of content marketing is honest and authentic. Done properly, it humanizes your business, which thereby enhances its trustworthiness. Your content marketing is somewhat like talk radio – and you are the host. You are sharing useful information in a conversational manner with a little entertainment that keeps the listener engaged and helps them remember you and your service when they are next in the marketplace to buy.

3. Own Your Name

That might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but hear me out.  Your business name or brand may be all over the internet and you might not even know about it. You may think it’s absolutely great but the point is this, what is being said does not always paint your business in the best light and if you do not have the means to deal with this then it could have a negative impact on your business.

  • Keep your website updated with fresh content
  • Claim your social media profiles.
  • USE your social media profiles
  • Register your Google+ local business page.

These are just a few of the things that as a business owner you should be doing to control your online reputation. Click here to learn more about the importance of your online presence

4 – Direct Response Marketing

To this point I’ve used the word process more than once. internet marketing is indeed a process – and one that shouldn’t be rushed. You wouldn’t make a marriage proposal on the first date would you? Once you have done the work, you can and should make a proposal with direct response marketing. If you have ever written a sales letter or designed a postcard campaign to bring in more leads, then you understand the art of direct response marketing. Direct response marketing is copywriting that serves to elicit an action, such as picking up the phone to call your office, purchasing your product online, or visiting a landing page on your website. You have to consistently move your community to act in some way, because every time you get your community to take action, it predisposes them to doing it again and again.

5. Instill Loyalty

There is no point going through the 4 local internet marketing methods above if the end result is that the consumer purchases from you and then walks away. You want this customer to enjoy your products, service or experience again and again and again. Not only enjoy it, you want them to be thrilled by it. You want them to be so excited about your products or services that they quite happily tell everyone that they meet about the huge benefits your products or services deliver. Before somebody leaves your shop, office or practice ask them for a review. If you have a smart phone you could make a video it to post on YouTube. The power of testimonials can aid driving new business.

  • Give your customers discount vouchers to hand out to their friends and family, mark these vouchers and say if the people come in then the next time that client comes in they will receive a percentage off their purchase. People love discounts and if they can share them with friends then they will love them and you even more.
  • Grab the clients email address and send the client useful information, by that I don’t just mean bombard them with offers. If you run a restaurant then send them a recipe idea or information about foods that are in season that people should be using.
  • If you run a dental surgery then send information about how to properly floss, or foods that are good for your teeth.
  • Own a day spa? Then send them information about how you could use items that every household has to make a skin treatment.

By giving incredible value you create loyalty and when clients are loyal they come back and also they are happy to spread how great your service is to others. Get 10 more local business marketing tips here! There is no cookie cutter approach to getting local internet marketing working for your business. Each and every business has different goals, clients and challenges. But by building relationships, giving extraordinary value and creating loyalty both on and offline the result will be nothing short of outstanding. What local internet marketing strategies have worked well for you? Let us know by leaving your comments below!

Is Groupon a fair deal for business owners?

Is Groupon a fair deal for business owners?

Is Groupon a Fair Deal for Business Owners?

local business marketing manchester

Groupon took a simple idea – deal coupons – and turned it into a social media phenomenon. For those of you not already familiar with the what Groupon does, they sell discounted products or services for clients. Once a certain agreed sale threshold is reached then Groupon splits the revenue from the deal with the client. On the surface it’s a win – win scenario: Groupon earns money for being the middle man, their clients get a whole string of new customers that they wouldn’t have been able to attract normally, and the people buying the offers get a great discount on the product or service they all buy.

But who really benefits from Groupon? The consumer, the business owner or Groupon?

Let’s take a look at all three.

The Consumer.

From the consumers point of view, they get a great deal. They are lured into buying something that they didn’t necessarily want or need, but saw an offer that was so good they had to have it. The pleasure they get from getting a deal means they are more than likely to tell their friends and family, but the pleasure is all in the deal, not the experience that the business owner has given them. Their friends and family are more than likely going to go rushing to Groupon to get the same discounted deal, or to see where else they can find an offer.

The downside of this for the business owner is that if the customer has come for the cheap deal, they are unlikely to want to pay for the same service at full price.

Groupon.

Groupon launched in November 2008 and went public after three years. In December 2010 Groupon reportedly turned down a Google buyout offer of $5.3 Billion1, before working the Google numbers into a $12.3 Billion IPO a year later. 2

Groupon has 83 million subscribers, with 16 million of those having bought a deal3

On the surface, Groupon is doing very well, however there are rumours flying around that Grupon is going to collapse due to over saturated local marketplaces, high competition from the likes of LivingSocial and reports of poor accounting 4 . Whether or not it is here to stay, it’s here now and has access to an eye watering amount of customer data and payment details, all of which could be put to use for other purposes if they find a suitable niche to leverage.

The Business Owner.

Groupon encourages businesses to offer highly discounted rates. This is to entice would be buyers in; after all, everyone loves a bargain! Businesses who get involved with these offers need to make sure that the numbers stack up, otherwise they could be looking at a loss leader, or even worse committing to provide services that they really can’t afford.

Let’s look at this example: You offer your business services through Groupon for a 70% discount. This leaves 30% which has to be split between you and Groupon. If Groupon takes half of this, it means that you’re only getting 15% instead of 100% from the customer. The equivalent of £15 for a £100 service. Remember that this 15% needs to cover your own costs as well, so unless you have very generous margins you may struggle to break even, let alone make a profit. Now imagine that you sell this offer 200 times! Could you afford to do this and break even? Could you afford to make a loss?

Click here to Get 10 Great tips to Sky rocket your local business marketing

Is the deal on?

local business marketing manchester

Every business is different, and there will be businesses who want new clients whatever the cost. If that’s you, great. Otherwise, if the Groupon model appeals to you, you need to find a way to make it work for you without it breaking the bank.

One way to do this could be to put certain caveats in the offer, for instance you will only accept the discount bookings out of peak hours, or between certain dates of the year. You might want to only accept a certain number of bookings, or maybe only bookings that come online.

To combat the customers who only come for the offer, try cross selling alternative offers to attract them back as repeat business. Try and get them to sign up to your own mailing list, not just Groupon’s, or offer further incentives so that they remember your business, not just the Groupn deal.

If you want a high number of incoming leads and great exposure for your business then Groupon could be exactly what you’re looking for. Groupon is a super affiliate, offering their marketing clout of millions of subscribers to businesses who want paying customer leads without an initial outlay.

The most important thing as far as you the business owner should be concerned though is using the Groupon system to your own advantage and making sure that you’re not just getting a fair deal, you’re getting a great deal!

Click on the the following link to learn more about how you can leverage Google Plus Local to switch on your local marketplace.

Sources:

1 Read Write Web, 2 Read Write Web, 3 Business Insider, 4 The Guardian