6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

6 Tips For Marketing Your Business To Get More Local Customers

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Have a plan and stick to it

 

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

 

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

 

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

2. Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

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

Make sure your website is mobile ready

 

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

 

3. Make Sure Your Campaigns Are Geo-Targeted.

 

geo targeting

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

4. Engage with Customers Online.

 

social media engagement

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

5. Be Top of the Search Engines

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

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

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

 

6. Get 5 Star Online Reviews

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Get 5 star reviews fast

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

But we already have a website!

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

 

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

 

cost

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

4 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

1. Highly Visible Social Proof

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

create social proof

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2. Be seen as a Thought Leader.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

3. Improve Search Engine Rankings.

improve-search-engine-rankings

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

What Problem is Your Website Solving?

 

what problem does your website solve

 

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

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

 

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

 

Who is Your Website Solving it For?

 

who is your webiste for

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

 

The criteria may be:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

How are you solving the problem?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

What is your primary conversion goal?

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

How can your ideal customer find your website online?

 

how do you customers look for your website in google

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 Improve the User Experience

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Develop and Implement a Content Markting Strategy

 

content marketing

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Build and nurture relationships

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

banner-for-4-online-marketing-tips

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Visibility

 

business visibility

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CREDIBILITY

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

POSITIVITY

positivity helps business growth

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

PROFITABILITY

business-growth and profitability

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Have You Earned the Right to Win New Customers?

Have You Earned the Right to Win New Customers?

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

 

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

 

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

 

The 3 Different Online Marketing Strategies

 

paid owned and earned media

PAID Media.

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

 

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

 

Benefits

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

 

Disadvantages

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

 

OWNED MEDIA

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

 

Advantages of Owned Media

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

 

Disadvantages of Owned Media

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

 

EARNED MEDIA.

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

 

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

Get 5 star reviews fast

 

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

 

Disadavantages

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

 

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

forrester research

Where Does Social Media Sit?

 

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

Social Media For Business Free Download

 

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

 

What is Converged Media?

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

 

converged media

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

66% of Your Clients Are Willing to Spend More!

66% of Your Clients Are Willing to Spend More!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

How Can You Capitalise on These Positive Client Feelings?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Takeaways for great customer service

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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!

It’s Time to Shout Out the Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment!

It’s Time to Shout Out the Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment!

 

For many people,

the world of chiropractic treatments is a vast unknown, and as its use by the NHS is limited it’s something that many people are missing out on. 

 

In a recent interview, Andrew Lloyd Webber talked about how visiting a chiropractor completely turned around his outlook on life as it solved problems he’d been having for such a long time that multiple surgeries had done nothing to ease.

 

After having 18 general anaesthetics in one year (2013) alone he said,

“Then I met a chiropractor and I’ve never looked back. I saw him every day for about eight weeks. And three months later I thought it was time we did Cats again.”

 

How do Chiropractors Get their Message Out

So how do chiropractors get their message out to a wider audience, who are probably in the dark about chiropractic and don’t know that it could help them?

 

A Great Web Presence

Being online isn’t just about having an old website from 1998. You need to have an easy to find, user friendly website that allows patients to find you quickly and easily. You also need to make sure that you can be found by new patients who may not know about your treatment, but who may be Googling their symptoms. Many people spend the majority of their time online using social media, so if you want to be seen make sure you are on social media too.

 

Reviews and Testimonials

Show the world the great things your practice does! Reviews from satisfied patients are great because they speak directly to all those other potential patients who are looking for affirmation that coming to your practice will be a good experience.

 

Videos

A short video will go a long way to showing the true character of your practice. Consider making a video of a happy patient or a behind the scenes at the practice video. Video helps to make things seem more real, and patients know that video testimonials are hard to fake. It will also give patients a glimpse of your practice so they can see for themselves what it looks like. (click on the image below to see a video from one of our private dental partners)

 

 

We’ve worked with businesses in the healthcare practices across the country to improve their Online Reputation and to help them reach out to new patients. If you would like to know more about how you can improve your practice’s reputation, grow your reach and win more profitable patients then call us today on 0161 850 4413 and we can help you make some immediate improvements.

Are You Social Media Savvy?

Are You Social Media Savvy?

Social Media is a really powerful marketing tool,

After all it is where most of your customers spend their time online – no matter what line of business you are in. Unfortunately, very few businesses, whether B2B or B2C get their social media strategy right.

 

Ineffective social media is at best a waste of everyone’s time and, at worst, bad for business.

So how can you be more social media savvy?

As with any form of marketing, a good strategy is needed and with a few tweaks along the way it’s what can set you apart from your competitors.

 

What are your goals?

First of all, what do you want to achieve with social media? Is it to raise awareness of your brand? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Improve sales or encourage customer loyalty? Most likely you will want something of a combination of all of these, they’re not mutually exclusive! However, in order to be clear about your message you should focus on achieving one or two simple goals. If you use the scattergun approach to try and tick all the boxes you will end up with a confused audience who will pay less attention to  you as your communication to them isn’t clear.

 

Set Objectives

One place where many businesses go wrong with social media is by not setting clear enough objectives. It’s not good enough to simply post whatever you feel like to social media (as you would on your personal profile) is you expect to see clear business gains.

 

Try using SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) based on the goals you thought of earlier. Make sure you can measure the goals you set. There are dozens of different online tools available to do this, many of them free. If you find that something isn’t achieving the results you want then tweak it slightly and keep track of the changes you see.

 

Know Your Customers

The key to any successful social media strategy is understanding your audience. There’s no point in curating a beautiful Pintrest page full gorgeous images if your target audience are more likely to be sharing cat videos on Facebook.

 

If you really have no idea about who your customers are and what they like then you could run a survey of everyone you serve just asking what sites they use and what they like to see online. From here you can start to build up a detailed profile of who your perfect customer is and tailor both your content and where you post it accordingly.

 

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Social Media is a very open environment. What’s great about this is that you can clearly see what many other businesses in your niche are doing. Spend some time searching for businesses similar to yours and see what they do on social media. Find out what seems to be working for them and see if you can adapt something similar for your own business. You don’t have to stick close to home either, look for successful competitors in other cities, or in other countries and find out how they are interacting with their customers. The customers they are trying to appeal to are the same people that you want to win too, so what works for them might work well for you too.

 

Choose your Platform

Don’t ever feel like you have to have a profile for every single social media site that exists. Different social media channels suit different people and different businesses, so it’s likely that not every site will suit you. For example, Linked in is very good for B2B relationships, while Pintrest is more visual. You can’t post the same content on those two sites and expect it to work. Think about what is best for your business – for example my business doesn’t have a Pintrest page because we don’t produce enough images to really engage with people there. We do use Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter though because each of those sites fulfils slightly different roles for our Business (Click the links and follow us to see for yourself!).

 

You might also find that using too many sites will stretch you too thinly and you aren’t giving the quality attention to each group of followers that they deserve.

 

Plan your content

There are two important things to consider with content. First, the frequency. In order to really build up a relationship with your followers you need to post regularly enough to stay in their minds, but not enough so that people will become annoyed and unfollow you. There’s no right way to do this, it depends a lot on your own style and message. There is a wrong way way though, and that’s to post tons of stuff all at once and then forget about your page for 6 months. If in doubt, post consistently a few times a week and build it up from there.

 

Secondly, you need to deliver a good mix of content to keep people interested. Whilst everything you post should be in line with the objectives you decided on earlier, you should try and mix the formats up to speak to people in different ways. For everyone who loves an infographic, there will be others who only watch videos and all of those people could be your potential customers, so don’t forget to speak to them in different ways. Mix up your own blog posts with interesting items from other sources, local news and events or fun snippets.

 

Finally, remember that no matter how good your content is you need to engage with people to get results. Start conversations, offer advice and don’t try too hard to sell. It’s about being social!

 

If you’re not sure where or how to get started then check out our Social Media Packages!

 

What are your top tips for social media? Has something worked really well or not worked at all? Leave your comments below!