Why You Should Use Education Marketing For Lead Generation.

Education Marketing

Why you should use Education Marketing for Lead Generation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Online Marketing Strategy.

Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Online Marketing Strategy.

Don’t make these 7 mistakes with your online marketing strategy.

Having an Online Marketing strategy has become absolutely essential for any business. Just getting a website commissioned is not good enough. You need to find and continually work to attract targeted users to your site, in order to convert those browsers into paying clients of your business.

The Internet landscape and search engines constantly update their search algorithms, users change the way they consume and interact with online information and a thus an online marketing strategy that worked well 12 months ago will not be perfect now and can suddenly stop providing results overnight.

Many business’s first reaction may be to panic at thought of the amount of business that is being missed, some won’t even know if changes had impacted them for better or worse and others will sit around cussing Google for their meddling.

The truth is, the search engines are not always at fault and sometimes it would be more prudent to look closer to home to find out where the blame lies.

You are not tracking your results.

Last month your online marketing efforts resulted in a 12% increase in search traffic, 150 new subscribers to your newsletter, 35 new inbound calls, 16 email enquiries resulting in 11 new appointments and 6 new sales.

Now the numbers will vary depending on the niche that you work in but the point is if you don’t know your numbers then stop investing in marketing and advertising until you know where you stand.

Tracking

If your online marketing has resulted in 2 profitable sales then if you doubled your investment would that result in 4 sales, 8 sales 16 sales, 32 sales etc. On the other hand, if you are not getting any sales then there is a problem and you need to find the bottle neck in your marketing system before you waste another penny.

You cannot manage what you cannot track and without those numbers you are doing your online marketing, and ultimately your business, a huge disservice.

Your Reputation Precedes You

Type in the name of your business and or the name of the your business in the city that you operate. What do you see? The majority of search results will pull up the most relevant results. Some of those results maybe from past clients who have left comments about the service that you provided or lack there of.

People trust what other people say online so you need to make sure that the comments and reviews reflect your business in a favourable light. If they are negative then people may take one look at the reviews and simply move to your next competitor.

Your past and current customers are the biggest advocates of your brand. Ask them to share their experiences about how your business helped them. This in turn will provide an insight to future users of your business how they too could benefit from using your products or services.

Your Website is Not Relevant

Is your website helpful? Does it provide sage advice to questions your users ask? Is it easy to navigate? Does it look and feel fresh and modern?

User demands change and a website that was designed to satisfy users five years ago may not be sufficient today. (Think the increase in mobile use as an example, something we will talk about later in this post)

If you have analytics use it. If you don’t have it then install it. Google Analytics is free and can help answer the following questions that might give you an idea as to where your website is going wrong.

Look into how long people are spending on your site, what pages that are visiting? What pages they enter the website on and what pages they leave the website on? Is there a certain page on your website that people spend longer on than most? Is there a way you could capitalise/engage that group of people to take some form of action; sign up to a newsletter, share this information on social media, provide an offer?

You Are Targeting the Wrong Users

Being the authority for branded keywords related to your business is a given. However this only helps people who already know about you find you. Think about the benefits of your services and products and the questions people would ask if they were looking to solve those problems and develop a search engine optimisation strategy that includes content be that blog posts, articles, videos that provides people with the answers to the problem they are looking to solve thus increasing the relevance of your businesses services. You may find a whole new audience that are interested in your products.

Search Engine Optimisation is Not Relevant

Search engines have a very complex algorithm that they use to calculate the search engine rankings of a page for a given keyword term. Pages are presented with the most relevant first. There are many contributing factors as to how the search engines calculate this but one of these is the number of references/backlinks pointing back to your site from authoritative and trustworthy domains.

This means if someone else in your niche finds your website helpful then they point their readers to it by inserting a hyperlink in their article or post. By doing this the search engines can see that your content is trustworthy and will send their users to benefit from the great value it offers.

Problems can arise when the links pointing back to the site are from less than authoritative sites or are from sites that do not offer any relevance to what your site talks about.

If search engine optimisation is part of your overall online marketing plan then think quality over quantity, every time.

Your Website is not optimised for Mobile Browsers

Having a website that is not optimised for mobile browsers is like having an office or a clinic on the second floor without having a lift. You will immediately lose out on a large part of the potential market.


Mobile vs non mobile

Mobile is very important not only because everybody has access to a mobile phone but a lot of people also have access to tablets or smart devices that they can now browse the internet on.

If when that user lands on your site if they can’t read the text because it is too small or they can’t navigate easily between pages because the buttons are too close together or they can’t see all of the screen. They will leave that website and go somewhere else.

Google has made it very clear that sites that do not confirm to their mobile policies will lose out on search visitors.
Read this post about checking to see if your website is mobile friendly or not.

Your Not Social Enough

The world has gone social and to reflect that shift by the user base the search engines place more emphasis on how popular your content is. In other words is your content being shared across social media; Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc. By having your content shared it shows to the search engines that the content is valuable to other people and this helps with your rankings.

An example of this is would be if a new restaurant opens up in your town, eventually by the restaurant serving great food, having a friendly atmosphere, and providing an excellent customer experience the restaurant will start to be mentioned by word of mouth to other people in and around the local area.

Social media just mean it can happen quicker. Instead of the word of mouth referral being the next time the bump into their neighbour in the street people are now taking picture of their food, or the party of people at the restaurant and sharing it immediately to their local social following. Therefore instead of a one to one referral there is an instant one to many referral.

Include social media share buttons on your website giving people to tell all their friends and connections about your website if they find something that really engages with them. Also, make an effort to interact with your target audience on social media and encourage conversation and sharing of your content.

There is a Complete Lack of Consistency

Online Marketing is not a set it and forget it strategy. There are too many changes implemented daily for that to happen. That is not to say that you have to adapt to all of them because even businesses with the largest budgets in the world would find that too difficult. Focus on providing the user with an excellent experience, through great content and interaction and you will find that your website becomes a magnet for targeted clients resulting in increased sales.

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Online Video Marketing Strategy – Why Should You Have one?

Online Video Marketing Strategy – Why Should You Have one?

Online Video Marketing Strategy – Why Should You Have One?

Online Video MarketingDo you have an online video marketing strategy? Answering Yes because you uploaded a video to YouTube 3 years ago, or you invested in a corporate video of you in your 90’s power suit, does not count.

Having an online video marketing strategy means regularly producing online video content that your user base, your clients, patients, customers or social media following, find educational, entertaining or enlightening. Ideally, your content will be so memorable that when one of your targeted following is in need of your services or solutions you are top of mind.

Online video Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult.

Online video marketing is a lot less complicated than you may have been led to believe.

    • Essentially video marketing (and this goes for any marketing) should include the following steps:
    • Identifying your target market – those people who are in need of your products or services, that are in your catchment area and can afford your fees.
    • Discovering the needs and or wants of that target audience.
    • Developing and executing a strategy to create a relevant and unique offering of incredible value to your target audience.
    • Creating and retaining loyal customers who actively engage with your brand.
    • Leveraging your great relationships to win new clients via referrals.

In short, marketing is about creating a positive relationship with your target audience and turning those positive relationships into paying clients who are happy to recommend their friends and family to you. Video is an affordable, accessible and powerful means to do that.

If standing in front of a camera scares the living daylights out of you then don’t worry as there are plenty of alternatives available and depending on the purpose of the video, can be a lot more effective than you reciting a script to camera.

3 Types of Video You Can Incorporate into Your Video Marketing Mix

Slide presentation : Forget those Power Point presentations that you have been forced to sit through via sales reps and training departments. We are talking about creating something that will provide incredible value to your audience.

Animated Explainer Videos: The next time you are watching a program on the television, resist the urge to fast forward through the adverts like most people do and spend those five minutes noting how brands are advertising. Every perceivable product/service is being marketed using animation, from personal injury claim firms to toothpaste. The point is big brands wouldn’t be spending tens of thousands of pounds using animation if it wasn’t providing results. And to produce an animated video for the internet is much more affordable.

Client Reviews – In your own minds eye you may be the best family lawyer in Bournemouth, the leading aesthetic dentist in Preston or the top facial plastic surgeon in central London. It doesn’t matter what you think. What does matter is what your patients, clients and customers think about you and more importantly, what they say about you.

Next time a client thanks you for the service you have provided ask them if they would mind giving you a brief video testimonial where they simply say exactly what they just said. You can even do this via a smart phone.

The more positive affirmations you have about your company the better because potential clients are looking for them in order to help in their decision making process.

Above are three simple methods of video content creation that you could use today, there are many more all of which can be used to increase the awareness of your brand and share relevant messages about your business and the services you offer but the above is a great place to start.

Remember just jumping into video marketing because you feel it is necessary or because your competition is doing it is not a good enough reason, you MUST have a strategy, to ensure your videos grab the interest and attention of your prospective customers or clients.

If you don’t have online video marketing strategy then any videos you create will sit on the internet gathering virtual dust.

To learn more about how video markeing can help you reach out to new customers online call us 0161 850 4413

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

content marketingAs 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.

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, 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. 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.

3 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

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.

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.

Be seen as a Thought Leader.

content marketing through thought leadership

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.

Top 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 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.

Content marketing alone will not bring a horde of new business but it certainly plays a significant part and it will help your online presence and build you online reputation, set your business apart from your competition as a thought leader and position you as the go to player in your industry.

Small Business Internet Marketing – 7 Things Decision Makers Should Know

Small Business Internet Marketing – 7 Things Decision Makers Should Know

Small Business Internet Marketing – 7 Things Decision Makers Should Know

small business internet marketingThe ways in which businesses can now communicate with potential and existing clients continues to grow at break neck pace. Any decision maker that has invested in a form of small business internet marketing in order to grow their business will have seen the number of options to interact with their audience increase rapidly over the last 5 years. From dynamic website design, blogging, video marketing, email marketing campaigns to social media marketing, the list of methods truly is endless.

With all that choice available it can quite often be very confusing for small business owners who are focused on doing what they do best: delivering value for their clients, regardless of the niche they are in. It could be keeping the family warm by getting the central heating working, providing a beautiful smile through dental surgery or helping individuals through a divorce or the death of a loved with one with professional legal services.

The long and short of it is that the Internet has changed the way in which consumers process information and communicate that information between other people. This in turn means the advertising methods of old are not the same and do not produce the same results as in the past.

In order to compete in a disruptive and often crowded marketplace businesses have to be more creative and outsmart their competition by leveraging strategies and techniques that speak to their target market and invoke a reaction.

The Seven Pillars of small business internet marketing:

1.      Know Your Ideal Audience.

small business internet marketing

You may think this sounds super simple but you would be surprised at the number of small businesses who don’t know exactly who their ideal client is. If you don’t have an idea of who this is then your advertising is not an investment, it is a cost. Unless you know who your target audience is you will be spending money trying to attract people who are not interested in what you have to offer.

Increase your chance of success by being specific about who you want to market to.

2. Always offer Quality Content.

small business internet marketing

While it may be hugely time consuming to update your website or Blog several times a week, having a lot of quality content that backs up your authority and helps keep customers interested in you is almost always going to be of benefit to you. I say almost, because if you don’t then take advantage of that traffic, then you will have wasted your time! Think of some of the Big Name Websites, every time you click on Amazon you will see different offers, different products and new information. If someone has been to your site and enjoyed what they saw, then they come back and see the same again they aren’t likely to give you another visit.

Quality content has become a by word of advertising online over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean that businesses haven’t been practising content marketing successfully for years and creating loyal audiences in the process.

And while it may be difficult for a business owner to justify taking the time out to create content, the more quality and insightful content you create that is distributed online, the more targeted clients will see it and the greater the chance you have of making a connection resulting in an inquiry or lead for your business.

The more you can do to educate potential clients about your business from the outset the easier it becomes to convert those leads into paying clients in the future.

3. Distribute Your Content High and Wide

small business internet marketing

In traditional marketing you have TV, Radio and magazines. Online you have websites, blogs, video sites, article sites, micro blogs, and social media. When your business has invested in creating a piece of content, that one piece of content can be broken up and converted into many different formats and then distributed in many places.

Keep your small business internet marketing interesting and different so people will be able to see your messages on different platforms and recognise that is you increasing your authority and building your brand in the process.

Make sure you are taking full advantage of the different online mediums available as the chances are your audience will be and you can bet your competition is!

4. Targeted Search Engine Campaigns are Priceless

small business internet marketing

Search engine optimisation is where you place your business in front of people who are ACTIVELY searching for your business or services. Targeted potential clients go from not knowing who you are or anything about your business, to seeing the benefits of your services within seconds.

Search engine optimisation is a key way to attract clients, the higher up the search rankings you appear, the more clients will click on your listing and therefore you will have a greater opportunity to convert. That is why a lot of businesses invest in improving SEO so they get the opportunity to attract targeted clients before the competition.

5. Connect with those that have trusted you before.

small business internet marketing repeat salesWhen a client has worked with you in the past they have paid their hard earned money to benefit from your services so they already know about you and how you can help them. Continue to educate your clients even when you have served them to keep them in touch with your business and what you can do. One of the best ways to do this is through email marketing.

Make every possible attempt to get the email addresses of your clients and put together a strategic marketing campaign that uses this prized information.

Tell your clients about how you are helping other clients, inform them through multimedia about other services or products that you offer, offer promotions to entice them to benefit from your business once more.

One of the most expensive things in business is a onetime client – leverage email marketing to make sure that you don’t suffer that huge business failing.

6. Online Marketing is measurable.

small business internet marketing measurable

The beauty about online marketing is that nearly everything is measurable. From positions in the search engines, the number of clicks, number of conversions or downloads and leads generated to sales made. Everything is trackable and when everything is trackable it means that you can test for the best performing adverts or marketing methods and repeat them time and again while constantly improving.

This is one of the major reasons why so many businesses choose to market online because there is a ready source of information that can be provided to decision makers to support the work that is being done.

Small Business Internet Marketing is Part of the Marketing Mix

7. Offline Marketing is still valuable

small business internet marketingOffline marketing is still valuable and supports any marketing campaign that you have. If a targeted clients sees an advert in a trade magazine that arouses their interest they then Google your business services to find out some more and they see you on the first page sharing some great content or with some brilliant third party testimonials then they will truly feel that you are the best company to help them resolve their problems.

Small Business internet Marketing is not a quick fix, and you shouldn’t consider it a miracle way to save your business and get profitable clients overnight. As with anything it can take time, effort and patience to get the results that you crave but don’t give up. Listen to feedback, monitor what does and doesn’t work and remember that if you consistently apply great techniques then online marketing will deliver your business targeted leads, increased sales and higher profits.

The Review of Reviews – Why Opinions Matter. (Infographic)

The Review of Reviews – Why Opinions Matter. (Infographic)

The Review of Reviews – Why Opinions Matter

Internet shopping and reviews have gone hand in hand for some time now. Anyone who is considering spending money online to buy a product or service that they can’t see or try before they commit to it has no doubt done their research in other ways – usually by researching the feedback left by previous users.

EBay, Amazon and Trip Advisor are just three sites that have built their own reputation on encouraging third party reviews and now almost every e-commerce site you can think of will have some kind of review or rating system. In short, we’re so used to seeing a star rating system or a comment box that if a site doesn’t allow reviews we wonder why not.

It’s not even just e-commerce sites that allow reviews either. Local Directory sites such as Yell, FreeIndex and ThomsonLocal all allow customers to review businesses, whether the business encourages them or not. This freedom of opinion on the internet means it has never been easier for someone to find out what others think of your business.

For a lot of businesses the ease of getting reviews from clients should be an opportunity to grab with both hands. Surprisingly, many businesses are ignoring this. More worryingly, if past clients have gone online to complain about poor service publicly on a third party website some business owners are taking the attitude of “out of sight, out of mind”. I even spoke to one business owner who said that if anyone read online reviews about his business he wouldn’t want them as a client anyway!

So do people read reviews, and more importantly do they believe them? PeopleClaim have put together this Infographic looking at some statistical measures of ratings and reviews. They were curious as to how many people were searching for reviews, what they were finding, and what type of decisions they were making based on this information.


PeopleClaim - The Review of Reviews

PeopleClaim.com

What this review of reviews shows is that reviews are an important and integral part of the decision making process and shouldn’t be ignored by businesses. This isn’t just relevant to retail businesses either, 82% of all consumers considered user generated reviews as Extremely Valuable or Valuable. Imagine you are looking for a Solicitor to help you buy a house, get a divorce or make a will. Although these are day to day jobs for a Solicitor, they are not day to day for the client, they may be once in a lifetime events. This client may need reassurance, they will want to know that you can do a good job and they will want to know that you know what you are doing. Reviews can tell them all these things, and they come directly from someone else who has been in that nervous client’s shoes.
The same goes for Dentists, Accountants, Plumbers, Private Health Clinics: in fact any business that can be researched online can benefit from third party reviews.

As a final thought, if Customer reviews result in a 14% increase in conversion within 30 days, imagine how this effect can be compounded over time and against multiple services that you provide. Reviews are a powerful tool, learn to use them to your advantage!

If you want to know how you can leverage client reviews to dramatically increase conversion and revenue contact us today.

Why Doesn’t Your Firm Get More Client Referrals?

Why Doesn’t Your Firm Get More Client Referrals?

Why Doesn’t Your Firm Get More Client Referrals?

client referralsWould you prefer to build a business that no-one knows anything about, so that every new customer is hard won from cold calls? Or would you want a business that people know about, trust and happily approach to do business with?

It’s likely that every business that starts will always have an element of the hard won, cold called business. Like it or not, cold calling is still an effective way to build business. Cold calling needn’t necessarily even be picking up the phone and ringing prospects, it could be emailing, direct mailing, door to door knocking or any other way you can think of to put yourself in front of a potential client who has never heard of you before.

While this is a tried and tested method of business building it’s also exhausting, time consuming and inefficient. At times it can also be demoralising if you encounter multiple “no” or “I’m not interested” or “please don’t call again!”

What’s the alternative?

In an ideal world you would have customers coming to you. Not just once in a blue moon referrals, or one off incoming calls, but customer after customer approaching you to work with them.

The benefit of having a business that clients know of and want to work with are plenty and obvious. It enables you to spend less time on drumming up sales, more time on closing business and serving customers – increasing your bottom line.

If this is the ideal situation for your firm then why aren’t you doing everything you can to ensure that this happens? Or if you think you are already doing everything you can to generate more referrals why isn’t that your business isn’t growing? A steady stream of customers who are enough to pay the bills isn’t enough, what you want is as much as you can handle, or more!

For a business to successfully grow by referrals you need to have an excellent reputation, an easy to find, informative website, great customer service and possibly some kind of client referral or incentive scheme.

If you feel you’re already doing all of this and the referrals aren’t coming in thick and fast then the number one reason is probably down to you.

Referrals usually come from a few main sources. These are:

  • Current Clients
  • Former Clients
  • Non competing firms in your industry
  • Companies not in your industry but in a similar field.

In order to maximise the number of referrals you win, you should think about how you can best target these individual groups.

Email Marketing and Newsletters are great for getting back in touch with former clients, in fact they are one of the most effective forms of marketing when they are followed up consistently. One of the great advantages of email marketing over direct mail is it is a much lower cost, another is that the email can sit in someone’s inbox quite unobtrusively, whereas unwanted direct mail usually goes straight in the bin.

With existing clients you can publicise a referral scheme to them while you are dealing with their case. If you have done a good job for someone, the best time to ask them for a referral is straight away when they are happiest with your service. Some businesses have really great referral or loyalty schemes set up for their clients, and while it’s not appropriate for every business you could offer a prize for every fifth referral you get from someone, or enter a monthly prize draw and everyone who has referred a friend gets a ticket.

Consider setting up a joint venture with a like minded business. If you are a conveyancing lawyer, you could build relationships with local estate agents or removal firms – these businesses aren’t competing for the same business as you but they will certainly be interested in some of the same clients.

client referrals

Look for opportunities to get involved in industry events where you can be seen as an expert speaker, or a moderator on a panel. Not all networking events are going to be right for you, you shouldn’t turn up to something just because it’s local or because you know a lot of people who are going already. Instead, target specific industry groups or target small client only seminars.

Finally, think about ways you can get referrals from within your own industry. If your firm specialises in certain areas of the Law for example, can you get referrals from another firm who offer their services in different legal fields, or maybe a firm from another town?

Some of you may have noticed that all of these things I have just mentioned are still you selling your business. Yes, they are. But the idea is that you aren’t touting directly for sales, you are targeting specific groups who are most likely to be in a position to help you. It will take time to build a good referral business, but by putting your efforts into getting groups of referrals rather than individual sales you are giving your business a better chance to be seen by as many people as possible.

The Most Expensive Thing in Your Business is a One Time Client

The Most Expensive Thing in Your Business is a One Time Client

Businesses of all sizes could do well to think more carefully about customer retention. Acquiring new customers is not only critical to ensure your business grows; it also satisfies your need to move on to the next thing and provides a fresh start and a blank slate. Unfortunately, acquiring new customers comes at a cost, which some sources suggest is around 7 times as much as reselling to your existing customer base.

 

Although acquiring new customers is a necessary and very important part of any business, it shouldn’t be your only focus. Once you have done the hard work of getting a customer on board you need to make sure you keep them! After all, how can you expect to grow your business at all if you can’t keep your existing clients happy?

 

Without repeat business from an existing client base you are constantly trying to plug the gap. A great month in terms of new business needs to be repeated month in month out if you have no steady income from your existing customer base. In short, running a business solely on one off sales does not make good business sense.

 

Some sources have suggested that it’s possible to increase your profits by up to 95 per cent just by improving your customer retention rates by five per cent. This seems like a pretty bold claim, but even an increase in profit of 20 per cent would seem like a huge win to most businesses!

 

So why are existing customers worth so much more than new ones?

 

With new business you are likely to have a longer lead time. The prospect has to be convinced that you are the right company to work with. Their doubts have to be addresses, whether they are about your product, service, price, quality, location, personnel or anything else. For every prospect that eventually buys you have to factor in not only the cost and time you’ve spent selling to them, but also to all the other prospects who haven’t bought anything.

 

Once a customer is on board you are likely to have overcome most, if not all of their concerns. The benefit to you, and the reason they’ll become easier to sell to in the future is that you will have built an element of trust with them. They are likely to be less sensitive to price, less likely to shop around and likely to buy from you more readily than go elsewhere. This again means shorter lead times, meaning less time, meaning you can focus more attention in other areas (like winning new customers!).

 

That doesn’t mean to say that existing customers are worth less of your attention, far from it! If you don’t give every customer the respect they deserve then they will leave you and go elsewhere. What I mean is that if you do your job right from the start, the process of retaining customers should be far easier than the process of attracting new ones.

 

Happy customers means you are also in a position to benefit from additional customer referrals. Good old word of mouth marketing is still a great tool for any business, especially now that you utilise the internet. If you have dozens of satisfied customers talking about you online, and possibly sending out referral offers to their friends it means that those friends who approach your business aren’t a “cold” customer. They already know about your business and have had a personal recommendation from a friend.

 

Existing customers should be at the heart of your marketing strategy, without a strategy to retain customers you leave yourself open to losing customers unnecessarily which puts you right back at square one, looking for new customers who cost you seven times more to win than retaining existing customers costs.

 

Given the recent economic turmoil (even the weather is being blamed for a potential triple dip recession!), frankly we could all do with whatever help we can get in order to reduce spending and increase efficiency. Our customer bases are one of our best assets and most valuable resources, make sure you’re getting the most out of yours!

 

Leave your comments below, we would love to know your thoughts are on customer acquisition vs repeat business!

Google+ is Growing and Will Continue to Grow!

Google+ is Growing and Will Continue to Grow!

Google+ is Growing and Will Continue to Grow!

Globalwebindex have compiled results that show that Google+ is now the second largest social media platform behind Facebook with 343m users, representing a growth of 27% from the previous year and despite all the negativity that the press have published about it being a ghost town.

Part of this growth can be explained by the fact that Google are, some would say, forcing, others would say, gently persuading, users of its other services to connect their Google+ profiles in order to use certain features.

google + local growing

For starters every time someone opens a new Gmail account they are automatically given a Google+ page. If users want to leave comments in the Google Play store they have to be signed in with their Google+ account, if a user wants to leave a comment in Google+ local for business using the Zagat rating system then they have to be signed in to their Google+ local account, if the user wants to have their real name displayed on their YouTube account they have to be signed into their Google+ account and then there is Authorship. If a user who produces content online wants to make sure that Google knows who wrote that content so spammers can’t scrape and copy the content and out rank you then, you have guessed it, you have to claim your Google+ profile. You want to claim your business listing which incidentally already exists (oops did nobody tell you?). Google created over 80 million business pages in Google+ local for business that are sitting on that are out there on the internet right now, with no images, no videos and possibly negative reviews!? Well, now you know!

Google has made it very clear that Google+ is not just the future but the present of Google.

“Google+ is Google,” says Vice President Bradley Horowitz. “The entry points to Google+ are many, and the integrations are more every day.”

We all know the social layer is important to Google and Google+ is their way to access the bountiful advertising revenue that Facebook is currently enjoying by accessing the personal information of its users. What apps people like, what shops or business services people use, where they are, the people they know. The amount of information that Google can monetise in terms of advertising through personalised search is incredible and that is why they will continue to encourage web users to embrace Google+.

As a business owner the main benefit of Google+ is that, unlike Facebook, Google+ is not ring fenced, it is not a closed community. If you share something on Google+ then it is available in search. And that for me is the monumental difference.

Google is ultimately a search engine, arguably the best search engine, some would go as far to say the only search engine, and so everything they do will be tied to search.

So, if an individual likes an Italian restaurant and on Google+ they leave a positive comment saying how great the meal was and the service was fantastic then when one of their friend types “Italian restaurant” into Google a picture of their friend will appear along with the review that they left. In other words there will be recommendations from people you know, like and trust mixed within the search results in Google.

google+ local

Flip that the other way around. What if your closest friend, someone whose opinion you trust has a bad experience with a local property solicitors, they leave a bad review using Google+. 6 months down the line when you type into Google “solicitor for buying a house” and in the results you see a review from your trusted friend reminding you how poor a certain solicitor is, would you then go on to use that solicitor?

Google+ will integrate into more and more products and searches, meaning that the search results that people get back will be more personalised and tailored, including the thoughts, experiences and opinions of your friends. This will have a HUGE influence over the business and services that an individual uses.

Google+ is not just a social media platform, it is a means for Google to incorporate social into all of their other products and when all of these other products are part of our daily working lives then at some point or other Google+ will be part of what you do, how you do it and more importantly what your customers do.

To find out more about how you can leverage Google+ local to rapidly increase leads and sales for your business contact us today.

Sources

http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/technology/19091-google-pushing-google-through-service-integration

http://globalwebindex.net/thinking/social-platforms-gwi-8-update-decline-of-local-social-media-platforms/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324731304578193781852024980.html

Why Online Business Reputation Management Should be On Your Radar

Why Online Business Reputation Management Should be On Your Radar

Why Online Business Reputation Management Should be On Your Radar

A lot of business leaders are so busy running their businesses that they don’t have time to focus on building marketing systems that get them new clients, let alone worry about their business reputation management online.

Your Business Reputation is Whatever Google Says It Is!

Face it, when someone is looking for your business, or your services they go to Google and type in your business name. The chances are the results they will include your website, amongst several other citations of your business.

Now you might think, “Well that’s ok we have a website and it has positive testimonials on there so we are fine, no need to worry!”

Well I am sorry to tell you that that isn’t good enough and here is why:

Very rarely do people enter your website url directly into the browser, even if they know you. The normal web user goes to Google and types the company name into Google and then hits search.

What the user is presented with is a list of pages that Google believes to be the most relevant for your business name. Now of course your website is one of those pages, or at least it should be, if it is not then you really do have trouble! The other listings will be other relevant and useful information concerning your business. This could be:

  • Press releases
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Forum sites
  • Blog Posts
  • Local directory listings
  • Review sites
  • Social media sites.
  • Images
  • PDf articles

Do you see my point? If the answer is no, then let me explain some more.

business reputation management - ease of reviews

There are many forms of content that people can place online, all of which can be relevant to your business, your name, your products or services. If you don’t know what is online when someone searches for you then shame on you.

Remember, the internet is not static, so just because you checked what came up in a search 6 months ago it doesn’t mean it’s the same today, or tomorrow or the day after and the day after that.

One negative comment left online, or a negative article, can quickly be syndicated to many sites across the internet. Once this happens then that piece of content becomes more credible in the eyes of the search engines because people are taking the time to comment on it and share it.

That means the piece of negative content moves higher up the search engine listings damaging your business reputation, potentially losing market value and impacting your lead generation.

3 Steps to Better Your Business Reputation Management

Take accountability

Don’t ignore your online business reputation. Make a point of taking responsibility by assigning someone in your business to take ownership. Then go out and proactively work to provide the search engines with useful, relevant and quality content that adds value to your business and to people searching for your company.

The sooner you create value added content, the sooner it can be indexed and shared by the public, therefore increasing relevancy.

Don’t enter a Slanging Match

“He said, she did, I said,” is not going to help you out in this situation. If the comment or content is someone having a good old rant then sometimes it is best not to add fuel to the fire by leaving a response.

Analyse the comment or content that has been posted and think about how best to respond. If the comment is reasonable, for example if the user is talking about an experience they have had with your business and how it was disappointing, then step up to the plate and offer an apology and an avenue to interact with that consumer in order to investigate the issue and make things right. By doing this you get the opportunity to rectify the client’s sentiment about your business and also show the outside world, who are watching, that you really do care about your customers and clients.

Positively ask for feedback

reputation managementGetting positive reviews is another way to counteract the negative press that is online. There are many 3rd party review sites that allow consumers to leave their honest feedback about businesses that then get published online.

Ask your customers to go to these sites and leave honest reviews about your business, this will help build up a series of reviews, hopefully positive, that can be used to push down the negative reviews, provide feedback to your business and increase the perception of your business online.

Ultimately business reputation management is vital. If someone is saying something negative about your business or services they might have a reason to make a valid complaint. Consider all negative comments or complaints seriously and take corrective action where warranted.

If you want to know more how we could help you develop an online business reputation management system, marketing the GREAT work that you do for clients, protecting your business from the bad comments and winning new and repeat business online then call us today. 0161 850 4413