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.

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.

Why SEO Should be a Fundamental Element of Your Lead Generation Strategy

Why SEO Should be a Fundamental Element of Your Lead Generation Strategy

Why SEO should be a Fundamental Element of Your Lead Generation Strategy

Many businesses realise the hard way after investing in a website that traffic, leads and sales do not magically appear on the internet. Businesses are competing with millions of websites to be seen, and this is where search engine optimisation comes in. It is no longer good enough to just have a website, you need to make sure it can be found through the major search engines and this is why SEO is so important.

A website that is not optimised is as successful at attracting new clients to your business as the sign above your business. It is only visible to those that are standing directly in front of it or who already know your business is there. People in the next street, the next town, the next city will have no idea you even exist.

why seo

That’s why SEO needs to be high on your list of imperatives. If you are not continually working on your online presence to boost and maintain your search engine rankings, your company will likely experience a poor return on investment for its online marketing efforts. Without a search engine optimisation strategy, your organisation could be losing countless potential prospects and new business to competitors who are focusing on SEO.

While many business owners believe that SEO can be a “set it and forget it” exercise it is more evident than ever that it requires constant vigilance and adjustment. Major shifts in the area of search have been taking place over the last few years and businesses that don’t adjust will see their listings sink to the bottom of the results pages.

Search Engine Optimisation is still new to many businesses and because of that it can be hard for department heads or business owners to justify investing in SEO. Here are some facts that might help your decision:

Top 10 Reasons Why SEO is Worth the Investment

Close Rate – According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, which are 8 times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads.

People Search for a Reason – Search engines are one of the most popular ways that people find information and make purchasing decisions. According to info please, 81% of internet users say they use the internet to do research on a product before buying.

why seo

Real time, All the time – The internet is alive and speaking to your potential clients 24/7/365. So while your business is closed and there is no one manning the phone lines a perfectly optimised website can be providing useful and valid information about your products and services, helping them conduct their research and putting you in the prime position when they are ready to buy.

Branding – SEO helps improve brand awareness. People are more likely to move forward with a company if they have an online presence that fills the searcher with trust. By showing up where users expect you to be and having a great online reputation you can earn that trust.

Relevance – Search engine marketing enables brands to reach the audience that is most likely to be interested in their products or services. This can be contextually, where results are based on what the searcher is particularly looking for or location based, where your audience is at the moment of time. Both of which add to why SEO is so important for business.

Reach – According to UKOM in September 2012, over 42 million individuals in the UK where online, that is 69.4% of the total population and on average people spent 25:44hrs online.

why seo

Creativity – Search engine optimisation offers businesses and marketing teams a limitless creative canvas to attract and captivate their target audience through multimedia: video, audio, imagery, text, all of which can be used to drive customer engagement.

Long Term Benefits – A print advert, a direct mail campaign, a radio advert once delivered is gone and if your target audience miss the advert there is little chance of them finding t again. If you have a website that is optimised for targeted keywords that drive traffic on a daily basis you will have the opportunity to engage potential clients on a day by day basis for years to come.

Competition – in most cases doing something because everybody else is doing it is not necessarily a strong argument. However if a business is serious about generating  a healthy supply of leads then not being optimised while others in the niche have adopted a local seo strategy, will mean that those leads, prospects and sales will be going straight to those that have made the investment.

Organic – In a recent report conducted by GroupM carried out with Nielsen, Evaluating the Search Marketing Landscape, it was found that only 6% of clicks were from paid search while a massive 94% were from searches in the organic listings. This in itself highlights why SEO, and having your business listed for key terms related to your business and niche in the organic listings, is so important for business.

Accountability – Unique to the internet is the ability to show the entire customer journey: the number of sales, newsletter sign ups, the number of times people click on your listing in the search engines, where they go, what they interact with and much, much more.

All of this information can then be used to work out where to target your efforts to increase conversions.

Although it can be difficult to justify spending money on something that doesn’t yield immediate results and comes with few guarantees, it’s important to realise that SEO is a lasting investment and can be a fundamental part of your lead generation strategy moving forward.

Consumers are using the internet for everything, as the demand for information about products and services continues to increase and the numbers of ways people can access the information evolve, search engine optimisation is not going away. In fact the need is only going to get stronger. So instead of asking why improving SEO is a good investment, maybe you should be asking yourself why didn’t we invest in SEO sooner?

Marketing Your Business is an Investment Not a Cost – 9 Top Tips

Marketing Your Business is an Investment Not a Cost – 9 Top Tips

Marketing Your Business is an Investment Not a Cost – 9 Top Tips

marketing your businessNo matter how good a sales force your business has there are always benefits to Marketing your business. If you still see marketing as a luxury that your business can’t afford to invest in then you’re probably not going about your marketing efforts the right way. Whatever the size of your business, these 9 Marketing tips should ensure your marketing campaigns don’t go to waste.

9 Straight Forward Marketing Tips for Your Business

1. Have a budget.

Marketing needs to be seen as an investment in your business, it’s not an expense you can do without. That being said you shouldn’t blindly spend money that you can’t afford. Start off with a budget for each campaign and forecast what you expect to make as a return. Monitor your spend closely and if you are way behind on forecast it might be wise to change the campaign or pull it entirely. On the other hand, if you’re making far more than expected then think about investing more.

2. Have a goal.

Do you want to get 30 new customers? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to grow interest in future projects by collecting people’s names? Whatever you aim to get from each campaign, be specific about it, otherwise it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important and you could end up either overspending, or advertising your business in the wrong areas. Give each campaign an end date or have a timeline to check progress.

3. Do your analysis.

Measure the success of each campaign as accurately as you can. This could mean asking customers where they saw your advert, or asking them to provide you with a code. Many online marketers can set up a unique funnel for each online campaign, so anyone who clicks through a certain advert will be tracked. You could even set up a phone number for important campaigns so that you can see exactly how many people have called as a result of seeing a particular advert. Be honest with your analysis. It might appear that your marketing budget is being well spent if you see a sudden increase in business, but is that increase directly down to your marketing expertise, or is it a seasonal peak, the sales team working harder, or is it an old campaign finally paying off? Make sure you understand where your customers come from!

4. Build your Brand’s personality!

Use your marketing to build up your brand image, so that there is a recognisable trend, face or logo across everything you do. This means that people who come across your business in different areas, such as on Facebook, or in a newspaper advert recognise your business and grow to trust you. For many small businesses this brand personality may be very closely tied to the owner’s own image or personality. If this is the case, make sure that the person that your customers find when they get in touch matches up to the image that your marketing has projected.

5. Understand what your customers want to see.

To run a successful campaign, you need to understand who you are trying to reach. Build a “straw Man” of who your typical customer is. What does this person like? How do they want to consume information? How do they like to interact with others? Once you know this you can tailor your campaigns to target your ideal customers, for example although you might prefer to interact with customers via your blog, you might realise that you’ll get a better response by marketing through LinkedIn or Twitter.

6. Make Your Point.

People are busy. Even if a potential customer is looking for the type of services you provide they probably don’t have all day to do it. So, make sure that you don’t leave people guessing or searching for clues. Spell out what you offer, make it obvious how they can get in touch with you, or how they can find out more information.

7. Find your own niche

No-one can excel at absolutely everything, so don’t try to. If you spread yourself too thinly your message will be diluted and have less impact in each area. If you find that you are good at communicating with people on Facebook, then keep that as your main platform for updates, don’t try to replicate your Facebook personality on Google Plus just because you think you have to.

8. Make sure you deliver what you promise

Anyone can offer the best product or the most amazing service, or the greatest discount, very few can actually do it all. Nothing will ruin your reputation faster than letting down customers who have fallen for your marketing hype. If you want to make outrageous claims as part of your marketing campaigns then great, as long as you know that you will beat the expectations of the customers who come looking for you.

9. Get help when you need it.

Spending money on marketing campaigns that you don’t know how to get the best results from can be a disaster. Likewise, having money to spend but not knowing where to start could send you down the wrong road. There are plenty of agencies who can offer advice, or help you set up campaigns either online or offline.

What are your “must know” marketing rules? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

8 Advantages of Blogs for New Business Generation

8 Advantages of Blogs for New Business Generation

8 Advantages of Blogs for New Business Generation

advantages of blogsLet me start by saying, in my opinion, there is no one size fits all cookie cutter purpose of a blog. In fact each and every blog is unique and that uniqueness is something that any potential blogger should be looking to create. In this post I am going to discuss the main advantages of blogs in business and how it can help your business grow.

It brings your website to life

It is seldom the case that you can find a niche market where there is little to no competition. This means that as a small business owner you have to do something to make your small business stand out from the crowd.

By starting a blog you are making a commitment financially and, more importantly, an investment of your time to provide valuable insights into your industry or niche. Be ruthless with yourself because if you have nothing interesting to say or no value to add then your blog will soon become a ghost town and will in fact have a negative impact on your site.

It helps you become a teacher

In the process of winning business you often get asked questions about your products and services. When you blog on a regular basis you find that your approach to explaining these details changes (Well, it does for me anyway!). When you read something back to yourself in black and white and it doesn’t make sense then you need to amend it until someone can understand exactly what you’re saying.

By creating several articles on a weekly basis you inadvertently

  • sharpen up your sales pitch for when you are addressing clients.
  • You are forced to stay up to date on industry trends.
  • You’ll have answers for the most taxing of questions.

In essence one of the huge advantages of writing a blog is that you are practising your pitch and enhancing your repertoire so that when you do get in front of clients your demeanour is more confident and relaxed, allowing the client to feel more relaxed resulting in more sales.

It gives people a reason to return

I know of a small business owner who vehemently refuses to update his website and swoons at the thought of including a blog. In his opinion there is only one reason people visit the company website and that is to use a free sample of the company software.

My thought is this: if you only give people one reason to visit then they will see your site for that one purpose and no other. Give your audience that reason to return again and again by creating valuable content that provokes curiosity, inspires or educates. By doing this your blog can quickly and easily build a loyal following that can share the name of your business and brand through referral.

It helps search engine rankings

A stand alone website is pretty much an advert in a sea of other adverts. Worse than that if there is no structure, and by that I mean no search engine optimisation, then effectively your website is stranded in an ocean without a lifeline.

advantages of blogs

Adding a blog to your small business website means that you are constantly adding fresh content, when you add fresh content to your blog and promote your blog in the correct manner the search engines recognise this and if you tell them what your blog content is about by using the correct SEO on page optimisation, you will be rewarded by having your content indexed where you most want it to be found. Namely, in front of the eyeballs of targeted prospects for your business.

With a solid inbound marketing strategy and patience you can build up a vast resource for your business that can provide solid value for your audience and position your business as a leader in your industry.

It helps qualify prospects in and out.

When you produce great content on a regular basis then over time you will inevitably cover the majority of aspects of your business, from products, services and solutions through to after care and the results that you provide for other clients.

Having great content available to people who are reviewing your business is a great way to qualify them in or out of your business. And those that take the time to read your content and dissect the information available to them are going to be a much better lead for your business. They will be educated in your business methodology and by the simple act of following your call to action will be signalling to you that they are serious and ready to do business.

The other benefit this has on your business is it saves you time.

As business owners we all want to speak to as many new people about our business on a daily basis. Agreed? Of course the answer is yes! However the truth of the matter is that in a hectic schedule there can be nothing worse than giving up time to speak to a tire kicker.

As well as acting as a lead magnet for qualified clients one of the advantages of blogging is that it acts as a way to repel those that are simply looky loo’s.

It provides social proof

Blogging is about striking up conversation with your audience. It’s about bringing your business and brand to life. The more content you write then the greater the chance of you eliciting a response.

The responses that people in your community leave are great fuel for you to highlight your expertise in your niche and also to outline your approach to customer service.

Many people and businesses don’t like the idea of opening up their blog or website to comments. This myopic approach can actually damage the visibility of your blog in the search engines as the search engines look for social signals as a factor that a blog is actually of good quality.

On top of comments helping with your ranking, they also provide great blog post ideas for further content creation!

It establishes authority

Establish your small business as an authority in your industry by creating highly enriching blog content. If you are able to do this, it is a sure fire way to gain credibility with prospective new business partners. Highly effective peopleknow the more authority you have, the more likely people will open their ears and listen to you without being overly critical, giving you the ability and time to influence this is the purpose of a blog that most small business owners and business professionals desire the most.

How can you increase your authority? Get your blog noticed, write a book, or provide guest content to influential websites in your niche. Ask your prospective customers what they actually want and provide resources where they can find it.

The advantages of blogs vary from industry recognition to SEO benefit but one thing remains constant and that is you will need to learn how to write blogs effectively and integrate your blogging within your marketing strategy to see success. Blogging is not something to be taken lightly it is a huge investment of time and money so make sure you are clear as to what you are looking to achieve before penning your first words.

Inbound Marketing – There is no Need to SHOUT!

Inbound Marketing – There is no Need to SHOUT!

Inbound Marketing – There is no Need to SHOUT!

inbound marketing manchester2Traditional marketing works on the premise that if you make enough noise, have the loudest voice, or scream the longest in a public place then you will get heard by a larger audience. It makes sense and for many years it worked. It was the primary method that businesses adopted when marketing their products or services and it resulted in leads and sales. However, with a larger percentage of marketing budgets being switched to online this method is no longer the default.

The average internet user is no longer blinded by the flashing lights and images that in the early days of the internet persuaded them to stop surfing and crash kamikaze like down which ever rabbit hole the advert took them. Such marketing is seen as a hindrance, a mere distraction in stopping people doing what they went online for and that is why Inbound Marketing was born.

For businesses that market online, in fact any business, the goal is to providing compelling content to a highly targeted audience base that results in leads, conversions and sales.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound Marketing is about getting found by people that want to hear your message. It’s about working with a warm market as opposed to cold calling and interruption marketing where you reach out to people who in reality don’t have any desire to hear what you have to say.

Inbound Marketing is becoming more popular as business owners look for efficient and affordable ways to acquire new business leads. A comprehensive Inbound Marketing Strategy will consist of:

  • Content marketing
  • Social media
  • Mobile
  • Blogging
  • Analysis and Conversion

All these aspects and more work in unison to target specific users who are looking for or who are already interested in learning more about your experience.

This means that the users are in essence pre-qualified, so you can be sure that your message is greeting welcoming ears rather than random outbound contacts.

Why is Inbound Marketing Important for business

The main goal of inbound marketing is to create informative content that is designed to convert browsers into leads, leads into customers and to keep previous customers loyal to your brand. It’s an attention marketing strategy where you use the content you create to attract people to your brand and then have them tell the world how great your experiences are.

It sounds like business Nirvana and for the select few businesses that manage their inbound marketing strategy well, it is. However as you can imagine there can be a pretty big time investment associated with creating valuable content on a regular basis. So as a small business owner, why should you take the initiative and get started?

1. Raise Awareness

The first step is to raise awareness, as discussed we are not talking about slapping up a billboard with 70% off here. We are talking about providing something of incredible value to people who already have an interest or a desire to learn more about your experience. The best way to do that is to create content.

  • Write an eBook
  • Provide an email mini series
  • Produce a video workshop
  • Write a blog
  • Produce a newsletter

The more great content that you have, the more that you can promote it. Just having one thing and pushing that to death is not the way forward.

Each and every piece of content you create is another brick in your online presence. Brick by brick you can build a library of informative resource material that you can use to attract new people, give to leads to learn more about your business and position yourself as an expert and authority. That leads me nicely to trust.

2. Trust

All things being equal, people will do business with people they trust. All things not being equal, people will do business with people they trust.

When you create something of great value and then give it to your customers because they deserve it, you create trust. You are not selling, you are not badgering them with advertisements or offers, you are providing value.

It’s building the ground work now for a long term and profitable relationship that you can cash in on later.

3. Lead Generation

The next part of the inbound marketing journey is turning this relationship into a lead. The user trusts your business and, if positioned correctly, your content should have enlightened them into your unique service proposition, told them your story and more importantly made it crystal clear exactly how you can help that individual overcome their problems.

Your content is helping desire by building your authority in the space and letting the user know in no uncertain terms that you, your services and solutions are the person to help them achieve their goals.

4. Repeat Buyers

inbound marketing manchesterThis is the exciting bit, the action piece! This is the piece they show on the Hollywood trailer with the explosions and guns and the hot women. In reality, this is where you turn your lead into a sale and not just one sale. Your content works to build a solid relationship so that person buys from you again and again and again.

By using your content you can inform and educate your clients and followers into how to maximize their experience, how to get even more great benefits, how to solve even more problems by leveraging the other services and solutions that you have.

Don’t make your content a commercial, but do highlight how seamlessly two products go together for better results. Or show specific data that lets your customers see that people who purchase A and B together actually see a greater return on investment.

Shorten Sales Cycle

Over time, and once you have created a lot of informative and compelling content which is optimised for search engines, more and more people will find your content on the internet. That means more and more people will be sharing your content through social media and their own networks. A share on social media from someone your prospect already knows and trusts acts like a recommendation. If that person has a problem that your solution can solve then suddenly that person forgoes the first few stages of the sale cycle and goes directly to your main presence to learn more and to take action.

For businesses setting up an online presence, it is essential to understand the value and the dynamics of inbound marketing. The contemporary consumer is intelligent and demanding. The conventional strategy of bombarding them with web ads has proved to be pointless, with more and more users opting for applications which effectively filter out such advertising through pop-up blockers and ad-blockers.

The discerning consumer of today will be more impressed with relevant content that provides them with the tools to make better purchasing decisions. Being able to grasp this principle not only results in lower cost of marketing and higher conversion rates, but also builds quality traffic to your website that is relevant to your business.

Inbound Marketing is marketing and selling your products with authenticity and transparency.