Is Your Online Image Letting Your Business Down?

Is Your Online Image Letting Your Business Down?

Is your online image letting your business down? | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Businesses Seem To Fall Into Two Clear Categories Online:

Those that know how important their online presence is and who stay on top of it at all times, and those that don’t.

 

I’ve lost count of the number of businesses I’ve come across online whose website hasn’t been updated in years, doesn’t give any helpful information and leaves me wondering how any of their customers even know to contact them.

 

There are also businesses whose Facebook pages haven’t been updated since 2012, or whose Twitter profile still has an Egg as a profile picture.

 

Twitter Egg

 

In business, image is everything and the picture you show to the outside world is what the public take away with them. So if someone’s had a referral from a friend that your business is the best to call for their situation, and they look you up online and see that there are no contact names on your website, you haven’t tweeted in 6 months and there are no testimonials from any other customers to back up what their friend has said, the chances are you will not win that person as a customer.

 

For many businesses, even those with a terrible web presence, image and reputation are everything. Most people wouldn’t go to work in their scruffy looking tracksuit that they wear round the house, and most businesses take pride in the appearance of their office and reception area. Wearing dirty clothes to work or not responding to a client question for several weeks is usually a big no-no, so why do so many businesses forget that their web presence is often the first way that new customers will come across their business, or the easiest way for someone to get in touch?

 

The answer is that many business owners feel confident that they are already doing well enough, or that they invested in a website years ago and it doesn’t seem to do anything for them so why do more, or that they simply can’t afford to invest either time or money in improving their online presence.

 

These answers, and others, come up time and time again. Sadly, these businesses are missing out on their biggest pool of potential customers.

 

Your online image is more than just your website. It’s everything related to your business on the internet, so that includes all your social media channels, and importantly what is being said about you in other places online by other people who may be former customers, business associates, rivals, friends and family… just about anyone!

 

All of this information about your business online is what your audience is using to build up an instant snapshot of who you are, what you do and if they want to work with you. To make the most of your online presence, all these things must be a true reflection of your brand, its principles and values, your mission and your motives. If what you see online doesn’t show who you really want to see then your online image is letting you down.

Is your online image a True Reflection of your brand?So how do you go about improving your online image?

First of all, take a step back and imagine you’re looking at your online presence through the eyes of a potential customer, then ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • Does your website instantly portray what you do and your defining purpose?
  • Is your business branding consistent across your website and social media channels?
  • Are you consistently attracting ideal clients/customers/patients via any of your online media?

 

If the answers to these questions are no then it might be time to re-think your online strategy, because you are letting your business down. It might seem a daunting task, but in reality there are simple systems and strategies that you can use to help get back on track.

 

If you want to know more about how we can help you streamline your online image so that you attract more of your ideal customers then email us today to arrange a free online strategy session.

 

Have you had any experience of businesses whose online image doesn’t match their real life brand?

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Search Engine Marketing

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Search Engine Marketing

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Search Engine Marketing?

Despite their being many benefits to search engine marketing is important to remember that it is not risk free. In fact, get it wrong and you stand to lose a lot of money in a short amount of time. Like every other form of business marketing Search engine marketing (SEM) requires careful planning, skilled execution and constant vigilance. Make sure you are not committing these 5 simple search engine marketing mistakes.

1. You Are Not Clear about Your Objectives!

Search engine marketing is a form of advertising, but it is very different from all other advertising that you may have done in the past. Crucially it is not just about creating brands it is about generating targeted leads.

search engine marketing

So begin with a clear understanding of how SEM will fit into your overall marketing mix and how many leads you want it to generate for you. But remember be realistic saying you want one hundred leads from ten pounds of advertising is unrealistic. Work out your average cost per lead and use this as your starting point. You can them come back and refine this figure, but it is always good to have a starting point.

2.You don’t have a suitable landing environment!

There is little point sending visitors to your website if those visitors don’t like what they find there. If you are advertising for conveyancing in Manchester, sending the visitor to a PPI claims web site is misleading and will result in the visitor clicking straight out because the web page is not relevant.

search engine marketing

If you are looking to increase conversion rate, and with pay per click advertising that is what you should be doing, you should think about building a specific landing page for each campaign, or service that you are advertising. People searching for Conveyancing see a page dedicated to conveyancing. People searching for accident claims seeing a page specifically for accident claims. Sending people directly to the home page of your website, unless this is well optimised for conversions can also reduce your conversion rate.

3. You are not getting your words right.

Bid on the right words and phrases and the right people will visit your site. It sounds really simple but the success of your search engine marketing campaign hinges on you getting it exactly right. You need to know exactly who you want to attract to your site, what words they will use to find your site and how to advertise on these specific words or phrases at the right price.

Are your target customers searching for a conveyancing solicitor in Manchester or house sale solicitors? There is a big difference, both mean the same thing but have different amounts of people searching, have a different cost and will convert at differing levels.

Always try to think what people are searching for if you don’t know ask your existing client base what they would search for if they were looking for your business or services in a search engine.

4. Your Ads are not Click worthy

Why oh why would your targeted customer want to click on your advert? What is in it for them? Yes it might be relevant to what they are searching for but what about the other 9 adverts on the page, all the organic listings, the map and Google plus local listings? What makes your advert stand out above all the others?

The whole point of pay per click marketing is to get people to click. If you are not receiving clicks then people will not be seeing your landing page and not be introduced to your products or services. Make you adverts enticing, engaging, and accurate and give a clear call to action.

5. You are not Tracking your results.

And when I say tracking I mean testing, tracking and then enhancing. With SEM you get almost real time information surrounding your campaign. That means you have the opportunity to make changes depending on the reception your adverts are receiving.

Forget traditional marketing where you but an advert for a set amount of time then see the results. The results are there for you to see and adapt so harness that astonishing capability to improve clicks, conversions and results.

If you have accidentally included a keyword that is a brand name or has another meaning which you knew nothing about and it is suddenly receiving hundreds of non relevant clicks then you can omit that keyword from your campaign before it does any lasting damage.

Search engine marketing is an incredibly powerful way to attract targeted visitors to your online presence and managed the right way can provide a large portion of your qualified visitors, leads and sales , so do your homework and make sure that you  get the best possible return on investment.

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

Is Your Online Presence up to Standard For 2013?

online presence 2013This week the UK’s biggest department store chain, John Lewis, announced their incredible December sales figures: growth of 13%. This was despite poor performance in the retail sector in general and partly due to Internet sales growth of 44% on last year.

John Lewis’s managing director, Andy Street said, “That hour when we opened our clearance website, at 5 o’clock on Christmas Eve, was our single busiest day online, ever.”

It isn’t just John Lewis who have noticed a huge increase in online customers either. Information service Experian announced record numbers of people visited UK retailers’ websites over the festive period. UK internet users made 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011, according to Experian. The Boxing Day level – 113 million visits – was 17% up on the same day in 2011.

The growth of the internet means that shoppers are using digital devices such as tablets and smartphones to search for bargains – then only travel to those specific shops to buy those items if they need to.

So what does this mean for non-retail businesses?

With consumers becoming more and more accustomed to being able to check online for what they want, when they want it, the online trend is only set to get bigger and bigger. People no longer need to rely on information they get from friends and family – they have the whole world at their fingertips via the internet.

It means that whatever service someone requires, whether it’s a builder, solicitor, Dentist, Accountant or Beauty Salon, they can find the information online, research several companies, get reviews from other customers and potentially have made up their minds on which one they will use before they even pick up the phone to enquire in person.

Whatever line of business you are in, you need to ensure that your business can be found immediately that people search for you online. Whether or not they know your business name, if they search for your type of business, in your local area you need to be found. Even if your business demands that sales are made offline (like a Dentist, or Beauty Salon) people still need to be able to look for and research you online.

The internet means that even small businesses tucked away on quiet roads can compete with much bigger high street premises. With all the potential competitors out there, once someone has done a search on the internet they are presented with what can fit on to one page of the screen. Suddenly, your competition isn’t every business in the area, it’s those 7 or 8 businesses whose online presence is good enough to put them on the front page.

online reputation managementFor any business, reputation has always been important, but now that so much business and research is done online with less human involvement from the business in question, online reputation management has suddenly become even more important. Unless your business’s internet presence is top notch, you could be losing business hand over fist and not even know about it.

John Lewis has managed to do what an awful lot of businesses haven’t: they’ve kept their department store business strong and also built up an excellent Internet business that leverages the brands great reputation.  If they hadn’t built up their internet business, things could have been very different – there is already a long list of now closed down high street names who failed to capitalise online.

Don’t let your lack of an online presence make 2013 an unlucky year for your business!

5 Most Common Online Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

5 Most Common Online Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are many ways that businesses limit the success of online marketing, the most common of which is to assume that marketing online is a sure fire way to drive hordes of targeted prospects through the doors, wallets in hand, ready to hand over their cash cards for your products or services. In an ideal world maybe, but in the real world, it just doesn’t happen.  

Below are 5 of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make and what you can do to avoid your business doing the same.

 

1. Thinking that everyone is interested

 

Being passionate about your business success is one thing but thinking that everybody else in the entire world feels the same is just naive. Marketing on the internet doesn’t mean that you should go out there and advertise to the world. What it does mean is that the targeted group of ideal users or clients for your business services is bigger because you can focus on people from outside your locality.

 

Focus on getting to know exactly who your audience is, what they like, what they dislike, what your product and service means to those people, the benefits it can bring to them and market hard to that select group of people.

 

2. Failing to consistently monitor what is being said about your business online.

 

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

 

Online reputation management is big, consumers have growing access to the internet and that means when a customer is unhappy about a product or service the first thing that they do is jump online and share this bad review with everyone they know. Not only that but the plethora of review sites such as Google+, Facebook, or Yelp means that it’s all too easy for consumers to leave disparaging comments about your business online for everyone to see.

 

Use your reputation as a marketing weapon to attract new clients and not drive them away.

 

 

People read and trust reviews and that means that if the reputation of your business online is not managed correctly then this could be putting off a lot of customers before you even get the opportunity to speak with them.

Learn more about how you can build a 5 Star online reputation by clicking here..

Be proactive with your reviews, ask customers for reviews and make sure that the reviews are strategically placed so that potential clients can read them. Use your reputation as a marketing weapon to attract new clients and not drive them away.

 

3. Being a dedicated follower of fashion

 

The online marketing world moves fast and nearly every day, or at least every week, there is a new tool or platform that is touted as the next big thing. Crowds of people scramble to sign up and get started. Don’t feel the need to do the same.

 

It is difficult enough to master one or two online tools that will allow you to connect with your audience let alone 5 or 6 and when you are a small business owner there are always more pressing things to do then find out when the next Pinterest or Facebook is.

 

Stick with what works for you and your audience, if there is a new social media platform that your audience is using more than others then think about getting a presence there but don’t spread yourself too thinly.

 

There is no harm in making sure that you own your business name on these new networks so that if you do choose at a later date to get involved you can market with your own name.

 

4. Mistaking paid and earned online marketing strategies.

 

Many small businesses think that online advertising is the same as online marketing. They are not; in fact they are two completely different things.

 

Advertising online consists of purchasing web ads, banners or Pay-per Click campaigns that drive targeted eyeballs to your products or services almost instantly.

 

Earned online marketing is where you devise structured inbound marketing campaigns designed to entertain, inform and educate targeted clients about your products or services so they become better qualified prospects and clients for your business. More importantly earned media, once you have earned it, cannot be switched off overnight when you stop paying for the privilege.

 

5. Consistently failing to be consistent

 

consistency

 

The internet moves forward at a hundred miles an hour and then some.

 

The efforts that you put in place last week or last month are very rarely good enough to leave alone.

 

All marketing efforts should be tested and tracked so that you know what is working and what is not but also where you need to improve or maximise in order to get that best return on your advertising investment, whether that investment is time, or money.

 

If your goals are to build an online marketing presence that consistently provides highly qualified leads for your business, then you need to dedicate time each and every day to engage with the community.

 

The online marketing world is no different to the real world. Heck, it is the real world! Understand the needs of your targeted audience, set goals and objectives as to what you want to achieve from your marketing, dedicate time and resource to attracting and keeping those clients, earn their trust and business and consistently do what is working while eradicating what isn’t.