Are You Maximising Your Email Marketing? 8 Top Tips!

Are You Maximising Your Email Marketing? 8 Top Tips!

Are You Maximising Your Email Marketing?

email marketing tips

 

Email updates and newsletters aren’t a new idea, but they’re still very effective when used correctly. The great thing about email is that it’s fairly unobtrusive; people will click in and read if they are interested or the message could stay in their inbox and act as a reminder of who you are for when it’s more relevant.

But how do you ensure that your emails are being read rather than ignored, and not just read but actioned?

Make sure people can opt out!

When email marketing for small business purposes it’s crucial to only market to people who have opted into your messages. When people opt in to receive your emails let them know what they’re subscribing to, how often they’ll get updates and always give them the option to opt out! See the guidelines from the Information Commissioners Office

Keep emails relevant and brief.

People don’t usually want to spend all day reading emails, so keep your updates short and to the point. If you want to include more information then link it back to your blog. This way the readers can choose the level of information they get, and you know that those who click through are likely to be more interested in what you are offering. Also make sure that your email is interesting to look at, so even if you’re only using text rather than images keep the paragraphs short and well spaced to make it look short and easy to read.

Provide value.

Don’t just send emails for the sake of it. Make sure that if you are trying your best to get someone’s attention that it is worth them giving you their time. If people recognise that the mails you send them will be interesting and add value to their day then they’ll be glad to open them, on the other hand if your mail is useless spam then you’ll have so many unsubscribers that you’ll soon have no-one left to email! Try including industry news, special offers, links to useful resources, blog updates, competitions or surveys.

Make it personal.

Even if you are mailing multiple subscribers at once try to keep the tone conversational as if you’re only speaking to one person. If possible use their name; many mailing packages can do this automatically.

Be Exclusive.

email marketing tips

If you want people to sign up to your emails then make them feel special! Offer them things that they can’t get elsewhere to entice them into signing up, and then keep the offers coming to keep them interested. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, just something unique that you can offer this customer and nobody else can. For example, a 20% discount to the first 10 people to respond, or a free service voucher to anyone who refers a friend. Be creative!

Use a catchy title.

The title is usually the only thing you can guarantee someone will read, so take the most of that advantage and  make your subject lines as catchy and interesting as possible. Mix up your titles as well; if you only ever put a special offer in the title then people will get used to thinking that you always have special offers and will be less inclined to open them. Try using questions, facts, statistics, jokes or extracts from your blog, really anything that might provoke curiosity and get the reader to open the email. Just make sure the title is relevant and in keeping with the rest of the email!

Never overdo it.

Never ever bombard people with mail after mail. No one wants to receive dozens of mails from the same company. The right frequency might be different for each company, but it would be hard for anyone to justify more than once per day. Some businesses might find the right balance is once a week, or only every month. Stay tuned to your feedback and stats to see how many people are reading your updates and adjust accordingly.

Always include a call to Action!

If you want people to do something, you have to ask them. Make your calls to action easy to understand and easy to do: Phone this number, click this link, complete this questionnaire. Each marketing email that you send should have a measurable call to action.

As a final note, make sure that your emails are spell checked, you have included all your contact details, and any links that you include work. You could also include yourself on the campaign just to ensure that you see everything the way your customers see it.

What are your top tips for email marketing?

How Leveraging Local SEO Can Skyrocket Your Business

How Leveraging Local SEO Can Skyrocket Your Business

How Leveraging Google Local SEO Can Skyrocket Your Business

Many business owners look at the internet in order to break into lucrative markets all over the world. Although the internet is worldwide, don’t overlook the impact you can have locally by being prominent placed in the search engines when qualified business partners, on your doorstep are searching for your business and services online. This is where leveraging local seo can be a great advantage for your business.

The Argument for adopting local SEO into Your Marketing Plans

1. Your consumers are going local

In a recent study by ad network Chikata*, results showed that nearly 25% of searches using Google had local intent. Therefore if there is a demand online for your products or services then people still feel more comfortable engaging with a local firm so they can get the item sooner and if there are any problems can visit the store or service provider easily.

google_local_search

More and more consumers are using search engines to find local businesses on their computers and mobile phones. According to Google,

  • 20% of search queries are for local businesses,
  • 40% of mobile searches are for local businesses and
  • 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.

2. 40% prefer to Research Online Purchase Offline

That’s right, in a survey conducted by Google**, 4 out of 10 people prefer to ROPO – Research Online Purchase Offline. So by being the business that give the greatest information on the product or service to local searches online it follows that you will get the lion’s share of the business.

 3. Prominent first-page listings

When a search for a service is coupled with a local identifier the results that are typically displayed on the first page of Google include a Map on the top right hand of the screen. This map is made up of the businesses that Google knows to be relevant to that search and is now a feature of Google+ local. In the organic results you will notice that each pin or marker on the map correlates to a listing.

local  seo

 

The point is if you get Google to recognise your business on the map you get multiple first page listings.

4. Local search is less competitive.

Yes, there will be less people searching than there will be on a national level likewise there will be less businesses in a position to compete. The majority of the national chains will not, yet, be optimised at a local level and this gives greater opportunity for those that invest in positioning their businesses as the leader in the local market place.

Simple Steps to Get Ranked in the Local Results

local seoAs a business owner there are a few steps that you can take in order to boost your chances of benefiting from qualified local searchers.

Here are the 4 basic steps to take advantage of the local search engine optimisation opportunity:

Keyword Research

The first steps with local SEO as with any type of online campaign should be your keyword research. Without knowing if there is a demand for your products and services online and the particular words and phrases people are using to find the results you will be quite literally throwing your advertising spend down the drain.

Use Google’s free keyword tool to find keywords that are frequently-searched and relevant to your business.

Optimise Your Google+ Listing

If you aren’t already set up with a Google+ Local listing, you’ll need to create your profile and verify your ownership. Then, select the categories that best suit your business description, bearing in mind the keywords that you know to be prominent to your user’s searches. By doing this you will help Google know which keywords should trigger your business listing to appear in the local results.

Get Your Business Out there

In getting your business out there you are looking to include your business information, Name, Address and Postcode (NAP) in as many relevant places online. These mentions of your business details are known as citations and are a very important factor of how Google shows trust to a business online.

A good way to do this is by listing your business on local business directories such as Yell, Thomson local, Yelp etc

Get Reviews

local seo - excellent customer service

More important than what you say about your business is what your clients have to say about your business. Make it a habit to ask customers to take the time and review your business by going to the business directories and leaving a testimonial about how good your business really is and how great the service was.

The more positive reviews that people say about your business the better, and the more Google and other search engines will pay attention to your business as they will know that by sending targeted traffic to your business they will get happy customers.

By having glowing online reviews you may convince other online browser who stumble across your business to pay closer attention as to how your service can benefit them.

The internet allows your business to branch out and reach lucrative markets that you could never have dreamed of competing in, but don’t get carried away and forget where your business started and the local community that you have at your doorstep.

The ultimate aim of local SEO service is to target your visitors and reach out people that have immediate requirements so that you can make your business a great success.

 

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

Some businesses and industries lend themselves more easily to having beautiful pictures on their website, for example Floristry or Cupcake making. Even if your business is an accountancy firm, or a Solicitor it’s worth figuring out a way to include visual content into your marketing mix, as the statistics below prove just how powerful online imagery can be for capturing a customer’s imagination.

1) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

visual content

2) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

3) 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

4) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source:AnsonAlex)

5) Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz)

visual content

6) Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured)

7) On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links. (Source: Dan Zarrella)

8) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources:comScore and Nielsen)

9) Over 72 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on YouTube.com. (Source: YouTube)

visual content

10) 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. (Source: YouTube)

11) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

12) Mobile video viewing increased 35% from 2010 to 2011. (Source: Nielsen)

13) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos)

visual content

14) Mobile video subscription is expected to hit $16 billion in revenue by 2014, with over 500 million subscribers. (Source: Ooyala)

15) Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)

So what are you waiting for? Get your creative juices flowing and brighten up your website and add pictures and video to your content marketing strategy! If you’re stuck for ideas then look out for my follow up article, a Visual Marketing brainstorming session.

7 Basics of a Winning Online Marketing Plan

7 Basics of a Winning Online Marketing Plan

7 Basics of a Winning Online Marketing Plan

There are countless articles, books and blogs about Online Marketing plans, people have made their careers as experts on the subject. For anyone just looking to understand the basics it can be difficult to know where to start, which is why it’s time to go back to basics with these 7 simple reminders.

1. Online Marketing is not a Quick Fix.

online marketing plan

Yes, it’s true that if you’re online marketing is well managed you can have great results very quickly, but don’t expect that to happen overnight. It’s important to establish your presence online and on Social Media as one of the key trust measures of sites on the Web is their longevity – a longer established site is more likely to rank better in the search engines, and the longer you are on Social Media the more genuine followers you will build relationships with. Even if you are using something like PPC where you can get “instant” results, without a well-established web presence clients may be put off by poor search results when they come to research you.

2. You have to be consistent.

The internet is inundated with new content every day. No matter how great your content is, if you stop updating your site and social media, then your followers will soon get bored and move onto a competitor site that has been updated more recently. In order to build a trusted following of engaged readers, you have to give them a reason to be interested, and you have to do it regularly.

3. Establish a recognisable brand image

You might not be a household name, but choose a brand image, colour scheme or logo that you can set up on your blog, social media and online adverts that is recognisably you. This means that if customers from Facebook come through to your blog, or vice versa, they know they are in the right place.

4. Be prepared to tweak things regularly.

online marketing planA campaign may work brilliantly first time, the chances are it won’t. Online Marketing is not always a consistent animal and you have to be prepared to make changes to your copy, images, or your general approach in order to get the best results. The great thing about Online Marketing is that you will probably have access to statistics on just about every aspect of what you do. Something as simple as changing a few words in an advert can make all the difference. Similarly, and advert that works really well won’t necessarily work really well over a long period of time as people will get bored of seeing the same thing. Don’t be afraid to make changes!

5. Always have a plan.

Don’t start any marketing campaign without a strategy. Make sure that for each campaign you have an end goal and budget as well as other potential milestones that you want to reach. This means that you can check your progress along the way and if you’re not making the progress you wanted then you either tweak your methods, adjust your strategy or re-evaluate your goals as necessary.

6. Use your Website as your Central Hub

Your own website or blog is like your own online real estate. You own it, so you can do whatever you like with it. No matter how popular Social Media sites are, always remember that someone else owns them which means they can change the rules at any time. By all means build up a following on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whichever other site seems to best suit your business or industry but try and direct those fans back to your blog whenever possible. As an added bonus, all the links back to your site from other sites will help boost your sites credibility with the search engines in the long run.

7. Budget for your time

As part of your online marketing plan, remember that budget is all important and return on investment is key to any successful campaign. Social Media sites may cost nothing to use, but the time you spend on them and other web sites shouldn’t ever be more than you can afford. Your time is valuable; some would say it’s your most valuable asset as it’s the one thing you can’t get back.

What Online Marketing lessons have you learned the hard way? What are your favourite simple tips?

You Are What Ever Your Clients Say You Are!

You Are What Ever Your Clients Say You Are!

You Are What Ever Your Clients Say You Are!

With the ever increasing amount of messages that each individual customer is exposed to, buyers’ expectations are rising and it is becoming harder to earn audience trust. Without trust there is little chance of building long term profitable business relationships. That is why being customer focused should not only be at the heart of your marketing but also at the basis of everything that you do.

This next sentence may shock people; in fact it might even offend some business owners!

Nobody cares what you think about your product, your service or your business because to all intents and purposes that is a canned and measured response.

What people want to know about your company is the stories people tell about it!

The sooner you accept that what other people say is far more important to the success of your business than what you have to say, the better for your business and the easier it will be on your finances.

If the word surrounding your business is positive, then great! Capitalise on that buzz and attract as many targeted people as you can to witness that buzz for themselves so they too can become interested in what you do, how you do it, how they can become a part of it and share it with those that they know.

On the other hand if the general consensus is that your business is poor and does not deliver on what it says it does then STOP!

stop sign

Take a step back, listen to what people are saying, assess where the problem is and put things right. Then ask people again to judge you on how you are doing?  When the feedback comes back positive then you can look at growing once again.

People need to see for their own eyes what others are saying about your business before making a commitment to become a business partner. To help people make up their mind you should think about the following steps that can improve the return on your marketing investment:

Know your customer – The more you know about your customer, the easier it will become to provide that personalised message. If you have an image of what your customer looks like, what books they read, what makes them happy, where they live, or what industry they work in, then attracting that prospect to become a lead or a customer will be far easier and over time will cost less as conversions will be higher.

Consistency – When a prospect is considering joining your business there is no doubt that your sales and support staff will be there to allow that person to feel a part of how your business runs. If this changes, i.e. the point of contact is no longer available, support staff are currently always engaged or not available at all, then your client is soon going to be disgruntled.

Be consistent with your offering to the client and manage expectations from the outset as to what the client can and should expect from your business and stick to it.

Communicate – Don’t just talk to the customer, make the relationship a two way street. Many people don’t like the idea of giving power to the customer. The truth of the matter is that the internet has given the power to the customer anyway, so deal with it by giving them great things to say about you, and often.

Businesses are now more transparent than ever, honesty and openness is expected so embrace it and allow your business to thrive on it.

Always be listening – Review sites have given the consumer many more options to get their opinions heard. It is no longer in the power of the business to send out a periodic questionnaire as a customer can now go on Yelp, Google+, Qype, Touch Local, Twitter or Facebook and express an opinion. This can happen 24/7/365 and the results mean that  anyone searching for information about your business will see consumer generated content, comments, opinions and real life experiences of working with you and your business.

listening

Have a system in place where you can constantly monitor what is being said about your business and your online reputation, and be prepared to deal with negative criticism when they arrive.

You cannot please everybody, but how you resolve the situation with those that are unhappy when the eyes and ears of the world are on you can impact how prospective clients view your business both in a positive and negative light.

Act Decisively – In the past if you had a problem with a product or service you would go to the customer service desk, ask for the manager or perhaps fill out a customer complaint form to get an apology and a promise from the manager that the issue would be investigated and resolved. What would happen after that is anybody’s guess!

Now it is a completely different kettle of fish. The public nature of the social web means that when somebody has something negative to say about your company you need to act decisively as in the digital world things can quickly escalate.

By embracing the voice of your customers in the digital world your business will be available and responsive to your ideal client’s needs which are essential to building great customer relationships.

If you don’t treat your customers with the trust, respect and care they deserve and bought into when signing up with your business, there is a string of eager and dedicated competitors that will be more than happy to take those clients from you.

5 Keys to Effective Small Business Content Marketing

5 Keys to Effective Small Business Content Marketing

5 Keys to Effective Small Business Content Marketing

small business content marketingPublishing quality content is a great way to support your lead generation tactics, develop a magnetic presence online and give the user more reason to reach out, connect and ultimately convert more prospects into clients. However the series of actions needed to achieve this increase in targeted clients: planning, creating and distributing content can be overwhelming for many small businesses who have limited resources.

With the right plan and commitment, a prominent and effective content marketing plan is possible for all small businesses. By following these keys you can put content marketing to work for your small business growth.

1. Clarify your budget.

Yes, you are going to need a budget. It might not be monetary but you will need to commit resources to it, whether that’s your time or a percentage of your workforce’s time. Perhaps include producing one piece of content per month per employee into their contracts. If you have ten employees then suddenly you have 10 pieces of content each and every month!

Setting a clear budget for content will help you spend your marketing budget wisely and narrow in on the techniques that will be most effective for your business.

How much should you spend on content marketing? According to a recent survey from econsultancy*, companies surveyed are spending 36% percent of their total marketing budgets on digital. While according to the content marketing institute report**, B2B marketers dedicate approximately 26% of their total budgets to content marketing initiatives.

Do you have a content marketing budget? How much do you commit?

Of course there is no hard and fast rule as to what a business should spend as ultimately it comes down to what you are looking to achieve from your online marketing initiatives. But having a clear figure in mind before you start developing content in house or looking to outside providers can help you stay focused and spend wisely.

2. Know your customer.

Your content marketing has to be customer-centric to be effective. Content marketing isn’t a promotional brochure. It’s a way to connect with your audience and help them solve their problems while building a relationship of trust and positioning yourself as the go to business when they need you.

Your goal with content is to provide the information that your customers are looking for that helps them satisfy their needs in a way that is attractive to them.

For example, if your customer does a search for “Vintage Cars” and you have developed and published an article titled “5 Things to Look For in Vintage Cars” that is ranked highly in the search engine results pages, they find your article easily, read it and are impressed with your expert insight. They explore your site and sign up to the exclusive glossy 12 page Magazine on the 1955 Mercedes Gullwing. They then receive your weekly newsletter with more informative articles and regular special offers on vintage cars. Then they fall in love with 1965 Aston Martin DB5 and they become a business partner.

Apply the same strategy to your own business. Figure out what your customers need to know, what they want to know and create content that addresses those needs.

3. Repurpose the content you create.

small business content marketing repurposeOne article on one site is not content marketing. In order to reach as many targeted user as possible you need those users to find you wherever they may go.

The same 12 page Glossy Magazine that was used to entice people to give you their email address and contact details can be broken down into 10 different articles that can be posted on 10 different sites.

Now along with the original article you have 11 other articles pointing back to your site and attracting users from all over the web. Use the images that are inside the glossy presentation and record sound over them, of you reading the information that was in the magazine and then publish this on video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo and post them on Facebook.

One piece of great content can go a long way. By investing in great content you are giving your marketing department fuel to create more and more interesting and inspiring pieces to attract people back to your business.

4. Curate cleverly

Many people will follow you as they see you as someone who is interesting with relation to a certain topic or field. Therefore it is better to supply quality content with relation to that field than not supplying any content.

Rather than your followers or readers migrating to other sites to find good content bring the content to them. If there are great articles, videos or blog posts that you find interesting and are related to your field then share them.

By sharing other content and adding your own take on it, people get an insight into what makes you tick and gives the reader an opportunity to connect with you.

Don’t send so much varied content that you start to make your audience forget why they followed you in the first place. Your audience should know what to expect and trust from you and the content should be worth them spending their time consuming.

5. Promote your content with social media.

A piece of online content cannot be GREAT unless it gets consumed, liked and shared.

Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. You need to support your content marketing plan with regular social media usage.

The promotion of your content is just as important as the content creation. Every time you publish an item you need to mobilise your brand evangelists to passionately share the content for you. But you need to be proud of the content and be willing to share through the social media and digital spectrum.

The more eyeballs that see your content, the greater the chance of someone following through and connecting.

Develop a following on Twitter and Facebook, Google+ Linkedin, and then update your fans and followers when you post new content. Constantly look for opportunities to post your content on additional sites or providing articles or guest posts to niche related sites.

Small businesses are using content marketing to support multiple business goals, brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention. Get clear on what your customer wants to know and then publish, curate and share great content that will market your business for you.

*Marketing Budgets Report

**B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Budgets Benchmarks and Trends

15 Reasons Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy.

15 Reasons Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy.

15 Reasons Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy.

Whether you love or loathe Social Media in your personal life, it should be something you make an effort to get to grips with for your business. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these 15 facts.

1. In order to save 25% or more, 67% of customers will like a Facebook page and 17% will tweet or retweet a deal.

2. Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing

Social media and inbound marketing

3. Social media users who receive excellent customer service from brands spend on average 21% more than non-social customers

4. 74% of brand marketers saw an increase in website traffic after investing just 6 hours per week on social media

5. People are 25% more likely to buy a product that they would be proud to own if it has social media buttons next to it

6. 20% of Facebook users have purchased something because of ads or comments they saw there.

7. In an analysis of more than 60 Facebook marketing campaigns, 49% reported a return on investment of more than five times, while  70% had a return on investment greater than three times.

8. 53% of active adult social networkers follow a brand

social media and branding

9. Internet users spend 22.5% of their online time social networking

10. 91% of online adults use social media regularly

11. 44% of marketers have acquired customers via Twitter

social media and twitter

12. 55% of consumers share their purchases socially on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites

13. 77% of B2C companies and 42% of B2B companies have acquired customers through Facebook

14. Brands have seen a 46% increase in user engagement with the new Timeline format in Facebook?

15. Facebook users generate 2.5 times more page views than Twitter and almost twice as many as Pinterest (FB 7, Pinterest 4.1, Twitter 2.7) There you have it, pretty powerful numbers to convince even the most sceptical of social media users.

What are your thoughts on Social media for business? Have you noticed any particular trends from using it within your own business? Let us know! 

 

 

 

 

Sources

 

How to Deal with Negative Online Business Reviews

How to Deal with Negative Online Business Reviews

How to Deal with Negative Online Business Reviews

negative online reviewsThanks to the success of sites such as Amazon, Ebay and Tripadvisor where consumers are encouraged to leave reviews of the experiences they received, more and more online platforms like Yelp, Google+ Local Business and Yell Local Business, have adopted the review process too. These reviews, whether you like it or not, mean more and more people have the opportunity to provide feedback, positive or negative, about your business letting others know exactly what they can expect before parting with their hard earned cash.

On the positive side, these review sites like Google+ Local can offer a helpful service to the general public and give small local businesses a chance to gain valuable word-of-mouth credibility that no ad money can buy. But this open platform also means any customer who was not 100% satisfied is provided with the means to slate your business, tarnishing yourreputation and ultimately affect sales.

The good news is that as a business owner you are not powerless to the wrath of unsatisfied customers. Actively monitoring and responding to any negative reviews before the problem has the opportunity to escalate can do wonders for the image of your business and leave future customers with a positive slant on what could have been a deal breaker for your business.

If you have received a review from a less than satisfied customer that is severely damaging your online reputation then follow these 5 steps that can correct and enhance your online reputation.

1) Regularly Review Your Profiles

At a minimum you should take a few minutes every week to review your online profiles. Sites like Google + local actually mine other sites and provide users with all your information in one place, sometimes from places you didn’t even know existed.

This exercise also acts as a great way to assess what people are saying about your business and identify any areas that could use some extra attention moving forward to improve the level of service the customer receives. Likewise you can take some time to see how your competition is fairing and if there is something that they are doing that is prompting a host of rave reviews then it might give you an idea as to your next marketing campaign.

Don’t wait for your friends or a loyal customer to let you know that somebody is slating your business online. Proactively monitor your online profiles and be the first to see it and the first to respond. Regularly interacting with users both positive and negative will show other people that you are genuinely interested and care about the service offered and received.

2) Assess the Nature of the Complaint

Some businesses dismiss negative reviews out of hand. Don’t. Take the time to assess each review and work back to see if there is any genuine reason that could have caused this issue to happen that could be rectified so that it does not happen again.

3) Respond directly to the complainant

If after assessing the complaint you realise there is something that you could do better, then respond to the complainant. Let them know you have the addressed the issue, say you are sorry and let them know what procedures you have put in place so the same experience does not happen again.

Go one step further give the person your personal number and say if there is anything your business can do moving forward then you would personally like to be the one to do that. The chances are the complainant will not respond but by extending the olive branch you are showing you are willing to go above and beyond to make a difference and that in fact the problem was more of a one off than a frequent occurrence.

4) Leave a Public Response

Once you have offered to rectify the situation personally, make it known to the wider public that you have addressed the issue and reached out the complainant to rectify the issue.

Your response is not to attack the reviewer it is merely to acknowledge the experience, thanking them for bringing the poor service to your attention, highlight what you have done to rectify the situation and demonstrating to everyone else that your business cares about customer service and its reputation and as such this will not happen again.

5) Try to Get More Reviews

Not everyone will be happy with your service and 100% positive feedback is almost unheard of. With this in mind, concentrate on getting as many positive reviews as possible. Rather than having 3 reviews, of which one is bad and two are good reviews, aim to get 10 or 20 positive reviews. That way when somebody experiences a service that is less than satisfactory, the bad review is diluted by all of the other positive reviews.

Put in place a system where your staff encourage customer feedback. Make it easy for the user to access a review site and leave a review, leverage QR codes, hand out review cards with a pen, ask patrons to sign on via their mobile phone leave a review and get a free Coffee or 10% off their next bill.

Whatever strategy you have in place to encourage and monitor reviews make sure that you follow through with it. Online reviews are becoming increasingly important. More and more people pay attention to what others have to say about a product and service before committing to a purchase and search engines are paying more and more attention to what is being said about your business when offering up niche related,local search results.

The Benefits of Social Media and Why it Matters.

The Benefits of Social Media and Why it Matters.

The Benefits of Social Media and Why it Matters

benefits of social mediaAs a business owner you can be inundated with activities that eat into your time and there are certainly many tasks that take priority over social media: winning new business, satisfying customer needs, fulfilling orders, working with suppliers and doing the books to name but a few. With all of these activities demanding your attention, why does social media for business really matter today?

You Can Build Relationships

By leveraging social media for your business you provide a platform, a community, where your customers can come together and engage with you as well as with each other to share the news about your blossoming social media presence. You can quickly build a community around your brand that is both engaging and cost effective.

You Can Get Valuable Customer Insights

Social media channels have analytics tools available. You will be able to track the number of interactions with fans and see exactly what your audience looks like in terms of key demographics, gender, age, location and more.

It helps Your Search Engine Optimisation.

Once your content is shared via Social Media, those links are there to stay. Even better, if people do visit your site and share that information with their friends, you’ll then have more links coming back into your site. Search Engines love links, and the more valuable links they see coming back to your site, then the higher up the Search Rankings you go. If a piece of content has been shared amongst the social media community, Retweeted and liked, you’re likely to notice more search engine referrals for it as well.

Social Media Provides Great Brand Exposure.

By keeping up with your social media campaign you are giving your brand great exposure. If you find that you get a positive response on social media sites, but can’t translate this into referrals, then there’s nothing wrong with asking why. Reaching out and connecting with people is one of the core foundations of social media. The more you ask the more you can learn and can put into practice the next time around.

It Can Enhance Your Reputation

Make a point to monitor the social networks for use of your name or brand, that way if anyone is talking about you, good or bad, you can join the conversation and add your take on things, thereby protecting and enhancing your brand reputation in the process.

The Internet is Social.

Social Media is not a fad and won’t be going away any time soon. In the last year we have seen new social media platforms like Google+, Instagram and Pinterest accumulate millions of new users over night.  Google decided to use Google+ as the hub of their local business centre offering, making it clear that social media will be even more important for businesses moving forward.

Over the last few years, social media has mushroomed, and in years to come although the popular sites and formats may change, being able to comment on articles, share opinions and reply to whoever you choose to are elements that we have all become used to. If one thing’s for certain, it is that the general public and Internet users will not be silenced!

Using small business social media as part of a well structured campaign is definitely worth it! There are lots of huge positives, so if it isn’t working for you today just tweak your methods slightly and try something new.

With any social media campaign, the more you give, the more you receive. As you build up your credibility and your online presence, your community will increase and you will see a rise in the levels of engagement you receive resulting in more targeted referrals back to your website, more leads, and more sales.

There are no guarantees with social media. What works wonders for one company may not even generate a whisper online for your business. Ultimately you just need to remember one thing:

Nobody cares for your business, they care about you!

If you can, translate that into conversations and relationships. It’s then that you will see the results.

How to Create a Website That Wins New Business

How to Create a Website That Wins New Business

how to create a websiteMost customers existing or new will search for your business at some time. What will they find!? Will they find informative and compelling representation of your business and the benefits it can bring to that individual wrapped up in a professional looking website or will first page results of the search engines have a host of listings in business indexes with your company name and phone number providing no further information about your business. These days, you’d have to think long and hard for a reason not to have your own business website. Most of your competition will have one but that on its own is not a good enough reason to go out and create a website. What should be is the fact that most of your customers will search for you online at some point and professional looking sites are possible to build and maintain on a budget.

Top Tips on how to Create a Website that Sells

Make your own website There are many user friendly platforms; WordPress, Google Website Builder, Amazon Webstore, that allow you to create your own satisfactory web presence online. Using tools such as this you can put together some very sophisticated and well designed sites however this will still require an investment of your time and can involve a steep learning curve if you are not tech savvy. On the flip side a website that is created that does not follow any standard rules of web design practice can actually damage your online reputation as they look unprofessional, have poor navigation meaning the users cannot find what they need in order to do business with you. Always think from the user’s point of view and make it as simple as possible for that ideal user to become a new client; either by making a transaction, calling you, subscribing to your email list, or finding directions to your store. Pay someone else to do it Budget is always paramount for any business but there are times when you have to way up the opportunity cost of doing something as opposed to paying a professional to create a website for you. There are thousands of web design and development companies out there that will be able to provide you with a well structured website. Costs can vary, dependent on your specific needs but costs can range from five hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds. The chances are that the website you design now will be with your business for the next few years and although it is hard to predict the future think about the message that you would like convey to existing and new clients now and a few years down the line. No marketing material says more about your business than your website. Take some time to browse across the internet and find websites that you like; from a functionality point of view, navigation and or design and let your web developer know so they have an idea of where you would like to position your website. Think about your content One of the key areas that people overlook when researching how to create a website is the content. The content are the videos, images, articles, blog posts and everything in between that delivers the message of that business and more important keeps those visitors and readers coming back for more. A lot of websites will come as templates, as a shell where you as the business owner have to write all the copy; all the text, for the website and this can take just as long and be just as daunting as actually setting up the website in the first place. The content that you write has to be rich in value, be structured so it can be found by the search engines and compelling enough to incite a call to action; a phone call, a subscription or a social media share. That is not easy and is a whole different skill in itself. Work out whether the web designer will provide the content if not are you in a position to invest the time producing content or should you outsource the content to a professional copywriter that could do it for you. Write copy for the internet People on the internet are in a hurry, they tend to skim read rather than absorbing the whole page. Everything is right now. If your content can not get your message across crisply and succinctly then the reader is likely to find someone else who can deliver the message they are looking for. To make your content stand out and more importantly get read use plain, simple language that gets to the point quickly and use headers and bullets that will allow the user to skim read and pick out the bits that are important to them without having to plough through the entire article. Good web copy will be all of the above but also reflect the personality of the business owner, humanising your business and brand. So don’t be afraid to write as you speak. Include the pages people expect to see The majority of websites on the internet follow a similar structure and by that I mean they have several pages that people expect to see.

  • Product or service page – A page that outlines the products or services that you sell.
  • About us Page – A background about the company and a brief insight into who you are.
  • Contact Page –  Details on how the user can get in touch with you. Phone numbers, social media contacts, address and details of how to find you.
  • Testimonials –  people trust reviews left by others online so don’t be shy about displaying yours, highlighting the great work you have done for other businesses.

Think about getting found The most aesthetically pleasing website with the greatest content in the world is only as good as the people that find it. If no one knows that your site exists then all of the time and investment will come to waste.  SEO – search engine optimisation – is the art of getting your website listed at the top, or near the top, of a search engine results pages for targeted keyword terms relating to your business. So, when someone types in a phrase related to your business, they see you first and not your competition. There are many ways to improve SEO, there is a whole industry around dong just that, however the core principles are based around the fact that you need to create fresh, relevant, keyword targeted content that warrants being linked to and shared. The more reputable and relevant sites that link back to your website informs the search engines that your website can deliver good value to their users; people using the search engines, and they will increase your website position in the rankings and as a result you will receive more targeted traffic. There is creating a website and then there is knowing how to create a website that grabs targeted users, wins them over with great content that inspires a reaction and adds revenue to your business. Be clear about which one you want for your business as they are two completely different things! What advise would you give people on how to create a website that sells? Leave your comments below!