Posts

What’s your best source of great leads for your small business?

Do you know?

Your business relies of leads. Leads that become qualified and then convert to sales. Without these leads, you will eventually lose all your clients and your business will go under – harsh but fair.

If you understand where your best leads come from, you can do more of that marketing. You will grow your business with a high return on investment from your marketing. Do you know your best source of leads for your business?  Is the source with the highest number of leads also the one that generates the most business? Read more

Seven sets of numbers you need to watch to measure your marketing performance

Do you measure your marketing?

Small business marketing isn’t easy. You need to understand what is working and what isn’t. These are some of the most important numbers to measure your marketing with, and where to find them. Let’s work backwards from the most important one. Read more

6 reasons why you should stop doing social media

Social media: love it or hate it, it has become part of our lives, both professionally and socially. Even if you aren’t using it, I bet your friends and acquaintances are and they are bugging you to use it as well.

For this article, let’s put aside personal use and look at whether you should stop using social media professionally.

Consistency is king

Your followers and connections are a fickle lot. They will love much of what you post and then Share/Comment/Like/Retweet, right up until the point they forget about you.

Why will they forget? If you aren’t appearing on a regular basis. We all have so many messages chucked at us on a daily basis, including lots more connections and followers on social media, it is easy to forget someone and lose track of what is happening.

You’re just Shouting

Social media is called social media for a reason. If you want it to work for your business, you need to be sociable. If all you are interested in doing is posting your latest special offer, you are going to be wasting your time. If this is you, you really should stop using social media.

You’re just being negative

If all you do is criticise others, particularly without offering a solution, you’ll quickly get a reputation. Check out some of our MPs to see what I mean. Nobody likes to be criticised, especially if you are just being negative and not suggesting an improvement.

You’re not there at all

Not being there at all is even worse than being inconsistent. This is particularly relevant when you consider the activity of prospective clients or staff.  Almost without fail, the first thing someone does when they hear about you is check your online presence. They find your website and then follow that with your social media presence. If your Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook accounts haven’t done anything for 6 months, what are they going to think?

You’re better off shutting down your account than having one that hasn’t been used for some time.

No traffic being generated

Your social media activity is, presumably, being done to generate new clients. If not, I am wondering why you are spending valuable time on there. The question is: how much website traffic are you getting from your social media activity?

If you don’t know, I refer you to our previous blog about Google Analytics and then recommend you see how much traffic you are getting.

If you aren’t getting any traffic, there are three probable reasons:

  1. You aren’t saying anything worthwhile (see point two above)
  2. You forgot to put any links to your site on your profile or in your posts (has been known)
  3. Nobody who is likely to buy from you uses that social media platform (see next point)

Any of these are bad and you need to identify which one is causing the issues and fix it fast.

If you disagree, I have a challenge for you: nip down to your local bank and try and pay your mortgage with Likes!

Your Target Audience doesn’t use it

Are you using the social media platforms you do because you use them in your personal life and so know what to do (?!?!) or is there another reason?

Have you considered which platforms are the ones your target audience is most likely to be using? Let me give you some examples:

  • If you sell to Managing Directors of technology businesses, they are highly unlikely to be on Facebook (at least in a business mood) so activity on there would be a waste of time. Moving to LinkedIn (18,366 in the UK alone, plus another 8,648 CEOs) would be a far better option.
  • Launching a new restaurant in St Albans via LinkedIn may not be the best idea (although there are 84,394 people from St Albans on LinkedIn, including 1 food critic). Adding great images of the food and the restaurant on Instagram and/or Facebook may be more effective as people are thinking more about their leisure time

Signing Off?

Do any of the above resonate with you?  If they do, you need to carefully consider whether you should stop using social media for your business. After all, your time is precious and you need to maximise your use of that time to generate leads for your business in order to grow.

I hope this helps

 

Switching suppliers – the buyer’s perspective

which supplier - from the buyer's perspective

When was the last time you looked at yourselves from the buyer’s perspective?

We asked one of our clients if we could talk to one of their recent prospects (they closed the deal). We wanted to better understand what was important to the 1st contact and the way they went through the process of searching for a new supplier.  This is what she had to say:

As the office manager at my firm, my Managing Director told me to find us a new supplier. The current supplier was failing to provide the service we needed. The responsibility to look for a new provider fell to me, but I was completely snowed under with work. I had a really limited time to shop around.

Read more

Dump those who aren’t engaging with your marketing

dump em - the prospects not engaging with your marketingAs a business owner, you want people engaging with your marketing.

That means it grabs the attention of your target audience, it educates them on why they should use your product/services and they jump willingly into your sales pipeline as a new lead. Marketing engagement is key.

If people aren’t engaging with your marketing you have two choices:

  1. Continue trying to engage them
  2. Dump ‘em

Let’s look at the options.

Continue trying to engage

People who really aren’t responding to your marketing are sending you a message: they’re not interested! If they really aren’t opening any of your emails, responding to your social media activity or even taking your calls, you have to consider whether this is a good use of your time. If they were interested, they would be interacting at least some of the time.

  • They are consuming your mental energy because you believe there is still an opportunity for a sale with at least some of them.
  • You spend time liking, retweeting and responding to social media posts. Time that is a scarce resource.
  • Keeping them on your mailing lists impacts your marketing stats, making open/clickthrough rates lower than they should be.

Dump ‘Em

If you simply remove them from your mailing lists (what member rating do they have in MailChimp?) and stop engaging with their social media, you have that most precious resource to invest in those who are engaging.

Those who are engaging with you want to know more. They want you to talk to them and they are far more likely to buy from you.

The consequences

Let’s think about all of this:

Who would you rather invest your time in? Those who are engaged are likely to buy from you and your time is far better spent on them. Which is a safer bet: 3:1 or 50:1?

There is a slim chance that those who aren’t currently engaged will come back to you. It may be that they aren’t ready to buy from you just yet. I know I’ve suggested you take them off your mailing list (GDPR and all that), but that doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties. You may still be following them on Twitter and you may still be connected on LinkedIn. What’s more, by giving your time and mental effort to those more engaged, you ensure your business is still around when others return.

Listen to improve your marketing

Marketing is often considered to be more about talking than listening. Whilst the talking is important, learning to listen can help you in numerous ways. Let’s have a look at how we believe listening can help your marketing performance.

Read more

What marketing worked for your business this year?

wonder what marketing worked

what marketing worked this year? As you approach the end of the calendar year, you start to think about 2018. As you think about what your business will be doing in the coming year, you naturally look back at 2017 to see what was good and what wasn’t so good.  This question is key to how your business performs next year.

Read more

7 reasons why your business must have a marketing budget

marketing budget

All businesses must market themselves in order to attract new prospects and then convert them into new clients. So why it is that less than 50% of small businesses have a marketing budget?

If you want to achieve the growth targets you have set for your business, these are the reasons why you must have a marketing budget. Read more

Fail to Plan, plan to fail

As a small business owner, your time is precious. If you fail to plan your time, you are asking for trouble.

You have so many different hats within your business, so you need to ensure that you maximise the use of that time. One of the key uses of your time is the marketing of your business. Let’s look at the implications of not planning for this.

Time gets used elsewhere

Your marketing needs to be planned. Planning it shows you, and your team, what needs to be done and how much time needs to be allocated to your marketing.

The problem with marketing is it can easily be put aside when you become busy. The thought is that “you’re busy, so why do you need to do marketing”. The time could easily be used for operational delivery or account management, for example.

Unfortunately what happens is then your business runs the risk of entering a rollercoaster period of marketing – sales – delivery – marketing – sales…….

Time gets used poorly

When you get used to “fitting in” your marketing, it becomes easy to drag people off of the marketing when they do start.

This can lead to your marketing staff doing just the simple stuff because it can be completed quickly, before they get dragged off to do something else. The problem is that the simple stuff rarely delivers the good results.

Time isn’t productive

When they aren’t simply tweeting or adding LinkedIn, your staff with marketing responsibility may well start work on something more complex. In fact they may well start working on the same thing multiple times, simply because they get pulled off of it just as frequently. In the same way that it takes anyone a couple of minutes to get back into a task when the phone rings unexpectedly, your marketing team loses productivity when constantly being disturbed and reassigned.

Time doesn’t deliver any results

The ultimate result of a lack of marketing planning and time allocation is a lack of results. Your website doesn’t see the improvements in its search engine performance. You don’t get the leads and you don’t get the sales.

What then happens is you do allocate the time. Your marketing becomes effective again and the roller coaster continues.

Stay off the rollercoaster

It’s not always easy but if you do plan your marketing and then commit to that plan, your marketing will be consistent, it will be effective and you have a far better chance of getting the leads you need to grow your business and achieve the success you want.

I hope this helps

Likes don’t pay the bills – a targeting case study

social media likesSocial media is a wonderful thing. Used well, it will drive brand awareness, maintain connections with your stakeholders and generate leads. But used poorly, it can chew up your time for very little return.

As you will see every 4th week, going forward from here, we will be using a case study to demonstrate what our blogs have been discussing for the previous three weeks.

An e-commerce company I have worked with has been using social media as part of its marketing mix for several years now. They would run competitions monthly to engage their followers and encourage them to interact and increase the reach of their brand. It seemed to be working too. The number of Likes continued to increase.

However, there was a problem. Our research showed that their typical buyer was a middle-aged man. This man lived in a suburban or rural location with a fairly big house and garden.  With an average unit sales value of around £300, the buyers needed to be fairly affluent.

When we ran the same research within their social media audience, the results were somewhat different. Middle aged women in urban locations were entering the competitions to win prizes that they would rarely use.

The audience they were attracting on social media was not there to get to know the brand, to flow through to their website and buy from them. They were simply there to win the prizes.

So what does this say about their social media?

They are attracting the wrong people!

But they have 1000’s of Likes and Follows I hear you say. The problem is that they aren’t getting what they really want: sales.

There is little point in spending time and money running social media campaigns that attract the wrong people.

The solution:

  • Post content that will attract their target audience.
  • Perhaps run Q&A sessions around what they sell to help people use their purchases more effectively.
  • Encourage customers to follow them on social media and post comments/images of their purchases in action.

What they need is their customers’ peers to engage on social media, so that they are tempted into buying. I’m not saying this is easy, but it’s got to be better than wasting money giving away stuff that isn’t encouraging others to buy.

I hope this helps