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graph of email marketing performance

It’s not always Tuesday or Thursday!

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance, Measure

Email marketing is a highly powerful marketing tool for small businesses, when done well. One of the biggest questions people ask is “when is the best time to send an email marketing campaign?”  If you type this question into Google (other search engines are available), you’ll get millions of responses.

What the email engines say

To start answering this question, we looked at what the big players in this market said. Here goes…

Mailchimp

It’s somewhat established that the best days to send email blasts are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday across different industries and audiences. When we look at the typical distribution of optimal send times across Mailchimp’s whole system, the best time to send email newsletters is at 10AM in the recipients’ own time zones. Note that no single day wins hands-down. This is what we should expect when studying the data of billions of humans’ inbox activity.”

Mailerlite

Which day of the week is everyone sending their campaigns? Email marketers favour Tuesday (closely followed by Wednesday) for sending out their campaigns. Which day of the week generates the most opens? Thursday is the weekday with the highest open rate, closely followed by Monday. What time of the day generates the most opens? Most email opens occur between 11AM-12PM, with another peak between 6-7PM and an interesting late-night bump at 2AM (in the sender’s time zone)

Hubspot (based on US subscribers)

The best time to send emails on Tuesday is 9 AM – 12 PM EST, then 12:01 PM – 3 PM EST. I’d stay away from sending your emails anytime after 6 PM EST. On Mondays, aim to send your emails between 6 AM and 9 AM EST, then 9 AM – 12 PM EST. You’ll get the least engagement between 6 PM and 9 PM EST

Mailmunch

Tuesday: According to various email tool statistics, emails sent on Tuesday have the highest open rate of over 18%, increasing site traffic. Wednesday: The mid-week day consistently meets the open and click-through rate goals. Thursday: Is considered the best day to send marketing emails. You can choose between Tuesday and Thursday to start your email campaign. You’d be surprised to learn that Fridays and Mondays are not preferred for email sending, but they are still a better option than weekends. Friday’s open and click-through rates (CTR) are higher than Monday. 

What else do they all say?

You will see a trend in these responses saying that Tuesday – Thursday are good days, with mornings being the better time.  But what they all say in addition to this is that this is not to be taken as written.  For you it may be different. To truly find the best time and best day for your email marketing campaigns, you have to test.

What are you testing?

When running email marketing campaigns, there are many different measures that you can compare and test:

  1. Open rates – how many people opened the email campaign?
  2. Click rates (sometimes referred to as Clickthrough rates) – the number of times people clicked on a link in your campaign.
  3. Website traffic – how much traffic did you send to your website?
  4. Desired outcomes – how many people did what you wanted them to do?

Depending on your reasons for sending the campaigns, the measure that is important to you will vary. However, they are all connected.

Open rates

Open rates are impacted by the name of the sender and by the subject line. If the recipient recognises the sender and has a positive relationship with them, they are more likely to open the email. If the subject line grabs their attention, they are more likely to click to open.

But they have to open it to do anything else. The higher the open rate, the more likely they are to do the other things.

Click rates

Assuming you’re not adding lots of different links to various places, most of the links in your emails (whether in the text or specific buttons) will go to one, or two, places. The decision to click is based on the content of the email. If it is obviously trying to sell something, click rates are likely to be low. If the content is tantalising and offers to help, click rates will be higher.

Again, they have to click for any further action to be counted as the result of the email marketing campaign.

Website traffic

This should be a similar number to the one above, assuming you’re behaving with your Calls to Action (CTAs), but you should also keep an eye on how long people spend on your site. If they are clicking onto it, but then leaving quickly (shame Google no longer has a Bounce Rate stat), you landing page is not of interest to them.

Desired outcome

Ultimately this is the real payback from your email marketing campaigns. If you run an ecommerce business, this measure is likely to be revenue. If you’re a B2B service provider, perhaps it is meetings booked – and so on.

How to test your email marketing campaigns

Testing can take some time, particularly if you’re not sending large volumes, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will have results you can use.  We find a spreadsheet and pivot tables to be the best way to analyse the results, but that may not work for everyone. Here are the steps we recommend:

  1. Look back at previous campaigns and record your performance
    • Date, day and time sent
    • Open rate
    • Click rate
    • Desired outcome rate
  2. Analyse those results to see how you’ve done so far
  3. Schedule upcoming campaigns on days and at times you’ve not sent campaigns before
  4. Analyse regularly

The good and not so good times should start to show after the first 6-10 campaigns.

Kindling n Thingsgraph of email marketing performance

We’ve been running the email marketing for this company since early 2023 and we’ve been tracking the email marketing performance during that time. For them, Monday lunchtime is one of the best times to send campaigns, followed by Saturday lunchtime and Thursday lunchtime (these are average campaign figures – the big spike on Wednesday is a one-off campaign so will need to be tested again). Evenings are surprisingly poor considering this is a consumer product. You can see a full case study on our work for them here.

If your email marketing isn’t working as well as you’d like, experimenting with when you send them is a good way to identify ways to get better results. If you’d like a free review of your email marketing, click here.

Is your shop window right?

By A Helping Hand, Customer Understanding, Marketing Performance

Your customers buy from you because they like what you have to offer and they see how it can help them. But they can only buy if they have entered your “shop”. That doesn’t mean you have to have premises on the high street or the local shopping centre. Your website is just as much a shop window as a physical premise. Let’s look at why this is important and how you can make sure your shop window entices people in, maximising the chance that they buy from you.

Why a good shop window is vital

There are three core reasons why it is vital that your shop window or website is right:

  1. Wasted time and money

Driving traffic to your website takes time, effort and, often, money.  Using all this resource only for people to quickly leave is a waste. Here’s some examples we’ve come across over the years:

92% bounce rate

A kitchen company asked us to look at their Google Ads account as it “wasn’t working”.  Their ads had a 17% click-through rate (CTR) so they were definitely working, but the site’s content was so bad they had a 92% bounce rate (in old Google Analytics terminology)

£5k a month

An appliances business was spending £5K a month on Google Ads, sending traffic to their site. But the site wasn’t right, so much of this investment was wasted.

0.2% conversion rate

Great social media and natural SEO drives a lot of traffic to another site we’ve seen, but the usability of the site meant that people were looking but not buying.

These are just three examples of how you can invest time, effort and money in your marketing, only for it to fail at a critical point – the “shop window”

  1. Poor first impression

People make up their minds about something quickly. First impressions count. It takes less than 3 seconds for people to get that first impression and it takes a lot of effort to make them change their minds. There’s some great stats about website first impressions here.

  1. Lost opportunities

How many sales opportunities are you losing because your website isn’t great?  Your website is there purely to generate new business for you, so if that isn’t happening, what do you do?

How to improve

  1. Make it about them

Let’s for a moment put aside the design element.  The headline and all the content (except the About Us page) should be focused on the reader and not on you.

Content is about how you help, not what you do

Putting it bluntly, nobody cares what you do. They do, however, care about how you can help them. The content needs to be about the issues you know they face and what you can do to help them. What is the end result they are looking for? Make sure your content talks about that.

Plenty of evidence you can deliver

You have lots of stories about how you’ve helped your clients in the past. You wouldn’t be in business if you hadn’t.  Even if you are a brand new business, chances are you’ve got stories from the past where you’ve helped people.  It is rare for someone to start a business they have no experience in, so use that experience and your stories to prove you can deliver on your promises. You can see more about how to effectively use your stories here.

Multiple ways to get in touch

Many people think that if they pick up the phone, you will start trying to sell to them straight away. Even if that isn’t the case, that’s what they believe, so give your audience multiple ways to get in touch with you and get the information they want initially.

  • Brochures they can download (may be gated, may not)
  • Telephone numbers – maybe a WhatsApp alternative
  • Email addresses
  • Appointment booking
  • Contact Forms

This is about what your prospects want – not what you want.  The more you restrict their ability to get in touch in the way they wish to, the more likely that person is to go elsewhere.

If you’re not getting the leads you want from your website, stop spending time and money sending people there. Put your effort into working out what needs to be done to make your website more effective.

If you need some help, call us on 020 8634 5911 or use any of the other contact methods that you can see here.

Planning your small business marketing for 2024

New Year, New Start

By Marketing Performance, Marketing Plan

Planning your small business marketing for 2024With the new calendar year just a few weeks away, you really should be thinking. Thinking about what you are going to do to make 2024 a really successful one for your small business. Maybe 2023 has been a quiet one for various reasons. Whatever happened, 2024 is a new year and you cannot simply assume that you will get the same results by doing the same things. Here are the four steps you need to take to make 2024 a great year…

What worked in 2023?

Have you reviewed and measured your marketing performance for the last year? If not, it is time to start. By measuring your marketing performance, you can quickly make decisions about:

  • what to continue – because it is working.
  • what to review – because you believe it can work better
  • what to stop – as it is simply not working.

If you have had a really successful year, imagine what next year could be like if you cut out what marketing hasn’t worked and did more of what has been working! We have an ROI calculator that you can download:  Click here to our download ROI calculator.

If you haven’t let’s identify what channels haven’t worked so they can be reviewed or stopped. The time and money saved can be re-focused.

How many new clients did you acquire?

Not gross, but net new clients. Deduct the number you lost from the number you won.  Compare this to 2022. Did your overall client number increase or decrease? Is it higher because you won more or lost fewer?

  • Which marketing channels did the new clients come through?
  • How much did each new client cost?
  • What is your lead conversion rate?
  • What is the value of a new client (average)?

By answering these questions, you start to develop a picture of how much marketing you need to do in 2024 to hit your business goals.

Example:

  • Your business goal for 2024: increase turnover by £250K
  • A typical client spends £10,000 per year with you.
  • Last year you added 15 new clients, but lost 3
  • Your marketing spend was £30K

If the ratios stay the same, you will need a marketing budget this year of £60K – assuming the ratio of clients lost to clients gained stays the same, as does cost per client acquired.

Focus

What does your Ideal Client look like? If you look back at the clients you acquired in the last year, how many of them match the description of your Ideal Client?  If you are acquiring clients that don’t match this description, do you need to review that description or add another?

How many of the clients you lost last year matched that description? If they were a long way from being Ideal Clients, it may be that you simply weren’t able to properly meet their needs. There are times when you need to consider walking away from a sales opportunity if you cannot properly meet their needs.

Reviewing your Ideal client description, as needed, will help to re-focus your marketing messages so that they work more effectively. The marketing messages will be different for each Ideal Client you have as they have different needs and may use your products/services in different ways. Just in case you’re interested, this is one of our Ideal Client descriptions.

Planning your marketing

If you have followed the recommendations above, you will know what marketing worked for you in the last year. If they worked last year, it is likely they will work in 2024, so it is now simply a case of scheduling the activity into your marketing plan. Then decide whether to do the same amount, or more, of this marketing.

Now, what else will you be doing this year? If your growth targets are higher for 2024 than for 2023, you need to be doing more marketing in the coming year. You know what hasn’t worked, so what other marketing is likely to work?  If want to discuss this, give us a call on 020 8634 5911.

Do you have the time?

If you managed, or even did, your marketing last year, will you have the time to do it again in 2024?  If you are planning to do the same amount of marketing as you did last year, you probably have. If you are planning to do more, you may need some help. Of course, once the sales start coming in, more of your time will be focused on delivering what your clients want. Unless you have no need for a work/life balance (??), no worries. But if you do want some time away from your business (it is recommended), you need someone who can manage or do your marketing for you. Our Virtual Marketing Director service is ideal for owners of small businesses who don’t have time, but aren’t yet in a position to employ their own marketing team. Does that sound like you?

Why do all this?

Too many owners of small businesses spend too little time working ON the business, rather than IN the business. This leads to “stuff happening” rather than planned activity. As the old saying goes : fail to plan – plan to fail.  By investing a few hours in planning for 2024, you will see a significant uplift in performance and more growth.

If you would like to discuss your marketing budgets and plans, give us a call and let’s talk.

Tel: 020 8634 5911

image of four golfers to support article about why nigel plays golf

Why Nigel plays golf

By Marketing Performance

“Doing business on the golf course” is something that has been around for years and shows no signs of going away. That’s why Nigel plays golf during business hours, but let’s add a little detail.

How Nigel started playing

Put simply, he had the choice of going shopping with the women or playing golf with the men.  On a holiday in France, Jane was going shopping with her mum and aunt. Her dad and uncle were going to play golf. Nigel chose golf and has been hooked ever since that first 9 holes were completed in only 65 shots!

Networking

Golf, in the shape of Fore Business, is a great way of networking. Nigel gets to meet and talk with business owners whilst exercising and enjoying a sport he loves. He gets to understand what they do and they get to know more about how he helps his clients, and the types of clients he is looking for.

The great thing about Fore, in particular, is that we now have relationships with business owners across the country. We’ve helped clients right across the country, so there is no need to worry about delivering for any future clients that come from the relationships that are being developed.

New business

Golf generates, on average, just over 10% of SME Needs’ annual revenue each year. Some years that is up, some it is down, but golf continues to generate opportunities on a regular basis.

Suppliers

It is not just new business that comes from networking on the golf course. Over the years, we’ve sourced many different products and services from people Nigel has built relationships with:

·       Branded merchandise from at least two different companies

·       We met our current accountants at Fore Business

·       Matt Hills from Travel Counsellors even organised the Davey family holiday in 2022!

·       Pension planning

·       Social media services

·       Copywriting

And many more…

Tax deductible

Golf can be an expensive sport. Whilst you cannot claim for a new set of irons through the business, you can legitimately claim your Fore Business fees, travel costs and subsistence when you’re playing golf for business reasons. Whilst this may not save you a fortune on corporation tax, it all counts!

 

So, if you love playing golf and you’d like to see how playing golf can benefit your business, get in touch. You can see a small number of our Fore Business connections here and Nigel has Fore Business Golden Tickets that give you a month’s free membership. Let us know if you would like one!

 

man and woman shaking hands after agreeing a sale

Congratulations! now what

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

man and woman shaking hands after agreeing a saleMaking a sale is exhilarating; it’s a real boost to your system – and to your revenue numbers. Now what? What are you doing to maximise the opportunity? As a small business, you want to ensure you get real value from the sale – and that’s not just the cash value. Here are 8 ways to get real value from making a sale.

Why did they buy from you?

Chances are you weren’t the only company they were talking to. So why did they buy from you? What made you stand out from your competition? Knowing the answer to this question can help both your Sales and your Marketing operations.
Whether you set up a survey on SurveyMonkey or Mailchimp, or you have someone, ideally not the sales person, call them to ask the question, as long as you get the information, all is good.
Sales people get to know what works for them, particularly if they have tried or said something different. Marketing can use the information to focus or alter the marketing as needed.

What do they want to achieve?

If you haven’t already asked this during the sale process, this can be really helpful in different ways:

  • It gives you something to measure against. Did your help mean they achieved their goal? This is particularly useful for when you produce a case study later on.
  • Once in a while, someone will use what you sell for something completely different. Is this something you’ve considered and is there a market opportunity to promote your product/service to others wanting to do this?

Who else do they know?

The more usual time to ask for referrals is after you’ve delivered, but there may be an opportunity to ask just after the sale, particularly if they are a repeat customer. Someone who is happy that they’ve found a solution to their issue may well make some introductions for you.
Starting this conversation as early as possible, and ideally during the sales process, will mean that when you start asking, it won’t be a shock and they may have already started thinking about introductions and referrals they can make.

What happened?

After you have delivered, do you ask what happened? The answer to this question is relevant to the whole company, particularly Operations. Did their purchase from you help them achieve their goal? Of course, this may take some time, so make sure you ask the question at an appropriate time.

What was it like?

Was it a good experience working with your organisation? Some companies sell products or services you never want to use. But even a funeral director or insolvency practice will want to know whether they did a good job. You want to know so you can use their comments in your marketing/sales, or so you can make changes as needed.

What else can they buy?

Assuming they’ve had a good experience and you helped them to achieve their goal, now is absolutely the time to look at what else they can buy. Is what you sell a regular purchase (can you set up automated reminders for them?) or are there additional products/services you can sell that complement or work with the first sale? It is extremely rare that someone is buying everything they can from your business. There’s a great tool to help you map out what more you can sell them here.

Who else do they know – again

Once you’ve done something you are in a much stronger position to ask for introductions and referrals. You’ve proved (at least once) that you can deliver on your promises and that you can help them. When they are happy with what you’ve done and they trust you, they are more much more likely to make the introductions you seek.

Just to put some context around this, 91% of people say they are happy to make introductions and give referrals, but only 11% of people ask for them!

This stage is something that can be repeated on a regular basis, throughout your relationship with your client. But it relies on one key factor – that you deliver for the person/organisation they refer to you. There is more detail about getting referrals here, so just remember that they are taking a risk by referring you. A little bit of their reputation goes with the introduction, so make them proud.

Get a case study

This has deliberately been left until last for a couple of reasons:

  1. Because this can help you more than any of the others over the long term.
  2. Because too many people produce case studies too soon, usually leaving off the key part.

Case studies are tremendously powerful. They provide evidence, supported by your client, that you can deliver. They will help you to close sales opportunities for years to come. Remember that you don’t have to remove a case study when you stop working with someone . Case studies help prospects to align themselves with you, because they recognise their peers and the issues they have, that you solved. More can be found about how to effectively use case studies here.

So that’s 8 (alright, 7) ways you can increase the value of each sale you make. Once you have brought on a new client, the benefit to your small business doesn’t have to stop at the value of that sale.

Of course, if you would like to talk more about implementing an action plan to maximise the value of your clients, give us a call: 020 8634 5911 or click here to book something directly into Nigel’s calendar.

image to support blog about the right content for your blog

Struggling to develop content?

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

Our guide to producing great content to promote your small business

Producing content is a key part of many small business’ marketing strategies. Content shows you have the knowledge your clients need and improves SEO performance. The problems are often working out what to write about and actually writing it.  If you are struggling to produce content, here’s our guide to developing a content plan and getting the content produced and published.

How often should you produce new content?

The more content you need to produce, the more you may struggle to produce content.  A search on ‘how often should a small business blog’ show results that suggest 2-4 times a week will produce the best results.  That’s 104 – 208 blogs a year. If you then look at how long that blog should be, Hubspot suggests 2300 words! That’s nearly ¼ million words minimum.

This is clearly a huge amount of content to produce. For us, there is a much simpler way to work it out: what can you consistently produce? If you try to produce 2 blogs a week now, how are you going to cope when you’re busy?  Can you still produce that level of content, or will you struggle at that time? Far better to be consistent than produce lots irregularly.

Produce a content schedule

Start at a level you are comfortable with. For some small businesses, that may be just once a month. Whatever frequency you start with, develop a schedule.

  • What date will you publish the article?
  • When does it have to be written by?
  • Who is going to write it?
  • Who is going to check it and publish it?

Far better to start slow and build up.  If you do find yourself with more time than you thought you would, get ahead of your schedule. It will help when you get busier.

 

Develop a topic list

If you’ve mapped out what is important to your clients (see our Ideal Client workshops for more information on this), you’ll have a good idea of what to write about. Focus your efforts on topics that will help your target audience and show that you can help them. NEVER ever just write about what you do!

If you are struggling to work this out, there are other ways to develop a topic list:

1. What have you written before?

When looking at previous content, prioritise the articles that were viewed the most. Look at the average time on page too. If the article was visited lots of time and people are spending lots of time on there, updating that article could generate even more traffic for you.

2. What are your competitors writing about?

Just because your competitors are writing about something doesn’t mean you should. But a check on what they are writing is a good check to make sure you’re not missing any topics you should be covering.

3. What questions are your clients asking you?

If your clients are asking about them, it’s a safe bet that other people within your target audience will be looking for answers to similar questions. Answering questions that people want answers to is always a good thing.

If you have access to a way of finding out how many searches are being done on the topics you are planning to write about, check them too. It can help you put your topics in order.

 

Consider using AI

Tools such as ChatGPT are hitting computer screens in their millions right now. We’ve started doing a little testing, but the jury is still out on whether they will be a good thing or not.

If you do use AI-generated content, make sure you read through it and adapt to your target audience(s) and add relevant links, both internal and external.

This is not an AI-generated article

 

Outsource your content writing

If you don’t have the time, or the skills, using a copywriter is a great way to get the content you need. We work with a range of writers with different areas of expertise and there are plenty of others on the market too.  Writers that seem very cheap may be so for a reason.  Content can easily be used for multiple clients if they are distributed. One article that is then used by, say, 10 companies makes for a much better hourly rate.

Most copywriters are not that unscrupulous, but you can always check by using a plagiarism tool.  We use SEMrush (amongst its many functions) to check content when we believe it is necessary.

The more you can do for the copywriter, the more you can save.  Providing either a draft article (for them to improve) or a set of notes for them to build on will save you the time they would spend researching an article for you.

It all depends on how much time you have, or don’t have.

 

Publishing your content

Once you are producing great content, there are multiple places you can publish your content, starting with your own website. Not only will it help improve your SEO performance, it will bring people back to your website on a regular basis. Have you also considered these alternatives:

Other people’s websites

Adding content to other websites seems almost contradictory, but it provides you with valuable links back to your website. Adding it to sites where your target audience goes gives them the opportunity to find it and move to your site.

Magazines

Both print and online magazines are always looking for good content. Getting your content into the right ones can drive brand awareness and leads your way.

LinkedIn

Adding an article to LinkedIn can increase your profile views and get people talking to you – precisely what your content strategy is for.

 

Yoast it!

When you are producing great content, you want it to be found. If your website is a WordPress site, we recommend using Yoast as an SEO tool.  It provides a simply traffic light system to guide your content production.  Simple things like:

  • Reminding you to add a meta description and SEO title.
  • Ensuring you add internal and external links to the article.
  • Keeping the sentence length short (most less than 20 words) makes it easier to read for your viewers
  • Making sure you don’t use passive language in your articles.

All will help you improve your SEO performance, but be sure to keep your reader front of mind. Sometimes, slavishly working towards the green lights can make the reading experience not what your readers would want.

 

Share it

Finally, once it is published, don’t keep it to yourself.  Get it out there so that your target audience can find it. They find it, read it and then pick up the phone – simples!!!

 

If your marketing strategy includes developing content, you need to ensure that you produce good quality content on a consistent basis. These tips will help you if you’re worrying about producing great content, but if you are still struggling (or simply want someone else to do it), give us a call (020 8634 5911). Let’s talk and see how we can help you.

The role of a Virtual Marketing Director

By Marketing Performance, Marketing Plan

Occasionally, we throw out a controversial statement. Partly to see if anyone notices, but mostly to see what people think. It’s time for another one, so here goes.

 

I’m not here to do your marketing!

 

My role with you is to ensure the right marketing happens and that it works. Let’s start with the Why and progress through to the How.

Why is this important?

Small businesses rarely have huge marketing budgets, if ever. That budget needs to be spent in a way that delivers the best ROI possible. That comes from having the right people doing the marketing.

In the very early stages, where money is really tight, the right person is usually the owner. They know their business inside out, but need help to work out what to say, where to say it, and when to say it.   A little further down the line, when there is budget available it makes real sense to use experts. You wouldn’t want me building you a website (I’ve tried; its not pretty!) and its a long time since I’ve spent any real time working out the best way to do paid ads on Google etc. As I know, perhaps, two journalists, you don’t want me doing your PR. Get the point?

The great thing is that I know lots of experts in their fields. Here’s just a few:

These are just a few of the people that could become involved. They bring their expertise in their specialist field to bear on your marketing, but you only pay for what you use.

Working this way gives you the best balance of expertise and budget available to you, alongside the support and guidance I bring.

How I help: 4 recurring stages

To ensure the right marketing is being done for your small business, there are 4 stages that we rotate through.

1. Measure

Knowing what is and isn’t working is vital to deliver a great marketing ROI. Put simply, if it isn’t working, stop doing it. Spend the money and invest the time doing what you know is working or trying something different.

We analyse your marketing spend, marketing activity and results to see what is and isn’t working for you.

We have a Marketing ROI Calculator you can download here if you wish to start measuring your own marketing performance.

2. Focus

You cannot sell to everyone, and you don’t want to be saying you’ll sell to anyone. Every product or service has an Ideal Client. Someone that is looking for that and will make best use of it. Whilst there will always be people asking to buy that are way outside your Ideal Client description, you don’t market to them because they will be rare.

One of the easiest ways to work this out is to think about your best client…

We work with you to map out your Ideal Client, work out what to say to them and pull together that evidence set that will be key to proving you can deliver on your promises.

3. Plan

You have targets for your business. Your marketing plan, when implemented, needs to deliver the leads you need to hit your targets. It needs to utilise the available skills within your business (saving you some money), and it needs to work, ideally, within your marketing budget (more about that here).

We work with you to develop that plan. A plan that you buy into and commit to. If you don’t buy into it, it won’t work!

4. Deliver

Once the plan is in place, it must be done. My job is to use your marketing plan and ensure that everything is done when it is supposed to be, and that you know the results. You’ll see the leads coming in and we’ll talk about the conversion rates, as the leads turn to sales. If the leads aren’t converting, we’ll work with you to work out why as well.

If we see that some things aren’t working, we’ll look at them. Did they not work because:

  • That marketing takes time, and it is too early to see
  • It wasn’t done very well
  • That it isn’t the right marketing for your business (we have to experiment sometimes)

We can then work with you to decide what to do next.

I hope this has explained what my role is and how SME Needs can help you. The important thing is that we can start helping you from just a few hours per month. As you grow and there is more marketing needed, we can do more – all the way up to the point in makes sense for you to recruit your own marketing director.

 

If you’d like to have a chat about this, call me on 020 8634 5911 or you can book something directly into my diary here.

ways to optimise an ecommerce website

15 ways to optimise an ecommerce website to increase sales

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

ways to optimise an ecommerce websiteOptimising an e-commerce website to increase sales involves a combination of technical, design, marketing, and user experience strategies. Here are 15 great ways to optimise your ecommerce website and boost sales. We’ve split the recommendations into key groups to help you identify the ones you need and which naturally go together…

Hosting and overall design tips

1. User-friendly design

Ensure your website has an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Make it easy for your visitors to find products, navigate categories, and access essential information like shipping details and return policies.

Testing changes will help you to determine whether the changes have increased sales or made things worse. Assuming your website is being backed up regularly, you should easily be able to remove changes that haven’t worked.

2. Mobile responsiveness

With 91% of people making e-commerce purchases on their phones, it’s crucial to have a website that adapts to various screen sizes and functions flawlessly on mobile devices. Most content managements systems are now mobile responsiveness, so this is likely to be an issue only if your site is really old.

Cart abandonment rates are much higher on mobiles, at 84% (compared to 72% on desktops). Many people browse on their phones and then buy on their desktops so your site needs to work effectively in multiple screen sizes and formats.

3. Fast loading times

Optimise your website’s performance to ensure quick loading times. Slow-loading websites can lead to higher bounce rates and lost sales. If you can increase your load speed by just 1 second, bounce rates decrease by up to 12% and conversion rates can go up nearly 6%.

4. Streamlined checkout process

Simplify the checkout process with minimal steps and form fields. Offer guest checkout options and support various payment methods to reduce cart abandonment rates.

Removing as many distractions as possible from the checkout pages will also increase completion rates. If you can make all menus disappear, we recommend you do so.

5. Effective search functionality

Implement a robust search feature that can quickly help customers find what they are looking for. Consider using filters and sorting options to refine search results.

Make sure that things like product names or serial numbers are formatted consistently. Should there be spaces between parts of a product name, or not. Whichever you choose, make sure this is applied across the site.

 

Product Page design tips

6. High-quality product images

Use images with multiple views and zoom functionality to showcase products effectively. Clear images instill confidence in the buyers’ minds and reduce the chances of returns. Ensure that the images are big enough (resolution) so that they are shown well. A poor quality, pixelated image will put people off.

7. Detailed product descriptions

Provide comprehensive and accurate product descriptions that include features, specifications, and benefits. This helps customers make informed decisions. Displaying product descriptions alongside customer reviews puts everything your customers need in one place.

8. Customer reviews and ratings

Display customer reviews and ratings for products to build trust and credibility. Positive reviews can encourage potential buyers to make a purchase.

9. Prominent CTAs (Call-to-Action)

Make sure that your CTAs stand out and are in the right place on your page. Make it easy for customers to add items to their cart without being distracted, and that they can proceed to checkout easily too.

10. Product recommendations

Implement personalised product recommendations based on users’ browsing and purchase history. This can increase cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Be careful not to place this too prominently that it distracts from the main product on the page. Remember that these are additional sales, but you need to get the first one first.

11. Enable social sharing

Include social share buttons within the product page designs so that viewers can easily promote your products within their connections and network. This can generate additional traffic and sales.

12. Clear shipping and return policies

Have a page that makes your shipping deadlines and returns policies very clear. As slow shipping is one of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment, make sure you are giving customers what they want.

13. Live chat support

Offer live chat support to assist customers in real-time and address any queries they might have while browsing or during the checkout process. Make sure that it is clear how quickly you can respond to questions and queries. If nobody is available immediately, make sure this is very clear on the site.

Follow-up marketing tips

14. Abandoned cart recovery

Set up automated emails to remind customers about their abandoned carts and offer incentives to encourage them to complete their purchases. Your ecommerce platform is likely to have some tools for this. Alternatively email marketing platforms like Mailchimp have ecommerce functionality included in their various subscription levels.

15. Keep in touch

Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your customers. Once they have bought once from you, you want them to buy again and to recommend you to others. Make sure your campaigns are targeted and relevant to maximise open and clickthrough rates.

 

By implementing these strategies, you can optimise your e-commerce website for better sales conversion and create a positive shopping experience for your customers. Remember that continuous improvement and monitoring of user behaviour are essential for long-term success.

If you need help with any of these tips, call us on 020 8634 5911 or click here and we’ll call you back

bounce rate statistics from Google Analytics. Image to support article on creating more traffic for your website

How to attract the right traffic to your website

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance, Small Business Marketing

Creating more website traffic is a key goal for most small businesses, as more traffic means more business – right? Most of the time, yes, but not always. There is good website traffic and then bad traffic. Here are 15 tips on how to attract the right traffic to your website…

Good Website Traffic

In a perfect world, every person who visited your website would get in touch, as they want to buy what your small business sells. In reality, a 1-2% contact rate is going to deliver a great flow of leads into your business. There are a number of different ways to recognise good website traffic, so you can do more to encourage it.

Bounce rate

Do you know the bounce rate on your website? If you don’t you need to as it tells you whether you are making a good first impression. Google defines a bounce as:

The percentage of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further.

If you haven’t got Google Analytics on your website, click here to set up your account and get your web developers to add it.
A healthy bounce rate is 15 – 40%. If it is above that, you are attracting the wrong visitors, or you are not giving them what they are looking for on the first page they land on.

How to improve your bounce rate
  1. Look at what pages have a good bounce rate, and which don’tbounce rate statistics from Google Analytics. Image to support article on creating more traffic for your website
  2. Is there a big look or feel difference between the content on the good and not so good pages?
  3. Use Search Console to identify the keywords that are generating natural, or paid, search for that page.
  4. Shape the content so the viewer is getting better information when they land on those pages.

Returning Traffic

How much of your traffic is returning? If viewers are returning to your website, it suggests that they are interested. Google Analytics shows you two stats to help this: New vs. returning and Depth of Visit.
To increase the amount of returning traffic, look at the pages that are being returned to and create more content like that. Alternatively, consider using remarketing as a way of getting people back to your site after they’ve visited.

Engaged Traffic

If your website is grabbing the attention of your visitors, they will stay and read more of the content before getting in touch. Again, two numbers to keep an eye on: Length of visit, and Number of Pages Visited. The longer the visit and the higher the number of pages visited, the better.

How to improve website engagement
  1. Look at what pages have a high Exit Rate. They either do not have useful information or they don’t clearly show the viewer where to go next.
  2. Review your website routing. Is it logical and giving the viewer a good route around your website?
  3. Are there appropriate Calls to Action on the website. Too few will mean people don’t get in touch and too many will seem desperate, and put people off.

Traffic that is making contact

Do you know how many people are calling you (is there a phone number on the website?) or completing a Contact Request form? These are the lifeblood of your small business, giving you a flow of leads you can convert to new business. Without a steady flow of new leads, you are going to struggle to achieve your growth and performance targets.

How to increase the number of people who contact you

1. Add a phone number. Too many websites lack a phone number and so will stop people getting in touch.
2. Ensure they are links to your Contact Us page on every page of the site. For some landing pages, you may want to add a Contact Form to those as well. Not too many though (see above).

Are your mailing list and social media working?Google analytics screen shot to support article about increasing website traffic

Do you know how much traffic hits your website from your social media activity or your email marketing? If these marketing channels are part of your marketing mix, you will be investing considerable amounts of time on them. You need to know whether the time is being invested wisely. Google Analytics will show you how much of your website traffic is coming from these channels.

From the right keywords

Google Analytics, Search Console and other premium tools, such as SEMrush or Moz, will tell you what keywords are driving traffic to your website. You want to drive more traffic from the right keywords, but ensure that the wrong ones (cheap, free, in another geographic region, etc.) are not driving traffic.
For Google Ads, this is simple; you simply add negative keywords to your campaigns so that Google doesn’t show your Ads to people who type them into the search bar. For natural search, this isn’t quite as easy.
You cannot block natural search, but you can ensure that your content and metadata doesn’t include the negative keywords you want to avoid. If “free” or “cheap” are being used in different parts of your website, in conjunction, with your service or product offering, you run the risk of getting natural search traffic that you don’t want.

The Bad traffic

Bad website traffic isn’t just a waste of bandwidth. It’s a waste of your time too. If you are getting enquiries coming in from people who are expecting something different to what you are selling, they take up time before you qualify them out. Let’s look at this in more detail.

Traffic that Bounces or leaves quickly

Google may not use bounce rate data directly within its algorithms, but it does pay attention to how long people stay on your site after a search. If they see lots of people leaving very quickly, that tells them your site isn’t providing what people are looking for when using the keywords they searched on. Google will then move you down the rankings for that search term.

Traffic from outside your target area

If you only sell to companies in the UK, the last thing you want is traffic, and potentially enquiries, from outside the UK. Appearing in their searches is simply wasting their time. Enquiries from them are wasting your time. Nobody wins.

Stopping this type of website traffic isn’t always easy. Probably the easiest way to limit the amount of out of area traffic is to talk more about the area you want business from. You’ll see on our Contact Us page a map showing where our clients have been based. We’re actively looking for clients across the UK, so we use the map to show this. Look at how your website content shows where you want to work. Include an address on the site (not just in the Privacy Policy page) so it is very clear. Add a telephone number so the search engines can pick up your area dialling code too.

Person using a laptop image to support article about getting potential clients back to your website

7 ways to get potential clients back to your website

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance, Measure

graph of returning visitors to support article about getting potential clients back to your websiteBecause getting them back increases the likelihood of them buying from you

Whatever way people move from simply knowing who you are to becoming potential clients, they will be spending time on your website. Much of the time, they are checking you out; making themselves comfortable that you will be able to help them. Getting potential clients to return to your website will help them to become comfortable and start talking with you. Here’s 7 ways to get potential clients. back to your website…

How many people are returning to your website?find your returning visitors stats at Google Analytics

Before you start work on this, you need to know how many potential clients are actually returning to your site. After all, it may not be an issue for you. If you don’t know, Google Analytics is your friend. To find your stats:

  1. Go to Google Analytics – click here
  2. Go to Reports
  3. Click on Retention (highlighted blue in the image here)

1. Retargeting ads

You will have regularly seen adverts for something you’ve been looking at online. Those adverts are designed to get you back to their site and to buy the product. You can do the same to people who visit your site.  

Google Ads and Facebook Ads are two key players in this area. You will need to set up the account(s) and you do pay a small amount per returning visit. Depending on how competitive your industry sector is, this cost per click (CPC) can be pennies, up to £1 or more. But it will be much less than Google Ads to get them to your site for the first time.

2. Email marketing

Email marketing is a highly effective way to get people back to your website. If they have given you their email address, make sure you are emailing to share latest content regularly. 

Depending on what information you have collected, email campaigns can be: 

  • New case studies, particularly for people in their industry sector. 
  • New products or services that you now provide. 
  • New articles that continue to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.  

The wonderful thing about email marketing is that everything is trackable: 

  • You can see who is opening and clicking on what campaigns 
  • You can see the contacts who are highly engaged, and those who never open your emails
  • Associated applications can even show you what individual contacts do after they’ve clicked from your email campaign. 

If you have a telesales function within the business, assigned to follow up your marketing campaigns, this information helps them to call the right people. Those who have engaged should be the first people called.  

Sending links to special offers or exclusive content is a fantastic way to really encourage people back to your website.  

3. Consistent engaging content

Regularly adding high-quality content to your website can quickly get people coming back to your website. Once people have visited a few times, they get used to expecting useful information and content, so they return regularly to consume that content. 

That content can be in the form of blogs, white papers, or videos – whichever format your target audience prefers. By posting useful content, you establish yourself as an authority, increasing your Domain Authority score and your search engine rankings.  

4. Social media promotion

Your choice of social media platforms is determined by your target audiences. Whichever platform you use, social media is a great place to share new, and evergreen, content. New articles, case studies and promotions are all great outbound content. But don’t forget that a good chunk of your website visits can come from when you have responded. That can either be to people who have replied to your original post, or when you have commented on someone else’s original post. Social media is not somewhere to shout ‘Buy Me!’ – but that is another article… 

5. Guest Blogs

High quality content that you post on other websites generates both quality inbound links (good for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)) and more traffic. The fact that the other site has agreed to post the content is a good sign for readers. For people who have seen your site before, it is a further reminder that they can get valuable information (and good services) from your business. 

6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Optimising your website for search engines will raise you up the search engine results, maximising the chances of people seeing your site again, getting them back to you and buying. Tools such as Yoast will help you get the on-site SEO right, ensuring you have: 

  • Good meta descriptions that tell people what they will find on your page. 
  • Catchy SEO titles to grab peoples’ attention as they scroll looking for answers to their search query. 
  • Internal and outbound links that guide people around your site and to places they can find good supporting information.  
  • That word counts are sufficient to give readers a good idea of what your business is about. 
  • And much more.

There are plenty of other tools on the market for SEO. We use SEMrush to further improve SEO performance for our clients’ websites because most of them are WordPress sites.  

7. Make a great first impression

Perhaps this should have been the first way, but hey ho… A great first impression will get people coming back for more. If they like what they see and read first time, chances are they will come back again, particularly if they ‘bump’ into your brand in other ways. 

To get people back to your website, your marketing needs to be consistent, and your brand needs to be seen regularly in separate locations online, and off.  

Of course, if you need some help with this, get in touch. You can call us on 020 8634 5911 or complete the form here and we’ll call you back. 

Mailchimp logo - the tool we recommend to help small business run great email marketing campaigns

10 Great ways for small businesses to use email marketing

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance, Small Business Marketing

If you are a small business owner and you’re not using email marketing within your marketing mix, you’re almost certainly missing a trick. Here’s 10 ways that email marketing can help you withinmailchimp certified your small business.

At SME Needs we recommend Mailchimp (we are a Mailchimp Partner) as our preferred tool, but our clients use a range of other email marketing platforms. All of them can help you in these ways; its just that we prefer the functionality and intuitiveness of Mailchimp.

1. Email marketing is one to many

Perhaps the most obvious way an email marketing tool helps you is by giving you the ability to communicate with many people at once. Having a mailing list gives you the ability to not only send lots of emails at once, but also personalise them with merge fields (first name, company name and much more). The rest of these are more about the why than the function…

2. A great way of maintaining relationships

You know 100s of people. Your customers, prospects and your network can easily add up to a lot of people. Maintaining relationships with that many people without email marketing is going to be difficult. Imagine the number of calls you’d have to make or the time it would take to write individual emails to them.

But it is vital that you maintain these relationships. The last thing you want is for people to forget about you just before they identify a need for what you sell.

3. Helping you sell more to your current customers

Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a B2B services provider, email marketing is a great tool for helping you sell more to your current customers.

As a B2B services provider, you will have very few customers who are buying ever service you offer. Email marketing, using segmentation to ensure you send campaigns to the right people, is a great way to promote other services they can benefit from.

For e-commerce businesses, there are huge numbers of ways email can be used:

  • Abandoned baskets (see more below)
  • Regular reminders
  • Associated products
  • Tips to use what your customer has bought (improves brand satisfaction)
  • And many more…

You can see more about how we help e-commerce businesses here.

4. Superb for nurturing your pipeline

Not everyone who subscribes to your mailing list is yet ready to buy. Most will be researching, looking for information. But once they subscribe, you want to help them into, and through, your sales funnel.  A series of nurturing emails will help people to understand how you can help, provide things for them to think about, and share evidence that you can deliver on your promises.

5. You should only be sending relevant content to people

The people in your mailing list will vary. Some will be customers and some prospects. Some will have bought from you and some have not yet bought. Even those who have bought will have bought different things. If you want to promote a particular product, you don’t want to send that campaign to people who have already bought it (unless it is something that is used regularly). Being able to use the data stored against each contact allows you to segment your audience and only send campaigns to relevant people.

The more relevant your email’s content is to the reader, the more likely they are to react how you want them to.

6. Are you collecting reviews and testimonials?

People will frequently look for reviews of your products or your business when considering buying from you. The more review you have, generally, the better. Once someone has bought from you, setting up an automated email marketing campaign to ask for reviews and testimonials.

Particularly suitable for e-commerce businesses, you can easily set a campaign to go out X days after a purchase. One small business client of ours is adding a couple of reviews a week because of the automated campaign we set up for them.

7. How are you recovering abandoned basket sales?

30% of the total retail market in the UK is now online. People add items to e-commerce baskets every day, but they may not be yet ready to buy. 69% of baskets are abandoned. Setting up abandoned basket campaigns that go out a little while later can remind people so they return and buy from you. Combined with remarketing PPC ads, these emails can make a significant difference to your sales.

8. You are following up events, aren’t you?

You invest time and money putting on events and attending trade shows. So you need to maximise the value you get from these events. Far too many companies fail to follow up with the people who attend events or that they talk to at a trade show. You can see more about how to follow up on a trade show here.

Sending an email out to people the day after the event to thank them for attending is a great way to build your brand and to start getting them to do something you want them to do. That may simply be to arrange a time to talk; it may be to buy something. Setting up a series of emails, particularly to people that weren’t previously on your mailing list will start getting them into your sales funnel and encourage them to buy from you.

9. Do you know when someone has engaged with your email campaign?

Once you’ve sent your email campaign, particularly sales campaigns, you’ll want to follow up on the phone. If you use Outlook (or similar), you have no knowledge of who did what with your email. When you follow up, you want to do so to the people most likely to engage/buy. Tools such as Mailchimp give you a list of:

  • Who opened your email campaign.
  • Who clicked, and what they clicked on.
  • A rating on how they have engaged with other email campaigns recently.

The time saved using the data provided can be huge. It also means that you can have relevant conversations because you know what they are looking at.

10. What are they doing after that first click?

Moving slightly away from the email marketing tool, there are other digital tools that help you follow up even more effectively. At SME Needs we recommend CANDDi as we believe it provides great data, good value and really helpful people.

Once someone clicks on your email campaign, they land on your site, but what do they do next? If your follow-up conversation relates to the pages they looked at on your site, imagine how much more effective that conversation will be?  Once CANDDi knows about their first visit, they can also notify you when that person (on the same device) returns to your site. You can find more about CANDDi here.

Next Step…

If have already have an email marketing account set up, you’re probably doing at least some of these. If you want to know how to do more of these, or simply want someone to review how effective your email marketing is, either click here or simply give us a call on 020 8634 5911.

image of a laptop and note book to support an article about the impact of lifetime customer value on your marketing budget

Are you considering Lifetime Customer Value?

By Marketing Performance, Marketing Plan

In the fiercely competitive landscape of the UK small business market, effective allocation of marketing budgets is crucial for sustainable growth and success. While there are various factors to consider when you are planning marketing budgets, one vital aspect that often gets overlooked is the concept of Lifetime Customer Value (LCV). Understanding the LCV of your clients is essential for making informed decisions about:

  • marketing investments
  • maximising profitability, and
  • building long-term relationships with your target audience.

This article will look at why you need to consider LCV when considering your marketing budget.

Defining Lifetime Customer Value

Lifetime Customer Value refers to the projected revenue generated from a client throughout their entire relationship with a business. Instead of focusing solely on individual transactions the first-year value, LCV is about the total value a client brings over time. Think about your clients’ spend patterns:

  • How frequently do they spend with you?
  • What is the average value?
  • Over how many years do your clients keep spending with you?

By considering these factors, you can make better decisions regarding budgets going forward.

The Importance of Lifetime Customer Value

Long-Term Profitability

Understanding the LCV helps you identify high-value clients and tailor marketing efforts to acquire, retain and nurture more high value clients. By focusing on client retention, you can extend client lifespan, increase purchase frequency, and maximise revenue per client. All of which increase profitability for your business.

Efficient Resource Allocation

Effective marketing budgeting comes from allocating resources where they will have most impact. When you look at where and how to invest your marketing budget, lifetime customer value information will help guide your choices. Here’s an example:

A few years ago, we used Google Adwords (now Google Ads) as a core marketing tool. Starting on just £10 a day, and slowly increasing spend, we spent about £6,000 in the first year, generating first year revenues of about £20,000. Not bad, but not great. We knew that this small business kept its clients and so continued to use this channel. Over a 5-year period, we spent £129,000, but clients generated from this investment spent over £4.2 million, and rising.

Instead of blindly spreading resources across various channels, you can concentrate your efforts on marketing activities that yield the highest returns, improving marketing ROI.

Enhanced Client Acquisition Strategies

Knowing the LCV of your existing clients can guide your marketing. If you could confidently expect a new client to spend £100,000 over the next five years, how much would you spend on acquiring that client? If you based your marketing investment on the first-year spend (call it £20k), you are likely to make different investment decisions.

Prioritising Client Loyalty

A higher LCV often indicates a stronger client relationship and loyalty. Identifying your high LCV clients and investing in account management activities that foster loyalty contributes to your bottom line. These clients also serve as brand advocates, spreading the word for you and generating more sales opportunities.

Strategies to Increase Lifetime Customer Value

Improve Client Experience

The happier your clients are, the more they will spend over time. Providing exceptional service, personalised interactions, and timely support can foster stronger relationships and encourage your clients to remain loyal for an extended period.

Implement Effective Client Retention Programmes

What can you do to keep your clients longer? Depending on your sector, you may consider loyalty programmes, exclusive offers or VIP memberships. These programmes not only increase client satisfaction but also encourage repeat business, further increasing LCV.

Upselling and Cross-selling

Most of your clients can buy more from you. We never see situations where every client has bought every product/service a small business sells. Your current clients already know and trust you, so offering complementary products/services will both increase their LCV and, often, make it harder for them to move away from you. There’s a great article about how to do this here.

Conclusion

Lifetime Customer Value plays a critical role in guiding marketing budget decisions for small businesses in the UK. Making decisions based on individual purchases or first year revenues often mean that you are missing opportunities and not maximising growth.

If you would like to talk more about your marketing performance, call us on 020 8634 5911 or book a meeting here.

two small business owners shaking hands

The three ways to generate more leads

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

If you want more leads for your small business, a Google search will provide 672 million search results to help you. Going through that little lot will take some time. At SME Needs we like to keep things simple for small business owners, so we believe there are just three ways to generate more leads…

1. Do better work for your clients

The better the work you deliver for your clients, the happy they will be. The happier they are, the more they will talk about you to others. At least that is the theory. In reality, you’re probably already doing great work. It’s just that the client hasn’t recognised just how good that work is. Making sure they realise just what you’re doing will help.

For example, if you’re an IT services business, are you telling your client how many tickets you responded to this month, or are you telling them how much time you gave them back?

The better your clients understand how you are helping them, the more they will say nice things to others about you, especially when you ask them to!

2. Build better relationships with your clients

Particularly in the small business world, people like to do business with people they know, like and trust. You may have clients where you have a very transactional relationship. One where there is very little conversation taking place. When this is the case, you run the risk of being replaced by someone who either:

  • Offers the same at a lower price
  • Develops a better relationship with your client

Relationships help you generate more leads because

  • Your clients will talk about you more (see above)
  • They are more likely to buy other products/services from you
  • You are better protected from losing the client.
  • Your clients will be happier to do case studies, testimonials and reviews for you< helping others decide to talk to you.

3. Improve your marketing performance

Know what is working

Improving your marketing performance starts with knowing how your marketing is performing now. If you don’t currently know, click here to download a marketing ROI calculator. Knowing what is, and isn’t, working gives you a benchmark to work from and identifies where you can improve.

Some of that improvement will come from stopping what isn’t working and investing that time/budget into what you know is working. Some of that improvement comes from learning more and doing things better, but it starts with knowing.

Say the right things

The 2nd step in improving your marketing is saying the right thing. If your marketing is all about you and what you do, you’re losing out on leads. If your marketing is all about your clients, how you help and what success looks like, you will generate more leads for your small business.

Think about either you last product you bought from a salesperson. Did they talk about them, or talk about you? Did they talk about what they do, or how your business will benefit?

Make a plan

The third stage in improving your marketing is to make a plan. The old adage of failing to plan is still so very true. A well-developed marketing plan will maximise your chances of generating the leads you are looking for.

Implement the plan

The fourth stage is to do what you have scheduled in that plan. There’s no point in having the plan if you aren’t going to do it. You may need help, either to do some of the things in your marketing plan, or in the form of someone keeping you on track. The only problem comes a little way through the implementation of your plan, when you have sold some stuff and are busy delivering what you’ve sold. Do you still have time to keep to the plan? They are plenty of people out there who can help you at that point (see more about how we can help here).

If you can do all three, the leads you are looking for will flow in, but just doing one of them will improve the number of leads you generate over time.

If you need a hand with any of these, call us on 020 8634 5911 or contact us here.

e-commerce repeat purchases image

How to generate more e-commerce repeat purchases

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

e-commerce image for article about repeat purchasesThe importance of repeat purchases in e-commerce

How many of your customers have bought from your e-commerce site more than once?  Have you ever checked? Although the rate varies depending on what you sell online, you should be aiming for a 20-30% (according to Alex Schultz, VP at Facebook) repeat purchase rate. This article looks at how to calculate your current repeat purchase rate and what you can do to increase it, if you wish to.

What is your repeat purchase rate?

It is defined as someone who has bought two, or more, times from you. The easiest way to calculate your rate is:

No. of repeat customers/No. of paying customers X 100 = Repeat Purchase Rate.

Why you want this rate to increase

There are plenty of reasons why you should want more repeat purchases:

  • More sales is always a good thing.
  • People who have bought from you before are more likely to buy from you again, assuming they were happy with the first purchase.
  • It is cheaper, get a customer to buy again that to get the first purchase.
  • Repeat customers are far more likely to talk about you to their friends and network.
  • Repeat purchasers are more likely to give reviews and testimonials, a vital part of your e-commerce marketing.

How to get people to buy again

This is the bit you really wanted when you started reading this article, so here are 13 ways to increase your repeat purchase rate.

1. Thank them for buying from you  – every time

Most likely included within your order confirmation email, make sure you thank every customer for buying from you. There are plenty of other places they could have bought from.  People appreciate the gesture, even when they know it is standard wording that will be on every confirmation email you send out.

2. Follow up with them to find out how satisfied they are with their purchase

Good customer service is, unfortunately, an increasingly rare thing. Showing that you care and want to help goes a long way to creating positive brand associations in the minds of your customers.

3. Talk to them regularly

Keep in touch with your customers. Whilst you may think that this is simply adding to their burgeoning inbox, emails that contain useful content will be appreciated and will keep your brand in their mind’s eye.

4. Tell them about other products you sell

You sell more than one product, so make sure you tell your customers about the products they haven’t bought. You cannot tell them about everything, but you can tell them about related products.  If they bought a printer from your business, you can also sell them inks/toners and paper. If they were happy with your service around the printer, there’s no reason why they can’t buy accessories and consumables from you.

5. If your product only lasts a certain period, remind them they will need to buy again soon.

For products people buy regularly, what is the time gap between orders of the same things? Setting up an automated email based on purchases and this time gap can generate repeat purchases.

6. Can you offer a subscription?

Amazon has doggie poop bags available on subscription (Nigel has a subscription so he never runs out). Can you do the same thing? Products that people use frequently are ideal for subscriptions.

7. Help them to use your product, when appropriate.

If you’re selling complicated products, providing hints and tips that help them get the most from their purchase will be remembered.  We built a whole series of these for a client. They increased both repeat purchase rates and their Feefo rating for the client. You can see the case study here.

8. Tell them about sales campaigns or special offers.

If you sell seasonal products, telling your customers about end of season sales, or simply reminding them that “the summer” is approaching will remind them of your brand and that they can buy more from you. The opportunity to save money on a purchase always gets people thinking…

9. Ask them to share pictures of them using your product.

In a social media dominated world, people love posting pictures. New furniture in the office, the latest clothing purchase, a piece of funky art in their home – are just some of the pictures they could share.  Again, this reinforces your brand with them, proves they like your brand and can even generate new customers for you from their connections.

10. Find out more about them, so you can make better product suggestions.tagging function within Mailchimp surveys

The more you know about them , the more ways you can encourage more sales from them.

  • Do you know their birthday?  Giving them a discount, or small additional gift with their next purchase can encourage more sales.
  • Can you collect more information about their homes or businesses or hobbies? Products that relate to important parts of their lives are great sales opportunities.

Surveys are a great way to collect this sort of information. Tools such as Mailchimp make is easy to collect survey responses and attach that information to your customer records. This makes it easy to run relevant email marketing campaigns.

11. Ask for reviews of the product, both shortly after purchase and after a decent period of time.

Some people do reviews just after they buy a product or service. Others do them once they’ve had a chance to use that product. If you sell birthday cakes, asking for a review a week after the purchase will give them to time to receive and use the cake. If you sell technology, asking quickly will get responses about their initial thoughts and their experience of your business. Asking them again 6 months later will get responses about how good the product is.  These reviews can either go directly onto your e-commerce product pages, to Google Reviews or even tools such as TrustPilot or Feefo.

12. Consider a loyalty programme

David Sainsbury famously called Tesco’s Clubcard “green shield stamps”, but they transformed the food retail marketplace.  As a small business, you may not be able to have that impact, but loyalty programmes can do what their name suggests, driving more sales.

13. Collect data from all sales sources

If you also sell through other channels, make sure you are collecting customer data from them too. A recent client was selling online, but also in markets. But they weren’t collecting customer information from markets. Those people can also buy from your e-commerce store, so make sure you encourage them to subscribe and keep in touch with them.

14. Don’t bombard them!

After 12 ways of increasing sales, here’s one to make sure you don’t kill any chance of increasing sales.  Make sure that you’re not sending too much communication to your customers. Acceptable frequencies vary depending on what you are selling and how long that product lasts. Sending too much will annoy people, make them unsubscribe and you lose the opportunity to get more sales from them.

If you could get just 1 in 10 of your customers to buy again, it would transform your business. We can help you improve your marketing and your communication to do just that.  Call us now on 020 8634 5911, or click here, and let’s talk about increasing your repeat purchases online.

B2B marketing expo trade show

Stop wasting your trade show investment

By A Helping Hand, Delivering your marketing, Marketing Performance

B2B marketing expo trade show
If you exhibit at a trade show and don’t maximise the number of people you talk to, you may as well not be there. Spend your money on something else; something that interests you and will deliver the ROI. Here’s the top 5 errors made at trade shows by businesses and people.

1. Don’t turn up

The biggest of the errors made at trade shows is simply not turning up. By lunchtime at the B2B Marketing Expo, there was someone in every shell scheme stand, but at 9.45am (15 mins after the show opened), there were empty stands. With shows frequently charging upwards of £450 per square metre, why would companies spend a minimum of £3k and then turn up late? Most people walk around a show once, before then going back to the stands that catch their attention. An empty stand catches attention but in the wrong way.

2. Don’t talk to visitors

trade show delegates ignoring visitors and losing business

It is always amazing that many exhibitors will stand there, waiting for visitors to approach them. Why not talk to them? If someone is hovering, they are interested. They’re either trying to work out what your company does or thinking about how can help them. Either way, they are going to be open to a chat. Even it they say no, what have you lost if you say hello? If you don’t, you’ve definitely lost the opportunity.

This image is a typical example (smiley face emojis are protecting the guilty) of what we mean. Sharing a “funny” on your mobile whilst potential clients are walking past is not a great way to spend your time.  Whilst you cannot spend every moment talking to visitors, if you need a break, get off the stand!

3. Poor headlines on your stand Vertical Leap trade show stand

Considering the B2B Marketing Expo is full of marketing companies, it was good to see better headlines this year (see Vertical Leap).

Headlines that either:

  • Say what they do (& not how they help)
  • Say way too much

are not going to attract prospects.

Think about what your clients get from working with you and build your headlines around that. Make it amazingly easy for them to understand why they should talk to you.

4. Don’t follow up

The whole reason for exhibiting is to collect contact information from potential new clients. If you don’t then make use of that data, what was the point of going?

We deliberately published this article a little while after the show. This was to see how many companies contacted us, and how long they took to do so.
The b2b Marketing expo closed on Wednesday, the 23rd November. The first companies had contacted us by Friday, so all good. By the time we published, most had contacted us now, including one pushy sole who wanted to book a sales call in the moment he called (not a good idea!).

Followup campaigns

Your follow up campaigns should be prepared before the trade show. Normally a set of emails designed to thank your visitors for engaging, and then help them understand more about how you can help them. You then simply must add contact data and press send. The longer you leave it to follow up, the less important you make that visitor feel. 

Depending on how people engage with those emails will depend on what you do next.

one other point:

If you get the whole list of registered visitors, don’t send them all the same campaigns. Some won’t have gone (even though they registered) and most won’t have talked to you). Perhaps you can run a “sorry we didn’t see you “campaign to raise who attended, but you didn’t scan them?

5. Stop too soon

Just because they gave you their details doesn’t mean they are ready to buy now. It may be months before they need what you do. Once you complete your follow-up campaigns, make sure you keep communicating with them so they don’t forget you. Every sales trainer I know says that people stop too soon.  They make a few calls and then give up.  It is the same here. You may complete the follow up campaigns and they may still not be dropping further into your pipeline, but that doesn’t mean you give up.  Keep them on your mailing lists. Give them a call once in a while. The last thing you want is for them to fall out of your pipeline just before they realise they need what you sell!

 

So those are the 5 biggest errors made at trade shows. They’re not right for every business. But they can be a tremendously powerful part of your marketing mix if done properly. If you have a show coming up and need some help, call us on 020 8634 5911 

image to support article on how to save money on your marketing

How to save money on your marketing

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

image to support article on how to save money on your marketing

In times of economic uncertainty, marketing and training are the traditional areas where savings can be made. Here are some ideas on how to save money on your marketing.

1. Know what marketing is working

If you want to save money on your marketing, what’s the worst thing you can do? Cut spend on marketing that is working.

John Wanamaker famously said (roughly) “I know 50% of my advertising works, just not which 50%”. If you haven’t measure your marketing performance, how do you know where to save money?

There’s a great tool to help you do this here.

2. Train your staff to do some of the marketing

If you’re outsourcing some of your marketing, you may be able to save some money by getting your own staff to do some of it. Do you have anyone with good social media skills? Is anyone a decent writer? If you have, you may be able to cut some costs by using your staff instead. You may need to spend some money on training but you will cut your marketing spend in the long term.

Even if you keep your outsourced social media expert, getting your team involved will improve the performance of your social media marketing. Having them Share, Comment or even just Like, will increase your reach and get your posts in front of more people, ideally within your target audience.

3. Review your marketing suppliers

How much are you paying for various marketing activities? There may be opportunities to save some money by reviewing the market again.

You do need to be confident that any cheaper suppliers are as good. There is little point in saving money if performance suffers and you’re no longer getting the leads you were before.

4. Look at ROI, not spend

A previous client once asked us if stopping advertising in a particular magazine was a good idea. After all, they were spending £600 for each advert. Stopping this would save them £3600 a year. But, when asked, they said each advert generated nearly £3000 in revenue. Whilst the ROI could be improved, if they stopped running the adverts would save them money, they would lose that they saved in sales. (you can see more about the work we did with them here)

If you can think of ways you may be able to save money, consider the ROI first. Refer back to the 1st point.

5. Get better results

The reason for cutting marketing costs is that there isn’t enough money available within the business. So if you can get better marketing results, more money will start coming in and your problem goes away. Again, refer back to the 1st point.

6. Improve your website’s SEO performance

This is the first of a few things you can do with an investment in time, rather than money. With 1/3rd of the world’s websites running on WordPress, yours probably is too. Free SEO plugins (we recommend Yoast) can provide real improvements in your search engine performance. Use their traffic light system to edit your website, investing just a few minutes per page.

When you do start this process, make sure you are shaping the content to the keywords you are looking for traffic from, rather than choosing the most popular phrase on the page or post.

7. Consistent posting will improve your marketing

If you have a social media person (internal or external), chances are they are posting on your company feeds and possibly one, or two, of the senior managements’ personal feeds. There is no reason why the rest of your team cannot contribute too. Even posting 1-2 times a week can make a big difference. But make sure they are engaging (commenting on other peoples’ and replying to comments on theirs) too.

8. Better connections

In the small business world, networking is the No.1 source of new business. Prospects picked up from referrals and introductions are far easier to close, as they come with an endorsement. Take a look through that pile of business cards on your desk, and through your LinkedIn connections. Who haven’t you spoken to for a long time? Zoom calls cost nothing (not even a coffee) but allow you to catch up, reminding them what you do and how you help people. Again, just an investment in time.

 

Marketing should be one of the last areas to cut spending. We wrote about this in more detail recently (you can see the article here) but to put it simply, if you stop marketing, your target audience may forget you. If they forget you, they can’t buy from you when they finally decide they have a need you could have helped them with.

You are far better off improving your marketing performance than you are cutting your marketing budget. But there are times when it is necessary, so we hope these tips prove useful. Of course, if you would like to talk about any of this, give us a call: 020 8634 5911 or simply subscribe to our mailing list to ensure you never miss any of our articles.

 

email marketing tips image someone using a computer

11 tips to improve your email marketing performance

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance, Small Business Marketing

email marketing tips image someone using a computerEmail marketing must do’s

Email marketing is a core part of many small businesses’ marketing activity. But, as a Mailchimp Partner regularly reviewing accounts for clients, we see a lot of strange practices. This article aims to point out those strange practices and give you some guidance on what you should be doing.  Here are 11 tips to help you improve your email marketing…

 

1. Stop sending everything to everyone

This is probably the biggest mistake we see people do.  No matter whether you have a few dozen, or many 1,000s of people in your mailing list, don’t send every email campaign you produce to every person on the list. It just annoys people and increases the number of people who unsubscribe.

Segment instead

You sell multiple products/services to multiple types of people who use what you sell in various ways.  Each campaign should only go to the contacts it is relevant for. By segmenting your audience, based on the information you have about them, you will:

  1. Increase open & click-through rates & your email marketing performance.
  2. Improve the relationship between your business and your target audience(s).

2. Have more information about your contacts

All you need, at least theoretically, is an email address to add someone to your mailing list. You can then start sending campaigns to them. This leads to a range of different problems for you, and your email marketing performance:

  • You cannot add those contacts to segments and focus your email campaigns.
  • You lose the ability to personalise.  How do you feel when an email greeting just says “Hi,”?
  • Timing is important in marketing, but how can you time your emails more effectively without any information to use?

Collect more information

Depending on your account type, Mailchimp allows you to use up to 30 (80 for premium accounts) audience fields for each contact. Combined with Groups, Segments and Tags, you can add a huge amount of information to your contact records.  Using that information to make your emails  more relevant, and therefore useful, improves your email marketing performance. Sending a campaign asking people to update their information can help you with this; it will only take a few minutes to set up and send.

3. Don’t use irrelevant subject lines

Your open rate is affected by the quality of the subject line more than anything else. A poor subject line generates poor open rates – and then impacts everything else too. A new client of mine recently sent out an email to a cold list with the subject line of “A quick catch-up?” The open rate was less than 2% – why would anyone open it?

Grab their attention!

Subject lines need to pique curiosity, especially if it is to a contact list that knows very little about you. I’ve seen people recommend subject lines like “Don’t miss out” or “Take a peek at…”. As we have been recommending you segment your audience, you should know your target personas and be able to draft subject lines that talk about the pain or what success looks like.  When we run a campaign to promote this article, the subject line is likely to be along the lines of “Are you happy with your email marketing performance?” or “Get better email marketing results with these steps”.

Testing different lines will give you better results.

4. Make sure you are testing

Email marketing platforms provide A/B testing (sometimes call split testing) options that allow you to test, and improve, your email marketing campaigns.  Testing means that most of your audience get the best performing campaigns.

If you’re testing subject lines, write 2-3 (depending on how many people in your mailing list) and then split 50% of your list over those subject lines. Whichever line wins after (usually) four hours is then sent to the remaining 50%.  That way the best content has gone to 67+% of your audience.

Test both subject lines and content

You may want to test both subject lines and content, but don’t be tempted to test both at the same time. If you do, how do you know which criteria produced the best results?

5. Make use of merge tags

Merge tags take data from an audience field and insert it into your email. This can be in the subject line, the preview or the main body. Most people will know that their name/company name has been inserted in this way, but when people see their name, it grabs their attention. They are far more likely to then act on the message, especially a compelling one.

Make use of merge tags

But use them sparingly. Inserting lots will have the opposite effect.

 

6. Don’t add too many Calls to Action

When you send someone a marketing email, you want them to engage. You want them to, for example, click on an offer and buy something. Alternatively, you may want them to read an article. If you put too many links and buttons into your email marketing campaigns, you reduce the number of people who will do what you want them to do. The more opportunities people have to click, the less likely they are to pick the one you want them to.

Add text links and buttons

if your main call to action is a big bold button, add a link, early in the text, to the same place. People often click the first link they come to, so by doing this you increase the number of people who go where you want them to go.

7. Make sure you have some Calls to Action

At the opposite end of the scale, I see campaigns going out with no calls to action, or just email reply clicks. The easier, and less scary, you make it for people to engage with your marketing, the better.  With >70% of the sales process often taking place before a buyer talks to sales person, offering only an email link, for example, will put lots of people off.

8. Add a sign off section

When you email someone from Outlook or gmail, you have a block at the bottom, starting with “kind regards” or something similar. So why do you not have one on your email marketing campaigns? People love to engage with people so why make your emails come from a faceless organisation?

For small businesses, this is even more important. The owner of many small businesses is the figurehead. The person people want to engage with; the person they think of when your company name is in their head. As companies grow, they will be more people who become the face of the business, but people still want to engage with people. A sign-off block helps people to imagine that face and your brand.

Multiple ways to get hold of you

We recommend you include multiple ways to get hold of your small business in your sign off block. Not everyone wants to go via your website; some want to talk directly to you.

9. Send the email campaign again

When you send an email marketing campaign, XX% will open it. But that leaves a lot of others who didn’t. Some will see it, but ignore it because of the subject line. Some will simply miss it because of the amount of emails they get and how busy they are.

Sending a campaign again will get more people reading it and doing what you want them to do. But, please, only send it to those who didn’t open it first time!  All email marketing platforms have tools that allow you to filter your audience – some are better than others.

Resend soon

You should send this second version at a different time of day and within 24-72 hours of the first one to maximise the success of this one. You should see a 25-50% uplift in email opens.

 

10.Follow up

Your email campaigns are there to get the contacts within your mailing list to engage; to do what you want them to do. But sometimes, especially when you have a high ticket value, they need a nudge.  Do you look at what your contacts have been doing and then follow up?  If not, you’re missing out on sales.

Choose who to follow up first

Use the contact rating (Mailchimp term) or equivalent to identify the people who are frequently opening and clicking on your campaigns. Call them or email them from your personal account to follow up and help them towards buying from you. Look at what they have been clicking on to identify what is of interest – and therefore what to talk about.

11. Make sure your campaigns go out regularly

As the last of our email marketing tips for improving your email marketing performance, make sure you are sending regularly.  Too frequently and you will annoy people (leading to unsubscribes), but too infrequently and you run the risk of people forgetting who you are.

Regularity you can commit to

If you find yourself with plenty of time, don’t increase the frequency of your emails, as people will come to expect more from you. Something you may not be able to deliver when you get busy again. Far better to use the time to generate the campaigns, and then schedule them to go out at a frequency you know you can maintain when you are busy.

 

We hope these 11 email marketing tips help you to improve your email marketing performance. If you need any more guidance or would like an independent review of your email marketing, let us know. As a Mailchimp Partner, we can review your Mailchimp account without needing your log-in details and without using a precious seat. We do also review other platforms.

various social media logos

Why consistent social media activity is vital

By Delivering your marketing, Marketing Performance

Reasons to review the number of social media sites you are on

There is a belief within many businesses that having a lot of social media channels is a good thing and will drive new clients to them regularly. If you’re a regular reader of our articles, you’ll know that we disagree with this, here’s why and what you should do with your social media accounts.

Choose the right social media platforms

There are 1,000s of social media platforms available to you.  This article, published earlier this year, lists (apparently) the 133 you should consider. However, your target audience(s) are only likely to be present in decent numbers on a small number of them.  If you are a B2B business, LinkedIn and YouTube are a given and you may consider Twitter.  Any others you use are likely to have much lower numbers of people you want to get in front of.

Of course, there is always going to be someone on SnapChat who could buy from you. There may even be people on Periscope or Pinterest, but the laws of diminishing returns will quickly be relevant here.

Why?

In your mind, you’re asking why should you reduce the number of social media platforms you have accounts on?  Here are 6 reasons why.

1. Quality over Quantity

The more social media platforms you use, the more time has to be invested in them. Keeping your social media going with quality content is far more important than simply being present on a large quantity of platforms.

As a small business, you will have limited resources. Spreading those resources over a higher number of platforms means less investment (time and money) in each of them.

2. Right or wrong eyes?

There are approximately 830 million users on LinkedIn, with 310 million considered to be active.  This compares to 433 million monthly active users on Pinterest and 433 daily active users on SnapChat.  These figures may tempt you to think about using the latter two, but unless you are selling to teenagers (Snapchat) and mothers in the US (80% of mothers in the US are on there)

The right social media choices will raise brand awareness and help you to grow your business. But if they are the wrong eyes, you are wasting your time and investment.  If you’re not sure this is true, check your Google Analytics stats and see what traffic you are getting from each platform you use.

3. Law of diminishing returns

This law says that after a certain point, the returns from your investment cannot continue to increase and will diminish progressively. Why spend your marketing time on something that isn’t likely to deliver for you?

4. You need different content on each

YouTube, TikTok and Vimeo are video-sharing platforms. Pinterest and Instagram are all about the images. LinkedIn and Twitter can be text-based, but both benefit from images/videos as well.  Some use hashtags more than others and some are more formal than others. With all these differences, posting exactly the same posts on all the social media platforms you use is going to either annoy people or have them simply ignore you. Both are likely to lead to your follower/connection numbers decreasing and the opinion of your brand diminishing. Neither are good for you.

You have to post the right content on each platform, so unless you have unlimited time available, you need to manage the number of sites you use.

5. Keeping them going

If you haven’t posted onto a social media platforms for weeks, months or even years, what does this say about your brand and your business? It says that you aren’t bothered about that audience.

The purpose of social media is to keep your brand in the mind’s eye of your target audience and have people talking about your business.  The more engagement there is, the more awareness is generated.  If you haven’t posted for months, you can guarantee that nobody is talking about you.

If you aren’t keeping them going, you have a decision to make. Either invest the time in engaging, or delete the account. Far better to delete an account than have it show your target audience that you haven’t been bothered to keep it going!

6. Responding

The other big mistake we see many businesses doing is simply shouting. They post content onto their social platforms and let it ride.  If you are not checking your account, at least, daily to see what is happening, you will miss out.

If someone has taken the time to comment on a post and you don’t respond, you’re telling that person their comment isn’t important to you. You are also missing out on the opportunity to get in front of their connections and increase your reach.

If you would like to be using the right social media for your business, and would like an independent assessment of your social media presence, get in touch. You can call us on 020 8634 5911 or book an appointment here.

 

A google ads graph to support article about ensuring your google ads campaigns are working

6 ways to make sure your Google Ads campaigns are working

By Marketing Performance

A google ads graph to support article about ensuring your google ads campaigns are working

Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords, has been around for many years. In 2020, sponsored ads accounted for 80% of Google’s revenue – $147 billion. When used effectively it can produce real results for your small business the question is:

Will you get the results you want from Google Ads?

Here are 6 things to consider if you want to make sure your Google Ads campaigns are working.

When did you last look at your campaigns?

Too many small businesses set up Google Ads campaigns, turn them on but then rarely review them. They review things in the early days but then other priorities get in the way and they get out of the habit of checking their campaigns. If you’re not reviewing really regularly, there’s a real chance that you will be wasting money.

We recommend you review at least once a month. This gives you the opportunity to:

  • Add more keywords
  • Remove keywords that aren’t working
  • Add negative keywords that are generating unwanted traffic
  • Review budgets, up and down, as you see the results they are delivering.

Depending on the size, and complexity, of your Google Ads campaigns, this could be as little as an hour a month.

Are your budgets right?

Google Ads allow you to set daily budgets for each campaign, so you can control your spend and not blow your marketing budget. Some of your campaigns will not use the daily set budget, but some may be limited by budget. If this is the case, you are losing traffic because the ads aren’t showing for part of the day.

If your budgets are limited,  you can move spend from those that aren’t using what they have been set. Simply turn some campaigns down and others up.

Don’t simply accept Google’s recommendations on daily budgets. Remember, there job is to generate more revenue for Google. We have never seen Google recommend you reduce a daily budget.

Are you sending people to the right landing pages?

When people click on a Google Ad, they expect to find information that is about the thing they are searching for. They shouldn’t have to search your website – and they probably won’t.  If they don’t land in the right place, they will leave and you have wasted the cost of that click. You may want to have a look at this article to see just how high the cost of clicks can get.

We see lots of Google Ads that direct people to home pages. Unless the searcher has typed your company name into the search bar, there is no reason to send people to your home page! Google Analytics will show you just how much traffic is going to your home page from Google Ads and which campaigns/Ads are sending people there. You can then review those Ads and send people to a more relevant page.

To see how well the landing page is performing, check these three key stats in Google Analytics:

  1. Bounce rate – are people leaving directly after landing on the page?
  2. Time on site – how long are they spending after landing on that page?
  3. No. of pages visited – are they moving through the site?

Are you using the right keywords?

Choosing the right keywords is not always easy. Many of them will be, but as you look to generate more traffic and more leads, you need to be careful to ensure that you use the right language and terminology.

An easy way to do this is simply search the phrase, using incognito mode, to see what comes up. Ignore the paid ads and see if the results currently appearing are what you expect.  Is any of your content appearing already and are the other results coming from alternative solutions (they may or may not be competitors)? We have just cut a client’s monthly spend by £850 by removing just 9 keywords.

For your negative keywords, consider what people could add, when searching, to your keywords to negate the search for you. Words like free or cheap are likely to be amongst your negative keywords,  but what else.

Again, be careful of simply clicking to take the advice from Google. Broad match (see Google’s explanation here) is rarely a good idea as the search results will use the words in your keyphrases in any combination and any order.  They are designed to reduce the need for a very long list of keywords, but can also bring in a lot of unwanted traffic.

Where do you want to be seen?

Depending on what you sell, you are likely to want to limit where, geographically, your ads are shown.  This may be on a national level. It may even be at a postcode level. Remember also to determine whether you wish this to be impacted by the search phrase. What we mean by this is that if someone, for example, searched “small business marketing support in London” but from Edinburgh, would we want to appear?

Are you getting a good ROI from Google Ads?

Most of the time it is difficult to attribute leads to the traffic source. There are ways, such as dedicated landing pages for your Google Ads, but this can complicate things. We definitely recommend asking your prospects too. What you do need to check is that you are getting a good return on investment from your Google Ads spend.

  1. How much are you spending?
  2. How many leads do you get?
  3. What percentage of those convert to a sale?
  4. What is the value of sales from Google Ads?
  5. Divide answer 4 by answer 1 to calculate your ROI

Is it worth it?

Google Ads, when properly targeted, can be highly effective at driving leads for your business, but the time has to be invested in making sure it is right, and managed. If you don’t invest the time, your ROI will not be anywhere near it could be.

If you want to ensure your Google Ads campaigns are working, give us a call (020 8634 5911) and let us take a look. Alternatively, you can book a meeting directly by clicking here. The initial review is completely free of charge and we will provide a series of recommendations to improve your ROI.

do you have a marketing plan

5 reasons to continue marketing in tough times

By Marketing Performance, Marketing Plan

And 5 things you should make sure you are doing

Inflation is at a 40-year high and people are using the R-word (recession) more and more. As people and businesses consider tightening their belts, there is a chance that your sales pipeline will start to be less full than before. Prospects may start taking longer to give you an answer or may even park projects in order to reduce outgoings. This may lead to you considering cutting your marketing budget to save money. Here are 5 reasons to continue marketing in tough times.

1. You can take advantage of others cutting their marketing

When things get difficult, companies cut their marketing budgets (here’s what you should be spending, if you’re wondering). Chances are, some of your competitors will do exactly that. This means there is less noise out there. Less competition for you to compete against. Your marketing automatically becomes more effective and is far more likely to be seen by people who have never seen your brand before.

Keep an eye on what your local competitors are doing and if you see their branding less, you will know it is time to keep your marketing going.

2. You can stand out more easily

Even if your marketing messages are different to those your competitors use, they may not have been heard very much. If there is less noise out there, you have a much better chance of being seen and heard.  Share of Voice (find out more about Share of Voice here) increases typically lead to an increase in share of market.

3. You don’t want to be forgotten.

You have invested time, effort and money in building brand awareness to this point. It takes time to build a brand, but far less time for people to forget a brand. Perhaps one of the most famous (at least in marketing circles) is the Kelloggs story from the Great Depression. Kelloggs increased its advertising budget whilst the market leader at the time (Post(!)) cut theirs. Post no longer exists and Kelloggs grew 30% in four years and they have been the market leader ever since.

4. You can project stability

In a weak economy, people will look for stable companies for products and services. They want suppliers that will still be there in a few years’ time. By continuing your marketing, you give the impression (even if it isn’t quite true) that you are a stable business and so you’re more likely to get someone’s attention.

5. You can save money

Supply and demand maths says that rates drop. As advertising channels look to keep revenue coming in, they drop their prices. Trade show organisers will reduce stand costs so they don’t have empty stands. Of course, some marketing costs may increase. As buyer behaviours change, those marketing channels that meet the new needs will become more expensive.

Keep an eye on costs, and particularly cost per acquisition, as you continue your marketing.

What you must do

1. Measure your marketing performance

When times are tough, you absolutely need to know the impact of every penny you spend on marketing and advertising. We recently reduced a client’s PPC spend by 85%, without them losing any web leads. If you don’t measure your marketing performance, how do you know what to continue and what to stop? Download our Marketing Performance Calculator here.

2. Stop the hard sell

When times are tough, you may be tempted to push harder to get the sale. Pushing harder is the last thing you need to be doing, as people will react negatively.  The more you can help them in tough times, the more likely they are to buy from you when they can.

3. Review your messaging

Your current marketing messages address the needs of your clients and show how you can help. In tougher times, those needs may change and so your marketing messages may need to change too. Think about, for example, how your products or services can save people money, or reduce consumption of energy/consumables/travel – for example. Make sure that you have plenty of evidence available to visitors to your website. If you would like us to review your evidence, click here.

4. Review your budgets

If savings have to be made within the business, what other options are there? Where can savings be made that will allow you to continue marketing?

5. Review your marketing channels

The measurement of your marketing will show you where savings can be made. Savings that can be used on other marketing that can be more effective. Can you make use of channels that are becoming cheaper? Could, for example, Broadcast Video on Demand, or radio advertising be better than TV or magazines? Could direct mail make you stand out, where your emails get lost in the volume?

Turning off your marketing when times get tough is a bad idea, but it doesn’t mean you simply carry on with what you’ve been doing. These 5 steps will help you continue your marketing and make your marketing more effective as they combine with the reduced noise from your competitors making the mistake of turning their marketing down or off.

 

 

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