How to improve your email marketing performance by at least 50%

Email is still one of the best performing marketing channels. With 281 billion emails sent every day, including over one billion per day by Mailchimp, it may seem that your Inbox is flooded and individual emails will be missed. But with a few simple changes to how you run your campaigns, you can easily increase your email marketing’s performance. Let’s talk you through how to improve your email marketing performance by at least 50% in just two minutes.

1. Send your email campaign as normal

Whatever your email campaign is about, send your campaign in your normal way.

2. Replicate your emailreplicate your email campaign

Whatever email marketing platform you use, you will be able to do this. Some may not be as easy as Mailchimp makes it, but the steps shown here are all achievable in every platform.

  • Go to your Campaigns list
  • Find the email campaign you have just sent.
  • Click Replicate. The idea is that you will be sending exactly the same email.

If your email marketing tool doesn’t give you a one-click option to do this, you should be able to either copy the HTML code or copy the contents and simply paste into a new campaign.  The replicated campaign will be titled the same as the previous one, plus (Copy 1). Keep this title, as it allows you to identify them in the future and measure your own performance.

3. Edit your audience

edit your audience for your email campaign

The last thing you want to do is upset the people on your mailing list, so you don’t want to send your email campaign to either:

  • The people who have already opened it
  • The people that isn’t relevant to

To do this…

1.       Campaign Activity – who were sent – [name of campaign]

2.       Campaign Activity – who did not open – [name of campaign]

It is very important you select ALL at this stage.  If you don’t, you will send the 2nd email to lots of people you didn’t mean to.

 

If you choose ANY rather than ALL, the following will happen…

1.       It will go to everyone who you sent the original campaign to

2.       It will go to everyone in your list who didn’t open the campaign, whether they were sent it, or not.

 

4. Edit the Subject Lineedit the subject line to improve email marketing performance

If your previous subject line didn’t get people to open it, they are unlikely to open it next time, if you use the same subject line.  Change the subject line. Perhaps ask a question, challenge them, or refer to another way this replicated email campaign can help the reader.

 

5. Schedule within 48 hours

Dependent on how time sensitive your email is, you may want to do this just 12 hours later, but it should be soon after the first campaign.

 

Once you have sent the replicated campaign, you will be able to see whether you an additional 50% opened it, or even more.

 

Historical Results

To support this article, we analysed data from email campaigns run by some of our clients over the last few years.  The data looked at 628 email campaigns over the last 5 years.

Average Open Rate on first email: 23.8%

Average Open rate on Replicated email: 16.0%

This equates to a 51.25% increase in the number of people who read the email

The replicated campaigns added a further 35% to the number of people who clicked through.

Of course, we cannot guarantee this will be the case for everyone, as it will vary from company to company. Rates across the client data analysed ranged from 24 – 69% increase in open rates, and clickthrough rates ranged from 34% – 64%.

 

If you want to improve your email marketing performance, get in touch or give us a call on 020 8634 5911

 

The power of brand knowledge

How can small businesses utilise the power of brand knowledge?

Knowledge is Power. That’s a phrase we have many times over but how does it connect to you as a small business in an ocean of competition fighting for the same space in the minds of your target audience?  Through harnessing the power of brand knowledge, this blog answers that exact question.

This post answers it above by providing a pyramid which consists of four brand developmental building blocks that helps to positively establish your brand in the minds of your clients. 

Why is this helpful you ask?  

Each stage of this pyramid has its own rewards and merits as it helps you to build aspects of your brand which are covered below. This culminates in gaining active, loyal, and recurring clients, who also share the benefits of partnering with you to those around them. 

Brand Resonance Pyramid building blocks

Step 1 – Identity 

Firstly, we start with salience, the fundamental foundation for all the other brand building blocksSalience is the ability for a small business to build a detailed firm awareness of our business in their headsKnowledge from the perspective of a small business is in how you convey who you are to your clients. Who you are is dependent on how clients recognise you when you come to their minds.  

The biggest businesses and brands in the world all had to start with being recognisable. When we think of some of the largest B2B brands such as IBM or Adobe, the performance of their products would mean absolutely nothing if you didn’t initially recognise them! 

Once you reach the point of salience, you become a part of the mental conversation of a client that gives you the potential to gain opportunities to business growth and awareness! 

Step 2 – Meaning 

Simply being recognised isn’t enough though, once you achieve the base of brand knowledge in salience, clients then search for the meaning of your brand and consider is it matches their needs and wants.  

This can be surmised by the next question that forms in the minds of potential clients; ‘what are you?’ 

What your business isis dependent on how you meet the needs of your clients in terms of product or service performance, as well as socially and psychologically. 

One fantastic example that allows you to express the meaning of your small business is through providing case studies and testimonials. This covers both the performance and provides positive imagery of what it means to do business with you. 

Step 3 – Response 

Following this, clients will make judgements about your business and construct feelings towards your brand: 

  • They will assess the quality of the product or service; the actual quality, as well as the perceived quality based on your marketing message 
  • They will also consider the level of credibility your business has through three key criteria: the level of expertise, the amount of trustworthiness and through the extent of likeability 
  • Consequently, clients will weigh up the level of relevancy your product or service has towards their needs and wants 
  • Finally, clients will measure you against potential competitors and consider what competitive advantages you have that makes you the superior choice to select 

Clients will have formed these judgements based on the quality and likeability factors you have provided in your marketing messaging or through referrals 

You will know you have reached this stage because clients will be making enquiries, as well as increase their levels of engagement on platforms such as social media or by click-throughs on email newsletters. 

Step 4 – Relationships 

Once you show this level of knowledge through your marketing communications, you reach the pinnacle of the pyramid, brand resonance. 

This is the place all small businesses will want to reach because once you reach this stage; it activates four crucial factors: 

  • A fierce loyalty which results in recurring clients and purchases 
  • It evokes a strong attachment and trust in which they consider it a ‘special’ engagement 
  • You develop a powerful sense of community amongst your clients who feel like they are part of a business ‘family’ who share similar values and understanding 
  • Clients remain actively engaged which is the strongest form of resonance as they carry the business values and vision as an ambassador into their personal conversations and engagements, this is one of the strongest forms of word-of-mouth marketing and is viewed as sincere and authentic by those that hear of your business  

Similar to stage 3, as a small business, it will become evident you have reached resonance through seeing increased engagement from clients, but on top of this, they will carry your brand strengths and values in conversations, both online and offline if the occasion occurs where your brand is recalled or relevant to the discussion. 

What does all this mean?   

Once you have achieved all 4 stages, the relationship your clients have with you, and your brand, will both increase the frequency they refer you within their network. Furthermore, they remain a loyal client for a long time to come.

Transmitting knowledge is a key cornerstone in building a healthy flourishing business, and at SME Needs we have the rights tool, connections and listening skills to share your vision with your potential customers.

The risks with referrals

We all love getting referrals. 

Who doesn’t like getting a useful referral? They are usually an easier sales pitch as the referrer has already done some of the work for you.  I acquired a new client at the end of last week from a referral, so I am particularly positive about them at the moment. 

There is one real issue that stops people giving referrals – the risk to them. 

Let me explain: 

When someone refers you, particularly to one of their clients, a little bit of their reputation goes with the referral.  There is a, hopefully, small risk that you won’t do a good job.  If that happens, there is a potential risk that your referrer could lose their client.  

On the positive side, if you do a very good job, their reputation is enhanced with that client. You are then far more likely to get more referrals from that person.  

The principle of liking comes into play here which can be broken up into three simple points;   

  • having a preference for those that we consider like ourselves in behaviour, values and attitudes,   
  • those that pay us genuine compliments, and most importantly,  
  • those that cooperate with us towards shared goals and vision 

Therefore, when some refers you, by managing to match the positive perception of the referrer, their reputation is enhanced with that client. You then gain an increased trust, improving the likelihood of you gaining further referrals from that person. 

So the morale of this blog is simple, if you are looking at getting referrals from your network, make sure you deliver on your promises.  

If you are looking to further improve your prospects of effective networking and gaining relevant referrals, our marketing experts at SME Needs are here for you.  

5 Ways to Improve Your Marketing During Lockdown

improve your marketing during lockdown

Lockdown started on the 23rd March and we are yet to get any real idea of when it will start to be lifted. If the impact of the lockdown on your business means you have more time on your hands, here are some ways you can use that time effectively to improve your marketing performance.

Why should you do this now?

There are only two reasons:

  1. Improving your marketing will generate more leads for your business, either now or in the near future.
  2. If you are quiet now, this great use of your time keeps you feeling positive, in readiness for the lockdown release.

Review your marketing performance

Prior to the lockdown, what marketing was working for you and what wasn’t? If you identify what wasn’t working, you can cut out that activity. You will save time and money; resources that can be used in other ways.

By focusing on the marketing that was working, you can drive more leads for your business.

Which web pages need improving?

behaviour flow from Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you a huge amount of information about the performance of your website. Review the data and see what pages need to be improved:

  • Pages with a high bounce rate aren’t giving the viewer what they are looking for
  • If a page has a high exit %age, it is putting people off and they are leaving, probably for a competitor’s site.
  • Are your blogs being read? If the average time on page is low, they probably aren’t.

Take some time to review these pages and see how they can be improved. Do they need more content? Perhaps better Calls to Action? Imagery and video content can be great ways to keep viewers on that page.

Is your messaging right?

If you aren’t getting the leads you want, there’s a good chance that your messaging isn’t quite right.

The easiest way to assess them is to check whether your messages relate to the issues your clients have or they relate to what you do.  They should relate to your clients’ needs!

Are you doing enough marketing?

If your marketing activity levels don’t equate to your business growth targets, you are going to struggle to hit those targets. Let me explain what I mean.

If you want to grow your business by, for example £0.5million in revenue next year (with an average client value of £25K), you need to add 20 net new clients. If last year’s marketing added 10 new clients, you need to either do twice as much marketing or make it twice as effective.  Chances are it will be somewhere in the middle.

If you aren’t doing enough, look at what else you can do, either more of the same or something different in addition.

Gather more Evidence

Your prospects and your target audience will want to see evidence that you can deliver a great solution. That you can help them. Having a constant stream of new evidence being added to your website is real proof that you can deliver and a great way to improve your marketing performance. If you haven’t added any evidence recently, look at projects you have delivered in the last few months. Which of those show you in a great light and can be converted to case studies? Which clients will give you a glowing testimonial you can use on LinkedIn and your website.

 

These are just five ways to use the lockdown time to improve your marketing performance. We hope they give you something to think about and, of course, if you need some help, call us on 020 8634 5911. Let’s talk about how we may be able to help you.

8 of the best remote marketing tools

marketing tools article open sign image

With the threat of Coronavirus upon us, and many people predicting a real hit on the economy that could last months, it is vital that you keep your marketing going. In a world where we get so many messages every day, it is easy for people to forget about you. So here are 8 marketing tools that will allow you to keep in touch with your target audience…

Email

If you have their contact details, email marketing is one of the easiest ways to maintain awareness within your target audience.

Whether you are using email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp, or simply sending them from your Outlook or Gmail account, keeping a regular stream of relevant and useful emails going out to your target audience will show them how you add value and will ensure they remember you when the time is right.

Social Media

Our phones are rarely more than a few feet away from us. This means social media is another marketing tool for small businesses to use to maintain awareness. Remember that the social media tools you should be focusing on are the ones your target audience uses. Don’t try to include every single platform just in case. You are far better off using two platforms, perhaps LinkedIn and Instagram, and doing it well, rather than trying to maintain accounts across LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok and others – the more you try to use, the less time you have to generate great content.

And don’t forget to also share other people’s content when you believe it will be useful for your target clients – this can generate just as much credibility for you as a post of your own.

Blogs

Articles that show how you help your target audience are proven to maintain and increase brand awareness, increase SEO performance and generate leads. They also provide valuable material for you to share over email and social media.

Think about the issues facing your target audience, both right now and throughout the year. What can you write that will show them you can help them?

Webinars

Webinars allow you to talk directly to your audience without the need to be in the same room as them. Email and social media can be used to make your target audience aware and to get them to sign up; the webinar gets you in front of them.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way of travelling with your target audience. Your listeners can either stream or download your podcast, with many people listening whilst they travel or during a bit of work downtime. If people are self-isolating because of coronavirus, there is only so much daytime TV they can watch! Give them something useful to listen and you can quickly build an audience.

Video

In the same way that webinars and podcasts allow you to reach your target audience remotely, video content (via YouTube or Vimeo) will help you get your marketing messages across. Your phone’s camera is perfectly suitable for creating video and all you need is a space you where you won’t be disrupted.

Make video content that shows how you help your target audience and they will remember you when they need help. Great content is always shared too, expanding your audience even further.

Direct Mail

Not something you would normally think about, but if you are self-isolating, think about writing a few letters. If your handwriting is good enough (meaning I will always be typing!), handwritten letters are effective. People recognise the time you have invested.

Your Phone

Perhaps the least used feature on many people’s phones is… the phone.

Dial someone’s number and talk to them. Humans are naturally social animals and there is only so much isolation we can take. This more static period is the perfect time to build and strengthen relationships. Get on the phone and have a chat. Check in on how contacts and clients are doing and show you care about them and their business.

 

To keep your business growing during times of economic uncertainty, whether that is the current coronavirus epidemic or a recession, the small businesses that keep their marketing going are the ones that survive and the ones that benefit most when things return to normal. Even when the decision makers aren’t buying, you need to ensure that you remain in their thoughts. When they are ready buying again, they remember you. The time you have invested up to now mustn’t be wasted by allowing them to forget you going forward. These eight marketing tools will help you maintain awareness within your target audience so you are at the forefront of their minds at the point they need your help.

For help with marketing your small business in this difficult time, give us a call on 020 8634 5911. I hope this has helped you and that you, your loved ones and your business stay healthy and prosperous through this tough time.

Winning Clients: The 4 Step Programme

image to support pointing you in the right direction article

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The role of the owner of a small business is varied, encompassing a wide variety of different tasks. From finance to sales, from marketing to operational delivery. The problem is that most entrepreneurs go into running their own business because they love what they do. Does this sound familiar? Do you love doing what you do and really wish you could spend the vast majority of your time doing just that? You are highly skilled in delivering your passion. You know exactly what to do and how to help your clients. And the biggest problem is actually finding more of those clients to help! Let’s look at a quick and easy solution to help you do that; one that doesn’t cost the earth and won’t take up huge amounts of your working week – however long that may be. The process of attracting, and then winning, new clients can be complex, particularly when you aren’t 100% sure on what you are doing. Here’s our four-step programme on how to attract and win more clients.

1. Know what has worked so far

Do you know how you won the clients you have right now and the ones you’ve had before now? How about how you attracted the prospects that you didn’t convert? Knowing this is a vital step in winning more of them.

If you know what worked and generated more leads, in stands to reason that you would do more of it. Conversely, if you know what isn’t generating leads, you’d stop doing that wouldn’t you?

Tracking your leads and your sales is actually relatively easy. You write them down somewhere. For some companies, it makes sense to invest in a CRM. For others, a spreadsheet will be more than sufficient.

2. Decide who you want as new clients

There is nothing to stop you signing up whoever comes to you, assuming you are confident you can deliver and they will be profitable. However, when it comes to being proactive to attract new clients and generate leads, you have to be focused. The word anyone MUSTN’T be in your vocabulary.

Identifying the industry sector, geographical area and decision maker allows you to focus your marketing. Focusing means your resources aren’t spread thinly and will be more effective.

Once you identify who you want to acquire as new clients, you can develop the right messages, by ensuring they show how you can help that target audience. In today’s world, people no longer care what you do, they care how you can help them.

Finally you can pull together a book of evidence that proves you can help them and deliver on your promises. In the same way that you look at reviews on TripAdvisor before booking a hotel, prospective clients want to see proof you will deliver value for money.

3. Determine how you are going to generate leads

How many sales do you need to achieve your targets? How many leads do you need to generate those sales? What marketing is needed to develop the leads? You must start with a target and work backwards.

  • If a client is worth £15,000 a year to you and you want to grow by 10% from your £1,500,000 revenue last year, you need 10 new clients this year.
  • If you convert 10% of all leads, you need 100 leads.
  • Last year’s marketing generated 60 leads, on a budget of £75,000, so you need to generate 2/3rds more this year.

You have a choice at this point. Simply do more of what you know worked last year, whilst stopping what didn’t work. Or, identify other marketing activities that you believe can bring in more leads.

4. Get it done

Perhaps the hardest part of this four-stage process is getting the marketing done. At the beginning of the year, you will be eager and you’ll keep to your marketing plan. What happens when it is working, generating the leads and you are converting them to new clients. You’re going to be busy delivering for your clients. If you want to attract and win more clients, this has to happen.

How are you going to maintain the marketing plan so you have a consistent level of marketing activity happening?

Two choices – employ or outsource – or a 3rd in work every hour sent!

One of the conversations we have very early on with, almost, every prospective client is around the fact that what we do, they could do most of:

  • With some thought and number-crunching, you could quite easily measure your own marketing performance.
  • Looking back, and thinking ahead, identifying your target audience and pinpointing your Ideal Client would take time but you could do it.
  • Developing a plan and then delivering it is all well within your capabilities…

 

So why use SME Needs? Because the hat you want to wear is the operational delivery hat. You want to do what you set up this business to do – work with your clients and grow your business. Your marketing is all about how to attract and win more clients. We help you ensure that happens properly.

Sales and Marketing working together

image to support article about sales and marketing working together

 

As a small business, you measure your sales performance in a number of ways:

As a small business you measure your sales performance by number of sales, percentage of leads closed, percentage growth, etc…

All are valid ways to measure sales performance, but poor results may not be all the fault of the sales team. As someone who has spent most of my sales and marketing career on the marketing side, this isn’t the easiest thing to admit, but some of the issue lies with how (and if) Marketing & Sales are working together. Let’s look at the sales process to show you what I mean…

First contact

If the Sales team are calling outbound, they need to ensure they are calling the right people so, for now at least, let’s assume the first contact is an inbound enquiry…

Someone calls in and they are logged into your CRM (or other sales tracking tool), including a record of how they found you (which is a necessity for measuring market performance). They talk about why they’re calling and two things can happen:

  1. Qualified out. It may soon become clear to one party, or the other, that you cannot help them.
  2. Move further down the sales pipeline. It’s a good conversation and you both agree to at least a next step.

If this lead is qualified out, it is most likely to be Marketing’s fault (we’re assuming that the sales person isn’t brand new and not making rookie mistakes). Whether they found you via a natural search, a paid click or social media, the messages they read on your website did not accurately communicate how you help, what you do and they type of clients you work with.

In the middle of the pipeline

Some companies believe that Marketing’s role ends once the lead is created; we believe differently. Marketing’s role continues through the pipeline. It has a role in supporting the sales process:

·       Case studies need to be produced regularly to prove you deliver a consistent service/product to your clients.

·       Knowledge articles show the depth of knowledge and expertise within the business. These should be being shared with prospects, either via the sales person or through email automations triggered by new leads reaching a certain point in the pipeline.

·       Having a set of advocate clients, who are happy to talk to prospects during the latter stages of the sales process, is a joint Sales, Marketing and Account Management function. If you can get them to provide public reviews (Google, Feefo etc.), all the better.

Asking for the sale

At this point, it does become a Sales function. Marketing cannot ask for the sale, so if Sales doesn’t, there is a risk of losing the sale.

How to Maximise the Sales rate

1. Define your Ideal Client and Target Audiences

If your description of an ideal client includes the words anyone or everyone, you’re on a hiding to nothing and a lot of duff sales leads (or none at all). In the beginning, this is a conversation between the business owner and the marketing function.

Over time, the definition of an ideal client will change. Using what happened in your sales pipeline, you can fine-tune the Ideal Client definition. A teamwork approach from Marketing & Sales will ensure you are both working towards attracting the right audience.

2. Identify their pains, needs and priorities

No matter how you argue, your target audience cares not a jot about what you do. They care about how you can help them. They want what you do to help them with their priorities, deal with their needs and make their pains go away. If your marketing messages and content show how you can help them, they are far more likely to engage than if you simply talk about what you do.

3. Identify what you believe to be the best marketing channels to communicate these key messages to your target audience.

It doesn’t matter whether you really like using Facebook or Twitter, if your target audience doesn’t use them, there is no point in using those social media channels. If you are struggling to work out the right channels, we can help, or talk to your peers.

By collecting information on what marketing channels are working, you can fine-tune your choices.

4. Keep Talking to your prospects

Just because they didn’t buy from you this time doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you in the future. Even if they buy from someone else, they may want to talk again in the future, if their original choice proves to be unsuitable.

5. Get Sales & Marketing working together

If Sales are moaning about the quality of the leads, and aren’t talking to Marketing about it, they only have themselves to blame. When the Marketing team is just blaming Sales for not handling them properly, banging their heads together should help. If the leads coming in meet the definition of your Ideal Client, there are two possibilities:

  1. The Ideal Client needs to be re-defined as it isn’t quite right
  2. Sales are not following through correctly

Working together, Sales and Marketing can define and develop the right sales support materials, including timings and choice of transmission channel – digital or physical. Failure to do this weakens the ability of the Sales team to close the deal.

Everything we do is about marketing support for small businesses. If you are a small business and looking for some marketing support, simply call us on 020 8634 5911 or email us by clicking here.

How to maximise ROI from exhibiting at trade shows

Image to support post: maximisung the ROI from exhibiting

Offline marketing covers many things, but trade shows, conferences and exhibitions make up one of the most popular activities. But too many companies invest £1,000s on appearing at trade shows and conferences, to only then not follow up. They lose out on the sales opportunities they went after by attending the event. If you are planning to exhibit at an event soon, here are our tips on maximising the ROI from exhibiting.

Before the event

Maximising the ROI from exhibiting is far easier when you follow these simple rules. You need to start work before the event takes place. It’s no good getting back from the trade show, or conference, and then deciding what you’re going to do. By the time you’ve got it all planned and set up, you will have missed the boat.

1.  What are your key messages?

What do you want to say to the people you met at the event? What is it that will ensure they remember you in the weeks and months after the event?

2.  Build your email campaigns

During the event you will have collected x number of leads. They will have filled in a form, given you their business card or let you scan their badge. Whilst a large percentage of them won’t be actively looking for what you sell at that moment in time, if they spoke to you, they are likely to at some point. The aim of these campaigns is to initially educate your leads on how you can help them (not what you do) to reinforce the conversation you have at the event. They should not be hard sell, as that is likely to put people off.

Remember to give them the opportunity to unsubscribe. All your emails must have unsubscribe links on them, but make it very clear in at least one of your emails. This will increase the trust they have in your business, because they will know you aren’t going to spam them going forward.

3.  Engage with organisers and exhibitors on social media

If you are active on social media, make use of the activity generated by the event organisers. Liking, sharing and, most importantly, responding to their posts will often generate a response, thereby increasing your reach. If you are posting about attending, use the hashtags they recommend to maximise the chances of others engaging with you.

Don’t forget to look at your fellow exhibitors too. There’s a good chance some of them will be in the market for your services or products.

During the event

4.  Keep the social media going

Even though you’re busy trying to talk to as many people as possible, and boost your lead count, take time out to engage with the social media chatter going on around the event. Share pictures of your stand, especially when it is busy. Busy means popular and attracts others, but only if you’re doing this when the event is on and there is still time.

After the event

5.  Get the emails out!

People go to events for various reasons. To learn, to find new suppliers, to take a bit of time out. Whatever the reason, when they get back into the office, they are quickly back into their everyday activities. The bag of flyers and giveaways will go into a desk drawer or the B1N file and rarely get looked at again. A Series of emails, starting as soon as people are back in the office, will reinforce the conversations you had with people at the event.

Don’t expect that this part of the follow-up will generate a mountain of leads for you. There may be some people who are actively searching at the time, but most won’t be. These emails should entrench your brand into their mind’s eye, ready for the future.

Use the ranking tool within your email marketing platform to see who, and how they, engage with this campaign. As a Mailchimp partner, we are regularly checking the contact rating Mailchimp provides

Remember to tag (assuming your email tool allows this) everyone so you know where you met them. When they convert to leads in a few months’ time, you’ll know what marketing channel was the initial engagement tool.

6.  Make the calls

Those who are actively interested will have asked you to call them. They are hot leads and should never be ignored – you’ll be surprised by how many don’t follow up.

Once you’ve completed these calls,  start following up with those who were highly engaged with your email campaign. If they’ve read most, or all, of your emails, move the relationship forward. They still may not be ready to buy, but if you start to build a personal relationship with them, you should be first choice when they are.

7.  Keep up contact

Once you’ve sent this initial email campaign and made the calls, it doesn’t mean that’s the end. The ROI from a trade show or exhibition usually takes months to really show. By keeping up contact, via email or phone, will maintain awareness levels so that they know who to call when they are in need of the services, or products, you provide.

We had a client who was unhappy two months after and event we’d been working with them on. The event had cost the best part of £10K to attend (including stand, collateral and time) and they had a few sales, but not many after two months.  When we reviewed things again 10 months later, it had generated clients who’d spent over £100,000 with them – and were still clients.

 

So if you are considering exhibiting at trade shows and conferences, make sure you put in the time and effort to follow up. By doing this, you are far more likely to maximise the ROI from exhibiting. Of course, if you want some help in maximising the ROI from exhibiting, call us on 020 8634 5911 or click here.

 

 

Six great marketing technology tools for small businesses

marketing tools for small businesses

Today was the second, and last, day of the Technology for Marketing Show. This seems to be just the right time to look at the marketing technology products that we know and trust. Some are free and some you have to pay for, but all provide real value and will help you with your marketing, if you fit their target audience.

Let’s start with the free marketing technology

Google Analytics

If you don’t have Google Analytics on your website, you are really missing a trick. Google Analytics is a great tool for telling you how well your website is performing.

Adding it to your website is child’s play, especially if you have a WordPress site. Once you’ve set up your Analytics account, you either add the code (they provide) to the Theme settings or use a plugin.  Either way, you will be live in less than ten minutes.

Google Analytics will tell you:

  • How much traffic you get to the site.
  • Where it has come from (natural search, social media, paid search etc.).
  • The average time people spend on the site, and the average number of pages they visit.
  • Which pages aren’t working well, via the Bounce Rate and Exit Rate statistics.
  • The devices people use to visit, and for e-commerce sites, what devices they use when making purchases.
  • Demographic information about your audience, such as sex and age.
  • The flow of people through your website.
  • And much more…

All of this can then be compared to other time periods. Is your website performing better than last month, or last year – or yesterday?

If you are going to use one marketing technology tool, this is the one we recommend as an absolute must!

Search Console

image of Google icon - provider of some of our marketing technology setAnother Google product, formerly known as Webmaster Tools, Search Console will help you to analyse your search engine optimisation performance.

  • What search queries are you ranking for, and where are you ranking?
  • The volume of searches there are for that query.
  • Whether Google has a sitemap to work from – always a good thing.
  • The number of links, both internally and externally, linking to your site.
  • How mobile friendly your site is
  • And more

Again much of this can be compared against other time periods to see how you are performing. Just be careful when considering the average search position. This is an aggregation of data, so a high volume of searches with a low SERP figure will drag your average ranking figure down significantly.

Yoast

image of Yoast logo one of our marketing technology setStrictly a plugin and most often seen in WordPress sites (they do others), Yoast is a highly effective tool to help you to improve your search engine rankings.

Yoast is frequently updated, so you can be confident they are keeping up with changes that the search engines are making to their algorithms.

Once you tell Yoast what you want your page to rank for, it provides a traffic light grading to show how well they believe that page will rank. It doesn’t promise to get your onto Page One for that phrase, but it will point you in the right direction.

As SEO is split into two key variables, so is Yoast. It looks at how easy your page is to read and then at the technical SEO. The internal and external links, image alt tags and sentence length, as well as use of title tags, such as H1s and 2s.

Definitely not to be used before you have done your keyword research. Definitely one to use once you have.  There is a premium version, but we recommend you start with the free version. You can then upgrade at the point you are comfortable with what you are doing.  Join their mailing list and they will provide a steady stream of useful tutorials and articles to help you make the most of the tool.

 

Let’s now switch to the paid for products…

CANDDi

image of CANDDi logo part of our marketing technology setMore of a sales tool than a marketing tool, but CANDDi can be highly effective when used properly. In our opinion, it is far more suited to companies selling higher value products or services, usually in the B2B market, rather than for B2C companies.

Where Google Analytics will tell you how many people have been on your site, CANDDi tells you what individuals are doing, what company they work for and WHO is visiting your site.

Before you get too excited, it cannot tell you who for every visitor. If the visitor searches from a fixed IP location, their IP lookup tools will tell you what company the visitor is from. If you already have, or the person gives it to you, it will tell you who is visiting. CANDDi will also notify you when that person comes back too!

The Process

Imagine a lead comes in because somebody filled in the contact request form on your website. CANDDi will tell you:

  • what pages they visited, so you know what they are interested in.
  • when they visited, and how many times.
  • whether they downloaded anything you have been actively promoting.
  • Where they are in the world, helping you qualify the lead.
  • Some, if not all, of their social media details

You have a chat and they want to think about things.

When they come back, you are notified so you can follow up the lead (not straight away, that’s a little creepy). Timing is key to making the sale so knowing when they are thinking about you is a real help.

With contracts starting at £149 per month, on a 30 day term, the pricing and terms are far better than their competitors.

SEMrush

image of semrush logo one of our technology setIf you want to take your SEO performance seriously, SEMrush will really help to improve the performance of your website.

By showing you how your site is working technically, SEMrush helps you to get the basics right. After that, it is about showing you how you are ranking, in comparison to your competitors, for the keywords you provide.

It is stuffed full of ways to help you improve your website’s performance:

  • Listing your backlinks, including a toxicity score (toxic links are bad)
  • Brand monitoring, so you can see when your brand is being talked about.
  • On-page SEO checker, showing you exactly what is wrong and where.
  • Organic research, showing you what your competitors are ranking for
  • Keyword Magic Tool, helping you find the keywords to really up the performance of your SEO and PPC campaigns
  • And much more…

SEMrush is an agency tool, designed to help agencies manage their clients’ marketing and image of a pair of SEMrush socks

 

SEO performance and the pricing reflects that. The lowest price is $99 per month but if you are using a marketing agency to help you with your marketing (and they are using it), they can provide you with savings on that price. They make great socks too!

Mailchimp

SME Needs is a Mailchimp PartnerRecently rebranded as a customer relationship management tool, Mailchimp is still best known as an email marketing platform. If you want to communicate with your audience cost effectively, email makes absolute sense. We all get huge numbers of emails every day but we still open the ones we want to. If you are sending personalised and relevant information to your audience, you will get open and click through rates you want.

Mailchimp does provide a free version, but there are limitations, perhaps most notably allowing only one user. But the chargeable versions start at just $9.99 and its worth it to get the additional users (2 more) and all the functionality.

Mailchimp always had segments and groups to help you manage your audience, but the addition of tags makes it far easier to send only content that is relevant and they will want to read. Most people (69%)[1] believe that sharing data is a key part of today’s society and 57% of consumers happy to receive personalised marketing. If you are following GDPR guidelines and using your customer data sensibly, your email marketing is highly likely to be effective.

We recommend Mailchimp simply because it is the most intuitive platform we have tried and at a price point very few SMEs cannot afford.

Consistency is key

Marketing technology is only useful if you learn how to use it, and then use it regularly and consistently. That means either working your way through the training tutorials that all of these platforms provide. Or working with a marketing agency that regularly uses them and can help you make the most of the benefits marketing technology can bring to your business. If you would like to talk about how we use them with other clients, call us on 020 8634 5911 or click here.

 

[1] DMA figures, Sept 2019

The cost of an Unmanaged Mailing List

Earlier this year, Mailchimp changed its pricing plan. Managing your mailing list just got much more important, not least because you may start paying more for your account with them.

Pricing PlanOld Plan New Plan  
Data RecordsNo. of usersPriceData RecordsNo. of usersPrice
FreeUp to 2000 subscribers£0Up to 2000 contacts1£0
MonthlyUp to 52,000 subscribers
Essentials500 to 50,0003from £7.95 per month
Standard500 to 100,0005from £11.93 per month
Premium10,000 to 200,000unlimitedfrom £237.99 per month
Pay As You GoUnlimitedyou bought creditsUnlimitedYou buy credits

Why you need to monitor your data count

One of the biggest changes that impact the pricing of Mailchimp is the change from subscribers to contacts. It used to be that only subscribers counted towards your pricing.  It didn’t matter how many data records you had within your account, or how many lists. It was only the number of subscribers that counted.

Monthly charges

This has now changed, so that all data records are counted (minus archived, cleaned and deleted records). Add up subscribed, non-subscribed and unsubscribed to see how much you are going to be paying. If you’re approaching the limit of a Free account (2000), just a small number of unsubscribed contacts could mean you have to start paying. If just 20% of your list is unsubscribed, you have a monthly bill of £23.87 (Essential plan, up to 2,500 contacts). Bearing in mind that, once they unsubscribe, very few people come back, you need to clean out your data regularly.

Lists & Audiences

One of the biggest issues with Mailchimp until recently was the Lists function.  This allowed you to build as many lists as you wanted. The problem was that a single person could often end up in multiple lists. When someone unsubscribed, they only stopped getting emails from that particular list – not every list they were in. With GDPR now firmly in place (and not going anywhere, even if Brexit happens), sending people emails after they have unsubscribed is a big no-no and likely to get you into all sorts of trouble.

The changes make managing your mailing list so much easier, without having to complicate matters with multiple lists.

Segments, Groups & Tags

In the last section we discussed Lists and how they can be a problem, particularly for GDPR purposes. Having just one audience and then making use of segments, groups and tags help you avoid this problem.

Groups

Designed to be contact-facing, Groups allow to gather contacts with the same attributes. Perhaps they have all bought specific categories of products or have attended specific events. Contacts can choose which groups they want to be in. Perhaps they wish to receive information about particular services, for example.

Individual contacts can be in multiple groups and, if they unsubscribe, their data stays in the group, but they will never receive any emails sent to subscribed members of the group.

Segments

Segments allow you to create groups of contacts based on multiple criteria, whereas groups are single criteria-based. Perhaps you have sent out a number of emails and want to send a further campaign to contacts who have clicked on a link in any of those emails. You can build an ANY segment to look at up to five different email campaigns. Alternatively, if you wanted to create a group of contacts who opened all of them, you can use an ALL segment.

Tags

Tags are just for you, to help organise your contacts. You create tags and then attach them to contacts in a way that helps you to categorise them the way you want them categorised. Mailchimp has a number of ways they automatically tag contacts to help you manage and engage with your audience. Geographical tags, engagement level tags and Import date tags are all automatic. Of course, your tags can be as detailed or as light-handed as you want them to be. Perhaps you want to tag contacts in your sales pipeline so you can communicate accordingly with them?

You can then use these tags to group contacts for campaigns. After all, the more personalised the email you send, the more likely it is to be opened and engaged with. That is, after all, what you want to happen.

Performance rates

Having lots of people in your audiences is a great thing, if they want to be there and you control what you send to them. You will get higher open rate percentages and higher clickthrough rates. As a marketer, you want to be able to show the boss (even if that is you, as well) high levels of engagement. The more people are engaging with your email marketing, the more they are likely to be doing what you want them to do – usually buying your products/services. So why would you keep data in your audiences who don’t want to be there?

The changes Mailchimp has made do mean that you need to manage your data more proactively in order to control the costs of your email marketing. However, the changes they have made also make it far easier for you to control the data. You can make it more appropriate to the contact and more personalised as you collect and use data. From there you will get better results from your marketing. Of course, if managing your mailing list is proving to be difficult, SME Needs is a Mailchimp Partner and we are more than happy to help you get the best results from your email marketing

We hope this helps