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The Power of Word of Mouth in Small Business Marketing

 

small business marketingMany SMEs involved in small business marketing build upon client referrals and recommendations because people trust their networks. Think about a consumer or a business owner who is making a purchase. Before buying a new product, purchasing from a vendor, investing in equipment, or collaborating on a project, people ask for and listen to the opinions of their colleagues, friends, family and other contacts they trust. Why? Because we all value the experiences of the people in our circles and asking for their feedback is one of the most efficient ways to evaluate a purchasing decision.

Before buying, most of us take note when someone has something good (and something bad!) to say about a company or a product. Add in social media, where these opinions and experiences can impact a business’ online reputation. These opinions can significantly help or hurt a business. There is increased access - and focus - to reviews and recommendations, so word of mouth plays a significant part in the buying process for many of us.

When you’re out there selling your own products and services, word of mouth can be one of your most effective marketing tools. Word of mouth marketing is powerful, easy, indirect and are low cost, which are valuable benefits to just about any small business owner.

Are you ready to use word of mouth marketing in your business? I may be an internet marketing consultant but I believe that  you can generate a buzz that results in more sales and increased business growth via word of mouth, especially via networking.

Exceed expectations

If you have a reputation for providing exemplary service and high-quality products on a consistent basis, getting customers to use you will be easy. Plus, if customers are regularly complimented on work you have done or the product you have sold them, they will likely respond by pointing people in your direction.

Start slowly

Are you new to small business marketing? Word of mouth is the perfect way to get your feet wet with marketing because you can start with people you know and trust. By educating your friends and family about what you do, you can open up a whole new world of potential clients. And you never know who might come your way from a recommendation made by a family member.

Be genuine, respectful and honest

It may sound simple, but by developing meaningful relationships with customers and colleagues, you make it easier for people to recommend you. And you should be willing to return the favour with word of mouth marketing for your colleagues, too. Offer recommendations and make introductions to get the ball rolling. They will remember that and be more likely to spread the word about you.

Start an incentive programme

While most word of mouth referrals will happen naturally, it can certainly help when you remind a customer that you are ready and willing to be recommended to others, and give them an added reason to do so. Sometimes, a simple incentive to take action is all that’s needed.

Make it easy

You don’t want your customers, colleagues or friends to be in a situation where they are trying to recommend you, but they can’t remember your exact website address, your email address or your phone number. You can avoid this by regularly sending them extra business cards email messages that can be passed along. Be visible for more effective and frequent referrals.

Word of mouth marketing is easy, inexpensive, and effective, and it can be one of the best ways to promote your small business. And you can start using it right now.

When you have got on board then is the time to take the next steps in this fast changing marketing world by getting involved with other forms of small business marketing.  Find out where you should go by downloading my eBook that can be FREELY obtained from the link below:-

A Guide to Small Business Marketingin 2014

How your Small Business B2B Marketing can include Mobile

 

b2b website marketing for mobileMobile marketing is growing rapidly for those involved in B2B website marketing in small businesses. Are you keeping pace with how your customers are already using mobile devices to find the products and services that you offer?  Are you missing out on opportunities because you aren’t mobile ready?

Here’s a quick overview of the types of mobile use that your company could potentially implement.

  1. Google Analytics – are you measuring what mobile traffic your website already gets on desktops vs. tablets vs. smartphones? This is the starting point.  As an internet marketing consultant, I’m seeing on average 1/4 to 1/3 of all traffic coming from mobile devices on sites that I look after.

  2. Mobile optimised website – do you work on a smartphone?  Your visitors shouldn’t need to pinch to zoom in on content on your website.  Ideally, your website will be mobile responsive and include some mobile landing pages.

  3. Phone Links – Do you include a “click to call” number on your website so that mobile viewers can click a link and it will start dialling their phones with your number?  Do you include an address with a map to your location if you have a physical store?

  4. Email Newsletters – Increasingly people preview their email inbox on their phones while they have just a few minutes to spare.  If they have time to read your message, is it also mobile responsive like your website?  Is the text large and readable without zooming?  I use Mailchimp for several of my B2B clients because they offer easy mobile responsive newsletter templates.

  5. Photo sharing - photos are great for viewers to see your newest products.  Are you sharing photos to Instagram (which can syndicate to Facebook and Twitter) as well as to your Google+ company page? More people are using the mobile versions of all of these sites than the desktop versions.

  6. Check-Ins & Reviews - Do you encourage visitors to check in on Foursquare, Facebook, and Google+?  Are you asking them to review you as well on these places and say Trip Advisor if you’re in the travel business?

  7. Text Message Marketing - like email marketing, do you have a way for people to receive text messages about current promotions and important announcements?

  8. Phone call tracking – You can create call-tracking phone numbers that all route back to your primary number.  These are helpful at measuring specific things like if your Yellow Pages ads still work, how many people called because of that postcard you mailed, who found your number on your website or other online outposts.  Services that provide these numbers will show you all the call data based upon each number that you configure.

  9. Mobile Ads – whether it’s your local newspaper or an advertisement on an app, you can run ads that only display to people in your local community.  Consider using ads to bring mobile viewers to your website, but only if your website is really ready for mobile traffic.

  10. iBeacon & NFC – While not widely implemented yet by B2B small business owners, these services offer your foot traffic targeted information, such as current specials or promotions.  For example, when I’m within 100 metres of my nearest Starbucks, it causes the app on my iPhone to send me various notifications.  It’s time to start thinking about how you could use this related to your store.

Mobile is not coming it is here.

So get up to date with what it can do for you in your B2B website marketing campaigns. It’s no different from a laptop or PC so to find out how to get more traffic and convert them into leads by introducing campaigns to your marketing mix just click the button below:-

   How to Run a B2B Website  Marketing Campaign


14 Social Media Marketing Tips for SMEs

 

14 social media marketing tipsSocial media is so popular that it cannot be ignored. These sites have millions of users and are growing. This article will give you suggestions for effectively using the power of these sites.

1.    If you’re on Twitter, try creating varied and rich content for your social media marketing. Tweet tips or suggestions related to your type of business. If you combine these tweets with assertive messages, you will create an mix of posts that is appealing to your followers.

2.    Add a Facebook button to your blog posts. Visitors can then easily share it with their own Facebook friends. This will increase the number of potential visitors to your website, and thus increase sales.

3.    Tie in the links in your social media sites together. Put links on your blog that allow readers to easily follow you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When setting up your profile on Twitter, make sure to put in the website addresses for your Facebook page and blog. Links to each of your networks gives you more exposure.

4.    If your marketing strategy includes social media, make sure you’re answering people when they’re leaving comments or asking questions. It can be easy to not see these things, so be certain to look especially for them.

5.    To make your consumers want to opt-in and pay attention to your business on social media websites, occasionally run promotions so people will want to follow you. If they are seeing deals they cannot get anywhere else, they are more likely to pay attention to your marketing and even spread word-of-mouth advertising for you online for free.

6.    Make it easy for your website’s visitors to follow you on social media sites. Many people log onto their favourite social media sites every day, so letting them follow you allows your business to pop up on their feed when they log in.

7.    It takes time and patience to create a social media marketing strategy. You won’t attract lots of followers in a day. Since it takes time to build a profile, create a reasonable timeframe for success. Be patient and the followers will come over time.

8.    Adopt a humble attitude when updating your statuses. If you have a big ego, your social media campaign will be a big failure. You must keep your customers happy! These individuals are the bedrock of your profits.

9.    Engage with your consumers as often as you can. Comment on their blog posts or current Facebook status. However, don’t jump into someone else’s personal conversation. Only enter into communication if they’re directly discussing a topic relative to the services or products you offer.

10.    Establish a combination of email strategies and social media initiatives. Add a link to your social media profiles in your email signature and let people know they can use these sites to ask questions. Try and to get people to sign up for your newsletter by including a link that leads people to the registration page.

11.    Before settling on a specific social media platform, weigh the pros and cons of each against your business goals. No two social media sites are the same; therefore, learning as much as you can about each is important. There may be one site that you find reaches the most people and is worthy of the majority of your time.

12.    Don’t expect positive results immediately. It takes time to develop your strategy for social media marketing. You’ll need to keep working on getting more people to add you on the platforms before you thinking about launching any serious social media campaigns.

13.    Freebies are a very popular strategy to consider for your social media website. There’s nothing like “free products” to get people coming to your business’s social media pages. Post a link so your customers know where to get the freebie.

14.    Use social networks to promote special offers. People are more likely to discover you if you provide rich content and offers. Anything that draws people to your site in a positive way is a plus, but getting more people there is only half the battle. You still have to work to keep them coming back.

Social media marketing can help virtually any business grow. Social media is a great tool to have. However you should understand more where it’s going.  Find this out from the whitepaper linked to the button below:-

Social Media Marketing The Next Generation

14 Content Ideas when Writer's Block strikes in B2B Website Marketing

 

b2b website marketing blogBlogging in B2B website marketing doesn’t come easy. A lot of effort goes into coming up with ideas and turning them into useful articles for my readers.

To help other bloggers with writer’s block, I’ve come up with 14 places to look for inspiration when you’ve got a blank page in front of you and a looming deadline.

1.    What are people sharing?

Every industry has its own set of influencers who have sufficient clout to steer the agenda and highlight important trends.

Once you know who they are in your industry keep track of the kind of blogs and articles they’re sharing, then tailor a few of your own blog posts to discover hot topics.

2.    What are competitors writing about?

You become an expert by staying on top of what’s going on in your industry so read other blogs and publications and use them to find inspiration for blog posts.

I don’t mean ripping off other people’s ideas, but think of different angles and ways of covering the subject of interest for your audience.

Similarly, if your competitors are writing about a particular topic area that you aren’t covering, then write a few blogs on that subject to see if you’re missing out on a gold mine.

3.    Annual events and holidays

Holidays are a quick win for blogging, as there is always something that can be written to coincide with seasonal events. Whatever industry you’re writing about, there are hundreds of ways of using annual events for blog posts.

4.    What haven’t you covered in a while?

Reuse old ideas when writing posts - dig out an old classic and give it a new lick of paint as they are often the most popular and useful for readers.

Consider new case studies, examples and ideas to refresh the content and give it a new slant.

5.    Check your analytics

Keep one eye on your analytics to track your traffic and how visitors are using the site.  This is a great way of identifying emerging trends and popular topics for blog content.

6.    Use online forums

Sites such as Quora and Reddit are sources for uncovering inspiration for blog posts.  Often questions posed in Quora can be used as the headline for a blog post, then you take it from there.

7.    Regular features

These serve two purposes:

  • Creating a format that easy to reproduce.

  • Creating a loyal audience.

The key is to devise a format that is easily repeatable and that can be created on an ongoing basis – i.e. save up the content during the preceding period then collate it into a blog post.

8.    Newsjacking

Newsjacking’ can prove to be an excellent way of coming up with blog content.  The combination of a strong news story, good timing, and bit of luck can provide a popular article.

9.    Spotting the opportunities in single stats

Use a bit of creativity and produce an article using additional sources. If a press release contains an interesting stat, use it as the starting point for an article that takes in information from other sources alongside other relevant content.

Be creative to spin articles out of seemingly irrelevant press releases.

10.    What are people asking you about?

If you get asked a question by a friend, colleague or someone on Twitter, then use it to start a blog post, particularly if you have to do some reading to find out the answer.

Thus even everyday conversations, combined with a dose of professional shame, can lead to blog ideas.

11.    Use major brands as a case study

Major brands are traffic winners, so include them in articles wherever possible. This helps to contextualise the topic for your audience to grab attention.

12.    Tune into Twitter chats

There are a number of industry-specific Twitter chats that are worth tuning in to for content inspiration. Check out those that ask questions on your industry. These are primarily an audience engagement tactic but also lead to some interesting ideas for blog posts.

13.    Compile lists that show a trend

Create folders where trends received can be tucked away for future reference, so when you have four or five studies on the same topic you can write a post highlighting these examples. Bulk up the list by trawling the web for similar case studies.

Also do this with blog posts you’ve already published, e.g. if we’ve written up several reports showing a trend or support a specific idea, then write a post pointing to the other articles and summarising the main findings.

14.    Use yourself as a case study

Allow yourself to be used as a case study and give an appraisal of what you’ve learned, including revealing the specific data, rather than a vague outline.

Any industry can use this tactic. People like to read about real life experiences, so use your own day-to-day role as inspiration for blog posts.

So there you have them - great ideas.  But don't make silly mistakes.  See the ones you should avoid by clicking the button below:-

Free eBook15 Blogging Mistakes

Why you need B2B Email Marketing

 

b2b email marketingEmail is still the engine of B2B marketing

In the era of content, social and inbound, actually reaching out to promote your business can feel strange. But in the very best B2B marketing departments – especially the ones pioneering the latest inbound marketing strategies – outbound is still a hugely important part of the mix.

And the king of outbound is still email. It’s a step that thousands of progressive B2B marketers take with results that add up to a business case that writes itself. By the end of this post, I hope you resolve to step up your email efforts to increase their contribution to revenue.

Let’s get started.

Email works

Deployed with even a little of intelligence and sensitivity, B2B email marketing delivers the goods.

  • It’s the most cost-effective way to reach all of your known prospects and customers.

  • It’s valued by your audience – that’s why people opt in (and opt out if they no longer find them relevant).

  • It’s versatile – you can use email for simple alerts and updates, offer new content and deliver anything from discounts and promotions to thought leadership.

  • It’s immediate, personal and eminently trackable.

When email doesn’t work

In the wrong hands, B2B email marketing is just spam with content .

  • If you don’t segment your campaigns, relevance suffers.

  • If you never target email according to the prospect’s behaviour, you’re missing one of the most powerful conversion drivers.

  • If you can’t tie your email activities to website visits, social media interactions and offline activity, you’re only getting a tiny part of the picture.

  • If your email is still in a silo, the ‘leads’ you hand over to sales won’t reflect everything you know about each prospect (so they’ll be harder to close).

Unfortunately, for many marketers, B2B email marketing is still stuck in the dark ages of ‘batch and blast’. It’s a low-cost medium so it gets away with it. But more and more marketers have moved their email marketing to the next level and are multiplying their ROI.

The challenge is to harness the power of the new email strategies and tactics and release the true potential of B2B email – without getting bogged down in complexity.

The right place for your B2B email marketing

Email marketers love marketing automation because it lets them do everything they used to do – often using very similar processes – plus a whole world of new things that email platforms alone could never do.

  1. Integrate your email with all channels - No more email silos. Now your email strategy benefits form insight from across your web, social, offline and beyond.

  2. Leverage triggers from any channel - So a web visit or trade show badge swipe can trigger the right email at the right time.

  3. Score and nurture leads - Attach a score to all engagements across all channels, then hand prospects over to sales when the threshold has been exceeded. You only hand them over when they’re really sales-ready.

  4. Recycle leads that aren’t ready - If sales hands a lead back because they’re on a longer time scale, it’s a crime to simply drop the prospect. Recycle them back into a nurture programme to keep them warm until they’re ready.

  5. Track email activity to revenue - By integrating it with CRM, you can see which leads turned into which deals.

  6. Manage emails and landing pages together - For full-circle marketing and granular segmentation, and it saves a lot of time and energy.

  7. Automate entire multi-step campaigns - Set up rules and campaign flows, then stand back and watch them turn a database into a revenue stream.

Clearly, email marketing has much more to offer than the traditional platforms will allow. Moving your email activity into a full-spec marketing automation platform releases all that power – without losing anything. Thousands of marketers before you have discovered that the transition isn’t just empowering, it’s easy. So go out there and see which one suits you for cost and sophistication.

In the meantime to understand how to populate your campaigns to get the best from them why not chgeck out my eBook that can be downloaded from the link below:-

  12 Core Components of a “Five Star” B2B Email

Has Social Media Marketing grown up?

 

social media marketingIn the years since the emergence of social media marketing as a separate entity for marketing purposes (roughly from around the birth of Twitter in 2006) we’ve figured out a lot about what social is, how it works, and what it means for marketers.

Now you could talk directly to a brand, and have them listen to you.

For consumers, this was great. For brands, it presented opportunities and challenges. It also entailed a pretty major shift in thinking.  So has social now grown up?

Firstly, it’s worth defining ‘grown up’. I think the defining factors are:

a) has it been adopted across multiple sectors and territories?

b) does it have a proven model of effectiveness?

c) will it continue to be relevant into the future?

In the early stages in 2008, when social was taking its first tentative steps in marketing departments, it was new, shiny and cute. And some enlightened brands found it irresistible, ruffling its hair by trialling a few content ideas, largely because they could.    

Regardless of results, social media marketing provided an excuse to showcase how a brand was forward-thinking, prepared to embrace new technologies and not constrained by conventional thinking. Who really cared if it actually achieved anything?

A few fledgling campaigns caught on and the architects were lauded as guiding lights; social media soothsayers. Others also got their fingers burnt. They dived in clumsily, tripped up and got a bloody nose. But the clever kids learned fast and stole a march on their peers.       

In an Adobe Social/Econsultancy paper, two thirds of the 650 marketers surveyed stated that social was ‘integral to the marketing mix’.

They represented a mix of client-side and agencies from North America and Europe, from B2C as well as B2B. So in terms of ‘widespread adoption’, social is a winner.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? (Client-side respondents)

graph resized 600

 

Now for the issue of ROI. Without a believably credible framework, widely accepted by clients, social media marketing budgets will hit a ceiling. Instinctively you’d like to support the attractive, if slightly geeky, new kid on the block. But only up to a point, unless he’s able to actually prove his worth.   

Solid case studies have helped to prove the business imperative for intelligent use of social media – the IAB’s report was a great example of how social can really impact a brand in a positive way. ROI is starting to stack up.

A universally palatable framework remains elusive, however; one that isn’t just a popularity rating but a solid indictment of cost v benefit in pounds and pence. It’s tricky. But it is possible.

It’s worth remembering that its peers (press, TV, PR etc) don’t have water-tight ROI models, so let’s not be paralysed by fear that all the other kids in the class are older and better looking.

Finally, will social be relevant in the future? I think it will, but it won’t be called ‘social media’. I get cross when people dismiss ‘social’ as a channel. It’s not. Facebook is a social channel. Social media marketing is a culture.

It’s a new way of thinking that acknowledges that a marketing department doesn’t have all the answers and invites customers to help to define a brand’s future. This needs buy-in throughout a company, especially one that is B2B and it needs to be transparent and long-term or consumers won’t buy-in.

Social’s influence transcends all marketing channels.

So I think social media is almost grown up. It’s in its teenage angst phase: At times confident, brilliantly expressive and attractive, at other times, awkward, ineloquent and embarrassing.

When it does gain full maturity, it will have changed its name, bought a new wardrobe and graduated into a valued member of the marketing family for a long time to come.

Have a look where Social Media Marketing is going and how it will help you more falls in your small business marketing in 2014 by downloading my whitepaper on this topic from the link below:-

Social Media Marketing The Next Generation


Top Social Media Marketing Tactics for SEO

 

social media marketing in SEOWhen it comes down to social’s impact on SEO services, it all comes down to three things: trust, credibility and quality.

As Google continues to penalise links, and search marketers shift away from traditional link building tactics, social is fast becoming the trustworthy and credible way to obtain quality links. More so, it’s a fantastic way to build business brands.

Finding your Influencers

“Influencer marketing is the process of finding and tapping into people with high credibility and visibility in your niche.” Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept overall, but it’s gained a lot of traction over the past couple years with word-of-mouth and social media marketing playing much larger roles in campaigns.

Influencers can be people, brands or personalities, and it’s our job as marketers to identify who and where those influencers are relative to our business.

How do you find those influencers?

Here are a few of the tools there to help you:

  • Facebook

  • Alltop

  • Klout

  • Followerwonk

  • GPlusData

  • CircleCount

  • LinkedIn

By simply searching on a particular keyword, you can find relevant influencers across the major social networks. Alltop can help you find blogs (and in turn bloggers), Followerwonk will show you influencers on Twitter, and GPlusData will give you information on Google+ users, which can then be plugged into CircleCount to show you how many circles a person is in and all their comments. Each of these tools can offer insights into the “who” and “where,” while the information about the person can help you actually build a real relationship.

With Facebook's Graph Search now available to all users you can now identify not just influencers, but potential customers.  So, what is the real key to influencer marketing?

Well you don’t control the influencers. Use the information you find to give influencers what they want, but remember, it’s up to them what they want to do with it.

There’s more to Google+ then meets the Eye

Whether you love it or hate it, Google+ matters because:-

  • Google+ profiles have page rank

  • Links to your Google+ profile build authority and influence

  • Google+ establishes trust

People think that Google+ is there for Author Rank, but Google’s official position is that this does not officially exist yet. Think the more +1s you have or circles you’re in help your profile? Not according to the data. Similar to the way links impact websites, it seems that who has you in a circle matters more than how many people have you in circles.

Google is treating Google+ profiles like a web page. Profiles have PageRank, which can be passed to other sites, and the more links you have to your Google+ profile, the better the profile performs. It has been shown that profiles that use authorship regularly generally have one full degree PageRank higher than those who aren’t using authorship.

What does this mean for search marketers?

Google+ offers a great way for people and brands to build authority and have an impact on search results. Profiles and pages are showing up in SERPs more and more, and these profiles have influence.

Make sure to build links to your page through authorship, use +1 buttons on your content, and start establishing connections with influencers in your space.

Do it for the Data

One of the best things that can come from social media marketing is the data you get about customers and the people interacting with your business. However, none of the data matters unless it's tied to a goal.

In social media marketing services, it’s extremely important to understand not only what metrics mean, but also how to use those metrics to improve campaigns and content.

Look at your positive data to see what is working. Did a particular image get lots of likes or shares? Use that image in an upcoming blog post. Look at what type of content your fans like to consume and give them more of the same.

In addition, Facebook offers great targeting capabilities. Have something you want to try out? Target one specific area or demographic to see how it performs. If it performs well, roll it out to everyone else.

Facebook provides a lot of data, but like any marketing related data, it’s important to correlate that data to what it is you’re doing. And don’t forget to track everything.

When you launch an B2B email marketing campaign, have a tracking code in the email. The same thing should apply to social media marketing efforts.

While it may take time, add tracking codes to everything you promote through social media. Because if you can’t track it, you can’t measure it, and you can’t report on it.

Social & Search working together

Social is playing a bigger part in search results because it offers fresh content, personalisation and it’s real information from real people - all things the search engines want to provide.

For internet marketing consultants and marketers, this means integrating your tactics and creating cohesive strategies across your search, social media and paid campaigns.

For more insight into SEO in B2B online marketing just click the button below:-

Understanding SEO in B2B Online Marketing

20 Facts about Social Media for Small Business Marketing

 

social media marketing for small business resized 600Social media marketing is getting increasingly popular because of its ability to connect and reach targeted audiences virtually, within less time, and less effort. Especially, small businesses are finding social media very helpful for branding and marketing.

eMarketer says that one in every four people will have a social media account in 2014 across the world. This shows how much popularity social media is gaining in the world. So, if your small business does not yet have a social media presence, then now is the time to start social media marketing.

Facts about social media and small businesses

Here are some facts that show how social media is making big impact on small businesses.

  • Constant Contact reported that 49% of small businesses have found social media marketing effective for their businesses.

  • According to Socialmediatoday, 44% of small business decision makers are using social media websites to extract information of other businesses.

  • 73% of small businesses were using social media in 2013 according to mediabistro.

  • eMarketer reported that 24% of small businesses have integrated social media in a structured way into their business.

  • Facebook is leading among all the social websites with 82% of small businesses registered; it is followed by YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn with 73%, 47% and 47% respectively. (Source: Mediabistro).

  • 80% of small businesses use social media websites for monitoring and collecting information about competitors to their businesses (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • Lead-to-close rate is 100% on social media than traditional marketing methods (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • 80% of customers on social networks prefer to connect themselves to brands through Facebook (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • 53% of small businesses use social media as an engagement tool for providing 2-way conversation customer support (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • It might also be surprising to know that 86% of social referrals are done by Facebook, while 11% and 3% are done by Pinterest and Twitter respectively (Source: Socialmediatoday).

Time spent by small businesses on social media websites

  • According to Socialmediatoday, 21% of small business marketers are spending at least an hour on social media per day, while 58% are spending at least 10 minutes on social media per day.

  • 50% of small businesses have increased time spent on social media compared to last year and reported gaining new customers and better business (Source: Swiftpage).

  • 80% of small business marketers have understood importance of social media marketing and are planning to increase their time spent on social media this year (2014) (Source: Socialmediatoday).

Purchases made through social media

  • 46% of online users are counting on social media before making purchase decision (Source: Neilsen).

  • 71% of users of social media websites say that they are more likely to purchase products from the brand they follow online on different social media websites (Source: Digitalsherpa).

  • 15% of customers use social media websites to search for local businesses. This is biggest advantage to local and small businesses (Source: Digitalsherpa).

  • 63% of users prefer businesses with the information that can be easily accessed on the social media websites (Source: Digitalsherpa).

Customer acquisition on social media

According to Socialmediatoday,

  • 52% have found their customers on Facebook in 2013.

  • 43% have found their customers on LinkedIn in 2013.

  • 36% of marketers have acquired customer on Twitter in 2013.

From the above facts and figures, it is clear that many small businesses are utilising different social media platforms for various purposes and reporting gains and profits. Is your business next?

Social Media Marketing is only one strand of Inbound Marketing, using the internet to market your company to get more business.  Find out more about this often talked about subject which you may feel is costly but it’s not, by downloading my FREE eBook from the link below:-

A Guide to Small Business Marketingin 2014

9 SEO Myths in B2B Website Marketing

 

9 myths in B2B website marketingAs I mentioned in my last blog, to say SEO has “changed a lot” would be an understatement. Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates shook the world of SEO professionals. They halted their link-building and keyword-obsessed ways and swapped them for a long overdue focus on quality content.

But does that mean in B2B website marketing that SEO is just about publishing high-quality, keyword-optimised content? SEO has changed so much in the past years that many marketers aren’t sure what’s outdated, what’s important, and what’s simply wasted effort.

1.  I must submit my site to Google

To submit your website to Google in order to appear in search results (or rank) is rubbish. Whilst a new site can submit its URL to Google directly, a search engine like Google can still find your site without you submitting it. Crawlers will find your site and index it in due time.

2.  SEO is all about ranking

Ranking is not the end goal that it used to be. Studies of clickthrough rates and user behaviour have shown that searchers prefer top search results - particularly the top-three listings. However, it’s also been shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page shows similar click behaviour and  results that appear below the top-three search results are getting much higher clickthrough rates.

3.  SEO is something I can hand to IT

There seems to be a perception that SEO requires some technical expertise, and since it is technical, IT can just do the work.  Though you may need some of those individuals to assist you during the course of optimising your website, it’s far from ideal to hand SEO to IT and expect best practices to be adhered to.

4. More links are better than more content

This is something that often comes along with the question, “Which should I invest in, link building or content generation?” Links are an important part of your website’s authority. However, if you have budget to invest in your website, I would say, “get someone to write for you.”  Often, when businesses do link building, they focus on the quantity of links rather than their quality – but linking is not a numbers game. You should focus on having relevant and diverse sources that link to relevant pages. When you invest in content, that content can be used for webpages, blog posts, lead generation offers, etc. - all content types that will bring more links with them over time.

5.  Meta descriptions have a huge impact on search rankings

Google announced in 2009 that meta descriptions and meta keywords have no bearing on search rankings. That’s not to say that these descriptions aren’t important for SEO. On the contrary: Meta descriptions present a main opportunity to separate yourself and convince searchers that your page is worth visiting. Having a relevant, compelling meta description can be the difference between a searcher who clicks through to your page and one who clicks elsewhere.

6.  Social media and SEO aren’t related at all

The connection between SEO and social media is referred to as “social search.” Social search is a relationship between search and social that has been evolving over time, and Google is working hard to prove this with Google+ and Author profiles. Here, content is ranked if it’s connected to you in some way - via a Facebook friend, Twitter follower, etc. or shared by social media influencers, even if those experts aren’t tied to you. So ensure you have a social media strategy and think of it as part of your search optimisation efforts not as silos.

7.  Keywords need to be an exact match

Keywords do not need to be repeated verbatim in a piece of content. In a headline, in particular, you want to use keywords in a way that makes the most sense to your audience, somewhere between 4-9 words that explains what the content is about.

This applies not only to headlines, but also the content on the page - inform the reader, not the search engines.

8.  Microsites and other domains I own that link or redirect back to my site will help my SEO

The chances of this doing much for your SEO are slim to none. Search engines know who the registrants are for a domain and can see if it’s the same person as your primary domain. There is not much value in spreading your SEO thin, which is what you do by setting up domain after domain and optimising each rather than putting all of that love into your primary domain.

9.  My homepage needs a lot of content

Think of your homepage as the entrance to your business. This is your chance to make a first impression and convey what you’re all about.  Your homepage content should be long enough to clarify who you are, what you do, where you’re located, your value proposition, and what visitors should do next. These visitors should leave satisfied, not confused.

So there are some myths around about SEO.  To understand more of the positive things you should do click the button below:-

Understanding SEO in B2B Online Marketing

5 Small Business Marketing Tips to Keep You Ahead of the Competition

 

small business marketing resized 600Small business marketing is not for the faint of heart, but if you have been in marketing for longer than two seconds, you know that. Marketing your small business is dependent upon doing some key factors well and these things will make or break a small business in this dog eat dog world we live in. Competition is intense and learning how to make the most out of your web pages is tricky.

Digital Marketing is Dead,” claimed Proctor and Gamble’s Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard last September.  What he meant is that now is the time to work digital tools, technology and trends right into our marketing plans, instead of keeping them separate.

Try and resist thinking about digital in terms of the tools, the platforms, the QR Codes and all of the technology coming next,” Pritchard writes. “We try and see it for what it is, which is a tool for engaging people with fresh, creative campaigns.

This may be straightforward for a brand with the resources of P&G to declare, but for the rest of us, digital marketing is filled with choices: an array of well-hyped tools, techniques, social networks and smart glasses that may or may not deliver the return we need. You have to plan to get the funds you need to outmanoeuvre the competition. The pressure is on to make the right choices. You don’t want to have to go back to the boss, complaining you missed the next Pinterest because you weren’t up to speed. So which horses should you pick?

In 2014, we see search, social, PR, data and mobile become linked, connected and customer-centric. We are able to automate certain tasks, but we’ll still need to create human connections that make our brands stand out to our customers.

Here are five essential steps to get ahead of the game!

  1. Create a Marketing Plan – A detailed marketing plan is crucial to success. You don’t want to leave something to chance. It should be well planned. Map out every marketing element, and exactly how you plan to get it done. At the very least, it ought to paint broad strokes to success.

  2. Social Media Marketing91% of experiences social marketers generate improved website traffic and 79% generate more quality leads according to MediaBistro.com. Just how do they do this? They don’t waste time with their social media marketing. Map out a plan for social media an stick to it.

  3. Build a Mailing ListMarketingProfs.com reported emails averages a ROI (return on investment) of £40 for every £1 spent. This far outweighs keyword ads (£17) and banner ads (£2). Don’t be fooled into thinking collecting and building an email list is dead. If you fail to build a list, you are failing to build your business! You simply can’t afford to leave such a large source of potential profits to your competition.

  4. Video Marketing – Connect with all the local traffic that’s out there searching for your business. Video marketing in this space is a relatively untapped vein, and having a simple video advertising your wares on page one of Google may result in tons of traffic and authority coming to your web site! According to the research company Forrester, any given video stands about a 50x better chance of appearing on the first page of Google than any given text page.

  5. Gain a Mobile PresenceMicrosoft reports that by 2014 mobile browsing will overtake desktop browsing. If your company does not have a mobile presence, then you will become invisible. Therefore your small business’s website better start optimizing for mobile users and it had better do it fast. Right now, the numbers are encroaching on the 50%. Are you ready?

Don’t Make the Mistake of Going It Alone!

No one is a superhero and you needn’t be. The realm of online marketing is always changing and evolving. You need to learn what is working now, learn from the best, and hire the best outsourcing you can find. In the long run, it’ll pay off substantially!

But before you do that get the full story by downloading my FREE eBook from the link below:-

A Guide to Small Business Marketingin 2014

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