Building useful Digital Marketing Personas

Posted by frank harris on 02/02/18 14:23

Personas-1.jpgThe job of marketers is more complex than ever before. The days of blanket TV ads and basic keyword stuffing are long gone. Today’s savvy marketer recognises the value of a much more audience-centric approach, both in digital marketing and offline.

 

This audience-centric approach begins with a good understanding of the target audience. Personas are growing in popularity as a tool to guide marketing strategy. Here’s how you can create useful audience personas in four steps:

  1. Basic audience segments

The first step is to extract basic information about your audience. You can do this by:

  • Asking your team. This works best in a workshop format but can also be done via surveys or interviews.
  • Reviewing sales data. If you have a CRM, you should be able to extract basic demographic information about closed sales and new leads.
  • Seeking further insight from the sales team. Ask them how they qualify new leads into the business and if there are any attributes which indicate a higher propensity to buy

This information can then be segregated to create basic audience segments. These are simple groupings of your audience, usually based on factors such as age, gender or job role.

  1. Audience motivations

The second step is to explore what motivates your audience segments. You want to find out:

  • What do they need?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • How does your product/service help them?

There are various techniques to help you achieve this, including:

Customer surveys

Customer surveys can be very powerful, not only as a tool for gathering information, but also as a customer retention and conversion tool.

 

You can run your survey via email, phone, face to face, website pop up, social media poll… there are lots of options out there. The end goal is to gather insight from your customers about what makes them tick.

 

Customer surveys can be powerful PR assets too.

Keyword research

If you work in digital marketing, it’s likely you’re familiar with keyword research as a way of identifying the search terms used to find your product or service.

 

You can also use keyword research to better understand what motivates your audience. One way to do this is to look at the related searches which are suggested by Google at the bottom of the search results.

Simply type in a search phrase that’s relevant to your business, e.g. “seo services”. Then, scroll to the bottom of the results to see related searches.

Social media tracking

Social media is the platform on which our audience discusses its needs and shares its frustrations.

 

There are lots of social media monitoring tools out there - we like to use Hootsuite - which enable you to track key phrases or hashtags. Through this, you can set up streams of tweets which mention your product or service, your audience’s industry, your location and more. You can then extract from these tweets the common themes in terms of what people discuss and what questions they ask, to better understand their motivations.

  1. ‘Persona’ information

Personas are most valuable when we can empathise with this. When we can empathise, we can create content and campaigns which appeal to real people.

 

It can be difficult to empathise with your personas if they’re only made up of the information we’ve collected so far. It becomes much easier when we add some of what we might term ‘fluffy’ information, as this helps build our personas into individuals.

 

The YouGov Profiler is a free to use tool which gives you information around an audience’s hobbies, brand affiliations, demographics and more, based on the records of more than 400,000 survey respondents.

 

Google Analytics also provides useful insight into your audience’s likes in its ‘Affinity Category’ report. You’ll find this under ‘audience’ if you use Google Analytics. It shows you the topics of website your visitors visit when not on your site, and can reveal more about the themes they’re interested in.

  1. Building your personas

Personas must be useful to your business. The most common way of formatting a persona is to create a one page visualisation. This includes a photo, name, summary and key information from your research.

 

However you build your personas, focus on making them as easy to use as possible, and ensure that everyone can understand the information within them.

Using your personas in your marketing strategy

Personas are a tool. Once you’ve created them, it’s time to use them. Here’s how:

  • Share them. There’s no one in your business that wouldn’t benefit from a better understanding of your target audience.
  • Discuss them! Give your personas names and when discussing strategic decisions, ask “is this right for [name]?”
  • Cross reference them against brand stories. This helps you to avoid sounding too ‘salesy’ in your messaging.
  • Integrate them into your content marketing strategies.

Taking the last point see how Personas fit into your Inbound Marketing by understanding what this means:

 

inbound marketing

Tags: digital marketing agency, b2b digital marketing, buyer personas, digital marketing

6 Tools to Launch & MeasureSmall Business Online Marketing Campaigns

Posted by frank harris on 15/11/13 08:54

small-business-marketing-campaigns-ukIn the words of Joseph Jaffe, “Marketing is not a campaign, it’s a commitment.”

When you launch a UK online marketing campaign, you are committing to a certain message. Whether that message is the promise of an educational piece of content, an idea-provoking conference, or an irresistible new deal, the message is there.

And if the people who decide to follow your campaign are not given what they are promised, you have broken their commitment.

But how do you stay true to that commitment? Having the right tools in your marketing tool kit is the first step. Without the right tools, you can’t even begin to launch a campaign. This eBook will advise you on 6 essential marketing tools that should be in your handy marketing tool kit.

From there, it’ll be up to you to ensure every campaign includes these tools. Whether you do so by printing and pinning it to your desk, or by carrying this tool kit around in your mind, this eBook will help you along the way.

So to give you a feel of what’s included let’s give the first two tools here:-

“TOOL 1: LANDING PAGES

Why Should Landing Pages Be In Your Tool Kit?

Companies that increase their landing pages from 10 to 15 see a 55% increase in leads. While that leap from 10 to 15 may seem small, think about why an increase in landing pages leads to an increase in leads.

The answer should seem quite natural. According to Marketing Sherpa, 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the business’ homepage. While this statistic and the one above are not directly correlated, you can see the inherent issue.

People who click on any marketing message you send should be directed to a customised landing page for that message. In other words, your landing page should be customised for the needs of every campaign you launch.

If you’re announcing an upcoming event, your landing page should only be highlighting details of the event. If you’re launching a new eBook, your landing page should only be summarising the content readers will find. If you’re sharing a new deal, your landing page should only detail what the value of the deal is. Sending users to your homepage will significantly increase drop-off rates because they have no idea where to go once they arrive. A landing page solves that problem.

TOOL 2: CALLS-TO- ACTION

Why Should Calls-to-Action Be In Your Tool Kit?

Once you have your landing pages built, you can further promote your campaigns, drive sales, and capture visitor information. For such a proportionally small part of the total webpage, the call-to-action (CTA) plays a critical role in converting site visitors to leads. CTAs are the triggers that allow your customer to convert. By clicking through a CTA, your prospect is pulled further down your funnel - prospect to lead, and lead to customer.

To influence such conversions, add CTA buttons to all your campaigns. A CTA is the button a website visitor “clicks” on, which funnels them through the next step on your overall site conversion path. These CTAs can come in the form of linked text or images.

As hinted at, CTAs can help conversions on every stage of the funnel. For example, a CTA on a product landing page can bring people to your company shopping cart, while a CTA in an email can bring your subscribers to a new landing page to collect more detailed information. In this sense, CTAs are an essential part of your tool kit - they are the driving force behind moving people along in your campaign."

So there you have a taster of this helpful guide. The other 4 tools discussed in the eBook are:-

As you can see, the 6 tools are the most important and useful tools for any small business marketing campaign that you will need to do to get more traffic, leads and sales from your online marketing.

So get the full story by clicking the button below:-

6 Tools to Launch & Measure Online Marketing Campaigns

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, inbound marketing, get more leads, b2b marketing agency, digital marketing agency

How Do I Grow My Business with B2B Web Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 25/09/13 12:17

successful-small-business-marketing

Small businesses start with the first few customers


A “small business” can have a lot of meanings, but let’s define one as less than 75 employees. With that definition, it’s all I’ve done since 1981 including two advertising agencies and now my own b2b web marketing consulting company.

So let’s see if this sounds familiar at your company, agency, consulting firm, you-name-it (doesn’t really matter here as they’re all the same). A small team of founders and early employees hoist the business on their collective shoulders and bring aboard the first few customers. Whether you build a physical/digital product or offer a service, getting those initial customers is so critical to survival it almost doesn’t matter what you do for them.

The problems also usually start with the first few customers


Congratulations. With those first few customers, the good news is, you have a business. (Last time I checked, there is no way to have a business without customers.) But in most cases - to provide a margin of error, I’ll estimate 99% of the small businesses out there - your team finds themselves running themselves ragged managing those first customers.

Despite the fact that they are paying you (hopefully), there seems to be less cash in the bank account every month. Your team is tapped out in terms of bandwidth. There is no way the business can afford a couple more customers like this! How do we get out of this conundrum?

Why “Making It Repeatable” is synonymous with growing a business

The only answer is in any way possible, every day and every month, grind out more repeatable processes in every single thing that involves a customer.

  • Become more repeatable in how you price your services or products.

  • Become more repeatable in the people-effort involved in a customer engagement, which should always improve gross margin.

  • Become more repeatable in invoicing and collections to improve cash flow.

  • Become more repeatable and consistent in the segment of the market you target.

  • Become more repeatable in creating your product or service.

  • Become more repeatable in your sales and customer acquisition.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it


This is a long campaign, that takes time. This isn’t about the cover girl with the pearly-white smile staring out from the cover, but rather all the hustle, late night story deadlines, and editorial reviews to get the magazine to print.

But there is a tipping point. There is a crossover where all the little improvements suddenly add up to more than the sum of the parts. And when you get there, you will have the solemn pride of knowing how much it took to get your business to where it is.

It’s a journey, so come on along


I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can say with certainty that making it repeatable is much more of a journey than a destination. So let’s all learn a few things, laugh at some of our own mistakes to keep it real, and remember to enjoy the scenery along the way.

I have recently produced a FREE eBook on the subject that allows you to become more successful after stage 1 – the first customers. Why not download it from the link below.  In it you’ll learn about marketing platforms and how to use them; how to deliver knowledge and ideas and drive customer success; how to identify consultants, automation and how to use them and finally how to integrate all you learn and put it into best practice.

So what are you waiting for, just click the button below and you’ll be on the road to a more successful business:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: small business marketing, website marketing strategy, integrated online marketing, b2b web marketing, digital marketing agency

Grow your Business through B2B Web Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 17/09/13 08:52

b2b-web-marketingExperts say that you don’t need huge outlay of capital before you can roll out a successful marketing campaign. They say with research and hard work, you can develop ways to market your small business while spending a reasonable amount of money.

To grow a B2B business, you need to develop a customer base through marketing.

Marketing consists of branding, advertising, promotions and public relations. Marketing is also sometimes talked about in relation to the four P’s, which are product, pricing, promotion and placement.

The essence of marketing is to understand your customers’ needs and develop a marketing plan that surrounds those needs. Anyone that has a business has a desire to grow their business. The most effective way to grow and expand your business is by focusing on organic growth.

The experts say business owners can increase organic growth in four different ways:-

  1. acquiring more customers

  2. persuading each customer to buy more products

  3. persuading each customer to buy more expensive products

  4. persuading each customer to buy more profitable products.

As an internet marketing consultant I agree that all four will increase your revenue and profit.

In being diligent in your marketing and creating an easy strategy such as contacting 10 customers or potential customers daily 5 days a week you will see your business grow at an exceptional rate. The great thing is it will not take a large marketing budget to make it happen.

I believe that the following instructions should be followed for optimal marketing campaign

Carry out marketing research

Through interviews, questionnaires and surveys, analyse the market for your B2B business. Decide the personas most interested in your product or service, and focus your marketing efforts on them. Through market research, you will also be able to decide if your pricing model is feasible.

Fix a marketing budget

Allocate funds for packaging, promotions, advertising and publicity. Even the smallest business needs to have funds for business cards and other promotions.

Market your business through word of mouth

The cheapest way to promote your business is word of mouth. Tell all your family and friends about your business and encourage each of them to tell their friends. Give out business cards to everyone you know. Attend local events, and civic meetings to network with potential customers and fellow business people. Getting your name, your face and your business name out to as many people as possible is the best way to market your company.

Create a website for your business

Hire a web designer, to start a business website. Ensure that it is free of typographical errors, broken links or anything else that will make it seem unprofessional. Use a reliable web host (nothing is more frustrating than to visit a website that is slow or does not load). Ensure the site is optimised before it launches.

Involve the press

Find ways to be interviewed by local newspaper writer or broadcasters. Make yourself easily accessible. Promote yourself as an expert in your field, and be available for interviews.

In addition to the tip above, to acquire more customers through marketing, the following steps must be followed.

  • Spend time researching and create a strategic marketing plan.

  • Guide your product development to reach out to customers you aren’t currently attracting.

  • Price your products and services competitively.

  • Develop your message and materials based on solution marketing

Importance of a target market in small business

When it comes to your customers keep in mind the importance of target marketing. Only a proportion of the population is likely to purchase any products or service. By taking time pitch your sales and marketing efforts to the correct personas you will be more productive and not waste your efforts or time.

Consider your virtual segmentation by selecting particular verticals to present your offerings to. They will have the likelihood of purchasing your products and services. Again, this saves  time and money.

Small business marketing and large business marketing are different

The most effective way to market a small b2b business is to create a programme that combines sales activities with your marketing. Your sales activities will not only decrease your out-of-pocket marketing expense but adds value of interacting with your prospective customers and clients. This interaction will provide you with research that is priceless.

B2B businesses typically have a limited marketing budget if any at all. That doesn’t mean you can’t compete with the big companies. You have to think a little more creatively. You can do one of the following to launch your marketing campaign:-

  • Call your associates and ask them to participate with you in co-op advertising.

  • Take time to send your existing customers’ referrals and buying incentives.

  • Introduce yourself to the media. Free publicity has the potential to boost your business. By doing this, you position yourself as an expert in your field.

When you do spend money on marketing, online or inbound marketing is a very cost effective method. Besides other things it enables you to notice when a marketing tactic stops working. You can then quickly replace it with a better choice or method. See my FREE eBook below for tips on how to do it for yourself:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b web marketing, inbound marketing, digital marketing agency

Should you be strategic in your B2B Web Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 04/09/13 08:33

b2b-web-marketingHow much of your time is spent actively planning the future of your B2B web marketing as opposed to reacting to circumstances and requests for change?

Did your digital strategy have clear leadership or was it shaped by events?

Do you have a clear roadmap for development over the next year? Are things on that roadmap because they will help achieve clear business objectives? How are you going to measure the success or otherwise of your roadmap?

Finally do you have staff in place, not only for the on-going management of your B2B web marketing, but to think and plan strategically over the long term?

One argument against this kind of strategic thinking is that the web moves too fast. There is no point in creating a long term roadmap or even thinking strategically. All you can do is react to circumstances.

This is a weak argument. Yes, it is true the web changes fast but that is more reason to think strategically and not just reactively. Ask yourself:

  • How does digital fit into your broader business objectives?

  • What are the key performance indicators for digital?

  • What processes and procedures do you need in place to manage the rapidly changing digital landscape?

  • How does your organisational structure need to alter to better integrate digital?

  • What are the roles and responsibilities necessary to implement a digital strategy?

  • How can you constantly test our digital assets to improve them and ensure you are leaders in your sector?

These kinds of questions are relevant even if Facebook is surpassed by a new network, or everybody starts viewing web pages on their TV because Apple release a new device.

Reactive has its place

Being reactive does have its place. If a new technology or opportunity does emerge the fastest to market can often win. However, the ability to do that depends on having a good strategy in place.

Also not every new innovation will be beneficial to you. How do you distinguish the good from the bad? This requires a set of criteria against which to judge, and these are found in a good digital strategy.

Targeting based on specific business needs is long-term strategy

B2B companies try to maximise their resources. According to a study by Demandbase, a targeting platform, and Ziff Davis, a technology media company, B2B marketers said their No. 1 challenge was lack of budget.

With eyes set on getting more out of investments, social media has moved up the chain of importance for B2B marketers, coming in just behind search optimisation. That social media was employed by 60% of marketers, followed by 53% using content marketing, is an indication of the important role engagement is now playing for B2B marketers.

As B2B web marketing is no longer a niche endeavour but a wholly adopted B2B tactic, marketers must do more to entice and draw in prospects and edge out the competition. Putting up banners and getting the company to the top of search results is no longer enough.

To reach prospects, targeting based on vertical industry is a great approach. Vertical industry targeting marries well with B2B content marketing, putting the focus on identifying the industries a B2B company can best support and demonstrating how a particular service can help. Vertical industry targeting is an expensive approach so it must be good to be worth the effort.

In keeping with the vertical industry focus, most B2B marketers decide what new content to create based on a company’s specific business needs, followed by the industry or company type targeted.

And the long-terms goals of B2B marketers reflect these priorities. Focusing on individual prospect types was the top long-term strategy, cited by 29% of respondents, followed by focusing on industries and verticals at 25%.

But wanting to target a particular prospect and successfully achieving that goal are two very different things. Half of respondents said they did not have a basic understanding of what their target markets were and who they could sell to—a sobering response for those ready to go all in on a vertical B2B approach.

So ensure you define your personas and become proactive when you embark upon your B2B web marketing strategy to increase the likelihood of success.  Why not check out our recipe for successful inbound marketing by downloading a copy of our FREE eBook below:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b web marketing, inbound marketing, digital marketing agency

How to work smarter, live better with your small business marketing

Posted by frank harris on 27/08/13 08:43

work hard in small business marketing resized 600Ask yourself:-

  • Do you want to be more productive and efficient at work?

  • Do you want to make more time for the people and things you love?

  • Do you want to say “no” to the things that distract you?

  • Do want to create space to work smarter and live better?

The key is STOP doing the destructive things that prevent our purposeful productivity and START doing the small but important things that improve the way we work and live. Once we resolve to do so, we can see more clearly, think with greater clarity, and focus.

Stop running full out.

First, stop the madness of going full tilt 24/7 and unwire so that you can recharge yourself on a regular basis. Neuroscientists and medics tell us the brain and body require periods of rest so that our cells can grow and rejuvenate. In the same way that an athlete rests his muscles after a big work out, we have to rest our brains and bodies, too.

Start recharging regularly.

You need to unwire yourself from all the technology, screens, and gadgets and step away from it all and the easiest way to do is by automating your integrated internet marketing.

We are always able to be reached. Technology is no longer at arm’s length; it’s at our fingertips. Step away so that you are able to recharge. The good news is that you don’t have to take a holiday you can unwire in small but meaningful ways throughout the day:

  • Don’t look at your smartphone or e-mail before you’ve had your breakfast.

  • Enjoy a silent commute - no radio, no e-mail, no texting.

  • Arrive at the office a few minutes early and think about your day before diving into your e-mail and phone calls.

  • Write a concise to-do list for the day.

  • Have phone-free lunches.

  • Don’t surf the Internet as you eat at your desk.

  • Don’t take your phone to the loo.

  • Try to relax for five minutes or so every hour. Get up from your desk, stretch, walk around, step outside, etc.

Five minutes here and there may not sound like a lot, but it all adds up. You will be amazed at the impact these short periods have on your rejuvenation.

Start using technology.

The great thing about technology is that it can make your life easier and more efficient. The key is to use it on your own terms e.g. email – consider:-

  1. Take control of your inbox.

  2. Before opening anything, delete all non-essential messages.

  3. Use your spam filter.

  4. Unsubscribe all e-mail lists.

  5. Create a separate, personal e-mail address for online orders, junk mail, RSS feeds, newsletters, etc.

  6. Establish a clear protocol with colleagues about when to cc, to only get necessary e-mails.

  7. Consider accessing your work emails via the cloud or mobile.

  8. Train yourself to pick four or five times a day to open, read, and respond to e-mails.

Stop worrying about work/life balance.

Work/life balance is a tricky thing. We all beat ourselves up for not being home more, or “there” for people. Don’t worry about achieving work/life balance, focus on doing the things you love and be with people who energise you.

Of course, there will always be things you have to do, both at work and home. And there will always be people with whom you must interact. But try to think of your time as precious (it is!) and be critical and judicious with the things and people who take up your time.

Focus on doing more of what energizes you.

Consider:

  • Who are the people that drain my time?

  • If you have to deal with certain people, do it on your own terms?

  • What are the commitments, you don’t enjoy or have to attend?

  • Who do you love to be with? Who brings out the best in you? What do you love to do?

Remove the people and things that you don’t like as they steal your precious time. Fill your life with the people and things that fulfil, engage, inspire you, and make your life better. Choose them, and you’ll never worry about work/life balance again.

Unitasking.

This means to do one thing at a time. Unitasking requires a bit of brain retraining

Stop saying “yes.”

We say “yes” to far too many things, maybe in an attempt to lessen guilt, be a team player, or be seen as someone who can do it all. However in doing this, we may be saying “no” to some important things. Start saying “no,” or “let me think about it.”

Stop being available 24/7.

Often, our colleagues, family, and friends have come to expect this, so retrain yourself and them and then stick to it.

The more order and organisation you have and the more you look ahead, the better you become at managing your work and home life.

Why not understand how automation of your inbound marketing can help you achieve more success by downloading your copy of my latest FREE eBook:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: internet marketing consultant, inbound marketing, business marketing agency, integrated internet marketing, digital marketing agency

Is Your Homepage the best for your Small Business Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 20/06/13 08:30

b2b-web-marketingCan you judge a business by its “home” page i.e. a page that acts as the only entranceway for visitors to access a website and its vast content.

The emergence of landing pages and other web pages generated through search engines, social media, mobile devices and more has changed the homepage into a way for companies to brand themselves online rather than act solely as an access point.

As an Internet Marketing Consultant I don’t find that surprising. With the emergence of search engines, social media and mobile devices, the way consumers interact with websites has drastically changed. It’s now about searching for key terms, sharing socially with friends and accessing bits of information from anyplace, anytime which should be recognised in b2b web marketing.

Take the New York Times, for instance. While the site received more than half of its visitors through its homepage in 2011, today it is seeing more than half of them entering the site through internal pages mostly due to search engines. (Nieman Lab)

If the most popular news publication in the United States is seeing a huge reduction in homepage visits, it seems likely the situation is even more drastic for lesser known websites, especially those involved in b2b web marketing.   

This makes it more important than ever for websites to treat every page as if it’s the homepage. Visitors accessing side doors can be so far submerged in websites that they may never surface on the homepage...ever.

We shouldn’t panic though. Spending a lot of time and energy on building a homepage while leaving other pages neglected is easy to fix.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when designing a website.

Up the visuals

It’s no secret that our attention spans have diminished. We’ve grown to love colourful visuals and selections of words, so long as they remain short.

When branding a homepage, it’s important to avoid using long, drawn out descriptions and to make sure the homepage visually represents the brand we want our company, product or service to convey.

The homepage and internal pages should combine professionalism with beauty, which means using little content to say a lot and creating a layout that’s intuitive and easy on the eyes.    

Navigating should never be difficult

Many websites have excellent navigation menus on the homepage. However, now more than ever it’s vital for websites to also have excellent navigation menus on every subsequent page.

If people click on a news article tweeted by a friend and enter a site through that side door, they should be presented with more ways to easily engage with that website (e.g. where to access the blog).

It’s important to make sure each web page (not landing) features the main navigation bar so users don't have to jump to the homepage in order to get somewhere else on the site.  

Ready, set...provide action

In addition to including navigation menus on every page, each website page should also include CTAs (calls to action). These can include anything from signing up for a company’s newsletter to sharing a particular page with friends on Twitter.

Or maybe it’s a way to contact the company. Each page, no matter how submerged in the website, should contain ways to interact and engage with the business.  

Make a great first impression

Given that the homepage now serves as a branding mechanism for businesses, those involved in b2b web marketing should carry the brand over to all pages so visitors can get a clear grasp of where they are and who they’re visiting at all times.

This can include an introductory header or quick greeting to welcome visitors to a website, whether accessing through the homepage or one of the many side doors.

Creating a great first impression, whether on the homepage or a subsequent page, is key in grasping and maintaining attention.  

Track, enhance, repeat

When a website is up and running, it’s vital to track web statistics. This information is key in discovering what visitors like and don’t like about your website.

By tracking website analytics, we can get an inside look into the most popular pages, how visitors are accessing these pages (e.g. social media) and what search terms drive them to click.

It also tells us what devices are accessing what web pages the most, and if it’s mobile devices, what a perfect time to make them more mobile friendly.

As an Internet Marketing Consultant I know that being able to cater websites to visitors’ likes and needs can make all the difference in enhancing business online.

Since the homepage no longer serves as the gateway through which all internet traffic flows, many now just access it to visually get a sense of what the company is all about.

To see what I mean I have produced in conjunction with HubSpot a FREE eBook on “54 brilliant homepages”.  Why not download a copy? -

Your FREE eBook  54 Brilliant  Homepage Designs

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, online marketing companies, integrated online marketing, b2b web marketing, business marketing agency, analytics, digital marketing agency

Using Facebook in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 17/06/13 08:58

facebook-in-small-business-marketingThe marketing opportunity for small businesses

When it comes to business, although Facebook is a great networking tool. As an online marketing specialist, I believe that the most important thing any small business should do is start with a website and focus on using all the online marketing techniques available.

Facebook is the biggest social network out there and especially if you’ve a b2c business it’s where your prospects, customers, friends and family are. Not only will Facebook help you find specific people, it also allows you to target these people.

Facebook has access to so much rich information so it makes it very simple for them to approach you and ask whom you want to advertise to. They are able to narrow it down. With Facebook, you can do this with a good degree of granularity, which works well for many people.

Some ways to grow a larger following for small business marketing on Facebook

There are three things that small businesses should do to grow a larger following on Facebook.

1.    Be consistent with your posting

2.    Be relevant

3.    Be excited about it

Remember people aren’t necessarily on Facebook to buy, per se. They’re there to have fun.

Many small business owners on Facebook don’t realise the interconnectedness among people. You’ll hear an example of how interaction can lead to more of your fans being drawn to your Facebook Page.

As an internet marketing consultant, I believe that there is no other platform that allows you to create deeper engagement than Facebook does. When it comes to advertising a post, there are so many different ways to do it. Small business marketing uses Facebook as an engagement platform.

How Facebook groups differ from LinkedIn groups

Although LinkedIn has some big, powerful groups, I believe the advantage that Facebook has in b2c marketing goes back to friends of friends. This is where Facebook might have the edge.

For example, with regards to LinkedIn groups, marketers talk about how to build the group and how you get the LinkedIn alerts. However, when you create a group on Facebook, you can make it private or public.

What’s useful is that overall, you are still operating in the realm of Facebook.

faceboook-groups-in-smalll-business-marketing

The main differentiator when deciding whether to create a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group is, “What is your audience using?

When it comes to Facebook groups, you have to keep in mind that some are public and some are private and Facebook has a very powerful search feature.

Here are some rules of engagement for Facebook groups when it comes to looking for opportunities.

•    Don’t dive in there and start selling your products.

•    Take the time to become a social friend of that group.

•    Make yourself an asset.

•    When it’s your time to ask a smart question, you are going to get help.

You’ll soon find out who the good people are. Groups are similar to life. In time, the good people rise to the top.

Third-party tools to monitor and manage your Facebook Page

GroSocial. It’s a great tool if you want custom Facebook tabs on your site.

gro-social

You can stream to Facebook with apps such as Ustream.

Tips for going from Facebook engagement to making sales

Engagement is critical when it comes to making sales. Once you start to build your following, people will flock to your site for information. Once they get to know, like and trust you, you will be able to draw them into your funnel. It’s your chance to get information from them.

Tips for managing angry people who post on your wall

Once you have a Facebook Page for your business, unsatisfied customers will have the ability to write something negative on your wall, expect it. When you have an irate customer who is dissatisfied with something, you need to reply. Make sure you reply in a kind and honest manner.

A positive comment for most people will disarm them. All they want is a solution. However, if they continue to complain, there are some tools that let you delete them.

Remember, if you have an army of customers who like you and love what you do, they will respond in kind.

You need to make sure you are monitoring your Facebook Page. It’s not a “set it and forget it” operation.

To find out more why not download my FREE whitepaper on Facebook:-

How to use Facebook

Tags: internet marketing consultant, social media marketing services, integrated online marketing, online marketing specialist, digital marketing agency

Five tips to improve your content small business marketing programme

Posted by frank harris on 13/06/13 08:57

content-in-small-business-marketingThere was little doubt that 2012 was b2b web marketing's year of content marketing. Two reports, one from Optify Inc. and the other by Econsultancy, found that 84% of b2b marketers increased their investments in content marketing, while 90% of all marketers believe content will grow in importance during 2013.

Yet the same studies revealed that only a minority of in-house small business marketing executives have a defined content marketing strategy in place. With that in mind, here are five basic practices you should master before spending any money on a programme.

  1. Know what motivates your audience. If you ask many b2b marketers to describe their customers, they'll tell you about buying power, title and company size. This is good information for understanding your market, but not for understanding your customer. To do that, you need to go a level deeper.  What are the hopes, anxieties and dreams that motivate your personas? What do they worry about during the morning commute? What would make them heroes in the eyes of their co-workers? How can they get that raise or promotion? What makes their job rewarding or frustrating? By understanding these basic needs, you can grab their attention with content that hits them in the gut, not just in the spreadsheet. In other words what are their personas?

  2. Think in terms of usefulness. Funny videos and catchy slogans are great, but the bottom line for a b2b audience is usefulness. If your content doesn't provide actionable information, then it won't merit the attention of busy customers. Whenever you survey your customers, ask them what information and content vehicles (blog posts, podcasts or videos, for example) have the greatest usefulness. Remember that the goal of a content marketing programme is to empower as much as it is to sell.

  3. Map content to the sales funnel. Create a grid showing the key stages of the sales funnel (for example, awareness, research, consideration, purchase, loyal customer and at-risk customer), and match content to each category. You often can adapt content to multiple stages of the funnel by choosing a different angle. Let's take the example of a commercial printer. A whitepaper targeted at the awareness stage might focus on the “magic of the print experience.” For the consideration stage, a different asset might be a checklist for selecting a commercial printer. For loyal customers, choose content that helps them get more mileage out of their investment in you. Knowing which stage of the funnel to address helps you to better focus content at the outset and avoid duplication or information gaps.

  4. Build an editorial calendar. Create a master schedule of the topics you'll cover during the year and the delivery vehicles for each. Start by placing major events, such as trade shows, holidays and customer events, at the top. Map content to important milestones, such as the annual budgeting process. Take local issues into account; you don't want to drop a big new promotion on a UK audience in August. Be sure every major topic has a place on the calendar and that you plan for a good mix of such content vehicles as blogs, webcasts and email newsletters. If you need to repeat a topic, use a different vehicle for delivery.

  5. Have a keyword strategy and communicate it. Research the keywords customers use to find your content, understanding that they aren't always the terms you want them to use. Boil this down to a manageable list and communicate it to all your contributors. Provide guidance on optimal frequency and placement, as well as any special instructions related to language or stages of the sales funnel.

The key to getting the most mileage out of your content marketing investment is to understand what content is useful to your customers and prospects, how they discover it and how they prefer to consume it. Start there and you'll minimise waste and confusion in the process.

Why not look at our new FREE eBook on creating content marketing programme best practices to aid your sales:-

Get your Free Whitepaper on Content Marketing Best Practices

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b web marketing, digital marketing agency

16 Lessons about Content for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 31/05/13 09:03

16 tips on inbound marketing resized 600I have gone on in the past about needing a content marketing strategy when developing your Inbound Marketing as “content is king”. So what have I learnt over the past months in carrying out my and my client’s strategies? Here are 16 tips that may help you:-

  1. Whether you’re a big or small business, content is content. Many of the same rules apply. Content is essential for growing your company whether it’s a big brand or a SME  looking to expand.

  2. If you’re not creating content on the web, you don’t exist. As an internet marketing consultant I have seen that both B2B and B2C consumers expect to find information about the things they need online and when they already know about a company, it’s even more important to provide useful content to answer questions.

  3. (Content) Silver bullets don’t exist. Everyone is looking for a silver bullet content marketing solution. There are also a lot of people are trying to sell silver bullet solutions to small businesses. There is no such thing so be cautious.

  4. Embrace that you’re a publisher. Have an editorial calendar so you know what you’re publishing next. Be strategic and plan it out.

  5. Get your house in order. Make sure you have a website. Every social network is rented land and you’ll need somewhere to send people. Also have a social media presence on more than one platform - they are necessities.

  6. What’s your story? Everyone has a story. Whether it’s about jewellery or business telephones, there’s a story. Think about what your company stands for. What is your business passionate about? How does your story fit within all the content you’re planning and publishing for your company?

  7. No one has enough time or money. At least that’s what most people say about content. Rubbish! Content is instrumental for growing your business. Be smart about your time and find some for content creation.

  8. Play to your strengths. As a small business owner or marketer, find out what you really enjoy as it relates to content creation and focus on that – whether it’s creating videos, writing articles or developing interactive experiences. Everyone is pressed for time, so find something you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it - even when you don’t want to.

  9. What is unique about you?   Look at your employees for interesting and unique characteristics about your company.

  10. Think visually. You have to use images, especially when you share on social networks. Think about what visual images will help you tell your story. Use stock photos on your blog, but not on your website.

  11. Things you can write about: People, Places, Passions. Start with the people that work for and buy from your company. Someone else saying you’re great is a lot more effective than you saying you’re great. What can you say that’s locally focused? What are you excited about?

  12. Develop an editorial calendar. Understand what is important to your audience and plan your content. Make sure you talk about what’s important to your customers. You are the best source of content for your company.

  13. Keep an eye on what others are doing. Look at what other companies in your industry are doing. Learn from others. If you don’t have direct competitors, that spells opportunity for you. Look at other information sources that are related.

  14. Think long term. An acorn takes time to become a tree. Be wary of big promises made by internet marketing consultants. This stuff takes time. Focus on getting better every day and do it for the long run.

  15. Always be consuming. If you only focus on creating and not consuming content, you’ll miss out on great insights, competitive information and learning. (I’d also add “always be interacting” because participation is a great inspiration for content ideas and engagement to grow your social network)

  16. Never stop listening. Use persistent search on Twitter or at least Google Alerts. When someone asks a question on social media where you could be the answer, it could be an opportunity to interact. Those interactions can turn into business.

So there you have it. Content is King. For more details on these points get your FREE Whitepaper on the topic by clicking the button below:-

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Tags: internet marketing for small business, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, business marketing agency, digital marketing agency

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