B2B Small Business Email Marketing Tips

Posted by frank harris on 16/09/14 08:03

b2b email marketingEmail marketing remains one of the most effective forms of internet marketing for B2B small businesses. It helps you create a relationship with your customers, build trust and convert traffic/leads into sales. The majority of people will not buy when they first see something because they don't trust the company. Email marketing allows you to promote your product and increase the chance of making those sales.

However, it is important to use this effectively. It is easy to start spamming. Here are some tips to help make B2B email marketing work for you.

1. Don't Make Subscribing Difficult

When people decide they want to be added to your list, they want the process to be easy. Don't make them jump through hoops. Just ask them for a name and email address. That's all the customer has to input and they are added to your list.

Let them know that they are on the list by sending an email out as soon as they sign up. If you offer a bonus for signing up, provide a link for them to download it within the email. The welcome email should encourage the users to mark your emails as safe so they don't go into the junk folder and welcome them to the list.

2. Let People Know What They Get

What will customers get by signing up to your list? Cover the type of emails you will send and how it will help them. This encourages people to input their details and hear what you have to say. At the same time, let them know how often they will hear from you. Will it be every week or month? As long as people know the regularity, there is less chance that they will forget about you.

3. Make the Emails Easy to Scan

Most people won't bother to read the full email. They want to scan it for the most important information so make it easy to do that. Set out the important information in bullet points and ensure there are subheadings and bold headings to draw readers to where you want them to look.

4. Find a Good Balance

You need to determine a good balance for the amount of emails that you send out. This differs between industries and it can be a case of trial and error. You could even ask those on your list to find out if you send too many or too few. Too many emails makes it look like you are spamming and people will unsubscribe. If you don't send enough, people will forget about you and wonder who you are the next time you send something.

5. Segment your audience based on behaviour

Behaviour based segmentation separates your audience based on their patterns. You can use this information to specifically look at their buying decisions. Groupings can be based on spending patterns, use of product, first time buyers, repeat customers, use of website habits or their stage in the buying cycle. 

Your email marketing platform can be used for this purpose by creating groups then tailoring your message to each group. By performing these techniques through your email marketing platform you are helping to take out the manual process previously needed to separate an audience. You are also allowing triggered campaigns to be sent as your audience criteria is already within your system and their actions constantly monitored for when they meet the specified criteria. 

6. How best to use behaviour based segmentation for an email campaign? 

  • You need data - You need to use a web analytics programme to monitor your website. This is because you need to know who it is that is on your website and what they have been looking at. 

  • Separate your loyal customers from new ones - Delving deeper in to people’s actions allows you to see who frequents your site and who is disappearing without downloading a piece of information. By being able to re-target these people you can remind them of the product that they were interested in and hopefully draw them back to your site. 

  • Separate those engaging with your emails from those who aren’t - Those who are not engaging can be put in to their own sub group to allow you to target them with a different message to hopefully increase engagement. Those who are frequently engaging can be targeted to maintain involvement and to further increase click throughs. This separation will help to make your message more personal to encourage the user to feel valued and to engage. Those who don’t engage with your email need to be encouraged through offers in your subject line whereas those who frequently engage can be used as brand champions to complete surveys and promote your business via social media and word of mouth. The key to all this is to be relevant and timely. Give each segment an impossible to resist benefit that they’ll appreciate and act upon.

Email marketing can really help to turn your prospects into sales. You will build a relationship and trust and encourage them to engage. However, you need to use this form of B2B website marketing effectively and carefully. Don't spam and make it easy for people to sign up to your list.

For more details on how to create amazing emails why not download my eBook from the link below:-

12 Core Components of a  “Five Star” B2B Email

Tags: small business marketing, internet marketing tips, get more sales, b2b email marketing

3 Steps to Connecting with B2B Website Marketing Leads

Posted by frank harris on 02/09/14 08:24

b2b website marketing leads resized 600You just got a B2B website marketing lead and you want to make your first contact with them. Here's how you can learn how to research and begin the conversation.

1. Research your Lead

When the B2B website marketing leads find your company's website through search or social based on your content – don’t react without doing research first. Researching your lead before calling or emailing them back is critical to making an effective first start.

(a)  Is another person at my company connected to this lead?

Don’t waste your time if this lead is already being pursued by another at your company and it’s upsetting to a lead to make you aware of their relationship with your company.

(b) Is this a real, legitimate lead?

Even if the lead is using obviously details, check if the email is valid. Don't assume that all of the contact fields are incorrect just because some are.

Visit the company’s website or search for them in Google to learn if the company is real, and if the lead is valid.

Verify the lead’s role and contact information. Find out if the company has employee profiles on their site. Search for the lead on LinkedIn. Don't connect - just ensure this person is telling the truth. 

(c)  Understand the company

To make an effective connection, relate to the lead. Explore the company’s "About Us" page. Then read to gain a general understanding of what they do.

(d) Can anyone I know make an introduction?

On your lead’s LinkedIn profile, on the right side of the page you'll see a section called “How You’re Connected."  Find out if there's someone you know well who can make the introduction. Also check to see if they are a member of one of your LinkedIn groups.

(e) What is this lead thinking about right now?

Use things like length of employment, the content downloaded, their role, and or their past experiences to understand where your lead’s interests lie now.

2. Determine if your lead is a “good fit”

Now you're ready to compare the research data with what you know about your customers.

Is the lead’s company one you would like to do business with? Then ask yourself the following to determine if this company is a good fit:

  • Do they have the staff required to execute what you offer? 

  • Would using your product or service disrupt their current operations?

  • Is your offer likely to provide a clear ROI to the business?

Getting a "no" on any of these questions allows you to disqualify your leads, saving you time.

Plan how to contact them, in the event that they don't answer on the first try.

3. Start the conversation

Now pick up the phone.

Ensure you have information on the company profile, the person you're calling, and what they downloaded to hand. Identify a constructive tip to provide your lead in order to create value and position yourself as a helpful expert.

Are you looking to book an appointment, make an introduction, or win a deal? Understanding the goal of this call is essential to getting a result.

When your lead answers introduce yourself and where you are calling from, as your lead needs to know who is calling. Emphasise the name of your company and remind them of the content they recently downloaded, either specifically or generally.

Reminding them of their research leverages the true nature of B2B website marketing leads. They were the ones looking for information on something that they lacked and you are knowledgeable.

Then take 1 of 2 paths:-

(a)  “What are you looking for help with?”

This puts the ball in their court. What you're really doing is asking them to identify their primary reason for doing the research that led them to you.

Pros:

  • The lead can now tell you what initiated their research, what challenges they are facing, or any number of other pieces of information.

  • This can lead into a natural series of questioning where you can gather important qualification details and provide answers to topics they are investigating.

Cons:

  • It's easy for a lead sceptical of your call to sidestep this question with “Oh, I’m just doing research,” or “I still haven't read the eBook.”

(b) "Here's a free tip."

Offer some free, helpful, expert advice based on what you discovered during your research, e.g. “I noticed you’re not [doing X]. Make this change to see an improvement in your business.

You are now establishing your expertise, offering constructive help, and determining the direction of the conversation.

Pros:

  • You position yourself as an expert.

  • If the tip is in line with their needs, you can make progress toward your goal

  • If the lead is opposed to change, they will tell you that now, allowing you to adjust your sales process.

Cons:

  • People can become defensive with criticism (be constructive).

  • Regardless of the value of the tip, you could steer the conversation away from their key needs.

When leading with a tip, begin asking qualifying questions or get directly to your goal after they accept that you add value.

These are two paths to accomplishing your sales goals. Experiment to get a better understanding of your buyer persona and what can guide them toward your goal.

To get some tips on how to get those leads from your traffic, just click the button below:-

30 Lead Generation Tips eBook

Tags: B2B lead generation, internet marketing tips, b2b website marketing, inbound marketing, get more sales, online marketing specialist

B2B Email Marketing - 12 Core Components of a “Five Star” Email

Posted by frank harris on 01/07/14 08:08

B2B email marketingA few years ago, marketers were decrying the death of B2B email marketing. Instead of fading away like Myspace and mood rings, email remains one of the most productive means of generating leads and selling products online. According to a 2013 US National DMA email report, 89% of marketers consider email important to their organisational goals. Rather than dying out, 56% of email markets plan to focus more on their email campaigns in 2014.

 

How do you make sure this focus pays off?

By making sure you are maximising conversions and clickthrough rates with every email you send. Chefs in five-star restaurants spend hours combining the right ingredients for their recipes. Similarly, creating a five-star email marketing campaign involves more than laying out some content and crossing your fingers – emails with killer clickthrough rates have a special mix of the right content, a great layout, and the right underlying strategy.

In the rush to send out emails, we know it can be difficult to design the perfect email layout every time. We spend a lot of time learning how to test and improve our email marketing.

We have published the new eBook to take you through each of the 12 core elements of a “five star” email in detail to help you understand the strategy behind each of these email sections, and explain how to optimise your email marketing campaigns. It can be obtained from the link at the end of this blog.

However, to give you a taste here are a couple of sections:-

  1. Company Branding

Ensure your email marketing templates echo your overall company brand. You want the people opening your email to recognise who you are, and remember why they clicked on your email.

While they don’t need to be identical, the design elements in your emails should echo your company style. A consistent brand image, language, and tone helps your audience relate to your content and expands your overall brand experience. Consistent brand style also conveys the professionalism and planning that goes into your email marketing efforts – or at the very least, it’s a great step toward faking it!

The easiest way to ensure a consistent email style is to create, and regularly utilise, email templates. In your template design, include your company colours, logo and any other important corporate branding elements. 

When designing your branded templates, don’t overdo it, and pay attention to how long it takes to download your email messages. Emails with lots of design elements – big images or video, for example – can create problems in prospects’ inboxes than more basic HTML emails.

Some of your recipients’ inboxes will default to prevent images from downloading, or in other words, it will take too long to find and download all those images. You want the visual design of your emails to enhance the overall experience, not get in the way of the content, so make sure your design doesn’t inadvertently decrease your open rates.

  1. Personalised Content

According to research, personalised emails improve clickthrough rates by 14%. Simply include a person’s first name in your email greeting to net a double-digit boost in email clickthroughs.

Despite the impressive benefits of email personalisation, a surprising 68% of marketers aren’t utilising personalised content in their email marketing – despite the fact that a third of marketers believe personalised campaigns are highly effective.

As a result, developing personalised emails is a great way to gain a competitive advantage in your email marketing. With 72% of B2B firms reporting that a top priority for this year is to deliver highly relevant content, this is the time to employ personalisation tactics and get ahead of your competition.

Think about how to leverage personalisation for your lead nurturing or sales strategies. Beyond simply adding a first name to your email greetings, develop targeted content for each list segment. Delivering personalised email messages or specific offers based on your audience behaviours, interests, or buying stage is a terrific way to set your content apart.

Just like a five-star restaurant would remember and cater to their top customers’ preferences – for example whether you like red or white wine – you can use smart lists and dynamic email templates to deliver individualised content based on your contacts’ form responses or past purchase history.

The other 10 sections cover:-

  • A Clear, Attention-Grabbing Email Subject Line

  • Actual Person as the Sender

  • Appropriate Segment

  • Value Proposition and Context

  • Obvious, Focused Call-to-Action

  • Relevant Image

  • Social Sharing Buttons/Links

  • Secondary Call-to-Action

  • Link to Privacy Policy

  • Unsubscribe Link

Get your FREE copy now by clicking the link below:-

12 Core Components of a  “Five Star” B2B Email

 

 

Tags: internet marketing consultant, internet marketing tips, small business marketing ideas, email marketing, b2b email marketing

B2B Web Marketing - Marketing Automation

Posted by frank harris on 25/06/14 08:07

marketing automation resized 600The world has changed very quickly in the past decade and marketers have struggled to keep up with the advances that digital marketing now provides not only B2C but also B2B marketers.

Marketing automation has been heralded as the saviour of marketing departments and it really can help them to maximise the opportunities that the shift online has brought - but only if it’s done right..

Marketing Automation

You can’t just install a marketing automation solution and expect your results to be magically transformed. You have to have transformation on a cultural level first - it needs to be supported by an attitude shift in all your staff and management to ensure:

  • Collaborative working between departments.

  • Consistent measurement of results.

  • Continual improvement cycles.

So before you rush off to tell the board how your new marketing automation system is going to change their world and increase your sales, make sure you’ve got the right plans and processes in place to ensure that it can. 

How to make the most of marketing automation implementation

In an article on Marketing Sherpa David Kirkpatrick lists seven tactics for implementing marketing automation, we’ve expanded on these great tips to include two more. Our list of 9 points would look like this:

  • Choose your marketing automation solution provider and ensure it covers all YOUR channels.

  • Understand the marketing assets you have in place already.

  • Make sure your website is optimised for marketing automation.

  • Understand your CRM.

  • Know your content strategy.

  • Develop your employee engagement strategy and implement your benefits-driven internal communications plan.

  • Appoint cross-functional project teams.

  • Ensure relevant staff get the training they need.

  • Plan and review your process.

Here, we’re going to look at tip six in more detail.

Develop your employee engagement strategy

If you don’t get the motivation for the marketing automation solution to succeed embedded across the relevant teams, then it’s really going to have its work cut out to get you the results you want.

Everyone talks about how important it is to get sales and marketing aligned to maximise your sales, and research by the Aberdeen Group has revealed that the companies that have done it and are using marketing automation to manage the lead generation and development process are:

  • Seeing 40% of the sales pipeline coming directly from marketing-generated leads.

  • Achieving 31.6% year-over-year revenue growth.

Therefore, getting the sales team engaged is imperative. But a wider employee engagement strategy is essential if the customer experience delivered is to live up to what your marketing campaigns and collateral promise.

'Delivering on the promise of marketing automation' from MarketingProfs has some excellent steps to follow for driving adoption of the new solution, while these five keys for developing an employee engagement strategy should help you ensure that everyone cares about its success:

  • Have provocative visions and values for the project to excite and inspire people.

  • Show how the new way of working will provide more opportunities for professional and personal development.

  • Help everyone find a meaningful purpose in their work.

  • Introduce a meaningful reward and recognition process for initial adoption and continued use.

  • Include plans to manage ebbs in engagement levels and drive them back up again.

If you want to understand more about how the digital world can help you run marketing campaigns then a good look at my latest eBook on the topic may be found useful. To get your FREE copy just click on the link below and the PDF will be winging its way to you:-

How to Run a  B2B Website Marketing Campaign

 

Tags: internet marketing consultant, internet marketing tips, b2b website marketing, online marketing strategy, get more sales

Content Curation as part of Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 26/05/14 09:46

content in small business marketing“Content Curation” may sound like one of those meaningless buzzwords made up by marketers, but it can actually be a powerful tool in your small business marketing toolkit. Simply put, content curation consists of finding, selecting, and sharing the best, content that is relevant to your ideal customers and prospects.

The rise in popularity of content marketing means that not only is more content being produced, but our prospects and customers are also being flooded with eBooks, webinars, and all kinds of other marketing content. Since anyone can publish information, how do I know who to trust? How do I know whether a particular piece of information is important to me?

Your customers and prospects are asking these types of questions all the time. Just like us, they would love to have a trusted source for news, information, and insight focused on the information they care about. Having a trusted source who finds ands shares relevant information is valuable, but the real value comes from providing insight into how that information affects me and my business. It is this type of content curation (information plus insight) that will establish you as the “go-to” source for information in your market niche.

Other Benefits of Curating Content in Small Business Marketing

Sharing content that educates and builds trust is key to the success of your small business marketing. In most cases you must create the content yourself as it relates to the unique way in which you help customers solve problems. There are plenty of opportunities to share other peoples content throughout your B2B web marketing. Here are a few examples of how your can enhance your content marketing with content curation:

  • Content curation can help you get found by attracting links from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., as well as links from other web sites. These links can help boost your traffic and gain visibility on search engines.

  • Curated content can also be a great tool for keeping prospects engaged and moving forward in your lead nurturing campaigns.

  • Sharing the information you collect, along with your insights, also helps you be a better networker – building relationships by adding value. This sharing also helps you stay “Top of Mind” with your strategic referral partners, leading to more referrals and opportunities.

Finding Content to Share

Most professional service firms and B2B companies typically receive a lot of information marketing content that their customers, prospects, and referral partners would find helpful. You probably receive this type of information in industry newsletters, magazines, and blogs that you follow. By selecting the items that are relevant to your audience and adding your insights regarding why this information is important to them, you provide them with great value and (when done consistently) establish yourself as an industry expert. Here is a partial list of potential sources of information that you can share:

  • Industry specific newsletters

  • Links to content and media you find on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other social sharing websites

  • Industry blogs that you follow

  • Social listening tools

  • Press releases you receive or find on services like PRWeb

  • Industry reports, survey results, statistics, and research

Content Curation Tools

Software can be a great help when it comes to gathering and sharing content on the web. Be careful though, don’t think of these tools as a “silver bullet”. Most of the value (and B2B web marketing benefit) comes from the personal touch you add by filtering and adding perspective to the content that you share.

There are many software tools, free and paid, that do great jobs of helping you collect and share information related to your topics of interest. Here are a few examples to help you get started:

  • Storify - Users tell stories by collecting updates from social networks, amplifying the voices that matter to create a new story format that is interactive, dynamic and social. Discover meaningful social media from the best storytellers online, including journalists, bloggers, editors and people like you, too.

  • Paper.li - Helps you create your own online newspaper. Paper.li helps you automatically find, publish & promote engaging articles, photos and videos from across the web.

  • Silk - A Silk site lets publish your collections, add structure to your information and gives you many ways to filter and visualize your content.

  • News.me - Delivers top stories from Facebook and Twitter to your inbox

  • Scoop.it - Allows you to create topic pages where you can collect content from around the web, add your insight, and share.

Sharing marketing content that educates and builds trust is an essential component of modern small business marketing. Creating original content is a great way to help establish your brand, but it can be time consuming and difficult. Augmenting your content marketing strategy with curated content, along with your unique insights into that content, can be a great strategy for attracting new leads, converting prospects into customers, and generating more business through referrals.

To find out more about Content Marketing why not download my latest paper on the subject from the link below:-

7 Steps to  Delivering Successful  Content Marketing

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, website marketing strategy, b2b web marketing

B2B Email marketing: why you need to improve

Posted by frank harris on 03/04/14 08:28

b2b-email-marketing-improvementsB2B email marketing is the communication glue within your digital marketing and all of this communication is trackable. 

Tracking gives you the ability to understand the journey between the message and the call to action, which means that you can give this journey a value. 

With this in mind, reviewing success or failure is critical so that you can affect the change in your campaigns and the actual value those campaigns are bringing.

Take the opportunity to review last year’s results and the impact B2B email marketing has had on your business objectives.  But how do you go about this?

Ask yourself..

Start by asking yourself simple questions. What were your goals last year? What was the call to action on your campaigns? What were you looking to achieve? What were your overall marketing objectives and how did email slot into this?

Don’t overcomplicate your strategy. Whether it is to think mobile, engage your key influencers or increase your database reach, give it a goal, a value or a KPI so that you can measure your performance against it.

How do you measure the value of testing?

The reason marketers fear testing is that they learn more from their failings than they do from their successes, this means that marketers have to try things and that might not work.   

Your day to day marketing activity should generally be working and testing improves your results. Try convincing yourself to not do what usually works and to try something that could get you a better result. It’s a risk and many marketers are understandably risk averse.

So be honest with yourself. How many times did you test the variables in your campaigns? If you are not testing subject lines for instance, then you are missing out on opportunity. 

Test subject lines, pull back your opens and see how that affects your opens and clicks.    

Understanding your reporting

If all you look at within your reporting is open and click through rates, then you are missing out on some important metrics.

Look at opens and clicks and heat maps and device date and timelines and revenue tracking - I am overusing the word “AND” to illustrate a point.

  • Mobile. Don’t just send out a responsive email, consider the call to action and what you are asking them to do. Why not send two campaigns and serialise them?

  • Opens. No one will ever convince me that a higher open rate will not impact clicks; however consider the call to actions, content and the impact of click and opens.

  • Click. B2B Email marketing is all about clicks

  • Heatmaps. Marketers work in silo, this mean that campaigns often get confused; be clear of what you are asking and have creative that is built around that segment and call to action.

  • Revenue. Email is always about conversion. If you can get data then you can understand the value of the channel even if it is just making better decisions about how you resource and invest in it.

  • Google Analytics. Use post click analytics and review email metrics and conversion in the same session. If you do, you will produce better campaigns than you did the week before.

My three golden instructions

  1. Have an annual strategy. Measure success against this 12 month goal that will fit within your overall marketing strategy.

  2. Benchmark quarterly or cyclical activity, then you can look at four sets of data when reviewing against your 12 month goal.

  3. Be agile, if it does not work, move on.  I am uncomfortable using horse analogies in light of this year’s scandal, but if your horse is dead then don’t flog it (or make lasagne out of it).

Some of the above are in my whitepaper on B2B email marketing. To get them all just download it from the link below:-

10 Rules for Successful  B2B Email Marketing

Tags: internet marketing consultant, internet marketing tips, b2b marketing consultants, small business marketing consultant uk, b2b email marketing

Three Small Business marketing tips on using LinkedIn

Posted by frank harris on 05/01/14 10:37

linkedin-in-small-business-marketingSince launching over eleven years ago, LinkedIn has grown from a Silicon Valley phenomenon and niche social network for business to a content powerhouse that companies use for its demographic data, in small business SEO and targeted advertising capabilities.

Fortunately in small business marketing, the growth of this B2B social media giant also means dedicated networks, segmented by industry, hosting expert blog posts, forums (in the form of LinkedIn Groups) and even a dedicated news stream that can drive millions of page views much like the early days of Digg.

Here are my three small business marketing consultant tips on how to engage with content and track effectively from my conversations with LinkedIn representatives.

Understand LinkedIn Today as it relates to your business

linkedin-company-pages

LinkedIn Today was launched over two years ago as a way to use data from 175M+ professionals to bring relevant stories in specific verticals to the surface on the LinkedIn platform.

If you are just starting out on LinkedIn, "it’s the best place to find influencers in your industry that you can follow for best practice" according to LinkedIn.

Start by picking out around a dozen or so that are specific to your industry and watch the types of content they are sharing, liking and contributing. Chances are if you follow their lead, you are going to strike the right tone with your customers/audience.

Use Slideshare content ads

Slideshare is another niche social network built around sharing presentation that was acquired by LinkedIn last year. In B2B small business marketing, marketers with great content to put in front of their personas should be happy over the LinkedIn/Slideshare match up – which let’s face it, is made in heaven – because the first product of their union is a new approach to targeted advertising which combines traditional display ad inventory with presentations you can embed.

You can read more about this new form of advertising on LinkedIn's blog.

As a small business marketing consultant I think this is a win win for B2B marketers and for LinkedIn because it means more time spent on their platform, and a much richer content experience.

Linkedin marketing solutions resized 600

Track metrics and lead generation from your LinkedIn Company Page

Company Pages have been on small business marketing social’s radar for inbound marketing since they launched in 2011. They are obviously great in a B2B context, and are expanding quickly in what they can offer brands and companies across a variety of industries.

Here your content marketing efforts should focus on determining which types of offers work best to generate business leads, and it is great that Hootsuite recently integrated tracking and targeting from Company Pages including:

  • Snapshot: Page performance analytics. Track the total followers, new follower metrics, impression metrics and engagement metrics of your LinkedIn Company Page.

  • Company Update Engagement: Post performance metrics and comparison. View a granular, side-by-side comparison of post metrics that are not available through native LinkedIn analytics.

  • Targeted Status Updates: When composing an update, you will have the option to target based on geography, company size, job function, seniority and industry.

By working closely with your social media consultant, defining a few metrics that matter from the outset, and following the tips I’ve outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to a tailored content marketing strategy taking advantage of LinkedIn’s 100M+ users.

If you’re one of the B2B small businesses only just getting into LinkedIn then why not download one of my subscribers’ favourite FREE eBook of 2013 that tells you all you need to know about LinkedIn company pages from how to set them up to what you can do with them to gain more leads for your company to convert into sales.  Get it from the link below:-

Get Your FREE eBook on LinkedIn Company Pages

Tags: internet marketing tips, small business marketing ideas, small business marketing consultant uk, inbound marketing, business 2 business companies

6 Small Business Marketing for Lead Nurturing your Prospects in 2014

Posted by frank harris on 20/12/13 09:57

2014 small business marketing consultant resized 600Technologies have opened the door to small business marketing in a way never possible with offline marketing. Collecting customer data, analysing and segmenting it provides small business marketing with a new level of customer insight essential for good marketing communication. However, where technology should allow small business marketing to lead the way in marketing strategies, we’re falling behind. We are so focused on the new tools we forget the basic old rules of marketing.

To ensure you’re optimising the new tools digital brings to the world of small business marketing success here are six old school marketing rules that we should never forget.

1.    Think like a customer

Marketing is all about influencing; so you must put yourself in their shoes. Direct mail isn’t something most of us get excited about receiving, and the majority ends up in the bin. If you want your customers to pay attention to the emails you send, send them something they will want to receive. If you’re the customer, what information would interest you? Discounts and offers are great but also consider what information a customer of your service would find useful. The cost of email has caused many in small business marketing to forget this aspect and just blast out whatever’s available to all their subscribers. However, with email, a badly received campaign is a real danger. Unwanted emails won’t just be ignored, but labelled as junk or spam, and you’ll find yourself with serious deliverability problems. The best way to capitalise is to send users information they want.

2.    Be relevant

Relevance has always been a key aspect for good marketing. Traditionally marketers identified their target audience and created a campaign they felt would be relevant to all. New technologies give online marketers a huge advantage. Online tracking allows us to send relevant communication in a way that was never possible before. With email, you have more than just a general overview of a typical customer. You have web analytics data, and if you have marketing automation, you can create a single customer view to target each user based on everything known about them. If you know a user has purchased a particular item of clothing, send them an email thanking them and point out items that will go with it.

For email marketers a decent database will enable you to collect, hold and segment customer data, enabling you to send the right information, to the right customer, at the right time. Lead nurturing makes the old rule of relevance as effective as possible.

3.     Don’t try and sell to someone who’s not interested

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a sales person who is adamant you should buy something even though you’ve made it clear you’re not interested. Email marketing is no different. Don’t spend time banging your head against a wall, and lose potential customers by scaring users away. Clearly analyse how users are engaging with your emails and website and react with the right kind of communication. If an email subscriber rarely opens an email reduce the frequency you send, or implement a reactivation programme. Continually sending emails to inactive users can be extremely damaging to your email reputation.

4.    Get the timing right

Offline marketers buy advertising space that will appear in the right place for their target market. Small business online marketing shouldn’t be any different. Email marketing has the potential to be even more targeted, for a much lower cost. A marketing automation system will allow you to set the timings of different emails for the optimal send time. Timing is an important part of marketing and should always be considered.

5.    Keep it simple

The best communication is simple. In small business marketing the problem is often a case of getting so engrossed in the data you lose sight of what you’re trying to do. Use data to help you achieve your goals and objectives. Don’t lose your way in a forest of figures. It’s easy to get carried away with numbers, digital jargon and the thought of all this technology; but it’s the ideas behind the technology and the numbers that makes it a success. Build a clear, simple strategy that supports your brand and looks after your customers.

6.     Have a strategy with clear business goals

Often marketers jump on the latest fad without thinking through what they are doing and how it will impact their business. Every company is different, and what will work for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. Yes, research new techniques or try new approaches, but ensure whatever it is you’re doing is linked to the goals of your business and is aimed at influencing your target market. After all, how can you choose what tools you need for your strategy if you don’t have a strategy to start with?

Marketing is about targeting the right people, at the right time, with the right message. Small business online marketing is no different. New technologies provide immense opportunities for small business marketing to optimise communication if used in the right way.  So now you’ve converted traffic into leads nurture them into qualified leads so they become customers. If you’re not quite there yet why not download my FREE eBook to give you tips on converting your traffic into the leads you need:-

30 Lead Generation Tips eBook

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, small business marketing consultant uk, small business marketing automation

10 Tips on 2014 Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 16/12/13 17:29

2014 small business marketing2014 is right around the corner. And with the New Year comes the opportunity to start fresh, and the chance to overhaul your marketing strategy. Follow my 10 quick tips to help you get your 2014 marketing started on the right foot.

1. Leverage the Tried and True

Email continues to be one of the biggest drivers of conversions for small businesses. While social media and other online marketing tools should play an important part in your 2014 marketing, your email contact list will continue to be one of your most valuable assets. Keep that in mind as you start your planning.

2. Update your Email Lists

Clear out any bounced email addresses, duplicates and otherwise inactive contacts so you can focus on engaging your most interested customers.

3. Create Segmented Lists

While you are updating your contacts, segment the list based on interests, downloads and past purchases so that your messages reach those most interested in receiving them.

4. Offer Great Content

Send relevant, valuable content to the people who have opted to receiving communications – content that people will look for. Use an enticing subject line and make sure they recognise who the email is from.

5. Share Content Across Channels

Cross-pollinate your content with teaser links across all media which includes linking to your Facebook, YouTube and other social media pages from your e-newsletter, blog and website. Post teasers about the content on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites that lead back to your content destinations.

6. Engage Via Social Media

It has the power to take any of the feedback you may receive from using a tool like email marketing and supercharge it- letting customers share their thoughts, questions, and ideas quickly and publicly. And it allows you to respond just as fast, without having to pick up the phone or worry the customer isn’t seeing your response.

7. Pay Attention to What People are Saying

In addition to review sites and directories, potential customers are also relying on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ before making a purchase. Pay special attention to what people are saying about your business on all of these social networks. Look for opportunities to engage with your most loyal fans on Facebook, respond to a customer’s question on Twitter, respond and comment on LinkedIn or thank someone for a positive online review whenever you get the chance.

8. Refresh your Online Listings

Consumers rely on search engines like Google or Bing, city guides like Citysearch, and mobile apps like Foursquare to discover new businesses. Identify the places that your target audience is turning to when searching for businesses similar to yours, and make sure information about your business on those sites is accurate and up-to-date.

9. Go Mobile!

More people are using mobile devices to inform their purchase decisions. In the past year alone, smartphone usage in the U.K. increased by around 50%. If a potential customer can’t easily find and consume the information they’re looking for from their mobile device or if you send an email that doesn’t look good on a smartphone or tablet it could cost you business.

10. Engage In Person

Online tools are key to marketing success, but engaging in person enables you to create a lasting connection in a very powerful way, which leads to customer loyalty and ever-valuable word of mouth. Consider hosting an open house, an education event, or some other type of event to increase awareness about your business, strengthen relationships, and inspire involvement for the coming year.

So there you have 10, I hope, useful tips for 2014 small business marketing.  So where do you start there is so much to do.  Well have you considered marketing automation?  It will allow you to do all your inbound marketing in one place at one time so saving you time and therefore money.  Find out more about this topic by downloading the eBook that can found by clicking the button below:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

  

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, small business marketing consultant uk, small business marketing automation

Know why to dis-engage on Social Media in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 09/12/13 08:02

social-media-in-small-business-marketingIf you want to generate a lead with social media engaging customers is not the goal. It's the starting point.

It's an open door to get customers to respond… to dis-engage with social media and enter into a journey with you is another matter. Here lies the basis of this social media marketing idea.

In other words it's the start of a series of "fair exchanges" that guides prospective buyers toward, or away from, what you’re selling on your turf.

Most marketers using social media think of customer engagement as a goal - the finish line. But that's not going to help you get customers to buy online. So here are some social media marketing tips:-

Be provocative to generate response

Successfully engaging with prospects is an opportunity to create response from them. The best way to create response is to be a thought provoker, not just a thought leader.

After all, you've got to get prospects to do something—something that starts them a journey toward converting to a small business marketing lead.

Think of it this way. Are you giving customers a reason to talk to you on LinkedIn? Are you offering them real, compelling reason to dis-engage from LinkedIn Groups or your profile and contact you? Are your blogs so bold they provoke readers to call or email you or sign-up for an offer?

Is whatever you've chosen to do on social media provoking potential customers to contact you, so you can help them more clearly understand the thought you just provoked?

Don’t settle for engagement

Let's say you've got honestly new knowledge or a new product that can benefit customers in exciting new ways. Assuming so, why would you settle for floating thoughts out there and hoping to be dubbed a leader?

Instead you can be giving customers a reason to act on the impulse your thoughts and/or actual gestures can create.

This way prospects take action on doing something they really need and want to do... and you create a lead for yourself.

Peter Caputa of Collaborativegrowthnetwork.com (or Co-Gro) says many marketers fail because:

“They don’t drive traffic to their landing pages using calls-to-action (CTA) buttons and text. They don't place CTAs in blog posts, in email campaigns or on their home page. They don't promote landing pages on social media and don't optimise them for search."

Why?

I've found there's a real problem with the issue of small business marketing on social media. Compounding this nagging question coming from "social experts" is the question of how to market products and services on social media without actually pitching them... understanding and practicing an effective process.

That's a subject for another post but keep in mind: there's a big difference between pitching your product or service and giving a prospect the opportunity to act on their impulse to solve a problem—through you!

Tempt prospects to act

In my business I constantly tempt prospects to trade their contact information for a better way... or tips on avoiding risks. I'm teasing prospects into taking an action that I know, deep down, they probably want to take. For example, I like to reveal a small part of a hidden opportunity to them on Twitter.  

So you can engage customers and hope that focused conversation gets going or you can cause it directly. 

It all starts with realising engagement is NOT the goal... and (beyond that), as Peter Caputa says, knowing how to engage a lead who isn't ready to talk about your product or services yet.

Think of engagement as the first step to creating response. If you do you'll start making social media get you leads more often.

What do you think? Have you practiced anything like this and experienced success?

And when you get those leads do you know how to measure the success of all the hard work you put into your small business social media marketing? No, well find out how to by downloading the eBook below:-

Measuring Social Media  Lead Generation

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, social media marketing services, small business marketing consultant uk, social media marketing consultancy

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