What they don’t tell you about Small Business SEO

Posted by frank harris on 13/09/18 16:02

seo-notebook-notes-ss-1920Small business SEO is tough.

I’ve worked on countless projects where the company has seriously underestimated the resources needed for small business SEO campaigns.

 

More often than not, they’ve read a case study online where someone has scaled up their organic search traffic from zero and is now bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to their website each month.

 

“Well, if they can do it, why can’t you?” they ask me.

 

They see the same things being mentioned by “SEO experts” that guarantee success:

  • Create lots of great content, and it’ll start to rank.
  • Google loves fresh content, so the more the better.

The chart below represents how a lot of people imagine SEO gains over time: a nice steady upward trend of traffic.

 

seo time line 1

 

The reality is that it’s more like this:

 

seo time line 2

 

Organic traffic growth is often unpredictable. You might find yourself doing SEO for quite some time with very little to show for it — then, suddenly, one of your pieces of content gains traction. Once it starts ranking, it has a knock-on effect to a few more of your pages, and you start to then see straight line growth.

 

Even during this period, it just takes one of your big traffic-driving pages to slip down to page 2 of Google, and you’re back where you started.

 

I’m sure a lot of people reading this right now have experienced this very thing. This is how even some of the most successful SEO campaigns pan out.

It’s not all about “great content”

Contrary to popular belief, great content isn’t enough.

 

Without doubt, the biggest cause of failure with SEO campaigns is the assumption that simply creating great content will get you results.

 

Yes, your content needs to be great. Yes, it needs to resonate with your buyer personas. Yes, it needs to be aligned to the keywords that you want to rank for.

 

All of the above is true, but if you don’t have great promotion, too, then that content will end up gathering dust in the nether regions of Google’s search results.

 

Nick Eubanks wrote a great article recently titled, “Content is Queen.” He described the very thing that I’m talking about and showed a number of examples where “great content” has completely failed to deliver results.

 

Here is one of the examples that Nick talked about:

 

seo blog 3

 

A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into this piece of content, which sits at nearly 7,000 words total. It’s full of useful stuff and is what you would class as fairly “linkable content.” But if that’s the case, then why has is only earned four backlinks from two websites (including Nick’s)?

 

The reason is that this content hasn’t been promoted well. The only evidence of this piece of content being promoted is on the brand’s Facebook, SlideShare and Pinterest presences.

Not all your content will rank

It’s common for a large proportion of your overall organic search traffic to come from a very small proportion of your overall content.

 

seo blog chart

 

 

Here’s some data from a study that, Pam Vaughan, did across the HubSpot blog. She found that 46% of all of their blog leads came from 0.5% of their blog posts (just 30 posts out of nearly 6,000!). Considering most of their small business leads come from organic search traffic, you can see how this can reinforce the point I’ve made above.

 

Don’t worry if this is the case with your own website. My advice here is to dig into what’s making the small number of posts so successful and see if you can “reoptimise” your underperforming content accordingly.

More importantly, don’t just tear down a piece of content and start again if it doesn’t perform as well as you had hoped. There are lots of ways to leverage or repurpose existing content, some of which I’ve described in detail in my small business SEO tips guide.

Links really do matter

This one can’t be stressed enough: Backlinks matter.

 

If you think that big websites online with a lot of “authority” don’t need to worry about links, then you’re mistaken.

 

Backlinks are probably the single most important factor toward ranking for competitive search terms, and they matter just as much to established websites as to brand-new ones.

 

There is very strong positive correlation between top-performing content within organic search and the number of backlinks that content had.

 

Even for a website as authoritative as HubSpot.com, they still need to have a backlink strategy to ensure that our small business marketing content ranks well.

 

If you really want your campaign to be successful, plan for the worst, focus as much of your time as possible on the promotion of your content, and don’t make assumptions before you’ve actually gathered data.

 

For help in getting your small business SEO the best it can be, just download the eBook from the link below>>>

 

lead generation

 

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, SEO for small business, SEO services

3 New Small Business Marketing Trends to Master in 2018

Posted by frank harris on 23/07/18 10:35

online marketing 0618The challenge of delivering relevant, consistent, and memorable customer experiences has shaped the small business marketing industry today. Marketers are charged with meeting each customer at the right moment with content that speaks to their behaviours, motivations, and interests. To achieve this type of connectivity, marketers need to stay one step ahead by:

 

 

  1. Maximising the value of technology
  2. Harnessing the power of real-time data
  3. Building trust with customers
  1. Maximising the value from technology investments

Because technology powers interactions at nearly every touchpoint along the customer journey, those in small business marketing must strive to use each platform to maximum effect.

 

Integrated systems are vital not only for syncing data but for delivering a consistent and cohesive brand message.

 

Integrations create efficiencies and improve team collaboration by enabling data to be shared across systems. Integrated systems also help us build campaigns, analyse results, and anticipate customer needs in real time.  Ultimately, system integrations save time and money and can give marketers a competitive edge.

 

The marketing technology business has experienced remarkable growth in the past years, with the number of tools available to an all-time high – over 5,300! However, the sheer volume of options can make it challenging to select the best solutions and then connect them all together.

 

In the coming years, marketers need to carefully assess the marketing technology landscape and leverage the power of their existing solutions before investing in the next shiny object. They also need to evaluate how new technologies can help achieve their defined business goals and improve the overall customer experience.

  1. Harnessing data to deliver personalised content

Personalisation – the tailoring of offers and messages to individuals based on their tastes and behaviours – can have a significant impact on the success of marketing campaigns.

 

Thanks to the volume of consumer data available to marketers today, it’s possible to connect with buyers and customers at the right time with the right message and drive higher rates of engagement and conversion.

 

Data flows from a variety of sources and is often captured in real time. Click-rates, social media activity, purchase history, location information, and smartphone input each provide clues that help small business marketers anticipate the needs of their customers or customer segments.

 

But delivering a one-to-one experience at scale – to a variety of customer types across the journey – is a challenge. It requires a robust technical infrastructure for collecting, storing, and aggregating data, which then needs to be shared across an organisation in actionable ways. As Peter Reinhardt, CEO of Segment observed, “Turning around and activating those insights in an optimized, channel-agnostic manner is the holy grail of marketing.”

 

Having processes in place to make use of data is critical to scaling personalisation. After all, there’s

no point gathering consumer data if you’re not equipped to do something with it.

 

The marketers who embrace a collaborative, data-driven approach across the business – focused on using facts and evidence to drive revenue growth – will be the ones to create effective and impactful

one-to-one marketing experiences.

  1. Building customer trust

The Edelman Trust Barometer runs a global survey gauging trust in business, media, government, and non-government organisations. For the first time in its 17-year history, the study found a decline in trust across all four areas. 48% of respondents don’t trust businesses to do what’s right, and 63% find CEOs not at all or only somewhat credible — up 12% from the previous year. According to Edelman, these results demonstrate an “implosion of trust.”

 

Forrester reports that companies delivering experiences rooted in the corporate values they’re genuinely committed to — like Apple, Muji, and Aesop — will earn more respect, recognition, and profits than companies that don’t. These companies achieve remarkable business success because of the way they live their values.

 

And companies that realise they can deliver better experiences by focusing in the unique needs of specific customer segments will excel. As one-to-one marketing quickly becomes one-to-moment marketing, marketers must have an intimate understanding of their customers’ needs. Brands trying to cater to everyone will struggle to deliver meaningful experiences to anyone.

 

Finally, companies will win customer trust by providing exceptional service. The shift from “just selling” to customer success management has never been more critical for building real connections with consumers and delivering reliable and trustworthy experiences. The person is key to personalisation. Despite the increase of digital tools and trends across nearly all aspects of our lives, human connections are still vital to building trust.

 

To understand more about the customer journey check out the link below>>>

 

A Guide to PR in  B2B Website Marketing

Tags: small business marketing, customer journey, small business marketing strategy, small business marketing trends

Why use an 'Integrated' Small Business Marketing platform?

Posted by Jill Harris on 22/07/18 16:04

integrated small business marketingWe're asked this quite often. Many people involved in small business marketing, we talk to, are looking to update their website. So why should they invest in an integrated marketing platform rather than go down the traditional route of separate website, CRM system, email marketing platform, blogging system and social media posting platform?

 

The answer lies in the information 'flows' within your organisation. Where is data generated and what could you do with it given the right tools?

Where does your data come from?

Information about your leads has traditionally been captured by people within your company and this has often been the justification for a CRM system. A single system into which sales, marketing and other employees can capture information about leads and about customers.

The Internet however opens up a whole lot of new sources of information about your leads, much of which is hard or impossible to capture manually:

    • Visits to your web site by contacts and the pages they have viewed
    • Social media interactions with contacts
    • Email engagement - emails opened and links clicked
    • On-line forms completed and whitepapers downloaded

This is a lot of data that a CRM system won't be able to record or that will be recorded in an often fairly cumbersome way.

What can the data be used for?

Where is all this information going? How is it going to be used? Sales people want to select the most promising leads, management will want an overall view of the sales funnel, support people will want to view a customer's history, a small business marketing person would like to know the effectiveness of their campaigns.

 

Many of the people using the available information will in turn add additional data into the system. When a sales person calls a promising lead they will record the success or otherwise and schedule follow up actions.

As well as 'people', software can 'analyse' this information and do things that were previously not possible or practical.

 

Lead scoring as a means of identifying the most promising leads is a good example. A lead scoring system takes what's known about a contact and automatically generates a 'score' for that contact. The more information available the better the ability to accurately rank leads.

 

Personalised campaigns can also be driven by the flow of information. We call these 'stories' and a story is started by a 'trigger', which might be a contact completing an online form or when a lead's score crosses a specific threshold.

 

The story then unfolds at a rate appropriate to that individual and can vary as more information becomes available. These 'automated campaigns' take inputs from CRM systems, web sites, email tools and can generate 'actions' which might include: sending follow-up emails; logging a CRM sales call; adding the contact to a new list; increasing or decreasing the contacts 'score'.

Data flows

In an environment without an integrated solution you may be implementing different functions through different systems:

  • your web-site running on a CMS (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento…)
  • contacts managed through a CRM (Salesforce, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics…)
  • marketing email sent through a bulk mailer (MailChimp…)
  • sales emails to individuals are sent through the CRM system or through Outlook
  • articles managed with a blogging platform (Blogger or WordPress)
  • lead scoring handled by the CRM, limited to the information stored by or visible to that CRM system
  • automation?
  • on-line lead tracking and analytics?

This gives a set of discrete functions that either:

  1. don't communicate
  2. have nothing worth communicating
  3. have limited ability to communicate

It's very much like taking pieces from different jigsaws and hammering them together to make a picture. There will be gaps between the pieces and whole sections are likely to be missing.

 

Most CMS and blogging systems have no tracking information that can identify returning contacts so have little or nothing to add to the data. There may be integration between the mailer and the CRM system to automatically synchronise address lists and opt-out requests and sometimes more.

 

The picture below shows some of the data and control flows that we'd ideally like between people and systems within a company:

 

marketing automation flow chart

 

As an example of the scope of these flows I've highlighted in red those that could benefit lead scoring. Significant events might include:

  • clicking on links in emails
  • visiting specific pages on the web site (for example the prices page)
  • completing call to action forms such as downloading a whitepaper
  • your sales team receiving a call
  • your sales team making a call
  • receiving an email from a contact to your sales team
  • reaching the end of a personalised email story

Trying to integrate this information effectively across multiple systems is not trivial.

To take a simple example:

  • marketing: generating content and distributing this on the organisations own site and on third party sites
  • marketing: using the content to drive an email marketing campaign
  • lead scoring factors in email clicks, article reads, views of specific pages
  • articles and emails contain a 'call to action' leading to a landing page with a form
  • when the form is completed it adjusts lead scoring, emails the contact and creates a contact report in the CRM
  • when the calculated score for a lead exceeds a certain threshold a CRM 'sales call' task be scheduled

Putting a number of these functions into a single system allows these data flows to happen seamlessly and to be transparent.

Summary

A company’s processes can be made more effective by allowing information to flow freely and, where possible, automatically to where it's needed. The fewer systems involved in the process the fewer external links that need to be created, the fewer the places for data to get lost and the more optimised and complete the data that's recorded.

 

An 'integrated' marketing platform (really it's an integrated sales and marketing platform) fulfils a number of business functions within a single application enabling some operations that aren't possible with separate systems and making others easier and more intuitive.

 

It is possible and often necessary to integrate data from multiple places but this can create quite an expensive overhead for an organisation. The data available from each platform will not be completely compatible and even with good integration skills the result can often look like a set of ill-fitting jigsaw pieces from which parts can often fall or fail when you upgrade one of the systems.

 

For more on marketing automation follow this link>>

 

Lead Marketing Automation

Tags: small business marketing, small business marketing automation, b2b small business marketing, small business content marketing, small business marketing strategy

How to Create a Behavioural Email Small Business Marketing Strategy

Posted by frank harris on 13/07/18 10:32

emailmarketing 0618Even in small business marketing we can learn a lot from those large company surveys.

 

According to a MarketingSherpa study, 39% of marketers said that “automatically sending emails based on triggers” is the most effective tactic for improving email engagement."

 

And yet, an Econsultancy survey which asked marketers “Which of the following practices are a part of your email marketing efforts?” found that only 20% of email marketers use behavioural targeting.

 

Why?

Behavioural email 

Sending targeted emails to your contacts based on their actions and behaviours, is one of the most valuable email strategies an inbound business can adopt.

 

But, a lack of technical know-how can make doing behavioural email a difficult task. To make things complicated, there’s little education on behavioural email for small business marketing.

 

This article will explain the basics of behavioural email marketing: what it is and how you can implement it effectively for your business.

The Basics

Behavioural email is the practice of sending automated, targeted emails to the contacts in your database based on their interactions with your company across multiple channels: social media, email, your website etc.

 

Basically, every interaction that a user has with your company should have an expected and appropriate reaction.

 

In a traditional email campaign, we develop an offer like an eBook, infographic, or whitepaper. Then we create a segment of people that might find that offer valuable and email them.

 

Behavioural email is about adopting a user-focused approach to sending email. I.e., it’s the actions of your site visitors that dictate what emails they receive, after opting in, not a decision made by you.

The Framework

Now that we've defined what behavioural email is and why it matters, here is a three-step framework for implementing behavioural email marketing as part of your small business marketing strategy.

  1. Track how people interact with your business online

The first step in running an effective behavioural email strategy is to study exactly what activities you can see, interpret and act upon. After all, you can’t send behavioural emails if you don’t know the which behaviours to use as a trigger.

 

You have many channels at your disposal to attract, engage, and close people into customers: website, social media, email, webinars, conducting surveys, etc.  

 

Each channel is a chance to listen to users, learn more about them, and start a conversation based on what you gather. This means that you need to track, store and surface information about your visitors.

 

Your contact database is the nerve centre for all your inbound efforts. It works like your brain: listening to inputs, interpreting them, and deciding how to react.

 

Following that analogy, the contact properties would be the collective knowledge and memory stored in your brain. Contact properties store information about people like:

  • website activity
  • email engagement
  • social media activity
  • form submissions
  • conversion information
  • data from other integrated software.

You can then use that information to send emails to people based on this activity.

  1. Determine the actions a user might take

Behavioural emails are effective because they are triggered based on a prospect’s behaviour. As a result, these emails are almost never a surprise. They are an expected reaction to an action taken by a user.

 

That’s the true power of behavioural emails - they are activated by the user, not the marketer.

The decision we must make is which user actions to react to. Here are three worth considering:

  • Form submission for eBook/content: send a transactional email confirming a download
  • View specific content on website: send targeted follow-up content. E.g., if someone views your case study page, send them one of your more popular case studies.
  • Engagement/lack of engagement emails: Send them an email with another CTA or run a contact-re-engagement campaign.

Other actions you might consider as starting triggers might be active engagement on social media, subscribing to your blog or reading a specific blog post. This is where knowing your contact database becomes important. Once you know what you can track, creativity is your only limitation!

  1. Start a conversation with the user based on that behaviour

So you understand what information your database tracks and stores, and you’ve identified some of the most important activities a user might take. The final step is to write a compelling email so you can start a conversation with the user based on that behaviour.

 

How can you make the most of the behavioural emails? By taking advantage that behavioural email exists at the centre of three important email best practices:

 

behavourial email marketing 0618

 

When you set up a behavioural email, you create a personal experience. You’ve essentially created a segment of one - the holy grail for email marketers.

 

Consider the social media messages you send, or the blog posts you write. They are the same for every reader. Using email taps into your contact database, which means you can make it highly personal.

 

Behavioural emails take that concept to the next level by creating a response to something a user just did.

 

Are you ready though for behavioural emails or are you still in the “batch and blast” stage? If so then look at the following first:

 

Lead Generation using  your Website and SEO

 

Tags: small business marketing, behavioural marketing, behavioural email marketing, segmentation, email segmentation, small business marketing strategy

Need-to-Know Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Posted by frank harris on 19/06/18 16:17

Digital Marketing SEpt 17One of the most exciting and scary steps that you can take in your life was to start your own small business. You had an entrepreneurial spirit and you’re not alone.

 

To be able to compete and earn your persona’s attention, you must have an online presence. When it comes to small business digital marketing, it can be challenging to know how to get started beyond creating a website and social media profiles. Here are four digital marketing tips to help you successfully launch your business online:

  1. Create Evergreen Content

Quality content is king, and publishing it consistently will help your personas to find your business online. Unfortunately, creating value-added content is time-consuming, with the average small business marketer spending two to three hours on a blog post.

 

Incorporating evergreen content–timeless content that is always relevant to your defined personas into your small business content marketing strategy will save you time and continue to attract your audience to your website for years to come.

  1. Host an Online Contest

Your customers like a good competition, especially when a prize is involved. Hosting an online contest will encourage your followers to engage with your content, visit your website, and spread awareness of your business.

  1. Make the Most of Social Media

According to the latest statistics, approximately 2.8 billion people around the world use social media. In the UK it is estimated that of the consumers with internet access, 69% have social media profiles. Considering these numbers, social media offers you a powerful way to raise awareness of your small business. If you’re not already focused on creating quality, engaging content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, you’re missing out on opportunities.

  1. Pay Attention to the Data

In order to succeed with digital marketing for your small business, you need to pay attention to the data. The internet offers a wealth of data about the performance of your online presence, from Google Analytics to Facebook Insights. Paying attention to this data will make you aware of areas that need improvement so that you can maximise the ROI of your next campaign.

 

Whether you’re in the early stages of starting your new business or you’ve already launched it, you need to create a small business digital marketing strategy. Take advantage of these digital marketing tips for small businesses for a cost-effective way to raise awareness for your business.

 

For more on how digital marketing for small businesses can help you get more leads to convert into new customers, just follow the link below:

 

online marketing

Tags: small business marketing, b2b digital marketing, b2b small business marketing, small business content marketing, small business email marketing

How the GDPR can HELP your Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 13/06/18 15:17

small business marketingNot only in small business marketing does data wield power but in technology to government and infrastructure also. In the age of cyberattacks and data breaches, personal information is under the microscope more than ever.

 

The past few years have brought us the breach of the hacking of 3 billion Yahoo accounts; Equifax’s massive cyberattack that compromised 145 million people‘s sensitive information; Uber’s data breach and subsequent cover-up; and, most recently, Cambridge Analytica allegedly harvesting user data from Facebook – just to name a few.

 

The 2017 State of Consumer Privacy and Trust report from Gigya found that 68% of consumers are concerned about how brands handle their data. Therefore, small businesses walk a fine line of capturing relevant data from their customers while also ensuring they’re not alienating or eroding trust in the process.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) covers the personal data of all residents in EU member states. Under the GDPR, you must now build default privacy mechanisms into websites, securely store data, and erase personal information after specified periods of time.

 

What do you, as a small business, need to know about the GDPR? Well I hope by now you are compliant. If you still don’t understand what you should have put in place by 25th May then quickly go here to find out. AND get COMPLIANT. It’s not daunting, takes a little time but not only protects your customers but you as a small business and a customer.

 

Just so you know what we have done, as a small business, this is how Optimax implemented the GDPR?

  1. Updated our Privacy Policy
  2. Required cookie opt-ins 
  3. Obtained active consents and email sign-ups for our newsletters and marketing emails, plus provided clear unsubscribe options
  4. Disclosed the collection of personal data and associated business purposes to all relevant parties 
  5. Storing personal data on secure servers and safeguarding personal data via encryption
  6. Ensuring applicable vendors adhere to GDPR via Data Protection Agreements
  7. Implemented processes to permanently erase personal data after consents are revoked or relevant business purposes expire
  8. Maintaining GDPR compliance with regular risk assessments and ongoing data security measures

Marketing opportunities with the GDPR

The GDPR significantly impacts small business marketing, especially when it comes to email marketing and marketing automation. 

 

Although implementing the new requirements was time consuming, the GDPR is a great opportunity for you to be more thoughtful about your marketing efforts and build trust with their customers.

 

By ensuring active consent, customers must opt in to receive your emails. This means that what you offer should be relevant and appealing enough to your audience that it entices them to check that box. Draw your audience into your content and drive them to subscribe to receive your newsletters into their inboxes.

 

One way to make your offering more transparent is to highlight sample content that they will receive if they opt in. Take their attention opportunity to tease your content alongside the request.

 

Another audience-building strategy is to ask consumers what specific types of content they’re interested in receiving. This not only allows you to learn more about your different customer bases, but also to create blogs and email campaigns tailored to each.

 

When you think of the GDPR, think quality over quantity. By engaging customers with content, you are building stronger relationships because you’re providing value. Offer inspiring, informative, and helpful content to influence purchasing decisions.

 

The goal of the GDPR is to protect individuals’ privacy, but the new rules also offer an interesting challenge to those involved in small business marketing. “How can you make your brand so appealing to your audience that they opt in to spend time with you?” Then, “how do you nurture those customers and provide them the right content so that they continue to engage with your brand?”  

 

To my customers and loyal readers: I’m committed to helping you create healthy marketing practices and build trust with your audience. It’s a new challenge that I am eager to tackle with you. So get compliant NOW. Need help then click below>>>

 

Please Help Me  with GDPR

 

 

Tags: small business marketing, b2b small business marketing, small business content marketing, small business email marketing, gdpr compliance

The Benefits to your Small Business of a Seamless Customer Journey

Posted by frank harris on 03/05/18 15:37

roiFrom a customer perspective, the best small business brands listen and respond to customer’s needs and wants. They effectively practice omni-channel marketing - marketing that provides a seamless customer experience, regardless of channel or device.

 

To be successful today, brands need to look beyond disconnected sellers, departments, and strategies to make an impact and give customers a continuous experience.

 

Omni-Channel, Cross-Channel and Multi-Channel

 

There is a proliferation of terms that describe how and where and when marketers use “channels”, so, let’s clarify the different terms:

Omni-Channel Marketing

Organises marketing messages and activities to deliver a seamless conversation to the customer, regardless of where they are.

Cross-Channel and Multi-Channel Marketing

These terms are interchangeable and refer to marketing that considers all the different channels available and where your customers engage. This type of marketing aims to utilise specific channels based on the campaign goals and personas. It tries to create a buyer experience that is consistent and complementary across channels.

The Customer Journey

Understanding customers is key to delivering personal and relevant messages. Let’s consider how marketers have mapped this is the past and how they can do it more effectively.

 

Marketing leaders accept they need to drive more than acquisition. Now, they must drive value and revenue throughout the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness, to acquisition, to advocacy.

 

Acquiring customers requires time and money, so leaving that relationship alone after acquisition is a loss on your return on investment (ROI). Small business marketers who engage their customers throughout their lifecycle drive more revenue from their ongoing relationship.

 

Because acquisition is not as cost effective as growing your business with an existing customer, engaging in lifecycle marketing helps to drive more revenue over time and helps avoid losing potential revenue from churned customers.

The Customer Journey Defined

In today’s digital world, marketers must engage customers as individuals, which means having a deep understanding of who a customer is and what interests them. These marketers then deliver the right messages, at the right time, wherever that customer. That’s engagement marketing.

 

In the past, marketers couldn’t scale that experience. So, to provide the best experience they aligned their marketing activities to the stages across the customer lifecycle and used those lifecycle stages as a map that indicated the content personas should receive.

 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t include ‘listening’ and so results were poor. The struggle to create a continuous

conversation with customers occurred because the journey that marketers mapped never truly captured the actual journey their customer took.

 

Only by listening to other behaviours, can a marketer be relevant. Looking at the customer lifecycle in a linear way does nothing for the customer’s actual experience.

Create 1-2-1 Marketing

Traditional customer lifecycles account for all the “steps” it takes to get a customer to a specific goal, which can be helpful for marketers as they map activities that pair well with different channels or levels of awareness.

 

But by mapping and timing marketing activities based only on the customer lifecycle, marketers are missing the ability to engage with the customer on a one-to-one level.

 

Coordinated, omni-channel marketing delivers the most relevant experience to each customer and therefore, puts the customer at the centre of your marketing. It acknowledges that the customer decides their own journey, and the marketer’s responsibility is to listen and respond with the right message, at the right time, in the right place.

Structure your Company around your Customer

This has key benefits. In fact, according to McKinsey DataMatics, companies that are responsive to customer behaviour are twice as likely to generate above-average profits than those that aren’t. Plus, they outperform their peers across the entire customer lifecycle and are nine times more likely to enjoy customer loyalty.

 

But, why does this work? It works because a specific person in a small business should be responsible for a customer’s experience.   It also works because it is measurable, as you can measure the number of consumers successfully moved across the lifecycle.

 

Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, or through social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, using an app on their smartphone, or tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the customer’s experience should be consistent and complementary. By understanding the importance

of an omni-channel strategy and having the tools to set a solid foundation, you can build a customer experience that complements the customer journey and ultimately elevates the value of your brand in your customers’ lives.

 

To understand more about the customer journey and how using the right tools can help your business, just follow this link:

 

A Guide to PR in  B2B Website Marketing

Tags: small business marketing, customer journey, small business, personas

Developing a Small Business Marketing Strategy

Posted by frank harris on 28/02/18 15:42

digital marketing strategy 2018.pngIn developing a small business marketing strategy, it’s always wise to be practical with your expenses.

 

For anyone that has started up a small business, frugality is something they are familiar with. For the first few years, tough financial decisions are frequently made - often, key aspects of the business are pared down or omitted completely to stay afloat. One of those aspects that usually are tossed by the wayside is marketing.

 

Many small businesses try to manage bills and figure out the best way to run the business daily. When confronted with those critical tasks, marketing is usually an afterthought - but it shouldn’t be. After all, if you don’t market your business, how can you expect to grow your customer base?

How to stretch your Marketing Budget

There are a lot of ways in which you can run an effective small business marketing campaign on a tight budget. Below are a few methods to get the word out about your business without breaking the bank.

  1.  Determine your budget

Have a clear picture what you’re able to spend on marketing. Here, we’ll focus on the lower-end of budgets.

A good rule of thumb is to allocate about 5% of your total yearly gross revenue toward marketing. You can raise or lower this depending on your industry and your financial situation, but it’s a good starting point. You might consider increasing this if you’re just starting out and need to inform people of your existence.

 

Once you have a number for your yearly marketing budget, divide it monthly.

  1.  Develop a Plan

If you fail to plan, plan to fail. A bit clichéd but it’s true. Assign marketing activities on a monthly basis for them to be effective.

 

The more detailed your plan is and the farther it is forecast, the more effective your marketing will be. Try to get the calendar year mapped out in advance - this will help prevent you from doubling up on efforts. It will also prevent you from being reactive instead of proactive.

 

However, if you have a plan developed don’t think it’s set in stone as you won’t know the future.

  1.  Utilise “free” marketing whenever possible

Free” is in quotes since any amount of time spent on marketing will affect your bottom line, but for all intents and purposes there are many things you can do to market your business that won’t cost you anything.

Social media… LinkedIn, Twitter, you name it

Take advantage of free social media. If your business doesn’t have a LinkedIn or Facebook page and a Twitter account, create them now, it’s free advertising! If you are new to any of these social media platforms, consult with a friend or family member who is familiar with them and can assist you in getting the basics down.

 

They are free to set up and operate, and once completed, you’ll have access to the millions of users that frequent them. There is a science and etiquette to marketing on social media however, so acquaint yourself with the best practices before diving in headfirst.

Public Relations

Another free form of marketing that often gets overlooked is public relations.

 

The basic elements of public relations can be carried out all on your own. Introduce yourself to local media outlets, trade publications for your industry, and online communities that are related to your field. Offer yourself up as an industry expert for anyone looking for quotes for an interview. By getting to know the right people and media outlets, you’ll be surprised at the stories your business might land and the visibility they’ll give you.

  1.  Check Progress and ROI Regularly

The definition of wasting marketing money is to carry out the same campaigns and promotions over and over again without ensuring they’re effective. Checking your return on investment, or ROI, is the most effective way to ensure that you’re not wasting time and money.

 

Social media campaigns are most helpful. A small ad spend on Facebook will yield you details about who is seeing, and more importantly who is responding, to your content. And opting for pay per click online advertising means you only pay for those that click through to your page.

  1.  Don’t be afraid to seek help!

Finally, a business owner can know everything related to their industry, but not have a clue about small business marketing. But often, that business owner will either attempt to become a marketing expert overnight rather than seek help, or jettison marketing because they don’t understand its value.

 

There are many valuable resources online that will help you take your marketing plan to the next level.

Spend some time on small business forums, read trade publications and websites, and feel free to ask your competitors what they’re doing and what some of their notable marketing successes and failures have been. They might not want to share, but you’ll never know unless you ask.

 

For more help just follow this link:

 

lead generation

Tags: small business marketing, small business marketing ideas, online marketing strategy

Beyond the Press Release and into the Social Media Age

Posted by frank harris on 23/11/17 15:56

PR_in_b2b_website_marketing.jpgThe media landscape is in a period of rapid change. Now the old-world media are fighting for their lives, competing against more agile, digital start-ups as the lines between print, broadcast and social media digital channels blur.

 

With organisations and individuals yielding the kind of influence once only afforded to media owners, the PR professionals little black book of media contacts no longer opens doors to PR success.

 

If you are looking for certainties in the digital age, disruption is perhaps the only guarantee.

Here we list the new fundamental rules of PR to fit the demands of communicating in the social age.

It’s still about Relationships

The one thing that cannot change about PR is solid relationships. However, the way we form, engage and maintain these relationships is changing. Because influencers are often not found in publishing houses or broadcast networks, we must rethink ways we engage communities.

 

Modern PR must be prepared to engage on a more personal level. While social media has widened our reach and significantly added to the relationships we must maintain, today’s socially-led communities demand that we work harder and smarter at building important relationships

Community Engagements

Nowadays, social engagement is built on the back of relevant, engaging and timely communications. Whilst “Content is King”, this is perhaps dated nowadays.

 

Content can no-longer solely dictate the conversation. Content should be designed to drive interaction from personas, to involve the wider community in the conversation, i.e. taking time to build content that consumers will want to share and comment on, creating a sense of ownership and community amongst the personas.

 

This approach will demand resources to monitor and engage, combined with a social strategy to ensure conversations deliver expected outcomes.

 

Great conversations can potentially put you at the centre of your community where opportunities are found and nurtured. Being ready to engage means managing and steering conversations in real time.

Influencing Influencers

Having the insight into who to “friend” or “follow” and who to engage gives you a competitive advantage.

 

Media contacts cannot be complete unless they feature prominent bloggers, social media influencers and other relevant high-profile figures such as politicians, business people and community leaders.

Lifting the Media Filter

The rise of social media and the smartphone has not only changed the way news is consumed, it is often responsible for capturing stories as they break.

 

The power of traditional media no-longer has a monopoly on breaking news. Journalists have had to significantly cut costs and find themselves confined to offices instead of outside looking for stories.

 

Over 50% of news now breaks via social, often reported by “citizen journalists” and shared widely across the social networks before being picked up by professional journalists.

 

Traditional media still plays a vital role in distributing your message beyond the realms of social media and adds credibility to a story. Ensuring content is distributed across social channels will aid your discoverability and help seed your stories in the mainstream media.

 

In addition, the impact of media journalists who are connecting directly with their audience via social, and the influence of the thought leaders shows you why it’s easy to see why your first point of contact when pitching a story might not be via traditional media.

Thought Leadership

Because people buy from people they like, trust people and identify with. Putting real people at the forefront of your campaigns has never been more important.

 

This means individuals must take control of their own output via social and other channels, including your blog. It also means listening and engaging with the wider conversation. The days of an individual thought leader leading a one-way conversation are over. Conversations can be joined by other influencers and even the general public.

 

Even large companies like Apple and Facebook rely on social commentary to create excitement around their brands and products.

 

Never forget, it’s important to empower everyone in your company who wish to contribute in brand-related social conversations with the right tools, guidelines and boundaries to ensure their conversations stay on brand and do not exceed their areas of responsibility.

 

You want to create authentic brand ambassadors. Failure to set initial expectations may result in damaging repercussions.

Social Influence

Sometimes, the best ambassadors do not come from your company. These ambassadors are able to build influence on the basis that their audience finds it easy to identify with them.

 

However, because they do not often front highly visible organisations they can be difficult to identify, track down and engage. These people can only be found by listening, analysing and engaging with the social web and this is best conducted with a blend of technology and human engagement.

 

When engaging individuals, as opposed to corporations, you might need to change your stance. Social influence is won via trust. When personal reputations are at stake, trust is hard.

Conclusion

In the past, we’ve always tried to steer the conversation. In the digital age where social media can often dictate and disseminate the news, the basic rules of PR have not changed - they have simply become more fluid, more wide-reaching, more traceable and more open to criticism (both positive and negative).

 

To find out more about B2B PR in the 21st century why not download the eBook from the link below:

 

Pr in digital marketing

Tags: small business marketing, b2b social media marketing, social media, pr

The Beginner’s Guide to CRM for SMEs

Posted by frank harris on 31/10/17 10:18

crm.jpg

 Customer relationship management” can sound intimidating to small- and medium-sized businesses.


After all, if your company only has a handful of customers, why do you need a dedicated process or system to keep track of them? A few spreadsheets and rules of thumb will do just fine.

This is the beginning of my latest, helpful, free PowerPoint presentation on CRM for SMEs.
But what happens when business starts to boom? At some point, the company will need to implement a customer contact management system that’s more organised and streamlined than a mass of spreadsheets. And such a migration could be painful if the decision has been put off a few too many months, or even years.


At its core, a CRM is not just useful to large enterprise companies - it's essential for businesses of all sizes.

 

But don’t just take our word for it. Did you know that 75% of sales managers say that using a CRM helps to drive and increase sales? Or that CRM systems improve customer retention by 27%?

 

It's hard to argue with numbers like that.

So let's start at the beginning....

What is a CRM

As we said above, CRM stand for customer relationship management, and it refers to software that helps companies track interactions with their future and current customers.


The goal of implementing a CRM for SMEs is to create a system that your sales and marketing teams can use to more efficiently and effectively interact with prospects or customers.

Marketing will often use a CRM to ensure that they’re passing the right leads to their sales team -- a key aspect of developing a strong relationship with the sales team.

Salespeople utilise the CRM in a different way. They use it to source prospective customers, communicate with them, and track their interactions over time. Having the entire prospect history in one place increases their efficiency and improves their productivity. For instance, salespeople using a CRM won’t have to hunt through their emails to remember where a conversation left off.

To reap the full benefits of a CRM, you have to choose one with the features that are right for your business today and that can grow with you as your business evolves. Think about your company’s growth goals, and consider both your short-term and long-term needs when investing in a CRM platform.

Keep in mind, a CRM is not only a financial investment, it is also a time investment for your sales and marketing organization. Picking the right system, implementing it, and enforcing best practices around it’s usage will pay dividends as your company continues to grow and scale.

To get the full PowerPoint presentation on this topic just follow the link below and get started on understanding why you should have a CRM for your business:

 

 

 

inbound marketing checklist

 

Tags: small business marketing, small business marketing ideas, linkedin marketing for SMEs, crm

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