A Start-up Guide for Entrepreneurs

Posted by frank harris on 03/03/19 16:14

entrepreneursEveryone, especially entrepreneurs, wants more visitors, more qualified leads, and more revenue. But starting a business isn't one of those "if you build it, they will come" situations.

 

To build a successful company, you'll need to create and fine-tune a business plan, assess your finances, complete all the legal paperwork, pick your partners, choose the best tools and systems to help you get your marketing and sales off the ground … and a whole lot more.

 

Take control of your success with the help of this free business plan eBook.

 

To help, I've put together a library of the best free tools and resources to help you start selling and marketing your business, and a complete guide on how to start a business. The guide covers everything from the paperwork and finances to creating your business plan and growing your business online.

 

Starting a business involves a whole lot of moving pieces, some more exciting than others. Brainstorming business names? Fun! Filing taxes? ... Not so fun. The trick to successfully getting your business off the ground is to meticulously plan and organise your materials, prioritise properly, and stay on top of the status and performance of every one of these moving parts.

 

From registering with the government to getting the word out about your business to making key financial decisions, here's an overview of what you'll need to do to start a successful business.

 

The eBook covers:

  • What is a Business Plan?
  • How to Make a Business Plan
  • How to Write a Business Plan
  • Business Plan Template
  • Marketing, Sales, and Services Tips
  • Small Business Funding

As a taster here is the first section:

How to Make a Business Plan

  1. Narrow down what makes you different.
  2. Keep it short.
  3. You can (and should) change it as you go.

1. Narrow down what makes you different

"Before you start developing a business plan, think carefully about what makes your business unique first. If you're planning to start a new accountancy business, for example, then you'll need to differentiate yourself from the numerous other accountancy brands out there.

 

What makes yours stand out from the others? Are you planning to Offer other or additional services to auditing?

 

Remember: You're not just selling your product or service - you're selling a combination of product, value, and brand experience. Think through these big questions and outline them before you dive in to the nitty-gritty of your business plan research.

2. Keep it short.

Business plans are shorter and more concise nowadays than they used to be. While it might be tempting to include all the results of your market research, flesh out every single product you plan to sell, and outline exactly what your website will look like, that's not helpful in the format of a business plan.

 

Know these details and keep them elsewhere but exclude everything but the core areas from the business plan itself. Your business plan shouldn't just be a quick(ish) read - it should be easy to skim, too.

 

3. You can (and should) change it as you go.

Keep in mind that your business plan is a living, breathing document. That means you can update your business plan as things change. For example, you might want to update it a year or two down the road if you're about to apply for a new round of funding."

 

So, to get the rest of the eBook that will tell you all the rest covered, just click the link below:

 

A Guide to B2B Website Marketing  for Small Businesses

Tags: small business marketing ideas, small business goals, small business marketing strategy, small business online marketing, entrepreneurs, new business venture

Small Business Marketing Automation is not an Email Service Provider

Posted by frank harris on 20/11/18 16:28

marketing automationThis article sets out a guide to small business marketing automation over email marketing.

 

Marketing Automation is a confusing term. It doesn’t really mean anything and indeed a lot of small business marketing automation vendors are trying to carve out new positioning with terms such as ‘multi-channel marketing’, ‘behavioural based marketing’, ‘all in one marketing’ or the ‘marketing system of record for the modern marketer’.

 

Unlike email platforms, marketing automation has a memory and true automation. By this we mean it can track an individual’s behaviour over time, record the engagement and then automate the subsequent next action. It can remember campaigns, assets, workflow, opt-outs, unsubscribes, and preferences.

An overview of the key benefits

Marketing automation is currently the hottest sector in the SME/CRM space with 40% year on year growth.

 

First adopted by technology companies, who of course adore new technology, it has now permeated into many other sectors including publishing, financial services, business services and manufacturing.

 

The technology is fast changing. It can incorporate both inbound (PR and social media) and outbound (email and web intelligence) functionality, as well as traditional CRM integration and digital asset management.

 

Some look at just the functionality, but for all the lead scoring, automated lead nurturing, CRM integration, dynamic content and preference centres, the real key benefits of deploying marketing automation are:

  1. The ability to scale & save time - Running multiple campaigns at the same time to satisfy demand management and the demands for quality business pipeline.
  2. A single view of the customer - Relationships and behaviour tracking, not transactions and spreadsheet juggling.
  3. It puts marketing back on the front foot - With continuous campaigns running longer than the buying  cycle it is now possible to not just measure campaign ROI but really forecast future revenues.

Those organisations that invest in marketing automation and then execute it properly are at a major advantage to those organisations that don’t. More importantly, they place themselves on the front foot for additional credibility within the rest of the organisation.

Main Features of a Small Business Marketing Automation Platform

Unless a platform has the following core characteristics it cannot call itself a small business marketing automation platform, and is frankly of little use to you. It must have the ability to:

  1. Send email(outbound)
  2. Store campaign assets in a library
  3. Store customer and prospect records
  4. Automate a multi-touch marketing campaign
  5. Score customers and prospects based on who they are and their engagement.
  6. Talk to other platforms (an API) e.g. CRM or Webinar integration
  7. Automate tasks and map the organisation workflow

Social media is also an important feature, and the pace of development is rapid. Marketers know it is important to balance the outbound with the inbound and so the following social media functionality is  now included in a lot of platforms.

  • Social listening e.g. listening for conversations on Twitter
  • Share to social e.g. adding the ‘likes’ and ‘forward to a friend’ functionality
  • Social sign-on e.g. the ability to market content on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook and
  • automatically embed the user profile data within the platform for seamless behavioural tracking

What is it really about then?

It is fundamentally about you and your willingness to drive change for the better in your organisation.

 

For all the feature differences between email and marketing automation, the real benefits of an effective deployment is the ability to drive change positive change. Marketers that adopt small business marketing automation are drivers of real change in a business, and those that don’t do it or don’t do it well, will simply be left behind.

 

I hope that this article has provided some food for thought if you’re looking to roll out such a platform.

 

Once you’ve decided that it is the right choice, why not get in touch to see if there’s anything that I can help you with to make it an even greater success. Or for more on this topic, follow the link below:

 

small business marketing

 

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing ideas, small business marketing automation, b2b small business marketing, small business marketing trends, small business marketing blog

5 Reasons your Small Business Marketing should go Social

Posted by frank harris on 12/06/18 11:18

Social Media PLatforms 0118Running a successful small business requires many different things. One of the most important parts is marketing. Small business marketing can bring in the customers and is essential to the business earning revenue.

 

Big businesses spend a large amount of money on advertising and utilise many different forms. They have the financial ability to market their business in this way. A small business does not have the same resources as a big business and may think that they cannot be as effective at marketing their business.

 

It may be true that a small business does not have the financial ability to market their business in the way that a big business does, but that doesn’t mean they cannot effectively market what they have to offer. It does mean that they have to find a different approach to their marketing.

 

The approach that many small businesses are using is social marketing. Social media is a great way to reach a large number of people and can accomplish many different things. It helps a small business in many areas and can be a key to success. Successful small businesses marketing has been found to have social media as an effective tool.

  1. Building a Brand

One of the things that successful businesses have in common is that people are well-acquainted with their brand name. For the most successful names, the name of the business becomes synonymous with the product itself. For instance, Xerox is a brand which is associated with photocopy machines, yet it replaced the word ‘photocopy’ with itself.

 

Some successful brands are known for their logo. It is easy to recognise the brand of the business by simply seeing a logo. Nike perfectly exemplifies the recognition of brand by logo.

 

Small businesses can use social media to spread their brand awareness and to let people get a picture in their mind of the business. It is the perfect way to start conversations about your small business that will allow people to get to know you.

  1. Customer service

Today, the best and cost-effective way to stay connected with the customers is social media. Via various social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc, businesses can get known about their products and services by judging the opinions and queries of the customers.

 

Gathering customers’ queries and catering to them personally should be the primary focus of every small business. But practically, it's very difficult for businesses to cater to each and every query. For small businesses who can’t afford a customer service team, they can always install a cloud based phone system to ensure a 24/7 connectivity no matter where the employees are located or when they receive the calls.

  1. Building Alliances

One of the most important aspects of business prosperity is networking. Every business should focus on enhancing its network base by creating alliances and the best way to do that is to stay connected and updated in social media. Various category-specific social media communities in Facebook, LinkedIn etc can be joined and exchange product and service ideas, thus building up healthy networking.

  1. Inbound Marketing

Most people are familiar with outbound marketing when businesses advertise through media such as TV or radio.

 

Inbound marketing is done through social media, blogs and other online avenues that can help build the awareness of the business brand. This type of small business marketing is becoming the most popular type for small businesses because it’s cost effective and the awareness success ratio is high.

  1. Speed

When a business wants to air a TV commercial they have to write, film, edit and then air the commercial. Social media marketing is much faster. A business can get the messages they want sent out very quickly and they can spread around the world in a short amount of time. The return on social marketing can be seen much sooner and is often easier to evaluate because it’s much more personal.

 

Small businesses are having success with social marketing, but that does not mean it is without problems or risk. Many of the things that make it a good thing to do, can also create problems for a business.

 

While it’s true that social media marketing can spread a good message fast, it’s also true that negative messages will also spread quickly. Cloud phone systems and social marketing can help provide good customer service, but that only works when the business is listening to what their customers want and actively trying to engage their customers. Working with other small businesses can help a company reach different markets, but it is important to build relationships with other compatible businesses.

 

While there are risks involved with social marketing, the rewards are much bigger when it is done the right way. Small businesses need to make sure they are taking advantage of social marketing if they want to be successful. Check out the link below to find out more >>>>

 

Social Media Marketing

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

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

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

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 – Thinking of great blog subjects

Posted by frank harris on 14/05/14 08:15

b2b web marketing ideasFrom Tweets to blog posts to Facebook page wall posts, there is a lot copy, messaging and engagement to push out to your B2B web marketing audience. This is why the inbound marketer’s role is one that requires so much creativity. Content has to be timely, accurate, relevant, thoughtful, unpredictable, informative – even funny. The same old content day in and day out can get stale, losing that community engagement you were after in the first place.

The question is: "where do you come up with fresh ways to accomplish that seven days a week?"

What should your company be blogging about?

The following list of ideas is meant to inspire the content you create for your community. Broad and generic in focus, it’s not meant to focus too strictly on the technology that helps you carry out these ideas and offer something for everyone. We hope this brainstorm helps you think of some fresh ideas of your own.

Multi-media and Visuals

  1. Show a step-by-step guide on how to do something in a screencast, how-to video, or show the steps in a series of photos.

  2. Create a music video for your company and post it on the blog.

How-to’s and Tips

  1. Write a how-to article. Give instructions with screenshots or photos on the steps someone needs to take to do something.

  2. Point out common mistakes in your industry and offer solutions on how to fix or avoid them

  3. Offer a list of benefits for doing something.

  4. Share a list of some things to avoid.

  5. Relate your how-to content to a current event or a celebrity. Example: “5 _____ Lessons from Lady Gaga” or “What the Election Teaches Us About ____”

Use Existing Content

  1. Take the contrarian position. Find someone else’s article that you agree or disagree with. Introduce your blog post with what you specifically agree or disagree with it, and support your argument with a few concise points.

  2. Do a weekly or daily links-roundup of relevant news for your community.

  3. Find tips in other content, create a list of those tips and give links to those articles as the sources.

  4. Share an excerpt from an eBook or whitepaper with a call-to-action to download it for the rest of the information.

  5. Share an excerpt from an upcoming webinar with a call to action to get the rest of the content in the webinar.

  6. Share your slides from a recent presentation.

  7. Share conference takeaways.

  8. Do a round-up of last year’s/last month’s/last week’s most popular posts.

  9. Re-interpret existing content: Collect the top motivational YouTube videos for your audience, top eBooks, top webinars or infographics.

Research

  1. Respond to industry research with your own perspective. Offer a fresh angle to spark conversation.

  2. Do a survey with Survey Monkey among your community members and create an infographic based on the results.

  3. Do a poll of your Twitter community with a Twtpoll or your Facebook community with a Facebook Question and post the results on your blog.

  4. Do an in-depth case study about one company, or offer a few examples of how other companies do something successfully.

Thought Leadership

  1. Record an interview with an expert in your field and post it to your blog.

  2. Get experts to offer a tip and do a round-up of their recommendations.

  3. Feature guest posts from industry experts.

  4. Publish responses to frequently asked questions about your industry.

  5. Create a list of trends to watch.

  6. Compare and contrast: Different products, different approaches, different companies, different people, different places, etc.

  7. Do a review of other non-competitive products or services that your community cares about.

  8. Be a journalist: Be the first in your space to offer industry takeaways about breaking news.

  9. Explain what a current event or topic in the news means for your industry or community. Example: “What ____ Means for ____.” “Why _____ Matters for _____.”

  10. De-bunk common myths.

Make it About Your Community

  1. Interview your favourite customer.

  2. Post a Flickr slideshow of pictures from a recent event.

  3. Run a contest and give away something relevant to your community.

  4. If you have company news to share, talk about it in a way that makes it about the reader. Example: If someone gets promoted, talk about how they were successful. Inspire your audience.

  5. Publish a post relevant to the current season or holiday.

  6. Outline the top practical use cases for your product, service etc.

There you have a whole load of ideas which I hope help you. Now you got your ideas, know how and where to deliver them?

Download this eBook to give you the full picture:-

7 Steps to  Delivering Successful  Content Marketing

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing ideas, content marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, b2b web marketing, online marketing specialist

11 Small Business Marketing Tips

Posted by frank harris on 13/05/14 08:43

small business marketing tipsOne of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is underspending on marketing. It’s easy to get so excited and focused on developing your own product or service that you completely forget about getting the word out about your launch. By the time you go live and the sales just aren’t coming in, you can be so exhausted that you lose hope. But there are plenty of easy and affordable small business marketing tips you can take to give your business a leg up on the competition.

Common Challenges Of Small Business Marketing

Small business marketing itself isn’t hard, but finding the time and the energy to be proactive about it is tough. You might get lucky with your product launch by timing things well or just by word of mouth, but that’s way more often a rarity than the norm. There’s a lot of competition out there!

Another common challenge is realising the relevance of marketing. A lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners put it so low on the priority list that it gets lost. I know several people who spent hours building custom websites and packaging for their products, paid hardly anything on marketing, and then lost all hope when the sales didn’t come in that they completely gave up after a few months.

Pitching your product and brand is not always easy, especially if you’re an introvert, but it’s a part of doing business. You got to get out there and spread the word. People have very short attention spans these days and information overload, so you have to do your research and be prepared.

11 Small Business Marketing Tips

  1. Put some marketing expenditure into your budget – You don’t have to spend a lot on marketing each month since nowadays there are a lot of free and cheap ways to promote your business.

  2. Network and get involved with your community – A lot of businesses were only able to grow and expand to their current size because they focused on making an impact in one small area first. So, sponsor community events, have a stall at a fair or farmers market. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!

  3. Get your business in public listings – Make it easy for people to find you. Get your business added to online review sites, and other listing services and search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Also try searching for online directories based on your niche and submit requests to get added.

  4. Sign up for an email marketing platform – Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing. I highly recommend Mail Chimp, which I’ve used myself.

  5. Utilise social media – It’s free to create a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn pages, Youtube channel, and Google+. A core component of branding and marketing today is leveraging these social media platforms. But it can be challenging to keep up with them all, so don’t go overboard signing up for every platform out there. Use apps like Hootsuite to post to multiple platforms at once.

  6. Build testimonials and learn from user feedback – People love to read positive reviews and hear feedback from other users. Highlight your best testimonials on your website. Offer ways for all of your clients to easily provide feedback via email, surveys, contact forms, and on-location.

  7. Create and maintain an updated website – Keep your product and service offerings up to date on your site. Stick with a clean design that’s easy to navigate on devices of all sizes, and be sure that there are multiple ways for people to get in touch with you and your team.

  8. Start tracking your results – You won’t be able to tell if your marketing has been well spent if you don’t spend the time to analyse your results. Look at how your phone, email, and social media leads have improved each month and pay attention to where they came from. Based on the outcomes you may want to change some of your strategies, pricing, and product offerings.

  9. Automate and improve your user experience – Remember when the only way to make appointments was with a phone and a paper calendar? Take advantage of cloud based platforms, that your team as well as new and returning customers can access anywhere from any device.

  10. Don’t ignore negative reviews – One of the downsides to more transparency for businesses in today’s world are the bad reviews that can pop up from angry, disappointed, and frustrated customers. Every business has to deal with these from time to time, and the faster you act, the better. Try to resolve the matters privately, but make sure to leave a public posting that you reached out to the client so other readers see you took action.

  11. Practice how to pitch your business in 10 seconds – The faster technology gets, the more our attention spans seem to shrink. Even if you’re not a natural salesperson, you should practice how to sell your business and its benefits in a few quick sentences. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, you want to be able to grab their attention quickly and spark their interest enough to continue listening.

Well there you have some, I hope, good advice. To make your B2B web marketing successful, why not download the FREE advice by clicking the button below:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: internet marketing consultant, b2b website marketing, small business marketing ideas, social media marketing consultancy

9 B2B Website Marketing myths expelled

Posted by frank harris on 10/04/14 09:56

b2b-website-marketingThere are many misconceptions about B2B website marketing. These days there is no reason why a business brand can’t make a quirky viral or deliver an innovative app.

But even B2B website marketers can get bogged down by common assumptions such as ‘direct mail is dead’ or ‘it’s all about content and nothing else.’ So here are 9 common statements about B2B marketing and why each is a myth.

1.    You can’t measure social media

Only if you are clear on what you are measuring against your objectives. B2B marketers often look at campaign effectiveness when they should look at the bigger picture. You can use methods such as how a posted link or user download leads to conversion.

With the right tools, such as Google Analytics and content experiments, companies can measure ROI, share of voice, social traffic and much more. You can easily carry out sentiment analysis of online content to establish the attitude and tone of contributions, adding meaning to the statistical analysis.

2.    Direct mail is dead

We sometimes think DM belongs to the past, thanks to online technology. But, internet communication is a breathing life back into this marketing technique. We live in an era of online messages, so, due to offline being a less crowded marketing space, direct mail still allow opportunity raised awareness and still offers an opportunity when used in partnership with digital.

3.    Big data is unmanageable

With the right planning and technology, brands can use the massive amounts of data available to their advantage. Big data can stimulate exciting, high-impact marketing. It unlocks new possibilities for B2B brands such as creative analytics, which can deliver significant returns. There may be some technology investment needed, which brings risk. View it as a vast library of information that can be drawn upon when needed.

Approach big data one tranche at a time don’t attempt to analyse it all in one go. Define what you want to achieve, and it will quickly become obvious which areas are most relevant.

4.    Email marketing is a quick win

Email campaigns are quick and easy to deploy. Companies should build email programmes that nurture prospects and customers for the upsell and resell. Those companies that integrate and automate a joined-up approach will grow much faster than those that don’t.

5.    I need a big budget to be able to do that

With content marketing – where fresh ideas and interesting perspectives gather awareness and generate influence – cognitive power is the new currency. You no longer need big budgets to spread your message, followers and connections will suffice.

6.    Content is king

Brands clamour to produce the best blog or social media content, yet it is still only one part of a much bigger marketing mix. Emphasising the ‘what’ we say without equal weight to the ‘why’ can distract from the true challenge of making connections.  Quality not quantity should be the driver. You don’t need to blog at least once a week, tweet every day, spend three hours a week on LinkedIn? People only bother reading your content if it is relevant, interesting and useful. The customer is king. Their needs should form the core of marketing activity.

7.    I won’t ever see eye-to-eye with sales

Marketing argue sales fail to effectively follow up leads, while sales argue marketing are spending the earned revenue. Both should be working to the same end; profitable business growth and happy customers. Each activity should be synchronised to deliver maximum impact.

Build a collaborative relationship. Sales speak to clients on a daily basis and provide valuable feedback to marketing on how messaging and campaigns are resonating in the market. Without sales input, marketing is really operating blind. Sales often haven’t understood the value of marketing in contributing towards qualified sales leads. Marketing is measurable. All the data produced by the business and its customers on every channel can now be brought together to provide actionable insight.

8.    B2B is boring

This is from the time before digital became a discipline. But now, B2B caught up with B2C in creativity in all digital channels. And at events, mobile shells provide highly engaging environments, using the latest technologies to stand out.

9.    Mobile isn’t a priority

A business customer doesn’t stop being one when they leave their desk. Smartphones now have virtually all of the facilities of a laptop. On your way home, see how many people are concentrating on their small screens. The smartphone is now a remote control for life, and that goes for business, and almost any form of communication that isn’t face-to-face. Companies not embracing mobile should be making it a priority, and then capitalise on opportunities that enables the direct targeting of messages to ‘active’ customers who are searching for a specific product or service.

Advancements in mobile technology mean B2B brands have a great opportunity to show off their innovative side too by designing engaging on-the-go versions of their websites and creative apps.

One area you should be using to help gain traffic is blogging.  Download the FREE eBook below to find out how to grow your reach:-

How to Increase your BUSINESS BLOG Reach

Tags: b2b website marketing, small business marketing ideas, internet marketing specialist, small business marketing consultant uk, inbound marketing

Personalisation in Small Business Marketing isn’t what you think

Posted by frank harris on 26/02/14 08:50

personalisation-in-small-business-marketingBeing involved in small business B2B marketing, I have become more familiar with personalisation as we recognise the need to tailor digital experiences to individual users.

Rather than just customising a digital experience according to what someone has clicked on, true personalisation suggests that the type of content someone consumes is far more important to building long-lasting and deep relationships.

What’s the first thing you think of when someone says the term 'personalisation?' If you're involved in small business B2B marketing, chances are you’re quite familiar with technologies like HubSpot, Marketo and Eloqua. But the point is that personalisation isn’t just about tailoring the digital experience to how a user behaves. It’s really about tailoring the digital experience to match the kind of relationship that a user wants with your company.

It’s all about relationships

Whenever you reach your personas, you form a relationship. It can be positive, or negative. It can be strong, or weak. It can be fleeting, or long-lasting.

When and wherever your personas engages with you, history is established. That’s why doing business is all about relationships.

People want different relationships from a company 

Not everyone wants to watch a video or read a long piece of content or even look at pictures. Some people may just want some bullet points or to hear more from your customers.

That’s because the kinds of content that personas consume reflects the kind of relationship they want.

Consider the following illustration that captures four basic relationship types. Each type has a different kind of engagement style. One wants to be left alone while another wants as much attention from you as possible.

Of course, these types are not inclusive. There can be other relationship types and other names. But this tries to demonstrate that not everyone wants to interact with you in the same way.

small business marketing personas resized 600

 

What’s important to understand is that people change their relationship type like they change their socks. One moment they want nothing to do with you and the next they want to be your best friend.

How content type reflects relationship need 

Of course, there is no hard and fast rule to this but generally speaking, a deeper relationship type is far more likely to spend time with your content than someone who just “wants the facts.”

So in plotting the relationship types that we outline above to different content formats, you might come out with something like this:

  • You don’t see me. Wants bullet points and datasheets on the website; self-service information that is short and to the point; they might watch an occasional video…or maybe just the first 10 seconds.

  • Acknowledge. Still wants the bullet points and datasheets but might like to see what you are doing on Facebook; may even 'like' a post; is much more willing to read a case study or watch your video.

  • Attention hound. They love those blog posts, the content that may have nothing to do with your product and everything to do about you; they are active on Facebook and eager to click and share posts/links against which they can comment some more. Video is definitely a go, especially when they can discuss it.

  • BFF. You wrote an e-book? Then, I’ll read it. These people believe in your company. They are part of the tribe and will commit the extra time to read and engage with long-form or video content.

How personalisation fails today

The problem isn’t that digital experiences aren’t all being personalised, it’s that they aren’t taking into consideration all of the data elements that should be used to implement a personalised experience.

When our personas are looking at a specific product, we 'personalise' the experience by giving them all of that product content. We don’t stop to think that they were more interested in the bullet points than the video (or vice-versa).

We’re just that it’s missing a major component, how personas want to engage with your company.

What correct personalisation gets you

Each time you engage with your digital persona, it’s called a transaction. And each transaction has a positive, neutral, or negative outcome.

If the ultimate goal of business is to form deep and lasting relationships with customers then the bulk of those transactions have to be positive by giving people what they want. 

By personalising the digital experience not only against how a user behaves but by what kind of content they have been consuming, you create the opportunity for more positive transactions.

You give them what they want…how they want it.

Solving the problem today

Companies need to understand that personalisation isn’t just about offering different pages of content.

It’s about serving up the kind of content that the user wants and that requires a mind-shift.

But once that shift has been made, when a company recognises that personalisation is about cultivating relationships, they can produce all types of different content formats for all of their products.

That way, they can at least have content available that appeals to every kind of relationship. And that is a step closer to true personalisation.

Personalisation is about getting leads and converting them.  Being personal in your content reaps more success. And, as I say above it's all about content.  What's content? and how does it give you success?  Find out by clicking the button below:-

Content Marketing’s Role  in Getting Leads


 


Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing ideas, b2b marketing consultants, content marketing, online marketing services

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