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

6 Tactics to Drive more Links for your Online Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 26/02/19 16:39

link building-1Secure links for clients and increase rankings, traffic and leads are important in online marketing. Here are 6 ideas for you to consider.

  1. Develop Reusable Content Campaigns

Thinking about content-led link building campaigns is much like advertising or traditional PR campaigns - you run a campaign for a period, get as much as you can from it, then move onto the next one. This can work fine but isn’t very efficient when it comes to budgets and resources because you often must start design and development from scratch.

 

Instead, think of content campaigns that can be reused and revamped repeatedly.  Being able to reuse existing content allows you to relaunch very quickly and easily compared to a brand-new build and design.

  1. Learn what Works across Industries

Learn from campaigns and feed those learnings into other projects. If something works well, it may work for another industry and you need to look for these opportunities.

 

Over the last year or so, I’ve been doing this and did an exercise where I mapped out the success of client content campaigns against the complexity of creating them. This gave me something that looked like this:

 

mapping

 

Each dot represents a content campaign. I then saw patterns emerging that were successful and not complex to create. This success allowed us to do campaigns without being overly complex.

 

If you’re not doing this yet, the best place to start is simply to start recording data against all of your content campaigns such as:

  • The number of links, no follow links and brand mentions generated
  • Date of launch
  • What type of execution you chose
  • If data was used or not

The list will differ for everyone, but the first step is to start recording this data and then start learning from it over time.

  1. Target Golden Publications for an Exclusive Feature

 “What are your top 10 dream publications to be featured in?”

 

This offers you a very targeted list of sites where, if you can get featured, will get more traffic.

 

Then choose from the list and offer a single publication an exclusive when you begin your outreach. The idea is to find a journalist who values your idea or data highly enough to want to be the first person to write about it online and share it with their readership.

 

This works particularly well if you have a unique or different data set. The time between publishing the data story and other publications doesn’t need to be that long – 24 to 48 hours can often be enough for a journalist to be happy that they’ve got it first.

 

There are a few benefits to this approach:

  1. You can almost guarantee a “big hit” right at the start of the campaign which relieves some of the pressure on your when you start your outreach.
  2. If you can secure an exclusive with a large newspaper, it can lead to lots of other newspapers/magazines following suit, covering the content without you asking.
  3. You can slowly but surely start ticking off your dream list of publications

      4. Outreach to 2nd-tier Linking Websites

One of the core goals of a content-driven link building campaign is to secure links from high authority domains which can then pass that authority (and traffic) to your website. The downside of this is that the high visibility and credibility of these domains means that they can often be credited as the original source of the story. Whereas, you are the original source.

 

This can lead to links pointing at third party websites rather than your own which is very annoying!

    5. Use Keyword Research for more Links

This is more of a passive link building technique but the time spent is pretty minimal and has a few benefits.

 

The idea is to see if your content relates to keywords which have volume. If it does, then integrate the keywords into the piece and potentially get traffic by ranking well for them. The core goal is rarely to rank well, it is usually to secure links, but the benefits of direct traffic are obvious and shouldn’t be overlooked.

So where does link building come in?

 

If you are working on a content piece that is data-led, you have an opportunity to get in front of people who are trying to find this data. Amongst those people will be journalists, writers and bloggers to name a few.

By thinking about this, you’re giving your content a chance to generate links that you didn’t ask for.

      6. Overcoming Link Building Blockers

Driving more links to your content isn’t just about your own actions, it’s about the actions of others too. Sometimes, their activity can get in the way of yours and you secure fewer links.

 

One of the most common blockers is when you have either an agency working on their website or their own internal team. This can present challenges because you want to sync up activity and not over saturate contacts or worse still, both target journalists at the same time.

 

A way to overcome this is to share your outreach plans with the internal team and agree on who owns which contacts or publications. This helps to create clear boundaries and reduces the risk of something going wrong, especially under GDPR.

 

Another tactic is to share your plan for content campaigns as far in advance as possible, then add any other campaigns so you can quickly highlight times when work crosses over. This means when you launch campaigns, you’re less likely to hit blockers because you’ll have overcome them already.

 

For more tips on increasing traffic to your website using online marketing techniques, click on the  link below>>>

 

A Guide to B2B Website Marketing  for Small Businesses

 

Tags: b2b online marketing, online marketing, link building, website traffic, b2b traffic, small business online marketing

5 Small Business Marketing SEO myths that can Hurt your Search Traffic

Posted by frank harris on 19/02/19 15:34

seo 0219Of all the digital marketing methods, small business marketing SEO is by far the most misunderstood. Constant changes to how people use the web and the role of search engines mean there’s always something new to think about.

 

Not to mention an endless stream of rumours and SEO myths that come along with each new development.

So here are five of the most common myths about SEO, because making the wrong assumptions about the state of search marketing is the fastest way to hurt your rankings.

  1. Organic Reach is getting Smaller and Less Important

While it’s arguably true organic reach on Google is getting smaller, it’s a symptom of something else entirely. For every ad, Knowledge Graph card or answer box on Google SERPs, there’s a new opportunity to connect with users. Most notably, we have the Google Maps feed which provides space for both organic and paid local listings.

 

There are also countless searches that still come back with zero ads, no local results or any other Google products. The key here is user intent and Google provides various types of results pages, depending on what people are looking for. Sometimes organic listings are the priority (informational searches), while other times ads (commercial searches) or local listings get the advantage.

 

If organic reach on Google is getting smaller, it’s because new ways of reaching a wider audience are being integrated. Today’s small business marketing SEO uses all of these to connect with searchers in a more relevant way.

  1. Content Marketing is the new SEO

In 2011, Google waged war on web spam, starting with the first Panda algorithm update. Since then it has tightened its policies on content quality, keywords, link building and the fundamentals of search.

 

This led some to argue content marketing had replaced SEO and that ‘quality content’ is all you need to rank. While it’s true content is the vital ingredient, it’s only worth creating if people get to see it. So technical aspects of on-site optimisation, how you handle 301 redirects, maintain your link profile or use deep linking to ensure the right pages of your site rank are as important as ever.

 

Content marketing hasn’t replaced SEO; it’s become a critical part of it. Meanwhile, search marketing has grown into something much bigger than content alone. 

  1. SEO plays a Smaller Role in Marketing Today

The rise of social media and content marketing had many predicting the end for SEO. Instead, search optimisation has grown bigger than ever as it overlaps with web design, development, user experience and everything else an online business needs.

 

Factors like loading times, mobile optimisation and security certificates are all direct ranking factors now. They also have an impact on other ranking factors, too, because poor experiences lead to higher bounce rates, fewer page visits and ultimately less valuable traffic.

 

The priority in SEO today isn’t only to deliver the information people need most, but also provide the best user experience possible. The aim is to improve the quality of traffic, keep visitors on your site for longer and give them every reason to keep coming back.

  1. Social Media Surpasses SEO

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your content and driving traffic to your website. However, there’s a key difference between the kind of traffic that comes from social networks and search engines.

 

Social users are casually browsing content until yours grabs their attention, while searchers are actively looking for it. That’s a huge distinction and the latter comes with the kind of high purchase intent you can’t afford to ignore. We’re at a point now where we must catch consumers at various points of the buying process to make sure they don’t end up shopping elsewhere. Some of these interactions take place via search, others on social media, in-app or even offline channels.

  1. Desktop isn’t Important Anymore

Google has announced what we already knew by telling us more searches take place on mobile than desktop. Many involved in small business marketing took this as a cue to forget all about desktop and plough everything they’ve got into mobile. This is a big mistake, though and another of our SEO myths.

 

Mobile is certainly the now and future, but the desktop isn’t done yet. There are multiple fears over mobile security, mobile checkout performance and the user intent of each device. The fact is people still complete the buying process on desktop more often than mobile - at least for now. What’s interesting is that both mobile and desktop conversion rates are increasing every year, although mobile is closing the gap.

 

So there are 5 myths removed for you, whether you are planning a new website or updating your work to get more traffic to your existing one.

 

For a complete up to date way to optimise your site follow the link below:

 

new website seo checklist

Tags: small business seo, small business seo marketing, small business marketing strategy, small business website marketing, small business online marketing, website seo

6 Tips on B2B Behavioural Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 09/01/19 16:19

behavioural marketingWith new technology, channels and tactics like B2B behavioural marketing available for interacting with customers and prospects, marketing is an ever-evolving discipline.

 

There’s a relatively simple concept behind much of this improvement - what someone DOES is important in deciding how to convince your personas most effectively.

 

Behaviours represent insight for the marketer to listen closely and act on that information.

 

When you use B2B behaviours to trigger interactions with an individual — the customer focus it encourages is the underpinning of improvement.

 

For many companies, the prospect of implementing behavioural marketing initiatives presents challenges and uncertainties that can prevent them from going down this path and grasping the benefits that can occur. These 6 tips will help you get started.

1. Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed.

With customer behaviours happening every second of every day, updating your existing processes to deliver ideal content at the perfect time for each contact in your database is daunting. However, you can use behavioural marketing to gain improvements over time and make measured, positive change.

 

As you begin your implementation, it doesn’t mean you have to change every marketing practice on one day. The key is to think of behaviours as a new way to look at your entire marketing effort.

2. Assess and Upgrade your Technology

Often, your existing email platform simply runs out of steam as your lists become bigger and your desires become more behavioural.

 

If it’s time to upgrade, spend time with your industry peers and understand which vendors have the best solutions for your business. Build ROI cases based on data from industry analysts and customer case studies.

3. Assemble the Right Team.

Behavioural marketing is a mix of art and science. We use our creative brains to model customer journeys, and scientific methods to track and assess events within those journeys, and then again use our creativity to deliver the best message at the right time.

 

Therefore, you’ll see effective marketing teams seamlessly blending the two skills together.  So, choose consultants or employees with these attributes. As the market is moving toward more quantified, personalised buying experiences build your competency now to pay dividends in your future.

4. Track and Segment Personas based on Website Behaviours.

Now you’re ready to begin. Start by capturing the behaviours of website visitors to link their actions to known users and tie behaviours to previously anonymous visitors if they identify themselves in the future.

 

You’ll need to work with IT to install the JavaScript tracking code. This one-time effort opens a customer-level view of behaviours that should flow into your marketing automation platform and become elements you can query.

5. Employ the “Next Six” Methodology.

How can you refine your marketing to be more behavioural-driven, whilst executing your current campaigns?

 

A good way to make this change over time is to improve in small chunks, over a specified period. This simpler view of change is that you only have to plan changes in groups of three to support a larger change initiative. And if you tackle three of these per quarter, you can change your marketing approach in the course of 12 to 18 months.

 

If you’re good at planning and delivering change, then the next step will be to add a third element like a CRM. Give yourself a year or longer to tackle these big efforts, but ensure you remain dissatisfied with your current state and always be moving forward.

 

Take the time to fully articulate your future state at 12, 18 and 24 months. Be very specific about what capabilities you’d like to have, and then back the changes required to get there.

 

6. Pick 3 key Behaviour-driven Automated Programmes to Build and Launch.

To start your behavioural marketing journey, consider focusing on these three specific programmes, which will yield strong returns for most businesses:

  • Cart or process abandonment - In many cases, a series of 3 messages will yield the best results. Spend time thinking about the pace and content of each of the three messages. The first should be within 30 minutes of abandon, the second should come the next day and perhaps feature an offer, and the final should happen roughly two days later and make your absolute best case for the purchase, trial download, etc.
  • Browse abandonment - Once someone visits one or more product pages on your site, your browse abandonment programme should automatically trigger a message featuring the best sellers in the category and include a call-to-action. By playing back content the person is interested in, you subtly reinforce that you’re paying attention, driving personalisation through the roof.
  • Welcome campaign - A comprehensive, well orchestrated welcome process can create an deeper bond with a recipient. You might begin a welcome series with a simple thank-you message, move on to content about your online offering, and close with an offer designed to drive the purchase. Keep it personal, light and informative and you’ll build a quick rapport with new customers, which often leads to more profitability later.

As you continue implementing more behavioural marketing tactics, you may have to go down a road that’s unique to your business but remember that rarely do bad things happen when you’re relentlessly moving forward. Be thoughtful and realistic, but don’t hold back. To help you further click the link below>>>

 

B2B website personalisation

Tags: b2b marketing tips, small business website marketing, website marketing for small businesses, small business online marketing, b2b web personalisation, b2b behavioural marketing

Small Business B2B Website Personalisation

Posted by frank harris on 04/01/19 11:04

website personalisationToday, web personalisation is a marketing activity that creates a more meaningful experience for your customers and generates better business results. How? The eBook associated with this blog will explore that question and more.

 

First, let’s start with an example that illustrates why web personalisation is a critical component of your B2B marketing activities:

 

As a small business, I hope you are not sending the same exact email to your entire database, even if it is well tested and delivers results. Your database is comprised of multiple segments and different types of customers.

 

Some people may be very new to your product or service, while others are long-standing customers, so sending the same communication, offer, or content piece to all is not effective.

 

But most companies are doing just that, daily, on their website. They offer the exact same experience to every visitor, every time, regardless of their behaviour or attributes. And each month, they do it hundreds of times as active prospects and customers visit their site.

 

So, while you understand how detrimental a repetitive experience is on email - often that thinking doesn’t extend to your website. And that’s a mistake when you think about how much of your interested audience you alienate every day by skipping the chance to speak to them as individuals on your website.

 

For a business whose activities drive toward key metrics - conversion, engagement, and increased lead generation, failing to utilise your website in the most effective way possible has a measurable impact. This is because your website is the hub of your marketing activities and web personalisation is proven to make that hub (and all your investments that drive your audience to it and keep them there) much more effective.

 

A report by VB Insight found that 87% of companies see a lift in key metrics (such as conversion rates, engagement rates and lead generation) when they employ personalisation. Within that group, 40% see an uplift of more than 20% in key metrics. Missing the opportunity to connect with your buyer ultimately means lost revenue, yet fewer than 20% take advantage of web personalisation to improve their results.

 

This fact is compounded by today’s expectation of instant gratification and a wherever/whenever

dimension to every aspect of online experience. Now, more than ever, your personas are better informed, more selective, and quicker to say no. Each day, they are bombarded with new marketing messages, so only the most targeted and relevant messages earn their attention. If your website doesn’t immediately address a buyer’s needs, they will bounce and seek or information from somewhere else.

 

So how do you create a website that accelerates engagement, conversion, and retention for your prospects and customers, and creates a more relevant experience for your buyer?

 

Just like you would not send the same email to your entire database, you do not want one, generic message on your website. To be effective and relevant for every individual or segment in your audience, you need multiple, personalised messages.

 

Web personalisation is a critical component of your marketing – from creating a great customer experience to driving better conversions.

 

The goal of the eBook is to provide an overview of the web personalisation landscape for small B2B business. It will help you learn how to create a personalisation framework for engaging your audience more effectively - specifically on your website.

 

This eBook is created for small businesses who are considering using, personalisation on their website and across their web channels.  You’ll learn:

  1. What Web Personalisation Is: This section defines web personalisation and how you can use it to create a dynamic, relevant web experience for your buyers.
  2. How Web Personalisation Helps Business: By moving the needle to enable them to deliver a continuous, personal experience to individual visitors at Personalised experiences result in increased brand preference and loyalty, improved conversion rates, and ultimately an uplift in sales.
  3. How to Create a Web Personalisation Strategy: We will walk you through how web personalisation fits with your overall marketing goals, your customers’ journey, how to define web personalisation goals and helps you identify early metrics to track.
  4. How to Select the Right Message: Content is the key to communicating with your audience, and it’s a critical component of web personalisation. This section examines how to choose and create the right content for your web personalisation activities and where to serve it on your site.
  5. How to Measure Your Web Personalisation Activities: Metrics provide the feedback you need to understand the success of your web personalisation activities. This section examines the different metrics you can use to measure success from engagement to conversion.

 Use the guide, that you can get from the link below, to help you get started, take your web personalisation to the next level, and drive revenue.

 

B2B website personalisation

Tags: small business website marketing, website marketing for small businesses, small business online marketing, small business web personalisation, b2b web personalisation

Making Sense of Small Business Marketing in 2019

Posted by frank harris on 18/12/18 15:29

small business marketing 2017When viewed in its entirety, building an effective small business marketing model can seem highly complex and somewhat overwhelming. Many entrepreneurs who are new to the world of small business can become so stressed over the marketing aspect it gives them headaches.

 

It doesn’t have to be that way if you approach your marketing plan with the right perspective. When I ask people the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” very few give me the correct answer: “One bite at a time.”

 

You can’t launch a business concept and not tell anyone you’ve done it, and if you’re going to tell the world you may as well do it such a way as to give your business the highest probability of success. MBA’s have turned business marketing into a comprehensive science, but at its fundamental core the concept is fairly easy to grasp and straightforward.

  1. It’s effectively communicating your thoughts;
  2. It’s conveying a sense of value and benefit;
  3. It’s building brand loyalty and trust with consumers;
  4. It’s maximising exposure to the target market;
  5. It’s generating profit and being successful.

Internet marketing for small business has provided entrepreneurs with a distinct advantage that affords the opportunity to be competitive with the major players in the industry. While your small business marketing efforts cannot compete with the economies of scale and scope employed by large companies, the ability to market for maximum exposure has levelled the playing field and reduced barriers to entry into markets that were once controlled.

 

If you combine those factors with your time advantage and ability to focus on niche services for targeted markets, you’ll understand how truly successful your small business can be in spite of the major players in the industry.

 

When I launched my first business, I had a small amount of knowledge about business marketing but that didn’t stop me from becoming successful. I committed myself to the process of lifelong learning and eventually this concept became comfortable for me.

 

Do not have any doubt in your mind that this will become comfortable for you as well over time, and as your business experience increases. There are people in the business world who are highly successful who have much less creativity and experience than you. Trust me, I know.

 

Remember that just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your marketing doesn’t have to be initiated at once. “Every journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step;” you’ll get to your goal one step at a time with patience and persistence.

 

The art and science of business marketing can be learned by anyone who wishes to pursue the path of entrepreneurial small business.

 

One bite at a time. Get more advice by following this link>>

 

A Guide to B2B Website Marketing  for Small Businesses

Tags: website marketing strategy, small business website marketing, website marketing for small businesses, small business online marketing

Small Business Marketing: Client/customer case study Template

Posted by frank harris on 14/12/18 14:17

b2b online marketing community-1Small business marketing case studies allow you to showcase your best and most successful work, so they are worth spending time on. If you’re not sure where to start, the template below will help you to make sure you’re answering the right questions to create case studies showing off your brand in the best possible light.

 

So use the headings for your template and the content for the questions or topics you should include to make the report a great small business marketing tool. 

 

1. Background

Client background

What does your client do? What product/service do they provide? Who are their customers and what problems do they solve for them? What is their business mission?

 

Their challenge

What were the business challenges your client was facing? What was the problem they needed you to provide a solution to? Be specific about this: identify the pain points, the barriers, the opportunities that they needed to address.

  1. Engagement

Why did they choose your product/service/solution?

Outline the selection process your client followed. What key selection criteria did they impose? How many suppliers were considered, and over what period? Most importantly, why did they choose you? What were the deciding factors? What made you stand out for them, above your competitors and the other market players?

How did you engage with the client through the sales process?

What was your pre-selection sales engagement process? Did you provide a face-to-face pitch, a written proposal, creative, or a technical specification? Did you provide references, a scoping workshop, a mile-stoned and costed plan?

How did you engage with the client through your account management process?

Be specific about your account management structure, and how it benefited the client.

What deliverables were agreed?

Spell these out

  1. Solution

How is the client using your product/service/solution?

How have they implemented it to fit their business model/customer needs/specific challenges?

What difference has your product/service/solution made to the way they do business?

How are they using your solution to solve their business challenge? How are you helping them with this? What has changed in the way they do things? Which pain points and hurdles have been overcome?

 

What is the client’s favourite thing about the solution you provide them with, and their favourite thing about working with you as a supplier?

Ask the client what they consider to be the top three features of your solution, and the top two benefits.

  1. Results

What metrics were used to measure success in this case?

What were the KPIs and critical success factors?

What were the results?

Ask where possible for hard numbers from your client: before and after stats to demonstrate the change and success you have delivered. It may be preferable to use percentages and trend figures rather than hard numbers, to tell the success story.

Find the human-interest story too.

It’s important to have a human side to the case study, alongside the numbers. For example: ‘Due to the production efficiencies delivered by your solution, the client’s foreman no longer must work weekends’.

  1. The next steps.

Do you have a plan in place to help your client grow their business even further? What else can your solution help them to do? How does the future look for your client, now they have your solution in place?

 

Now you’ve got some case studies in place ensure you promote them on the best social media channels for their industry. For more on how to use social media channels click on the link below>>>

 

Nurturing Leads in  Small Business Marketing 

Tags: b2b small business marketing, small business marketing strategy, small business website marketing, small business online marketing

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