- Know your customer. Consider developing customer personas, using surveys or conducting other research to make sure you really understand your customer base. Put yourself in your customer’s place to “see” every step of their journey, from discovering your business all the way through the sales process and follow-up to view your business through their eyes, then make a list of improvements to increase your ROI.
- Create marketing campaigns designed to engage and delight - and based on the customer’s needs and wants. Many businesses make the mistake of creating marketing campaigns designed solely or primarily on their own desire to sell rather than on what motivates their customers to buy. Look for customer pain points and position your product or service as a solution to those problems.
- Learn to delegate. As a business owner, you can’t be everywhere at once, nor can you always do everything that needs to be done. Delegating tasks to trusted employees or by outsourcing them to other agencies helps you focus more on other opportunities that can enable you to grow your business and your bottom line.
- Always be innovating. Successful businesses know they need to create new products or services (or improve existing ones) to stay fresh in their customers’ minds. Think of ways to reinvent your offerings, even if it’s just through a discount, coupon or other incentive, or consider offering ancillary products or services.
- Look for new marketplaces. In addition to creating new products or services, being innovative also means looking at that product or service in new ways to determine where else it might be of value. Try a new ad or social media campaign and track the results. In addition to discovering new customers, you might also develop new ideas to repackage or “retool” your product to draw wider attention.
Business owners know they can’t rest on their laurels and expect to remain competitive - or even viable. They need to continually look for new ways to grow and expand. But many business owners struggle with the growth process, overthinking their strategies and becoming frustrated or overwhelmed. The good news: Business growth doesn’t have to be complicated - in fact, it shouldn’t be! Here are five simple steps to help you take your business to the next level:
When executed correctly, social media is a cost effective way of reaching an infinite amount of people anytime, anywhere. The challenge with social is rising above all the noise. So how can your small business stand out from the crowd and get your message in front of the right audience? Below are 6 tips that can boost your sales through social media.
Video is changing the way users consume content, especially now with Facebook Live video. Video is a key to success, and your business should be using it! It’s important to keep in mind that most videos are viewed without sound so it’s best to design your videos as short silent films that can be understood without the use of audio.
People love to be a part of something and social media is a great place to build a community among your audience. By offering your followers an offer only available to them they will feel as though they are a member of an exclusive club. This offer will also help you to draw in more social media followers once word spreads around.
Offer a Free Trial
Offering a free trial or a demo is a great way to convert leads. People will feel less of a risk associated with trying your company out but will also gain trust since you are being transparent and showing you have full faith that users will be impressed in what you have to offer.
Being known as a “solutions” provider adds value to your organization, and positions your business as the “go-to” for answers. Educate your prospects and customers and you will draw from near and far.
Your web presence should not just be a “static” brochure. It needs to inform, educate, and draw prospects so you can capture their interest, and their email, for future communication. Use offers and “CTA’s” to accomplish this, and drive traffic to your site using your social media accounts, and social advertising.
Social media has opened up a whole new frontier for targeted, effective advertising. According to Pew research, 79% of online adults in the U.S. use Facebook, and Facebook has a level of detail on each user that is a veritable treasure trove of information.
Your website can be a powerful sales tool, but only if you know how to convert your site visitors into paying customers. That’s where conversion optimization techniques come into play - all the steps and “tricks” you can use to motivate casual visitors to become diehard fans of your service or product. While established major brands can rely on word-of-mouth and a long-term market presence to drive a considerable amount of business, SMBs - new or established - need to know how to use CRO techniques to tap into a broader market and to keep sales strong. Here are some of the top techniques that can help you improve your site’s conversion rates:
CRO is not a one-time deal; it’s an ongoing process that demands continual attention and routine action. The “up” side: All that time you spend on your site can yield some major dividends, helping you grow your brand - bottom line.
When it comes to retooling a marketing plan, most SMBs focus on major projects like a complete redesign of their website or an extensive email campaign. But the fact is, while major efforts can certainly be successful, sometimes all it takes is a little tweaking and fine-tuning to breathe new life into an existing campaign. And one of the best ways to do that is to focus on your calls to action (or CTAs), those pithy bits of text that invite potential customers to place an order, request a “freebie,” opt in to an email list or take some other action that moves them forward in your sales funnel.
CTAs are typically short and to the point, and while they may seem easy to write, their brevity is deceptive - in fact, many business owners completely miss the mark when crafting CTAs for their marketing campaigns. Not sure if your CTAs are pulling their weight? Check out these tips:
Need some inspiration? Hubspot offers some examples of effective CTAs here. Take an hour or two this week to evaluate your CTAs, then do a little split-testing to assess your results. The benefits to your business will be immediate!
There’s no doubt that in today’s techno-centric marketplace, it pays to be social, and linking your social media accounts can make it a lot easier to manage them. Since both Facebook and Instagram are under the same ownership, it makes sense to link these two powerhouse platforms. But how do you do it - and why?
Here's the how ...
The first part - how to link your accounts - is pretty simple. All it takes is a couple taps or clicks to complete the process, and Instagram has the step-by-step instructions for both iPhones and Android phones on its site here. Be prepared for the usual sequence of permission pages and privacy settings to allow both accounts to “communicate” with each other and determine who sees your posts (in this case, your friends on Facebook). Having separate business accounts on each platform prevents accidentally posting personal pictures on your business page. Pretty simple, right? Now, what are the benefits of linking?
... and here's the "why"
The primary advantage of linking Facebook and Instagram? ( Get ready, it’s corny) A picture is worth a thousands words. Yes, you’ve heard it hundreds of times before, but it’s true - people respond more to visual images, and using photos and videos is a great way to promote your image and underscore your brand. Linking the two apps makes it easy to share the images you want your audience to see.
Yes, you can use other apps to share photos - you can even upload them directly to Facebook from your computer. But because Facebook owns Instagram, these two platforms are designed to work together - and that means you get the most traction and the greatest ease by pairing the two. Plus, you can tap into exclusive functions that make it easier to track and manage your social presence on both platforms so you can be more effective in driving sales and building your brand presence.
Finally, linking your social media accounts sends the message that your brand is well-established and trustworthy. All the “big brands” do it, and by joining the push toward social media integration, you position your company as one that’s forward-thinking and in-step with its customers’ evolving needs.
Not sure how to get started? Don’t let the process overwhelm you. Working with a marketing company takes the guesswork out of setting up and managing your accounts so you can focus on your business and your customers.
Pinterest has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, today hosting more than 100 million active users, or pinners as they're called. While some businesses have been quick to adopt the platform as a powerful promotional tool for their products and services, others have been slower to move, often because they're “bogged down” by the idea that Pinterest is primarily for craft and recipe ideas, or that their audience simply doesn't use the platform.
Not so – and if your misconceptions of Pinterest have been keeping you from promoting your business on the platform, you're missing out on some significant benefits, including a much longer life cycle for your content and the potential to significantly expand your customer base. If you're not sure how Pinterest can help your grow your business, here's what you need to know in a nutshell:
Boards and Pins
Pinterest lets users post content to boards they set up around specific themes or ideas. As a business, you want to set up boards that are related not just to your product, but to your audience as well; like any other type of marketing content, Pinterest content must be relevant to be effective.
Pinterest is a visual platform with each pin associated with a specific image, so when creating content, you need to think not just of the words and pictures on your site, but also of the image you'll use to promote each bit of content on Pinterest. You can use your own images or you can subscribe to a stock site to find the most appropriate images.
Analytics, Rich Pins and Promoted Pins
Business accounts have access to a wealth of analytic information to make it easier to learn what's working and what's not, and promoted and rich pins make it easier to reach new audiences and provide additional “at-a-glance” information that makes it easier for pinners to connect with your business.
I don't have time to add another social media site to my marketing plan
We hear you, but the fact is, Pinterest is so popular, if your business doesn't have a strong presence there, you'll be missing out on a big piece of the marketing pie. If learning and maintaining a new platform seems overwhelming, consider hiring a marketing company to do the grunt work for you, so you can focus on running your business while still reaping the rewards.
Every SMB owner knows the value of having a great website when it comes to attracting business – not just from online customers, but from local customers as well. Your business website serves as your calling card, demonstrating your authority, reflecting your brand and also building your reputation. But as important as a great website is for growing your business, when it comes to marketing on the internet, your site is just the tip of the iceberg. To really grow your client base (and your bottom line), you need to develop and implement a robust inbound marketing strategy.
What is inbound marketing?
You may not know what the term inbound marketing means, but you're almost certainly familiar with it. Simply put, inbound marketing includes the collateral you use to draw clients into your site – blogs, social media posts, newsletters, ebooks, podcasts and videos – in short, any type of online marketing content you offer to your customers. Of course, creating content is just one part of the inbound marketing process. You also need to know which type of content will resonate with your customers, where to offer your content, and how often to offer it, among other considerations. You'll need to decide whether offering a broad array of content types is the best approach or if focusing on a couple types – say, a blog and social media posts – is a better strategy. Ideally, you'll develop a detailed profile of your customer base – and prospects - to help you answer all those questions.
One of the benefits of inbound marketing is its ability to help you build trust with your customers so they feel confident in your product and in your company – and, hopefully, become vocal supporters of your brand. Building that sort of trust takes time, and that means you need to commit to your strategy for the long term in order to reap the rewards.
If it sounds like an involved process, well, that's because it is. In fact, many businesses find building a really responsive inbound marketing plan takes a lot of time – sometimes, too much time. If developing and implementing a responsive inbound marketing strategy sounds like it's too much for your business to handle, never fear: hiring an experienced marketing company is a great way to enjoy all the benefits of inbound marketing without taking time away from your business or your customers.
To learn more about inbound marketing, or to get started, contact our marketing partner, Clarity Marketing, at 860-658-4361, or visit their website at claritymarketingct.com
Our blog today focuses on a topic that we believe can bring enormous ROI for businesses. While it has been around as a marketing tactic for some time, it is still not ubiquitous – which gives businesses a golden opportunity. Read more about this important tactic, and then take action – before your competitors do!
Without a doubt, social media has become one of the chief advertising venues available to a marketer. From crowd sourcing to crowd funding, a company can find everything from investors, to clients. Using video is a powerful way to capture the attention of your target audience(s) – and to get them in to your sales funnel. Here are just a few reasons why:
Social video is powerfully engaging – Marketing professionals have long recognized the power of video. Research indicates that shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to initiate a purchase than non-viewers and 40 percent more likely to increase their overall purchases as a result of viewing the video. In short, social video provides an emotional punch that is not equaled by mere audio or static images.
Social video is highly informative – A picture may be worth a thousand words but a video provides an even more evocative message. In fact, a video crams more info into a 3- second clip than a static image can provide in a full 10-second viewing. Social videos also allow you to experiment with editing techniques, narration, and video lengths (30, 60, 90, and 120 seconds) so you can develop multiple pieces to use for A/B testing.
Social video has an enormous audience – Just as an example, Facebook reported 8 billion daily – yes, daily! – video views in 2015. That number will only grow. Regardless of how you feel about the effectiveness of social video, it cannot hurt to have your marketing message heard on such a broad platform. With all the other social networks out there – Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest to name just a few – your video message can easily reach millions of viewers over the course of its lifetime.
Social video provides great ROI – Social video owns the all-important 18 to 33 year-old demographic so you are reaching the right people with your message. In fact, the millennial segment will comprise over 75% of the global market and they are uniquely attuned to video due to their upbringing in the Internet age. Video is also relatively easy to repurpose for various social media channels and that turns into more bang for your marketing buck.
For more information on video marketing strategies, please contact our marketing partner, Clarity Marketing, at 860-658-4361, or visit their website at claritymarketingct.com
American consumers love a good media romance – and that goes equally for men.
First the charms of email caused them to turn a cold shoulder to direct mail. Then social media came strutting along, bewitching consumers with its blindingly fast speed and huge scope of influence. Now they are reaching back and fondly reevaluating the allure of direct mail.
This reignited media romance portends real staying power, and not only with people who “came of age” with it but also with millennials. Consider:
Make your recipients swoon
Clearly, the once jilted medium of direct mail is proving to be a significant other like - no other. You're smart to use it as a marketing tool – and twice as smart to use it wisely. Integrate these four pointers to maximize the “pull” from your direct mail efforts:
To bring greater focus to your direct mail efforts, call our office at 860.653.0547 and let us know that you want direct mail as a part of your marketing efforts! We can help!
Few things strike fear into a business owner’s heart quite like navigating Google’s various services. Anyone who has seen the analytics dashboard knows that Google isn’t always for beginners. That said, the services they offer, both free and paid, are priceless for online marketing. One such tool is Google AdWords.
What exactly is Google AdWords?
The biggest draw to Google AdWords is its ability to adhere to your budget. For small businesses with limited marketing funds, this is essential. Beyond that, Google Adwords works on multiple levels. You’ll start by choosing ad formats and features and deciding where your ads will appear on Google. Next you'll select the right keywords, bid on keywords through a keyword auction, measure your ad's performance, and, only pay for results.
Keywords are the primary focus of AdWords. When someone searches a keyword, it triggers your ad to be shown. There are some other intricacies, like the keyword auction, which Google uses a formula for to determine what you’ll pay. It looks something like this:
The Ad Rank of the Person Below you /Your Quality Score + $0.01 = Your Price
However, the most basic explanation for Google AdWords is this: come up with keywords that get your ads noticed and clicked on while targeting the right audience.
Here are the steps you’ll take to get going:
Google AdWords is Good for Business
So why is AdWords so good for your business? Number one, its flexible and measurable. As a company, you can see what’s working and what’s not. Plus, you won’t have to pay for things that don’t work at all. AdWords also allows extensions. You can add images, links and contact information. Partner sites gives you wider exposure, and you can learn about and narrow your audience with a slick tool; gather information like time of day you're getting clicks, locations, browsers and devices used.
Other key benefits are that Google AdWords often works faster than SEO. It also has proven to be more engaging. Most importantly, as stated before, it lets you set a maximum cost per day for your advertising campaign.
Google’s tools may seem daunting, but you can’t reap the rewards if you don’t try. Businesses benefit from using every tool at their disposal, and Google Adwords is a pretty handy one.
Just when you thought every social media marketing channel and method had been created, a new idea seems to emerge. Facebook is one of the original players in the social media spectrum, and with their newest invention, Facebook Live, they prove that they’re still innovators. The business and marketing buzz has begun, which means it’s time for companies to learn what Facebook Live is, and how they can use it.
Facebook Live is a Powerful Connection
You may be asking: What is this Facebook Live, and why should I bother to use it? The answer is simple—not only does it allow you to reach your followers in a unique way, it also lets you generate new followers.
Facebook Live is the power to broadcast anytime, anywhere. All you need is your mobile device with a camera to make it happen. Not only that, but Facebook Live gives you instant reactions. You’ll know if what you’re doing is of interest to your customers and potential customers instantaneously through their comments. And, you can interact: If a customer has a question while you’re broadcasting, you can answer it right then and there—Live!
How Can Businesses Use Facebook Live?
Probably the most infamous use of Facebook Live to-date is the father who accidentally broadcast the birth of his child to the world. Although it created quite a stir, businesses can be far more strategic with their live content.
Whether you offer a service or product, Facebook Live is an excellent tool. Some ways it has already been used include:
• Product unveilings
• Product demos
• Weekly shows
• Staff features
• Customer of the week features
• How the services or products are used
• Behind the scenes
• Breaking/important news
• Weekly features on solving issues customers are having
Planning and Using Facebook Live
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to go into Facebook Live without a plan in mind. You need to approach it as you would any other marketing plan. Determine your audience, infuse the content with your brand, decide when, how and what you’ll do. Design a schedule for creating and airing your live streams. And always:
• Ensure the content is educational
• Promote to your audiences in advance
• Optimize lighting and audio
• Come up with short, enticing titles
• Engage your audience during broadcast
• Add a call to action
• Utilize the edit tool after broadcast to maximize the effect
Those who get in on the ground floor of something exciting often gain notice, which is why your business should consider signing up for Facebook Live- today.
Want to learn more? Read this guide from Hubspot for an in-depth view on how to actually operate this powerful service.
Social media platforms constantly ebb and flow. Within the latest-and-greatest and on-the-way-out social media tools are a steadfast selection of platforms that businesses should be using. Along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Instagram has remained a favorite among users. But you may be asking yourself: how can a photo site help my business? Before you start learning how to use it, it’s important to know what Instagram is.
Instagram is More than Photos
Instagram is a way to share your life—or in a business’s case, a story—through photos and videos. It’s a way to let others ‘see’ what you’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis. Further, it’s instant. With a simple app, you can point, shoot and share what’s going on.
So How Does a Business Use Instagram?
Before you sign up for Instagram, familiarize yourself with the Instagram for Business Blog. You’ll find tools, tips, ideas and more to start your campaign. It will also show you how to navigate the site and app. Next, start exploring Instagram accounts of businesses in your industry. Take note as to what works for followers, and how you can transform ideas into your own unique marketing campaign. After you’ve got a grasp on how Instagram works, it’s time to look at how to use it:
Getting Started on Instagram
Like many things, the early days of using a new tool takes practice. You’ll want to come up with your strategy, and then test times that you post. You’ll discover when your audience is watching and engaging. Make sure to tie in Instagram with your other social media accounts and overall marketing plan. You should have a goal; to use Instagram to increase website traffic, get more sales or increase brand awareness. Even if you have different themes or campaigns, they should always have a cohesive, recognizable underlying brand. Instagram is an excellent way to entice your visually-oriented customers, and allows you to expand your marketing in a creative and fun way.
Still hungry for more information? Here are links to two articles that may help. The first is in the Sprout Social Blog, and calls itself the “Instagram for Business Complete Guide”. The second is in Entrepreneur, called “Why Your Business Should Establish an Instagram Presence ASAP”
Businesses are becoming wise to the fact that social media is a big part of today’s marketing. Facebook and LinkedIn have offered excellent platforms to connect, network and offer information. However, businesses that have learned to harness the power of 140 characters find immeasurable success on Twitter. And while that seems appealing, there is also an art to using this action-packed platform. Creating a brand and campaign that can be heard within all of the endless noise takes thought and a little bit of know-how. Here are five things about Twitter you need to know before sitting down to Tweet.
1. Your Profile Counts: The minute you sign up for Twitter, it’s time to extend your company brand to the home page. Personalize what people will see when they visit your profile. If you’re just another bland color and picture, you won’t become recognizable. Whatever you use to establish your brand, make it approachable, appealing and be sure that it represents the goods or services you offer. Hint: Research what others have done and what stands out successfully in a positive way.
2. Engage: Let’s say you see a less than positive note about your business. Use Twitter as a way to show your stellar customer service skills. Customers want to be heard and acknowledged. Twitter isn’t just about promoting what you do, but also an opportunity to masterfully offer elite customer support. It doesn’t hurt to thank people for five-star reviews, either.
3. You can Find Leads and Meet Other People in your Industry: Do you sell garden tools? Follow gardeners, gardening book authors and landscapers. The key is to build a network of people interested in your industry, including other like-minded businesses. Another key to making this aspect of Twitter work is to respond to others. Don’t miss opportunities to engage by ignoring your account.
4. It’s a Great Place to Show Your Casual Side: No one wants to see promotion, product, services..ad nauseum. Use Twitter to show what else your company does. Do you bring dogs to work? Volunteer? Go bowling as a company? Just be human. Remember: don’t sell; educate.
5. Connect your Social Media: Twitter is an excellent tie-in to other social media accounts. Tweet links to informative and helpful blog posts, announce Facebook giveaways or send customers to your latest how-to video. It’s ideal for showing people everything you have to offer.
Many businesses never expected that the internet would become the place to connect with customers and engage them. However, the past decade has proven that the landscape of marketing has changed. Other than the few pioneers that heartily hopped on board, the rest of the business world has trudged semi-willingly along. They’ve conceded that having an online presence is just about mandatory, and that it is something that requires more than a few seconds of thought.
Establishing a presence is only the beginning. To use branding, online marketing and social media engagement to its fullest you have to map out a master plan—and adjust it when necessary. Content is king—it’s true—but many other platforms and tools are essential as well. They become the queen, castles, knights and bishops of the marketing chessboard. All the players and components must work together to optimize your overall strategy.
Where Video Fits In
Adults that are online frequently are avid video users. Visual content is an excellent opportunity for businesses to find a captivated audience. For a lot of businesses, the question is: What types of videos or visual content should I be creating? It’s a question that often deters people from attempting to use YouTube and assorted channels as one of their online marketing venues. Before ruling it out, realize it can be a strong marketing tool. Five benefits of using video include:
Ways to Use Video to Your Advantage
By creating short, interesting videos you can reach a large number of leads and customers. Make sure your videos translate well to all devices: monitors, smartphones and tablets. Post your videos at peak viewing times for your audience. Design your content to target your audiences’ passions and interests. For international businesses, consider putting videos in multiple languages.
It’s a brave new world in marketing, and a few calculated risks are worth the effort. Video draws your high-value audiences, making it an enticing and effective marketing tool.
Want to learn more? Contact our marketing partner, Clarity Marketing: www.claritymarketingct.com
Are you confused by the term “inbound marketing?” Don’t be. According to Hubspot, Inbound Marketing is “about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more”.
Inbound, then, is getting your audience’s attention – and then keeping it, with digital as a primary method.
1. Attract Your Customers
Specifically, according to Hubspot, attracting the “right” audiences is the key. Trolling brings in a bit of everything. Spearfishing aims at what you want. So think “spearfishing” and not “trolling”. Blogs, SEO tactics, and even your webpages are important components. Don’t overlook them.
2. Gather Their Data
Hubspot calls this “Converting”. We say it’s “collecting”. Regardless, those visitors are leads that you want to be able to get back in touch with. Hubspot says that best practices include: simple forms, definitive “calls to action” (download something, do something!), using specific landing pages, and using a CRM for storing of data and easy retrieval.
Does your business have a sales funnel – of any kind? Have you sketched out the steps in a prospect’s journey to become your customer? A good CRM system, marketing automation, even email, can be used. Know what stage your prospects are in the funnel, and provide meaningful, relevant content that will persuade them to become a customer.
Keeping your customers is critical! Hubspot says using methods like surveys, social monitoring tools, and others helps to ensure that you keep your customers delighted – and potentially make them interested in more of your products and services.
Want to learn more? Contact our marketing partner, Clarity Marketing, at 860-658-4361, or visit their website: www.claritymarketingct.com
As a small business owner with many roles to fill, you may be flummoxed as to how to make social media work for your business. Beyond all the hype and the hearsay, there are very straightforward strategies for using social media in a way that will bring you the most value for your time. Here is what some of the leading experts have to say on the matter.
1. Use a System
According to Duct Tape Marketing, your social media marketing campaigns can and should fit into a carefully bound system. Who can keep up with a random campaign that may not be effective? When you have a system (like a content calendar), all you have to do every time you want to run a new social media campaign is plug in your specifics; timeline, goals, target demographic, etc.
2. Utilize Audio and Video
Social Media Examiner is a big proponent of using audio in the form of podcasts to reach your social media audience, in addition to the now-requisite video. With a little as a 10-minute podcast every day, you can drip-feed your social media crowd your marketing messages. Audio is trending right now because people have only so much time to read. With podcasts, you can connect with your customers while they shop, drive, or exercise.
3. Use Visuals
Did you know that 40% of people respond better to visuals than to text marketing?
Michael Stelzner, also of Social Media Examiner, helps teach small business owners the importance of using visuals in your social media marketing. It’s easier than you think to use visuals, even if you’re not a graphic designer. Share photos, illustrations, graphs and charts to convey your marketing message on social media.
4. Keep it Fresh
The American Marketing Association recommends that you keep your social media fresh. What that means is:
• updating your business profile image so it’s current
• adding new contacts frequently
• sharing relevant current events and stories in the news
• regularly following other businesses that may benefit your customers
5. Use Viral Headlines
There is definitely a pattern when it comes to viral headlines. The pattern changes as trends change, so we won’t share any here, but Marketing Profs suggests doing your own research to find out what the viral headlines are in your industry.
Follow these five suggestions about using a system, utilizing audio, using visuals, keeping it fresh and using viral headlines, and your small business social media marketing will reflect your efforts. Want to learn more? Contact our partner, Clarity Marketing at 860.658.4361, or www.claritymarketingct.com
A marketing communications plan is an organized method to create, manage and maintain communication with your customers, prospects, and within your organization. It can be comprised of a logo identity, branding, print media in the form of direct mail or advertisements, digital advertising, social media, customer relations management (CRM) platform, and more. Every smart business owner and marketing manager understands the power of an effective marketing communications plan, but many do not take the time to actually create or implement one – and that is a mistake!
Why a Marketing Communications Plan is Important for Your Small Business
As a business owner, you may underestimate the need for a marketing communications plan. You may feel that your business is too small to bother with a formal plan. Or, you may be under the impression that only large companies and corporate giants have the need for such a robust marketing tool. On the contrary, small businesses need the value that a marketing communications plan provides, often even more than large companies. Here are just some of the reasons why a marketing communications plan is important for your small business.
It Helps Streamline Your Marketing Budget
Most small businesses have very limited funds for marketing. Every marketing dollar must be carefully managed in order to extract the most value. With a marketing communications plan in place, small business owners can monitor the results of all their marketing expenditures, culling the ones that don’t produce, and streamlining the budget to cover only the marketing expenses with a high ROI.
It Keeps You Organized and On Track
Small businesses are especially sensitive to the reality that when things get busy, marketing often takes a back seat to other priorities. Building a marketing communications plan helps solidify your commitment to consistent activities aimed at achieving your business objectives. The plan also helps you to clearly identify responsibilities and milestones, as well as allowing advance work to be done during slow periods.
It Helps Profile Your Customers
An integrated marketing communications plan can go a long way toward helping you profile your customers and subsequently categorize them according to their various preferences. The information gleaned from a successful plan can be utilized to help form the basis for future product development, improved customer service, and creating viable solutions to documented problems that your customers and clients face.
When you have a clear profile of your customers and their needs and wants, you can better position your small business to provide valued service and products to them. In turn, this strategy will help your business to grow and continue to prosper over the long term.
It Should Be A Priority
Building a marketing communications plan for your business should be one of your top priorities as a business owner. Without one, there is a high probability that you are missing opportunities to gather important data about your business and its customers, and that you will probably neglect your marketing when it matters most.
If you haven’t prepared a plan yet for this year, we highly recommend you do so. Need help? Contact our partner, Clarity Marketing, for assistance: 860.658.4361, www.claritymarketingct.com
There are lots of pages that make up your business website, but one of the most important can be a landing page. A landing page is different than any other page on your website, and it serves a unique function for your business enterprise. Here are the basics of what you need to know about landing pages.
What Is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a page of a website that has one basic purpose. That purpose is to focus your web traffic toward a point of either a) gathering contact information or b) making a sale. Now, the form that a landing page can take varies a great deal, and the purpose of the page may even be obscured to the site visitor. Nevertheless, all landing pages will have one of those two reasons for existence.
What Is On a Landing Page?
In order to fulfill one of those purposes, the landing page must have a form of some kind. The form may simply request the visitor’s email address, or it may be a full checkout form, bringing the customer through a point of sale. All landing pages, however, will have at the bare minimum a single-field form that must be completed by the site visitor. Keep in mind, when using forms as a “gatekeeper” feature, that “less is more”: asking prospects to fill out long forms (i.e., more than name and email address) increases the probability of losing them.
A landing page may also have information about the company or its product or service, including “gated content.” Gated content is content that is accessed through an informational gateway from the landing page. Ideally, the information will be only a “teaser.” That is, the reader will learn just enough to be enticed to click on the links on the landing page to go to other pages on the site to learn more in-depth information and to access the gated content.
What is the Goal of the Landing Page?
Landing pages can have many goals, but one that all landing pages share is the ability to engage the visitor to stick around long enough to submit your form or enter through the informational gateway. As such, landing pages do best when they are simplistic in structure and focused on the call to action. First, tell your visitors why they need your information, then tell them what to do and where to click. That is the essence of a goal-oriented landing page.
When you have a good landing page in place, you will decrease your site's bounce rate, generate more leads and, add measurability to marketing campaigns, and, ultimately, acquire more sales.
Google Analytics is a tool that Google provides free-of-charge for businesses to view and collect data on their website traffic. Website owners are, naturally, interested in information and behavior regarding site visitors.
If you are a small business owner, you need to start using Google Analytics right away.
Why Should You Install Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can tell you (among many other facts):
How to Install the Google Analytics Tool
To get your website started with Google Analytics:
Now that you have the free Google Analytics tool installed on your website, you can start using it to start tracking data. When you first log in, you’ll be on your overview page, which is a summary page. From there, you’ll have access to 50 reports about your website performance and traffic. Just click on the “Reports” link to access all the available insight data.
You can customize the reports by clicking on the dates to change the view. You can compare date ranges by checking the “Compare” box, which is an easy way to compare this month’s data to last month’s, etc.
You can hover over graph lines in Audience Overview mode to see details about the graph results, including details about what each graph line indicates.
As you can see, Google Analytics is a robust tool that small business owners can use to bring their business to the next level – and is a tool that you should be using – now!
The concept of pay per click (PPC) is almost as old as the Internet itself. In fact, once private interests decided that they wanted to monetize the network, their first strategy was to create search engines! The first internet search engines were “clunky” affairs – not least of all because there was a dearth of sites. Eventually, more refined engines such as AltaVista, Omniseek and Lycos arrived. Then in a second iteration, Yahoo and AOL dominated the market until Google, and to some extent Microsoft's Bing, took over.
Search engines obviously make money for the providers. The real question is “Of how much benefit are they to the purchasers?” The argument is fairly settled for most companies as a resounding “Yes!” but there are still naysayers. Here are just a few reasons that PPC is valuable for small companies:
• It is flexible – From home grown sites to social media giants, it is relatively easy to develop and deploy a PPC campaign. Of course, Google dominates this space but that does not mean that the “Big G” does not offer real value to its clients. In short, Google just wants its piece of the action.
• It is measurable – There are dozens of metrics that can be tracked about PPC marketing as opposed to more traditional advertising efforts. This fact means that multiple strategies can be implemented and then the most successful(think “A/B”) according to the numbers can be more broadly employed.
• It is customizable – The inherent measurability of PPC marketing allows it to adapt to the marketplace far more rapidly than traditional advertising. If a campaign falls flat on its face it can be readily changed within a few short weeks. Compare that time frame – and cost - to changing a direct mail campaign!
• It is affordable – Without a doubt, the ROI on PPC is outstanding. Clients can decide to fractions of a cent what they want to pay for broad-based initiatives or for focused client acquisition efforts. Quite possibly, you'll never have an argument with your CFO again.
Developing a solid PPC campaign can be difficult without the proper tools and knowledge, and should usually be part of a larger scope, omni-channel effort.
Mobile Internet usage has officially overtaken pc access so if your small business is not mobile-friendly, you are losing out on a large percentage of potential clients. Further, 70-percent of customers connect with businesses on their mobile devices and the American Marketing Association is predicting 2.2 trillion dollars in sales will be generated in sales with the flicks of fingers on mobile devices in 2018.
If your small business does not have an effective mobile marketing strategy in place, your competitors will be getting the lion's share of those sales. The time is now to prepare your small business for massive growth with mobile marketing.
Mobile Marketing Defined
Mobile marketing is the practice of focusing your promotional efforts to users of handheld devices such as smart phones and tablets. To ensure the success of mobile marketing for your small business as a portion of your multi-channel marketing strategy, there are two crucial elements to consider:
Optimization for Mobile Viewing and Use
As screen sizes vary for mobile devices, the content for your mobile users must be able to adapt easily. If you are using one website for all marketing purposes, you might opt for responsive design since it is fluid and can scale according to screen size. What most small business owners neglect to adjust however, is the content portion of their site. Bear in mind that what appears as a few short paragraphs on a computer screen will look like an epic novel on a 5-inch screen. Trim down the wording as much as possible and employ simple navigation tools that are easily accessed on a handheld device.
Mobile-Friendly Conversion Tactics
In keeping with the theme of reduced content designed for mobile users, you will also have to scale down your method of conversion. Depending on the type of small business you run, you might consider offering product or service discounts that require only a simple email entry or QR codes that can be scanned to lead in-store customers to your downloadable coupon. Whatever you choose as your conversion tool, be sure to use minimal steps and effort so you won't lose customers during the process.
Your share of trillions of dollars in mobile sales awaits provided your small business optimizes its mobile marketing efforts. Is your mobile experience ready for the challenge?
Without a doubt, running a small business can be one of the most daunting but rewarding enterprises around. To begin with, there are a multitude of decisions to be made and priorities to be assigned. One of the most important of these is properly deciding on and branding your business, or even specific products or services. Your business should be branding both visually, and in your messaging, as well.
On a regular basis, we'll update this space with relevant content to help you market your business. Our goal: value with each post.