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What Google’s Ad Changes Mean for Your Business

The world of marketing has found a very natural home online. That’s where the businesses are; that’s where the audience can be found; and that’s where the money is. Everything from creative content to purely promotional posts can be found online, each assisting with an overall marketing strategy.

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Spearheading that change is Google. Not content with providing the world with split-second search results, they swiftly dominated what is essentially the world’s most famous billboard with advertising. Appearing at the top of the page are relevant paid-for adverts, while on the right-hand side, you’d expect to see more adverts from Google Shopping.

Why Google Removed Ads

Well, you might’ve done once upon a time. However, at the end of February, Google opted to remove all adverts on the right of the screen. There are several reasons for that change. For starters, Google found that browsers simply didn’t click on those adverts. Then there’s the fact that the majority of people on Google are searching using their mobiles, which don’t even have right-hand adverts.

There is another added bonus too. Without the ads, the page looks a lot cleaner, visually. This is one of the main (if few) reasons that people have consistently rated rival search engine Bing as better than Google. But a bonus for general users still has knock on effects for businesses, who fear that with the removal of ads equals a major drop in brand awareness, website hits and, ultimately, the bottom line.

But is that fear justified?

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Not exactly. It turns out that far from meaning the disappearance of small- to medium-sized businesses on Google, the removal of adverts has generally had next to no effect for smaller players, either good or bad. Partly, of course, that’s down to the low CTR (click-through rate) of right-column adverts – but it’s also being assisted by Google adding an extra banner advert to the top of the search results page, bringing the total to four.

Another worry was that it would mean having to spend more for less; with space at a premium, the price would become premium too. Again, there appears to be no great change to the auction-style bid process that Google’s ads have always used, and overall, the CPC (cost-per-click) hasn’t dramatically risen.

These changes do have wider ramifications though – as you’d expect from our old friends Cause and Effect. Specifically, if your business is focused solely on marketing through SEO, you could stand to lose out, as the old ‘organic #1’ spot has been replaced by the ‘paid ad #4’. As such, you may notice a lower organic CTR.

How to Deal with Change

In fact, the only way to face changes such as these is to embrace them. And that means ensuring you have a fully integrated marketing strategy, which encompasses both SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) tactics, not just working together but totally complementing each other.

What these changes to Google’s adverts really mean is that we’re entering an incredibly exciting time, for marketers and companies. It means you can craft even better ad extensions – the brief description of what you offer – for paid-for ads that have a wider audience. It means you now have the perfect opportunity to review your website, studying how to improve the experience for users. That, in turn, means upping the site’s quality, which enhances its organic search potential on Google.

If you’d like to discuss Google’s latest changes and how we can work together to help grow your business please contact on 01483 200 387.

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How To Be Successful At Marketing

I imagine that all businesses want to be successful at marketing.

So what’s the secret of success?

The simple answer is that in most areas of life including marketing, success is dependent on knowing and following a formula.

Now I know that new disruptive businesses like Uber are being massively successful. But unless you’ve got a completely new business model up your sleeve, you’re back in the need to know the formula group.

Take film as an example – find your hero, put him in a really difficult situation and then let him sort it out.

Hollywood has always known the golden rule: Keep to the winning formula and you’ll make money.

The Formula For Being Successful At Marketing

Marketing is no exception. It has its own very simple formula:

Target. Nurture. Persist.

And why is this the right formula for marketing?

Because you’re selling to people and people like to buy from people they know, like and trust.

Now we know this formula is right because it’s unbelievably hard to sell stuff to strangers.

The secret is to build a relationship first, after which the selling becomes comparatively easy.

How do you put this formula into action?

This is the bit where most businesses fall down – the execution.

And this is where I can help.

My formula works as follows:

Create an irresistible customer proposition, which differentiates you from your competitors.
Build these messages into your website, so that it converts visitors to enquirers.
Include a lead magnet which generates contact details.
Set up an auto responder sequence and ask for the order (that might be an actual sale or a free consultation).
Send regular emails to the database, build relationships and trust and allow prospects to buy from you when they’re ready.

I know the formula works because I’ve refined it over the last 10 years into a dependable and predictable business generator.

If you follow the formula almost anyone has the ability to be successful at marketing.

Good luck.

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What Do Your Customers Really Want?

Do you know what your customers want?

I mean what they really want.

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When we buy anything, the motivation is always “what’s in it for me”. What will this product do for me?

There are a number of almost primeval buying motivations which drive most of our purchases:

    • Will it make me more money?
    • Will it save me time?
    • Will it make me more beautiful?
    • Will it make me more attractive to the opposite sex?
    • Will it make me feel better?
    • Will it make me healthier?
    • Will it make my life better?

People don’t care about you or your business, they only care about what you can do for them. To be successful you have to appeal to your customers’ self interest.

We don’t buy what we need

When it comes to making buying decisions, in most instances we don’t buy what we need, we buy what we want.

There are so many product categories that prove this – no one needs designer brands, sports cars, ipads etc. There are always cheaper, more functional alternatives but we want these items so we justify to ourselves why we should have them.

What this means is that so many purchases are made not for logical reasons but for emotional ones and you need to recognise this in your marketing. You need to appeal to people’s emotions as opposed to their logic. You always need to explain to your target audience what they will get from your product – how it will make them look, how it will make them feel, what other people will think of them when they see them with it.

Once we’ve set our sights on something we want, we then go about collecting the justification for the more extravagant package.

Last summer I needed to buy a new car. I’m not really interested in cars so it wasn’t anything fancy but the extras made it more desirable and more sexy. Did I need the extras – no not really but I did want them.

So how did I justify it to myself. The blue tooth functionality gave me the ammunition I needed. With blue tooth I could talk legally on the phone while driving. To be honest I do actually need that (having been done for talking on the phone earlier last year) but it made the decision easy for me.

So when you’re creating your sales materials remember people buy what they want and then justify it as a need.

Don’t fill your collateral, especially your website with boring information, especially not boring information about you and your company.

Instead focus on making them want what you sell because if they want it they will find the justification.

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Are You Still Doing What Used To Work

When I first meet with new prospects, one of the questions I always ask is what they did to build the business to the present size.

When most businesses start out there is very little disposable cash but a burning need to get some customers and quickly.

So the business owner will do whatever it takes. This often involves the most hard nosed and gritty sales activities cold calling, knocking on doors etc. It might have been tough but it delivered results and generated enough business for the company to get up and running.

Run the clock forward a few years and the business has plateaued. It’s reached a reasonable size and is generating a living for the founder and his staff but it is no longer growing. Hence the reason that I get to meet with the owner.

Having asked how they generated business in the early days, I then ask if they are still using those sales/marketing techniques.

The answer very often is no.

That hard selling approach was hard work.

Now there’s more cash in the business, other more expensive methods are used which often aren’t as successful and although the business owner is frustrated at the lack of growth, the idea of reverting to those early techniques either simply does not occur or it just seems too much like hard work.

So as an exercise now, take 10 minutes with a blank piece of paper and think back to when you started your business or even activities you may have done at a previous company.

What marketing activities did you do to generate new business enquiries?

What were the systems you had to convert prospects into customers?

It may be that not all of them will be appropriate today but you may be able to adapt them to something that is appropriate.

So remind yourself of all those techniques you used to use and assess whether they would still work. Having identified the winners, all you have to do now is decide how you’re going to make them happen. If you don’t want to do them yourself you can always employ someone else to do them for you.

After all, if they’re going to grow your business it’s worth following through and making it happen.

 

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Five Rules on How Not to Use Social Media

I recently read this blog from Marketing Profs and agreed with all the points. So much so that I thought I would reproduce it word for word.

So with full acknowledgment to Marketing Profs………………

Social media is a very powerful thing, but like any powerful thing it can wreak havoc if misused or misdirected. First of all, always remember that social media is built around being social.

Being personable, honest, and entertaining is the best way to get users to interact with and about a business. You want users to trust and be entertained by your company, product, slogan, or marketing campaign, so then they turn around and do the rest of the buzz work for you.

The five rules that follow are fundamental to building users’ trust, interesting them in your business, and getting them to talk among themselves about it.

Rule No. 1: Don’t be dishonest

Most of us have been taken in by a false post a time or two. Discovering our credulity, we felt embarrassed and disappointed, and in response developed an acute awareness of duplicity: We are on the lookout for it, and we hate it when we see it. Overtly dishonest posts, comments, and reviews that are thinly disguised promotions… we don’t like them and our customers don’t either, so just don’t go there.

The flipside of this distaste for fakery is that Internet users appreciate straightforwardness and honesty. So rather than respond to a negative review with fake positive reviews, publicly respond to the reviewer. Offer her discounts or a way to fix the problem, and you might win over a vocal customer who can potentially do far better work for you than any PR department or reputation manager.

Rule No. 2: Don’t be annoying

Remember the chain emails of the early 2000s? Sure, those things went viral quickly, but nobody appreciated them. In the same way that you don’t lob useless information or advertisements at your customers’ inboxes, don’t spam their Twitters with less-than-brilliant blog posts or promotions. If you focus on making your promotional content engaging, Internet users will do most of the promoting for you.

Look around to see what promotional techniques other companies are using to get users talking. A popular tactic these days, for instance, is to give away a free service. What service could your business give away that would likely interest those who subscribe to your Twitter feed or who have “Liked” you on Facebook? A generous promotion builds trust and loyalty with users, and can be a great way to get them talking about your site with friends.

Rule No. 3: Don’t fight the nature of the Internet

Promoting a product or a service online is a tricky business, as piracy, theft, and sharing are rife. If your product or service is threatened by the openness of the Internet, then try a different approach.

Look at how the music industry has responded to the widespread availability of free music. Musicians have shifted their emphasis to live shows and even give their recorded music away for free, in an effort to gain a following and get their name and their sound out in the world. They depend on their fans to talk them up on social media and get people to their live shows.

Think about it: Many of the biggest companies online—including names like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and Pandora—offer their services for free. Is there a way you can make money by offering a free service? See where you can adapt your business to fit to this new model.

Rule No. 4: Don’t think social media will solve all your problems

Social media is merely one tool for a business. A great one, to be sure: it can be used for advertising, for gathering customer feedback, for getting your brand out there, and more.

But it works best in concert with other efforts. Consumers will get tired of your products and services if you simply keep promoting the same ones. So encourage creativity in all parts of your business—product enhancements, new products, new ways to provide a service, new markets—then use social media to promote all that is fresh and exciting about your offerings.

Rule No. 5: Don’t treat each new social media sensation as the Holy Grail

Of course, it’s great to have as many promotional outlets as you can, but the risk is that you grab more than you can really handle and let one or two fall by the wayside, doing damage to your image as an active, living, customer-focused company.

The other danger is running after each social media fad of the moment. Focus on what works and then pick up new channels deliberatively, after you figure out how best to use each new one.

Remember that users of social media want to interact with people, and they all have their own motives and goals (whether that’s to impress their friends or find a job). If business professionals and marketers can remember those two fundamentals, plus the social media Golden Rule—to treat their users as they themselves would like to be treated–they will be well on their way to making social media work for them.

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Content Marketing -The New Approach To Small Business Marketing

Content marketing is when you provide your audience with useful and valuable information on your subject of expertise.

Some of the most savvy small business owners today, use content marketing to educate their prospective clients and engage them.  For example, they write regular blog posts, which offer useful information that will be of direct interest to their ideal prospective client.  Then, when these people need someone with your expertise or products, you become massively more likely to get their inquiry and business, than some guy they find in a directory.

So, today’s informed small business owners are transitioning from pestering people on bought lists to attracting inquiries by regularly showcasing their expertise.

When handled correctly, this can be an amazingly powerful form of marketing.  It’s also a fraction of the cost of advertising and mailings etc, and the results can be amazing.

Today, it’s all about producing regular, valuable content

The primary challenge with content marketing is the content.  Great, regularly published content to be exact.  Previously, business owners needed to be careful not to put too much information in front of prospective clients. Today we have the exact opposite situation!  Today, the most successful small business content marketers, publish information for their prospective clients several times per week..

If you want to join the new school of small business marketing, it requires some new skills and a mindset change.  The mindset change is easy enough.  It’s the shift from pushing sales messages to sharing ideas or education.  It’s about remembering that whilst people LOVE to buy things, they HATE to be sold to.

The skills required are easy enough to learn, but they take time to master.  Content marketing, which includes; blogging, newsletter marketing, article marketing, videos etc, requires regular content.  It’s no good producing 3 bits of content marketing one week and then nothing for the next month. You need to produce valuable information on a reliably regular basis.

So if you want to profit from this new educational phenomenon, start regularly sharing your expertise with your prospects. You will soon start being regarded as the expert in your field and business will in all likelihood follow shortly afterwards.

Business Development Advisors can help you grow  your business and take it on to the next level. If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

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Good Marketing Means Good Sales

If you want to know how to be good at marketing, you have to understand that people like things to be easy.

The easier you can make it for customers to do business with you, the greater your chances of success.

So when asked what are good marketing techniques, one part of your answer has to be simplicity.

I’ll give you some examples:

1. Your website must to be easy to navigate around.

Of course your site must be full of valuable content but equally important visitors must be able to find their way around the site.  Keep your site clean and clear and make sure that information on particular topics is all located together. It’s important that your site loads  quickly and that all your links work.  The easier your prospective clients can navigate your site, the more likely they are to stay on the site and to find what they are looking for. This of course means they are more likely to contact you

2. Information must be laid out in a way that makes it easy to find

While content is king, visitors are influenced by the appearance of your site. The layout shouldn’t be too busy or crowded and information should be laid out in bite size chunks. People don’t want to be faced by large swathes of text. They want to be able to skim your text, looking for the information they’re interested in. Bulleted lists, short sentences, clear writing will engage your visitors.

3. You must communicate precisely what you do

You have approximately 8 seconds to engage your visitors. You must make it crystal clear what you do right up front so that people can decide to stay on the site.

4. Make it easy for people to contact you

Different people like to make contact in different ways. Give them your phone number, email address and social networking details on every page. Additionally include a contact form on the website and even a physical address as this will increase trust.

5. Social proof increases trust

Use testimonials liberally on the site. Video testimonials are much more powerful than written ones. They prove the authenticity of the testimonial and add human interest.  If you have won an award or reached a certified level of achievement within your industry, make sure people can easily see it.

6. Always include a landline number

Don’t use a premium rate number or a mobile number as your primary contact number. Mobile numbers suggest there’s no substance to the business and why should a prospect pay over the odds to contact you. Use your normal number and be proud of it.

Put yourself in your potential customers’ position. How often have you aborted a purchase or an application for something because the process just got too difficult. Be sure to make your customer experience as easy as possible.