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Does Your Business Use Facebook Ads?

Facebook could be described as the world’s second-largest billboard (with Google at number one). But advertising on Facebook is a whole other beast to appearing on search engines using Google Ads or even Bing Ads.

Creating ads on Facebook is a relatively easy process – it’s designed to be as simple as possible, because not everyone has a degree in computer science! What’s more, compared to advertising on Google, Facebook is an affordable way to promote your company online.

If you aren’t currently using Facebook ads, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity.

Facebook ads can achieve a variety of different objectives from promoting specific products and offers, to building brand awareness and engaging and increasing your social media audience.

Social media is what I like to call a ‘fleeting medium’, in the sense that a Facebook post you write today could very well be forgotten tomorrow, replaced by another great post by your business. Rather than seeing this as a negative, advertising on Facebook positively plays on social media’s fast-paced and modular nature.

A/B Testing

If you’ve done email marketing before, you’ll be aware of A/B testing, and how it can help produce superior results. Facebook offers precisely the same ability, in which you can test two forms of the same advert, and see which performs better before launching the successful advert to a wider audience.

Reach a Mobile Audience

Much of today’s browsing occurs on mobile phones – a fact Facebook fully understands, given that they have well over 1 billion mobile users logging in each month. That’s a vast audience you can reach with your adverts.

Take Control

Want to change your advert’s design? Facebook is ideal if you’re concerned about spamming people with the same images and videos over a period of time, allowing a greater level of creative control when it comes to switching out one advert style or message for another.

Facebook, however, has one single killer app that blows search engine advertisement out of the water…

Audience Targeting

While Google, Bing and Yahoo! have a lot of coverage, with around 12 billion searches each month on Google alone, they lack the laser-focus offered by Facebook.

Facebook ads and boosted, or promoted, posts can be targeted to precisely hit the right market for your business. You can choose age, location, gender, and even associated interests, and even what’s known as lookalike profiles; those profiles who are similar to your existing customers in a single country.

The social network even allows you to exclude your existing customers in order to attract strictly new clientele. That means rather than taking a scatter-gun approach to online advertising, you can pinpoint the exact market you want to reach.

There are some huge benefits to using Facebook advertising to complement your wider marketing strategy, and given that much of today’s marketing occurs online – and in the hands of mobile phone users specifically – Facebook offers companies the opportunity to promote themselves, their services and their products to even larger audience than has ever been possible before.

If you’d like assistance in successfully marketing your business both off and online, simply contact me on 01483 200 387 to find out how I can help.

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Why Your Marketing Funnel Should Be Like A Production Line

Have you ever thought about the similarity between a marketing funnel and a production line?

Marketing funnel

Your marketing funnel should operate like a production line

I’ll show you what I mean.

Virtually everything today is produced on a production line.

Cars are the classic example.

As the car progresses along the line, robots put the thing together.

First there’s the chassis, then the engine, the doors, the wheels, the wiring etc etc.

The car starts off as a few unrecognisable components and as it moves down the conveyor belt it gradually takes shape until it drops off the end as the shiny finished article.

Your marketing funnel should work the same way.

The processes should be planned and refined so that your prospects enter the production line (marketing funnel) in a raw and uncommitted state and are moved through the process and slowly start to look more like a customer until they come out the end the finished article, ready to do business with you.

So what should the stages within your marketing funnel look like?

Stage 1 Prospects arrive as complete strangers and you have an initial engagement with them.

Stage 2 Your auto responder series starts providing them with information, advice and benefits and they start to form a positive opinion of you.

Stage 3 You continue to give them relevant and valuable information and advice and they start to like the way you interact with them and to trust your expertise.

Step 4 You make your pitch to them –  to make a sale, arrange a meeting etc.

Step 5 They interact with your sales team and drop off the production line as beautifully formed, ready to drive customers.

So that’s the way your marketing funnel works and as I said it’s just like a production line. There are a set number of steps for prospects to go through and success depends on you having a seamless and well oiled process in place.

The prospect must be moved along the conveyor belt with each process kicking in automatically.

If you haven’t got one, your marketing will be a bit like British Leyland in the 1970s – unplanned, old fashioned and likely to disappoint you.

So what’s the solution?

Two options spring to mind.

  1. You can hope that BMW offer to buy you for several billion quid.

Or

  1. You can get in touch with me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or 01483 200387 and I can help you set up your production line.

 

 

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What Do Your Customers Really Want?

Do you know what your customers want?

I mean what they really want.

focus-what-you-need-sharp-bright-red-want-front-row-plain-gray-needs-blurring-receding-distance-white-32012842

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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Why The Content Of Your Website Is So Important

Recently I was checking out the website of an SEO guy I’d met at a networking event. As websites are at the very heart of this guy’s business, I was expecting the website to be technically perfect, maybe not very inspiring but put together with the ultimate care and attention to detail.

Well was I ever disappointed.

It was a mess.

It was littered with typos and grammatical errors. Now you could argue that this isn’t important and the only important thing is whether he can get my website to a prominent position on the first page of Google. My impression wasn’t helped by the fact that his website wasn’t ranking highly for what I thought were his most obvious keywords.

Moving away from the example of this one company, the question is whatever business you’re in, how important is the spelling, grammar and over all presentation of your website?

Coming back to my SEO scenario, I immediately started to form an opinion about him and his business standards and that led to my conclusion of shoddy website content = shoddy workmanship. I could be completely wrong, of course but if I’d come across that site purely via a Google search I would immediately move on to other sites that look more professional and show that they care about how they present themselves to the world.

I believe that words really do count when it comes to websites. After all, for the most part, it’s the written word that is doing the hard work on any website small businesses have to rely on their website content to get across their key messages and find a compelling way to engage with customers in order to keep visitors on their site for more than the 8 seconds that you have to persuade them to stay. Your website content is your business voice, so if you want to build trust and credibility, the words, grammar, punctuation and layout on each page of your website are vital.

The Internet has presented us with so much choice that we have to find ways of making decisions, applying various filters to get down to the final two or three businesses that we might purchase from. If the spelling and presentation let the site down, you’ve found a reason to discard that prospect.

We’re all concerned about our search engine rankings and now Google is focusing on the visitor experience and penalising sites that are written for search engines, we all should concentrate on the quality of the content and making sure that the site makes the best possible impression.

A little attention to detail, ensuring your site has no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or layout glitches, could make a huge difference to your visitor response.

 

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In Marketing More Doesn’t Always Mean More

Every day I work with small business owners, helping them to market their businesses more effectively.

With the cynicism that business owners have about marketing, the most difficult thing is usually to persuade them that they need to be actively marketing their businesses. But just occasionally I come across someone who really believes in marketing and who is frantically doing every marketing activity they can think of in the belief that the more they do the more successful they will be.

More doesn’t always mean more

While I have to admire their enthusiasm, in marketing terms, more doesn’t always mean more. If the activity is getting no response, simply doing more of it will give you even more of nothing, if you get my meaning. In fact doing more might actually be harming your business. People may actually start forming negative impressions of you and your business and may start unsubscribing from your list or start saying negative things about you.

If your marketing is having no impact there are two things you must do.

  1. Stop your activity immediately before you waste any more money and before you damage your reputation.
  2. Analyse what you’re doing and work out where you’re going wrong.

There are several areas you need to consider:

  1. Is there demand for my product? Is it solving a problem in people’s lives
  2. Am I marketing to the right audience?
  3. Do my audience all have the same needs or should I be tailoring my message of different segments of the audience?
  4. Is my message clear? Is it obvious what I’m offering and why people should buy it?
  5. Are the benefits clearly spelt out?
  6. Am I using the right communication channels is the message being delivered in the right way?
  7. Is the language I’m using appropriate for my target audience?
  8. Am I offering the right incentives to stimulate buying?
  9. Is my marketing co-ordinated? Does it all work together consistently?

The answer to the lack of success you’re having is bound to be contained within one or more of these questions.

You will need to honestly assess what you’re doing if necessary being quite brutal with yourself. Now I know how difficult it is to be truly objective with your own work, so if possible, bring ina third party who can look at what you’re doing and give you an objective and dispassionate view point.

Once you’ve identified what you believe to be the problem, make the changes and then start marketing again but in a limited and small scale way.

Monitor the results. If you’re now getting the results you’re looking for great. If not continue to tweak and trial until you get it right.

 

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When Are Your Prospects Ready To Buy?

Sales people are very fond of the line “A no doesn’t necessarily mean no – it  may mean not now”.

This is very true.

Be there when your customers are ready to buy

As a marketer you don’t know what stage in the buying process your prospect is at. If they don’t respond to your approach, it may mean they won’t be interested ever or it may mean that they’re not interested right now.

The point is everyone is at different places in the buying cycle.

Understanding that buyers are continually at different stages reinforces the need you have to build relationships with your list of prospects because the better the relationship you have with your database the more likely they are to do business with you when they are ready to buy.

Here are five things you can do to continually introduce people to your business, establish a relationship with them and be ready when they are ready to buy.

Always have something to invite people to

This can be a webinar, a tele-seminar, a live event etc. Pick a topic or idea that relates to your product or service and get started. This helps you connect with many potential clients all at one time.

Build a community

Communities are powerful because they give people a sense of belonging to something. From a business standpoint, communities build credibility by establishing that other people like you and trust you.  Holding an event , creating a forum or getting them to “like” your Facebook page allows people to connect and engage with you.

Keep your name in front of your prospects by providing valuable content.

Once a lead is in your system, your objective is to create content that will keep your products, services and brand in front of them.  The key here is to give away something that your prospects perceive as having value–something that will benefit them or solve their problems.

Have multiple points of entry

Create multiple ways to introduce people to your products and services. One point of entry might be through your website.  You can also use free reports, books, events, referral strategies, speaking engagements, articles written for publications in your niche or industry as points of entry.

Use a variety of media channels

Once you have figured out different points of entry, send content in a variety of formats so that you are sure to hit your customers’ communication preference.

Different people like to be communicated with in different ways. Make sure you communicate in ways that will appeal to as many people as possible.

Remember to get more clients and make more sales, you need to have a lead generation system in place that will continually supply you with potential buyers in different stages of the buying process. Create a system that starts the conversation and makes a connection, and when it’s time for them to buy, you will be the only logical choice.

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You Must Show Your Prospects That You Can Solve Their Problems

Show them you can solve their problems

You may have what appears to be a great small business marketing programme but is it giving you the results you want?

For your marketing to have real traction and to generate the levels of response you want, you have to answer the questions your prospects are asking and show them how you are the correct solution for them.

Remember, it’s not about you.
Spend most of your time talking about what your prospect cares about.  When you create marketing materials, you must remember that your prospect isn’t interested in you, your product or service. What they really want to know is what’s in it for them.

The rule of thumb is to spend a very small amount of time (only about 10% of your sales piece) talking about yourself.  You do this to establish your credibility and trustworthiness. Spend the rest of the time talking about what your prospects care about—which is their problems and challenges. Once you’ve discussed these, tell them how your product or service is the solution they are looking for.

Make a valuable offer.
Lead generation is an important component of your small business marketing. In these pieces you often see lines like “For a free information package” or “for more information.”

However, using the words “more information”  makes it sound like what you are concerned about—making the sale—instead of what your prospect cares about.

Instead try offering a free report or a free e-book which addresses their problem. This will still contain many of the same items as your “more information” would, such as samples and information about your product, but is more appealing for a prospect to respond to.

To discover what to put into your introductory kit or report, try getting on forums, social media sites and other places where you can survey people about what questions they want answered.

Use a headline, not your logo, at the top of the page.
A common mistake is to put your logo and branding at the top of a sales letter or to use letterhead when contacting prospects. Again, this says the focus is on you instead of on your prospect.

The most valuable real estate is at the top of your letter. Use it to put a headline that will have a powerful impact and determine whether or not your prospect continues reading.

Here’s something else – and it’s extremely important. Don’t use “wish washy language” at the end of your letter.  Don’t say things like, “If you are interested in finding out about ten ways you can ensure you will be prepared for retirement, call us 01483 200387.

Instead, use authoritative language in your call to action. Tell your reader what to do.  For example, say, “Complete the enclosed reply card and post it today to receive your free report on The Financial Planner’s Ten Secrets to Retiring Early.”

Follow these three tips in your lead generation promotions and more people will take you up on your offer.

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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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How To Use Special Offers In Your Small Business Marketing

Do you provide special offers to people, as a way to encourage them to buy from you?  Personally having spent a decade in promotional agencies I’m a great fan of promotions. If executed correctly promotions can be incredibly effective, but if done badly they can lose you turnover and profit.

The main objective of promotions is to generate increased sales and increased profits. So if you are reducing your margin, the additional volume has got to be significant enough to compensate for the reduced margin.

Sometimes promotions can be run to clear stock  and you accept the reduced margin as the price you pay to move unsold merchandise.

Special offers: Training the marketplace to wait

The first challenge with using special offers, is that if your customers know that you will run a promotion at a specific time of year you may just be training the marketplace to wait and buy at the reduced cost.

The proof of this is evident every year at Christmas.

If sales are slow in October and November, retailers start to get nervous and start price cutting. Immediately after Christmas the sales always begin. As a result more and more people are leaving their Christmas shopping until the sales start .

The result is that the retailers miss out on the full margin sales and have to accept the reduced  margin.

Special offers: The big brand approach

Major retailers, especially the grocers use promotions extensively and generate huge amounts of incremental turnover and profit.

Promotions are also used as a key part of their overall pricing and value strategy.

Their approach is based on promoting at slow times of year when demand is low. In this way they generate incremental sales.

The second element of their strategy is that the majority of the discounts or the extra product is paid for by the suppliers. Huge additional volume is generated and the retailer still receives full margin.

Special offers: The all year round “sale now on”

We have all seen companies, who always seem to have some kind of sale on.

This marketing strategy is actually quite different from the use of special offers.  The use of back-to-back “sale now on” messages, is typically used as a way to position a brand as a budget / value provider.

Unfortunately you can also see examples of  this in the SME sector. If you look through the Yellow Pages you will see some ads offering a 10% discount. This is bad marketing as they are either working on a massively reduced margin all year or they are going out at full price and the ad is deliberately misleading.

What level of discount should you offer?

We have all become used to deep cut promotions. Again the supermarkets have led in this field. Nowadays 50% off or buy one get one free have become the norm.

You need to do the maths on your offers very carefully as for many businesses a 10% discount is unlikely to attract new customers into the brand but will equate to something like a 30% reduction on the margin. If you are simply subsidising existing customers, your promotion will lose you money.

Special offers: Make your offers work

Here are some tips to help you make money from your special offers::

  • Add value – added value promotions such as 50% extra free will generate increased profitability if the additional volume more than compensates for the reduction in margin.
  • Scarcity  is a great way to generate sales. 25% off the first 100 sold is a proven way to make customers take action.
  • Limited time – you need to put a closing date on your special offers to force people to take action. Without a closing date there is no time imperative to buy.
  • Timed – special offers outside of the peak sales period will generate you additional sales in an otherwise quiet period.
  • Timing – avoid running a promotion at the same time every year otherwise customers will become wise to it and defer their purchases until  the promotional period.

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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Transform Your Small Business Sales and Marketing Success

If I were to tell you that there is one ingredient which we all have access to which can dramatically change the success of all your sales and marketing activities, how would you respond?

  • Would you think I was one of these slimy snake oil salesmen, who promise the world if you buy my new “get rich quick” scam?
  • Would you embrace me as the messiah and say you’ve been searching for this one elusive secret that will change your business and personal fortunes?
  • Or perhaps you’d look at me with an interested expression and ask me to share my secret.

Whatever your response, I’m very happy to share this magical new idea – it’s called enthusiasm.

Now before you start looking disappointed, I’m serious that enthusiasm can and will have a dramatic impact on your marketing and your sales success.

Imagine for a moment that you have two sales people in front of you.

One presents with passion and flair, using evocative language and engaging you fully in the presentation.

The other says basically the same but in a monotone, avoiding eye contact and with a demeanour that says he’d rather be somewhere else.

We all know who we’d buy from.

It’s the same with the written word.

Which of these two lines are you most likely to respond to?

“I have some information about our new product which you might find interesting” or “ I’ve got some great new information which I think will have real benefits for you and your business”.

Enthusiasm is infectious. If you’re enthusiastic about something, it tells me that you think it is good and have confidence in it. Your confidence and enthusiasm are transmitted to me with the likelihood that I take whatever action you want me to take.

One word of caution.

While enthusiasm is great and without it your sales and marketing efforts will struggle, over enthusiasm can be annoying.

If you are gushing and behaving like an excitable puppy, you are likely to put off and irritate your audience and come over as hard selling and pushy.

So review your website and marketing materials and check that you can hear an enthusiastic, confident and persuasive voice coming through.

Remember – enthusiasm sweeps people along with you and persuades them to do what you want them to do.

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 simply contact us through the contact page  www.bda.me.uk/contact