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5 Simple Secrets To Get More Traffic To Your Blog

So, you’re a regular blogger, writing high quality content. Obviously you want to drive as many readers to your blog as possible.

There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your blog – social media being one of the most important. So you put out a tweet on Twitter with a link to the blog post and what happens?

Very little.

So why is this? You’ve got hundreds and maybe even thousands of followers. Why didn’t a substantial quantity click on the link?

Now of course at any one time not all your followers will actually have seen the tweet even if you repeated it several times.

However the main problem will be that your blog title or headline wasn’t compelling enough to persuade your followers to click on the link. We all only have so much time to devote to Twitter and we will only invest time in blogs which really attract and interest us.

The headline or blog title are the single most important part of a blog post in the same way that it is on an advertisement. The headline opens the door to the content. If the headline doesn’t hit the spot, then the chances of your content being read are greatly reduced.

5 Secrets For Successful Headlines

So if we take the title of this blog as our example, we’ll look at how you should write your blog titles.

Make the reader curious

The headline has made a promise but not given the answer. To find out what the five secrets are the reader has to click the link. The more you can arouse someone’s curiosity the more chance you have of making them take action.

The headline was relevant to my target audience

The headline relates to a marketing issue and the people I want to attract are interested in marketing. Marketing is all about relevance.

The headline made a compelling promise

The headline promised that by following the link, readers would get valuable and useful information that will help them solve a genuine problem. Of course the article must then deliver against the promise the headline makes.

The headline says it is easy

We’re talking 5 simple secrets. This isn’t going to be complicated and require specialist knowledge and skills and of course if people think something is going to be simple you are much more likely to get people taking action.

The headline is written in plain English

Many people believe the way to generate internet traffic is to stuff your headlines with key words. If you write for search engines as opposed to people, your text will read poorly and will act in absolutely the opposite way to what I’m suggesting.

So make sure you devote time to creating compelling headlines as they will definitely attract more readers.

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Newsletters – Are They Still Relevant To Small Business Marketing?

When  you think of newsletters, what comes to mind?

The standard image of a newsletter is often an excruciatingly dull item where heavy sales messages are interspersed with the news that Doreen from accounts is leaving and Nicki, the boss’s secretary is expecting a baby.

If that’s the kind of newsletter your company produces then I recommend that you rethink.

Newsletters most definitely do have a place in your small company marketing but you have to do them correctly. The following tips will point you in the right direction.

  1. The first thing you have to think about is what you want your newsletter to accomplish.
    The purpose of your newsletter must be to promote your company but the selling shouldn’t be overt.  I would suggest that newsletters should do their selling by strengthening relations with your customers and prospects and by enhancing their perceptions of your business.
  2. Create an interesting and engaging title. The newsletter will need an identity so create one which relates to your industry and its subject matter but which will create interest and involvement.
  3. A table of contents is a sensible thing to have on the front page. This shows readers at a glance what the newsletter contains and should encourage them to read it.
  4. The first article is vital. Remember the success of your newsletter is all about connection and involvement.  No one will connect with a dry, boring article.
    Stories work well. Make it personal. If readers enjoy the first article they will read on.
  5. As a rule of thumb you probably shouldn’t make more than about 40% of the content directly relevant to your business. The other 60% can be filled up with what you could call semi relevant content.  This might include:
  • Customer spotlights
  • Testimonials
  • Welcome to new customers
  • Q and A
  • Competitions
  • Trivia
  • Seasonal themes
  • Even jokes

Remember you want people to enjoy reading your newsletter so make it enjoyable.
6. The other vital element to include is pictures. Nice big, colourful pictures.There are few things more off putting than being faced by large screeds of solid text. Break it up with pictures, pull out and feature specific quotations, make it look interesting.
7. This brings us on to an important issue – the physical appearance of your newsletter. It must be visually attractive which probably means you will need to use a professional designer. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive but the appearance will be vital.

If you follow these seven simple steps you should be able to create the sort of newsletter that your customers will welcome. They will consume it and so come to know more about and empathise more with your business and that can only lead to more loyal customers and more sales.

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Give To Get – The New Mantra For Small Business Marketing

For your small business marketing to be effective, in deed for any marketing to be effective, you have to focus on your customers’ needs not your own.

Of course you will have your objectives for your marketing – you know what you want to achieve, but your marketing must  focus on your customers’ or prospects’ needs.

So the question is what can you give to them that they will find valuable?

My business is a classic example. I provide small business marketing and marketing advice so I haven’t really got anything physical I can give away but I can give away the knowledge I have built up over the last 20 years or so.

So I do.

I give away my knowledge and expertise on my blog, through emarketing, through social media and on my website.

Some people think I’m mad. Surely I’m giving away what I should be charging for. If people  can get all this information for free why would they employ me.

I give away all this free information for a number of reasons:

  1. To demonstrate my expertise to the market place.
  2. To engender a positive response in my readers.
  3. Because in marketing as in life, the more you give, the more you receive.

If what I give away helps people with their own marketing issues, that’s fantastic. So when they have a marketing challenge that they can’t sort out by themselves, where are they going to go for help? That’s right, they may well come to me.

Have a look at your own business and identify what you could give away that will be of real value to your customers and prospects. Your business may well not be consultancy based. If you sell real tangible products, sampling is the fastest way to increase sales of a product.

So remember – the more you give away, the more you will get back.

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The Greatest Crime In Small Business Marketing

What’s the greatest crime committed by your business?

Personally I believe the number of leads that marketing generates which are never converted into customers is criminal.

How The Crime Occurs

In most businesses, marketing are tasked with generating leads. These leads are then typically passed over to sales who then go to work trying to turn them into customers.

A certain percentage of these will quite quickly become customers – let’s say 5%

Another percentage will even more quickly disqualify themselves and drop out of your sales process. This could well be 50% of all the leads.

However there is still maybe 45% of the leads who haven’t said “yes” but they also haven’t said “no”.

Typically the sales person will contact them or try to contact them 3 or 4 times. After being given non committal responses – “let me think about it” or “I’ll get back to you” the sales person starts to feel that they are being fobbed off and decides to” stop flogging a dead horse” and moves onto the next set of easier converts.

Hold on a moment.

That’s 45% of your leads who are being given up on or to put it another way nine times the number of leads you converted

Buyers Can Take Up To 10 Individual “Touches”

The fact is that many prospects may take up to 10 separate communications or “touches” and sometimes even more, before they are ready to buy.

It may be that the time just wasn’t right initially or that or they were evaluating a different proposal or they simply had other priorities

They want to decide in their own time.

Your Job Is To Maintain The Contact

The last thing your prospect wants is to receive continuous sales calls.

Your job is to maintain the contact, continue to provide valuable information and be ready to respond when your prospect is ready to buy.

What you need is a Prospect Conversion System.

You need to set up a communication system which keeps you in the prospects’ consciousness.

While email is the simplest and cheapest way to do this if you intersperse your emails with letters, postcards or phone calls you will add interest and value to the process.

How Often Should You Communicate With These Prospects?

Many people worry about hassling their prospects – concerned that they will become irritated if they contact them too often. The correct regularity will depend on the quality of what you’re sending them. The fact is that if you are sending valueless rubbish once a year is too often but if you’re sending valuable and engaging material then you can send it almost as often as you like. Weekly certainly wouldn’t be too often

How Long Should You Continue To Communicate?

The classic answer to this is that you should continue to communicate until they either buy from you or they die. Your recipients are perfectly capable of unsubscribing from your list if they no longer want to receive stuff from you.  I’ve known customers who have taken 15 months from the initial contact before they have finally become ready to buy.

So remember a large percentage of prospects will take a long time to decide to buy so just make sure that you’re still in the frame when they finally are ready.

If this blog article strikes a chord with you, leave me a comment and share your experience.

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10 Tips For Writing Sales Letters That Sell

How often have you received boring, badly written direct marketing letters or emails?

Pretty often I expect would be your answer.

This is nothing short of criminal.
The sender has invested the time and money in the copy writing and getting the letter or email to you. You’ve opened the communication and have at least started to read it. You are a prospect ready to be sold to. But the copy writing is not good enough to motivate you to read through to the end and certainly not good enough to compel you to take action.

So what are the mistakes that companies commonly make?

  1. No Headline Or A Boring Headline
    The headline has got to grab the reader’s attention and interest them enough to persuade them to read on into the body copy
  2. Confusing Offers
    People are often tempted to put multiple special offers into one communication. This can end up just confusing the reader. It is better to focus on one promotional offer and support that with the other benefits associated with dealing with your company.
  3. No Sub Heads
    As well as being packed with value, your communication must be easy on the eye. Large blocks of text are visually intimidating. Keep your paragraphs short and break up your letter with sub headings and spaces.
  4. Too Many Typefaces
    In an attempt to make the letter look interesting, people will often use lots of different type faces. This just makes the letter difficult to read and visually confusing. Two different type faces is plenty.
  5. Exaggerated Claims and Over Exuberant Copy
    Of course you have to sell your product and do it with enthusiasm but if you make exaggerated claims for your product, you risk losing credibility. Likewise if your copy goes over the top, your readers will turn off. Too many “spectaculars”, “fantastics” and “amazings” will alienate your audience.
  6. Slick, Corporate Feel
    While your communication must be professional, you must avoid it becoming too slick and having the feel of a large corporate communication. Readers respond to communications that feel genuine and personal.
  7. No PS
    After the headline, the PS is the most read part of a letter. The PS is a perfect opportunity to briefly repeat the promotional offer and the timescale involved.
  8. No Guarantee or Testimonials
    If you are hoping to generate sales from your communication, you need to remove any risk the reader might perceive, so offer him a guarantee of some sort. Additionally you need to include some social proof of the quality of your product. Testimonials from happy customers will help to achieve this.
  9. No Call To Action
    What do you want your reader to do? Do you want them to place an order there and then. Do you want them to pick up the phone or to visit your web site. Whatever action you want them to take, tell them to do it and give them all the contact information they need to do it.
  10. Teaser Copy On The Envelope
    Printed text on the envelope marks the communication out as direct mail. Plain envelopes are much more likely to be opened. If you can hand write the address this will also significantly increase the chances of your letter being opened
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How To Dramatically Improve Your Marketing Effectiveness

Is your marketing as effective as it should be?

Are you generating enough enquiries and leads every month?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re obviously good at marketing. If however the answer is no, the question is why not?
Ask yourself whether your basic customer proposition is as attractive and powerful as it should be.

  • Do you make it easy for customers to buy from you?
  • Do customers fully understand the benefits you will bring to them?
  • Is it clear to prospective customers why they should purchase from you instead of your competitors?

Before a company can market itself effectively it must have the fundamental building blocks of its customer  proposition in place in order to present its most compelling face to its prospects.

To ensure you have these building blocks in place you will need to consider the following:

Business Description
Can you sum up your business in a few simple words? This brief but comprehensive description of your business should be used on your web site, on your marketing collateral and even used as your elevator speech.

Corporate Strap Line
This will probably be similar to your business description but probably a bit catchier and will probably be used in conjunction with your logo on all your collateral and stationery.

What Business Are You Really In?
Here you must look at your business but from your customers point of view, making sure that the benefits you deliver are included ie an accountant may prepare annual accounts but what they really do is provide financial expertise and guidance to make sure their clients thrive.

What  Do Clients Really Want?
If you identify what clients really want then you can make sure that you provide it. So with accountants what customers really want may be to have all their financial matters sorted out for them, financial information available to allow them to make decisions and to save the maximum amount of tax.

How Can You  Add Value To Your Offering?
How can you add the “wow factor” to your service. I remember the first time a servicing garage washed my car for me. It knocked my socks off and I decided I would definitely go back there again. What can you do to knock your customers’ socks off?

Niche Audiences.
One of the greatest mistake a business can make is to market itself to everyone. Unless you’re Coca Cola no one can be relevant to everyone.  For someone to decide to do business with your company, your service has to be relevant to them.
You need to identify a few niche audiences to whom your service and your marketing can be tailored to be totally relevant.

Corporate Positioning
How do you want to position your company to suit the niches ie top end, middle market etc and how will that positioning manifest itself?

USP/Stand Out
This is possibly the single most important part of your customer proposition.  What is there about your business which makes it stand out from your competitors and therefore makes you the obvious choice? If you really can’t find anything in your current proposition which gives you that stand out, then you should consider creating something new especially to differentiate yourselves.

Removing The Barriers To Purchasing
When a customer is considering making a new purchase there is often a question mark in their mind. What if the item or service doesn’t  deliver exactly what they are hoping for. You need to find some way to take away the risk so the buying decision is easy. One classic way of doing this are to offer a guarantee of some sort –a  money back guarantee or maybe a 30 day home trial. If there is no risk to the purchaser then it becomes easy to make the decision to buy.

To help you devise your new, super charged customer proposition, Business Development Advisors run bespoke Marketing Fundamentals workshops.
The workshops are run in your offices and involve as many of your staff as you want. The workshop is  followed up by an action planning session, to ensure that your irresistible, new marketing messages reach your newly identified prospects in a way that ensures masses of new business for you.

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Do You Dare To Be Different?

For your business to be successful in today’s market, you have to be different to the great mass of your competitors.

  • Different in what you offer
  • Different in how you position yourself
  • Different in your thinking
  • Different in the way you market your business

Most businesses operate within a straight jacket. They believe they need to market themselves in the same way that everyone else in their profession markets themselves. So all the plumbers advertise in the yellow pages, all the hairdressers advertise in the local paper, all the double glazing companies use direct marketing.

Increase the Ways You Market Your Business

If you are similar to most businesses, you probably use just one or two primary ways to market and grow your business. Perhaps it’s advertising. Perhaps it’s referrals, or direct mail. The fact is that using only one or two marketing approaches is seriously limiting the amount of business you generate.

What would happen if over the next few months you doubled that to say four primary ways of marketing? Then, over the next few months you were to double it again, so that you were using up to 8 different marketing channels?

I’ll tell you what would happen. You’ll see remarkable growth in your business. You could potentially grow by 25% or perhaps even more.

Those business owners who decide to make marketing their top priority are the ones who dramatically outperform their competitors.

Your marketing channels don’t need to be complicated or even expensive. There are lots of ways that you can get your messages in front of prospective customers simply and cheaply.

Have a look at this list of ten marketing channels. If you’re serious about growing your business, pick at least two that you’re either not doing and make a commitment  to add  them to your marketing mix in the coming months.

  • Direct Mail
  • Internet Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Telephone Marketing
  • Direct Sales
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Up-selling existing customers/clients
  • Referral Marketing
  • PR

Why Should You Use A Multi Channel Approach?

There are a number of reasons:

  1. Different people like to receive their information in different ways. Some might like to get emails, others to receive letters while someone else might like to read information from a newspaper.
    The thing is you don’t know who likes what.
  2. If you’re only using one channel and it stops working for you, it could leave you with no route for generating new business, which could have disastrous consequences for you.
  3. The different channels should work synergistically together so each channel backs up and reinforces the others, so the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

So take a look at your marketing and the channels you use currently and then identify what other routes you could be using. The last piece of the jigsaw will then be to commit to action

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7 Secrets of Successful Small Business Advertising

When many people think of marketing, they automatically think of advertising. Personally I virtually never suggest my clients use traditional newspaper and magazine advertising.

Why?

Because most small business advertising doesn’t work. There are many more effective and less expensive ways to market your business.

However if you are already advertising or plan to in the near future, here is some basic advice to help you get the best from it.

1. If Your Advertising Isn’t Being Effective – Stop It Immediately
That may sound ridiculously obvious but you would be amazed at how much small business advertising is done just because that’s what their business has always done and they don’t really know whether the ads are working.

2. Test And Measure The Effectiveness Of Your Advertising

Unless you test and measure your advertising you won’t know whether it is working or not. When I say working, what I mean is: is each ad generating more profit than it costs? So if each ad is costing £300, is each one generating more than this in profit?  When you are doing this calculation, you shouldn’t forget about the amount of time involved in organising the ad. What this means is for the ad to be genuinely profitable it will need to generate significantly more than the cost.

3. Only Run Ads Which Produce A Response

Large corporations run brand advertising which is designed to build and sustain awareness of their brand. For small business advertising, brand advertising is almost certainly a huge waste of money.
The purpose of your ads must be to produce a response –  a phone call, a visit to a web site or even a purchase. Only in this way can you be confident that your advertising is actually generating business.

4. The Importance Of The Headline

The headline is the most important part of the advertisement. It needs to grab peoples’ attention immediately. The headline must interest readers enough that they want to find out what the ad’s about and read on into the body copy.
Small changes in a headline can produce huge changes in response. Experiment with headlines, continually refine them until you get to the ultimate in attention grabbing.

5. Address Your Reader Personally

The copy of your ad needs to be a personal communication to the individual reading it. It needs to be about them. It needs to address their needs, desires and fears and it needs to constantly communicate the benefits of what you are offering.

6. Tell Your Readers What To Do Next

Along with the headline the call to action is the most important part of the advertisement. You’re looking for a direct response from your readers so tell them what they should do next. Do you want them to call you, to visit your web site for more information or even to make a purchase? Whatever response you want, tell them exactly what to do, give them all the information they need to do it and make it easy. If it’s too complicated you’ll lose them.

7. Negotiate The Best Deal

When it comes to actually booking your advertising there are a couple of points to remember.

Only advertise on right hand pages. Our eyes naturally fall on the right hand page as we flick through a publication. Statistically more people see ads on right hand pages.

Never pay the full rate for advertising. If you negotiate you may well reduce your costs by 20% – 30%. This can make a big difference to your budget and can sometimes turn an unprofitable ad campaign into a successful one.

Once again, my experience is that many businesses are wasting money on ineffective advertising when they could be getting a much better return from other forms of marketing (Email marketing, tele marketing, direct marketing, internet marketing, referrals, strategic alliances etc) But if you do it well and test and experiment, advertising can become a highly profitable element of your marketing mix.

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How Do You Convert Readers into Customers?

Why do we write blogs? Is it for fun? Maybe.

Is it because we’ve nothing better to do with our time? Probably not.

Is it because we like to share information with others? Yes but that’s not the primary reason for blogging.

Most people who write blogs do so because they want to attract visitors to their web site and ultimately to convert them into customers.
Unfortunately many bloggers become frustrated because they do all this work and get very little result. Plenty of people may visit the site, they may well read the post but this traffic doesn’t convert into paying customers. Many bloggers then become frustrated and give up.
However there is often a fairly straightforward reason for this poor result.

Convert Readers Into Customers

As any marketing person will tell you, to make a sale you have to be delivering your marketing messages to the right audience. If you deliver your beautifully crafted messages about prime Scottish beef to vegetarians, you’re unlikely to make a load of sales. It’s all about targeting the right people.

This is where the trouble often starts.

Commonly the blogger, being an expert in his field, will write very detailed and technical blogs, going into the detail of the subject. The problem with this is that the only people who will be interested in that level of detail will be other specialist practitioners. Prospective customers want more generalised information and to understand how the subject relates to them, what the solutions to their problems will be and how they can benefit.

Keyword Density

Before starting to write a blog post, most people will decide what their keywords are going to be and ensure that those words are used frequently. The number of times keywords are used within a section of text is referred to as keyword density. Keyword density is one of the determinants that Google uses when ranking your site.
When the blog post is targeted at the wrong audience, the wrong keywords will be used. This means that the keyword density will be measured on the wrong keywords which will therefore attract the wrong readers.

So if you want to convert more of your readers into customers, you need to make sure you are writing for the right profile of readers.

  • Decide who you want to attract to your web site
  • Be clear about how you can help them  and solve their problems
  • Identify the keywords that they will search on for help with their problems
  • Create the right keyword density to rank well on the search engines.
  • Write in their language about topics they are interested in
  • Make it clear how you can help them

For more help and advice on writing blog posts which convert readers into customers contact Mike Jennings on 01483 22 00387 or email mikejennings@bda.me.uk or www.businessdevelopmentadvisors.co.uk