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How To Get More Sales Today – Yes Today

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in General, Internet Marketing For Small Business, Small Businesses | 0 comments

Are you looking to get more sales more often.

Then the one thing you really must have is a database.

And you should be using this as much as any other tool in your business. Collecting names, telephone numbers, addresses and emails is a great way to continue marketing to those people who already bought from you and even the ones that haven’t bought from you yet. But you should be trying to capture this information so that you can market to them now or later.

I’m not saying you have to bombard them all the time. But do give them an opportunity to opt into your newsletter, or to sign up for a free gift. But always give them the opportunity to opt out at any time. This is very important, easily allow them to opt out.

We all know how awful is to continually receive junk in the mail..Its only junk by the way, if its not of importance to you. If it’s important to you, you wouldn’t call it junk. In fact if it’s information that you wish to receive and it’s content you look forward to receiving, then it’s not junk.

Its when it's not relevant, that it becomes worthless and that is junk.

With a database of people relevant to your business, you can start to segment people into certain groups.By that I mean you could have different segments say for first time buyers, Repeat customers and those that haven’t bought yet.

It could even be are a tyre kicker…and we should all love tyre kickers – because, as I mentioned earlier, we don’t always get the sale on the first visit from the potential client, it’s likely that it will be further down the line.

If your database has segmentation this could allow you to upsell, cross sell or down sell your products.

With a DB you can contact your customers or potential customers more often and get in front of people inexpensively. Lets face it, you’ve spent the money already for advertising or marketing to get them to come to your business or to your website, now you should be nurturing them.

During slow periods, its great to have a database to send out offers, promotions or worthy information that is of value to the prospect.There are slow periods in most businesses, a time when you need a bump in sales to meet wages and you can’t send out promotional messages, if you haven’t got a database.

My First Database

My first database, for my first restaurant was simply a list of names that I collected from the tables. I then used a word processor to print off address labels and stick them carefully on a postcard that was designed by the local printer. This was in 1996.

I got my first DB software two years later a product called ACT, which is still available today. And it made my life so much easier. I could send out printed offers to new customers, remind customers that we hadn’t seen them for a while and also as we collected birthday dates, we could send out birthday offers too.

Of course nowadays, it is so much more simple and the information you can glean from your customers is limitless for your marketing.

The important thing is to get the (potential) customer’s details into a DB. This can be done by placing an iPad or tablet on the counter of your business or if its a restaurant take the tablet to the customer’s table and try and get as many email addresses as possible from that table.

Or you could get the email address of your visitors to your website. You could offer a sweet or a free starter. 10% off their next service…It depends on your business.

You need to give a high perceived value, that costs you little.

And this is important, you have to offer something to get their details.

People are reluctant just to give up their email address without some incentive, the better the incentive, the more likely you are going to succeed. You need to give a high perceived value, that costs you little.

Best time to start a database
Its a bit like when’s the best time to plant a tree..The best time to start a DB is now. Start collecting info now.

There are many Database’s to choose from, some are very easy, some are very complicated – some are very expensive and some are not.

If you want some help in choosing what’s right for you, or some ideas on the best ways to use a database, get in touch.

Is Your Business Making The Most Of The Internet

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in General, Internet Marketing For Small Business | 0 comments

The Internet Has Changed Customer Acquisition and Retention Forever

The internet has made a revolutionary change in our everyday lives; it’s no secret that the internet is the first place we go when we need information.

This includes searching for local products, services, and businesses.

However, many businesses still are not utilising online technology to its full potential when it comes to bringing in new leads, sales, and customers. As a matter of fact, many businesses still don’t use it at all.

Did you know that 97% of internet users search for LOCAL goods and services.

In order to run a sustainable business these days, companies must focus on several key points:

* Getting NEW customers (Customer Acquisition)

* Keeping EXISTING customers coming back (Customer Retention)

* Developing EFFECTIVE acquisition and retention strategies

* Keeping a strong balance between COST and BENEFITS

* Using techniques and strategies that will work LONG-TERM

The first step is to understand and implement marketing methods that are effective TODAY vs. YESTERDAY.

TODAY vs. YESTERDAY.

The internet has drastically changed the equation by becoming one of the most effective marketing tools to hit the business world; and its grown into much more than simply having a website.

In fact, the massive level of internet usage amongst consumers has impacted the way businesses generate new leads and retain existing customers forever.

You may be aware of this, but are not sure exactly WHY or HOW the internet is changing the dynamics of your business. Unfortunately, you are not alone as most businesses still do not understand. Many think that the internet is all hype and no substance; but this is far from the truth.

If you’ve found that you are not getting results from traditional advertising methods such as paper coupons, yellow page ads, TV commercials, and newspaper ads, it’s time for you to take a closer look at internet marketing.

But before we get into how the internet impacts today’s marketing sphere, let’s take a look at the explosive growth of internet usage.

The Growth of Internet Usage

Since the 1990’s, the internet has emerged into a worldwide interconnection of individuals, companies, organisations, government, and so much more. It has changed the way we communicate, as well as the way we do business.

Back in those days, there were just a few million internet users across the globe. But today, that number has grown to more than 3.5 BILLION users (40% of the world population) and 70% of us use it every single day.

The internet has had a revolutionary impact in all of our lives. In just a short period of time, the information highway has become the most-used digital platform ever to exist.

Imagine your life without the internet no email, no websites, no search engines, no social networking – it’s really hard to fathom. This is because we as consumers have grown accustomed to using the web to handle many of our daily tasks.

Starting out as a slow dial-up service that we only used every now and then, the internet has evolved into a high-speed tool that we simply cannot live without.

What are we doing online?

Here’s an idea of how MUCH we really rely on it:

* 91% Using Search Engines to Find Information

* 88% Sending or Reading Email

* 84% Searching for a Map or Driving Directions

* 78% Researching a Product or Service

* 71% Watching Online Videos

* 67% Engaging in Social Media

* 61% Doing Online Banking

And SO much more; all at our fingertips

Do you recall what it was like the first time you were able to do so much on the internet? If you’re like most people, you quickly realised that life was all of a sudden a lot more convenient.

We have seen the internet evolve from a simple leisure tool into a robust must-have piece of technology that most of us use every single day; and this growth is expected to increase at astonishing rates in the coming years.

The Way Local Consumers Do Business Has Changed

When it comes to finding local businesses, the process has drastically changed over the past two decades.   Years ago, we never imagined that we would be able to fire up a computer or mobile device, type in a few keywords, and get all of the information we need about a company within just a few minutes.

As a result, purchasing decisions have become easier and faster than ever before. Since information is so readily available on the internet, we can see exactly what products and/or services businesses offer, get their address and/or directions, get their hours of operation, and learn more about their company all with just a few clicks.   

When it comes to reaching more local consumers, your company should be there every step of the consumer purchase decision process from the beginning to the end.    

Adapting your marketing strategies to the current way consumers do things means you must first understand how the purchase journey has changed: 

Websites are the NEW Flyers and Brochures

THEN:

* When we wanted to get specific details about a company’s products and services, we had to visit them in person, call them up on the phone, or wait for a flyer or brochure to land in our laps. When we wanted to do comparison shopping, we spent a lot of time going store to store to assess prices, features, and more.

NOW:

* We can pull up a company’s website at our convenience and get all the information we need about their products and services. Comparison shopping has never been easier, as we’ve become accustomed to doing our own research online. This way, we feel more secure about choosing companies to do business with instead of going in totally blind.

Search Engines are the NEW Phone Books and Classified Ads

THEN:

* We grabbed our Yellow Pages phone books, or looked through a bunch of newspaper classified ads to find a local business that provided the products and services we needed. These were very expensive methods for business owners because they had to pay top dollar to get ad space that would generate a real response.

NOW:

* We go straight to an internet search engine such as Google, type in a local keyword phrase that describes what we’re looking for, and go through the list. Most of us do not go past the first page of the results, so those businesses with higher rankings naturally get the most attention. As a result, most of us no longer even use Yellow Page books or newspapers to find local products and services.

       

Email is the NEW Direct Mail

THEN:

* Establishing a relationship with a company simply involved being on their direct mail list and receiving promotional offers in the mail from time to time.  We had to check our snail mail boxes for special offers, discounts, deals, and announcements from local businesses. These paper advertising pamphlets and coupons cost businesses a lot of money due to printing and postage costs. Furthermore, it took a few days for the content to reach consumers, which caused a delayed reaction as far as redemption.

NOW:

* We can open up our email to find coupons, special offers, deals, and announcements from our favourite local businesses. Once an email is sent, it is delivered immediately. Email is extremely cost-effective for small businesses because there’s no printing or postage involved. Companies are also using email campaigns to build relationships with local consumers by providing helpful tips, industry information, and other valuable information keeping their company fresh in the minds of their target audience.

Social Media is the NEW Word-of-Mouth

THEN:

* We found out about local products, services, and businesses by personally talking to family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and other personal connections. While this was OK, it was a slow way of getting the word out.

NOW:

* We can log in to our social media accounts and see what companies the people in our network like.î  Internet users can refer businesses that we like simply by using the multiple social networking platforms. With features such as a share button, we can refer companies to our entire social network with one click of the mouse. This creates a potential viral effect and sends a lot of more eyes to a company’s social media profile; all due to their followers generating more buzz surrounding their business.

Online Reviews are the NEW Personal Recommendations

THEN:

* We asked the people we knew for recommendations about local products, services, and businesses. We asked them which businesses they had great experiences with, as well as which ones they suggest we avoid.  Many times, we even trusted our gut instinct about companies that we chose to do business with going in blindly without knowing anything about their reputation at all.

NOW:

* We visit sites such as Trust a Trader, Trust Pilot, Check Professional and many others to see what other people have to say about local products, services, and companies. Social media is another huge player when it comes to finding out what other people think about local businesses. Consumers are quick to share both their bad and positive experiences on social media and online review sites. In fact, studies show that most internet users actually trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Online Content is the NEW Local Newspaper

THEN:

* We would read the local newspapers to keep up with what was going on in our areas ñ including local businesses and their products and services. 

NOW:

* We can read content that companies are publishing online to keep up with what’s going on in their industry. Online content is considered as pull marketing because it draws consumers to the business; vs. the traditional, expensive push methods that went out to the masses with very little results.

Online Videos are the NEW TV Commercials

THEN:

* We chose local businesses based on TV commercials we saw. In fact, the TV was invented as an advertising platform originally TV shows were later added to keep consumers glued to the set so they could see the commercials. So it was the perfect way for businesses to capture new leads and customers. However, commercials are extremely expensive.

NOW:

* We can perform an online search for a local product or service and find videos for various local companies that can provide what we need.  Not only are businesses producing commercial-style online videos, but they’re also producing product demonstrations, helpful tips, and other videos that present value to the viewer; ultimately turning them into customers. The best part is that online videos are very cost-effective to produce costing just a small fraction of what it costs to create a TV commercial.

Online Coupons are the NEW Paper Coupons

THEN:

* We’ve always loved to save money; so we were addicted to scouring our stash of paper coupons that we received in the mail. It was also exciting to clips tons of coupons from the local newspapers each week. Again, due to the printing and postage costs associated with these methods, most companies usually struggled to see any real profit margins.

NOW:

* In addition to email, we can find coupons for local products and services via sites like Groupon, which receives a lot of traffic from consumers who are looking for great deals. Companies that use these sites put themselves in a position to grab some of that attention, resulting in more sales.

How Local Businesses Can Adapt to the Shift

As you can see, the internet has totally changed the way we do business. It’s become a major force in acquiring and retaining a solid, profit-producing customer-base. This powerful shift presents a great opportunity for you to close the gap between local online consumers and your offline business.

If not, you risk losing potential leads, customers, and sales to your competitors who are taking measures to keep their business in-line with internet technology and popularity.

Savvy business owners understand that the internet can drive a large amount of foot traffic to any local business. Therefore, they are grabbing this powerful tool by the horns and making it work to increase their sales and profits.

If you are still operating based on marketing methods you’ve always used, it’s definitely time for a change; especially if you are spending a lot of money on them and not getting results. While some of them may still generate minimal results, you cannot ignore the internet if you truly want to stay connected with more local consumers.

It is critical that every business no matter how large or small gives some serious thought to what they should be doing in terms of marketing based on current consumer buying behaviour.

Consumers today expect businesses to keep up with technological advances that make their lives easier and more convenient. In fact, many studies show that companies that do not cater to internet users are losing a fair share of their target audience to their internet-friendly competitors.

Here are some ways your business can utilise internet marketing to get more customers, as well as increase overall revenue:

* Get an EFFECTIVE Website

Many businesses today still do not have a website, which is mind-blowing. Unfortunately, some companies that do have websites are suffering because they’re not helping them generate more sales.

That’s because most of those websites are missing some critical components.

Websites are much more affordable today than they used to be; so they are definitely worth the investment. An effective website is one that has a professional appearance with a clean layout that truly reflects your brand.

In addition to being appeasing to the eye, it should be easy to navigate so visitors can find the information they need quickly without a lot of hassles.

Visitors should immediately see your contact details and call-to-action on all pages in order to increase conversions.

Speaking of conversions, your website copy should be complete and written in a way that focuses on the needs of your target audience and not all about your business.

* Use Email Marketing

A huge benefit of having a website is that it allows you to capture leads so you can follow-up with them; this is usually accomplished with an email opt-in form that encourages visitors to join your list. 

You can give something away or implement a loyalty and rewards program as motivation for visitors to opt-in.  Then, you can follow-up with them using an email Autoresponder series to build a relationship with them and keep them coming back.

It will also help you increase sales because you can send out coupons, newsletters, special offers, and other content that will result in more business coming through your doors.

* Gain a Strong Search Engine Presence

People all over the world have become increasingly connected to the internet in one way or another; but searching for information via the search engines is the top activity.   

A website that is buried in the search engine results will not help you get in front of more local consumers.  Again, most consumers do not go past the first page of results. This means that we do not spend time combing through pages and pages before we take action and make a decision about what we’re searching for.

In order to get right in front of this massive amount of traffic, your company needs to have a fully-optimised website, along with other online content showing up in the results.

To accomplish this, you need on-site, off-site optimisation, keyword-optimised content, and social media all tied together to gain the type of attention that could seriously turn your business around.

* Claim, Verify, and Optimise Online Local Listings

Local listings are also a major component when it comes to getting more search engine visibility.  When consumers search for local products and services, most of them stop at the local listing section.

Sites such as Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and others cannot be ignored if you want more online exposure.  If your company’s listing is not claimed, verified, and optimised, your listing is probably buried in the search results.

If someone does find your low-ranked listings, they won’t get the information they need if your listing is incomplete or contains inaccurate information.

A thorough listing will allow you to take control of your company by providing viewers with the correct information regarding your company. The more details you provide the better.

* Monitor and Manage Your Online Reputation

If you don’t stay on top of what your customers are saying about you online, you could be setting yourself up for a hard road ahead. As mentioned earlier, people now flock to the internet to see what others have to say about local products, services, and businesses.

It can be expected that any business will have a negative mention here and there. However, if you’re not careful, your company could end up on a slippery slope to an overall negative online image.

Even just one negative online mention can seriously cripple your business.

Therefore, it is critical that you monitor what is being said about your company and handle these reviews accordingly. 

While you can’t stop anyone from writing negativity about your brand, you can handle it in a way that shows other consumers that you actually care about your customers.

Another way to buffer any negative online reviews is to encourage positive online reviews from your happy customers. There are plenty of ways to ask for online feedback; but if you don’t ask, you will not receive in most cases.

The fact is unhappy customers are more likely to post a review than happy customers. But if you ask them to do it, many of them will do it without hesitation.

Take control of your online image by making sure you manage your reputation frequently and thoroughly on an on-going basis.

* Publish Helpful, Relevant Online Content

Your website should contain valuable, relevant keyword-optimised content because it will build trust with your visitors. One way to accomplish this is by creating a company blog.

Effective content revolves around providing the type of information your target audience craves ñ building your credibility in the process. Good, consistent content will keep them coming back for more.

Content, however, should not stop at your website. Content marketing is quickly becoming a powerful way to pull in new leads. This involves publishing different types of content in various places all over the web.

Articles, press releases, presentations, videos, graphics/images, social media, and other types of content all work together to bring as much attention to your business as possible on auto-pilot.

* Get Involved in Social Media

Social networking is another top online activity; sites such as Facebook being number1 with more than 1.7 BILLION users.

If your company is not engaging with your local target audience on social media, you are missing out on an opportunity to utilise a cost-effective method to get more eyes on your business.

People love to connect with their favourite companies on social media sites. In addition, they share these companies with their friends, family members, and other associates in their social network. In turn, your business gets  free advertising due to the fact that your followers are doing the work for you.

* Use Online Videos

People spend a lot of time watching online videos every single day; even videos related to products, services, and businesses.

Therefore, videos are a great way to show potential customers first-hand what you have to offer.  This can be accomplished with commercial-style videos, product demonstration videos, helpful tips and hints videos, and more.

Online videos are powerful for generating more traffic and increasing conversions. Not only that, but they can provide a nice Return on Investment (ROI) because they are much more cost-effective than traditional videos and TV commercials.

Short, simple, and to-the-point videos work best.

In addition to posting videos to your company website, videos can be posted all over the web to give your business even more exposure. This includes YouTube and other video-sharing sites.

When distributing videos online, make sure your video titles and descriptions are optimised for local viewers so they show up higher in the search results.

Use FaceBook Live for a really great way to interact with your existing customers and potential customers. Live interaction is the way forward.

Conclusion

The secret to your business success all lies in how well you can generate new customers and keep the ones you have coming back.

So, it must be said that businesses today can no longer afford to put internet marketing on the back burner. 

The internet plays an important role in our everyday lives.  We are in a constant state of saving time and the internet allows us to do a variety of tasks quickly and easily.

The internet is the glue that helps us get through daily activities, as well as stay connected with the world. Technology surrounding the World Wide Web is constantly changing and advancing.

As a business owner, now is the time to get onboard with online marketing if you want to stay ahead of the marketing game and keep up with your local competitors.

I help local businesses in the area get new leads, boost sales, and increase revenue using various internet tools, strategies and techniques.  Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation to find out how I can help you.

Free Publicity Starts Here

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Internet Marketing For Small Business, Small Businesses | 0 comments

Marketing and Publicity For Small Business

Most business owners agree that effective marketing would be a big help to their business. However, what puts them off is that they mistakenly think that hiring a marketing consultant will cost a lot of money and that they cannot afford it.

That isn’t always the case.  In this issue, we are going to look at various ways you can put an effective marketing plan into action without it costing an arm and a leg…and you will also discover some very effective FREE ways to get much needed publicity for your business.

The article will be a good reference guide to effective marketing.  Your business will grow as a result if you put them into action.

START MAKING HEADLINES – THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF FREE PUBLICITY

Most small local businesses focus all their marketing efforts on paid advertising or sales activities. This is totally understandable and is generally a good investment if it’s done well. However, if your budget is tight, this article will cover the most overlooked weapon in a small business’s marketing arsenal: FREE PUBLICITY.

How do you get free publicity?

Easy.  Be known as ‘the’ expert and authority in your field.

Despite what you might think, being recognised as an “expert” in the media is a very attainable goal – in fact you are probably already well qualified to do this, particularly if you have been in the business for a number of years.  But even if you haven’t been in business long, the chances are that you have done a lot of market research and choosing your business wasn’t a decision you came into lightly.

Once you establish yourself as an ‘expert’, the benefits to your business can be awesome.  If you have a solid market position but need more exposure and credibility to help your business grow, you can do this easily by investing some time and effort into generating publicity for your business through the media.  If you do this, you are sure to reap the financial rewards.

When it comes to local news, there’s no reason a small business can’t compete with a business ten times its size. In fact, it’s fair to say that local news outlets like radio stations and newspapers are “biased” in favour of small local business owners like yourself, so you already have an advantage.

HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN - START BY WATCHING AND READING THE NEWS

Think about the last time you watched your local TV news, or listened to local radio news. There would have been the usual variety of depressing stories about car accidents, house fires and the economy. But there were also stories highlighting local issues.  The people in these type of ‘Local News’ stories are usually people from the community appearing to offer a comment.

For example, when the Christmas season rolls around, a local reporter will often visit a local retailer to ask how busy it is and if their profits will be on target to beat the previous year’s takings.  They might also consult another local trader who may have a different opinion on how busy it is, or perhaps to give some basic shopping reminders. Then they will interview various members of the public to ask them how busy it is and if they have all of their shopping done. They may also interview a local police officer to remind people not to drink too much during the Christmas period, especially if they are driving.

Think about that for a moment; three LOCAL residents or business people all received valuable free exposure on a well-watched local newscast, and all they had to do was talk about what they do everyday.

That scenario is not unusual and you can probably think of many more examples. You might even remember a news item that featured on the news today.

It’s called publicity, and it’s probably the best marketing weapon a local businessperson has to get added exposure for their company at no cost.

But how do these people get on air or in print? Surely they must know somebody, right? Actually, no.

When you watch or listen to a news-related show and they consult an “expert”, chances are that person is no more an expert in their field than you are in yours. They got on air by simply pitching the story idea to the station or making contact with the local reporter or news station.

The local news is on every week night and quite often over a weekend. It doesn’t matter whether or not there was one hour’s worth of news during the day; they still have to fill the airtime.

On slow news days, news reporters are looking for local stories that will appeal to a wide audience, just like the one I mentioned above; one that they can put together without a lot of research or effort.

The same is true of newspapers. Reporters often need to generate a story idea for tomorrow’s paper, and they would jump all over a good local story that is of interest to a wide audience but not as time sensitive as, say, a local disaster.

HOW DO YOU GET ‘IN THE NEWS’?

So how do you get on air or in print? Follow these tips:

1)  Send a news release in to a few local TV/Radio stations and newspapers with a good story idea. Remember, it has to be NEWS, not shameless self- promotion:

Example number 1: Auto Repair Mechanic

This is an example of self-promotion:

Visit my auto repair garage today because I want to tell you how hard I work to please my customers.

On the other hand, the same business could add this spin instead:

“As the winter approaches, now would be a good time to have their vehicle inspected to ensure worry-free winter driving. As a local mechanic, I can help by offering practical information about what to look for in a mechanic, and what safety systems you should have checked on your car before the snow flies this winter.

Now that the reporters have your details and know that they have somebody to interview, they will be in contact once the bad weather starts to fill that criterion of the news.

Example number 2: Chiropractor

Self-promotion:

“I’m a new chiropractor in the area and I’d like to build up business by running an article in your newspaper.”

Instead try this:

“Many local residents live with back pain everyday. As a local chiropractor, I’d be pleased to share with your viewers the 3 most common types of back problems, and the steps they can take to correct them now before the problem gets out of hand.”

Almost every news station focuses on health issues, especially if there is a celebrity in the news with a similar condition. Maybe you should ‘Hi-Jack’ the news with a local twist. You can guarantee that local journalists are looking for a local twist on national stories.  Their editors are looking for stories to fill the papers.

Example number 3: Gadget store

Self-promotion:

“My new gadget store took a lot of work to get up and running, and I think people would be interested in hearing about the exciting products that I have to offer. “

With a different spin this could become newsworthy:

“With the Christmas season rapidly approaching, people are constantly looking for unusual and useful gifts. As the owner of a local gadget store, I’d be happy to give you information on the latest crazes for the festive season, including what’s hot, what’s not, and some gadget buying tips for families to help them stretch their shopping budget.”

Can you see the difference? Shameless self-promotion is just that – it’s an attempt to promote your company through the news media, and it simply won’t work. Reporters will see right through it and will ignore you.

While these are not written just as a press release you can see that there could be ways in which your business could feature in the local news.

On the other hand, positive News Spin takes something that your business is recognised for and turns it into a story that a news outlet would be likely to broadcast or feature in print.

It is the topics and the same business but putting a slightly different spin on things makes all the difference.

That kind of exposure is very good for business.

Remember, local news channels do not maintain their credibility by promoting businesses. Nobody in the press really cares about your business and it doesn’t really want to go out of their way to promote it. However, offer them a news story that involves your business, and it is no longer promotion. It’s news.

Switch on your PR antenna and follow the news

When something newsworthy happens, news media like to cover it from different angles. A story that was not very interesting yesterday can quickly become interesting today, especially if something has happens in the news to spark people’s interest.

NEWS : A rash of break-ins in the local area has residents wondering about their safety.

Anyone who owns a security company should be all over this one. You could offer your local news station or paper  safety tips, information about how home alarms can protect your home, and so on.

Remember: when something is in the news it gets people’s attention.  They are much more receptive to hearing what they can do to avoid the problem themselves.

In a situation like this where viewers are concerned about their health and safety, they will be very attentive to any news item about securing their homes.

The news media know that if they interview you to discuss safety, they’re feeding the public’s appetite for safety related articles. Just remember you are not there to pitch your product. During the interview, talk about alarms in general and provide general household safety tips.

Free Information

It will add to your credibility and the phone will be ringing off the hook the next morning as the public will trust you  and you will be seen as the local authority on the subject.

There are lots of other companies that could benefit from this type of news such as self-defence classes, neighbourhood watch programs, private security patrol companies… the list goes on and on…

WHAT ABOUT MY BUSINESS?

You can find PR opportunities in almost any business.  To prove this, go and buy a selection of today’s newspapers and give yourself 20 minutes to flick through them all.

As you do, think about how your business/products/services may relate to other wider topics that are reported in the papers.

Look at the news stories and features. Ask yourself, what topics are popular? Can you adapt what your business has to say to something that is already causing a stir?

Tear out anything that grabs your eye and start to compile a cuttings reference file for your desk. Repeat the exercise on a regular basis and include the Sunday papers now and again.

Don’t forget you can apply the exact same publicity principles to ANY information avenue – like trade publications.  Your customers have their own publications that relate to and interest them,(for example, Restaurant Owner Monthly).  What topics are hot right now in your industry or theirs? Does your business have something to contribute to an ongoing debate?

Pay particular attention to regional newspapers and business publications. Is there something happening locally that you can tap into?  Helping the local community brings many benefits to everybody concerned.

For example, a local car hire firm might provide free minibus hire to a kid’s playgroup after reading about the theft of the playgroup vehicle just before a planned visit to the seaside.

This would be a great story, and would provide a good photo and branding opportunity for the business.  Plus, it gives a great day out for the kids.

Being opportunistic isn’t a sin if it offers a win-win situation all round for everybody involved. It will enhance your company’s reputation, while giving genuine value to your customer.

Online Press Releases

Online Press releases are also a great way to use your news to instantly promote yourself to millions of people around the world via the Internet and attract new customers as a result.

Tips For Growing Your Customer Base

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in General, Internet Marketing For Small Business, Small Businesses | 0 comments

Growing you Customer Base

Winning new customers is much more expensive than selling more to your existing clients. Knowing who your best customers are can help you improve customer satisfaction and sell more to these existing customers.

Gaining new clientele is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business, so it is important to retain and look after the ones you already have, and sell more to them, but at the same time still looking for new customers.

This guide explains how to get to know your customers and understand your market so you can increase sales and develop your business. It gives you details on how to use sales data, customer care systems and your databases to develop a strategy for keeping customers.

It also shows how to identify your most valuable customers, and how to maximise this value.

Building Out!

How to build your customer base

Every business needs a solid customer base in order to be successful. It’s important because customers provide you with revenue. Not only that, but they give you the essential feedback which helps you continually improve your offers and services, and they spread the word to other people about your business and what you do.

None of this happens by accident. Building a dependable customer base takes time and effort. If you want to build your business up on a solid foundation, you need to pay close attention to who your customers are and try to understand what motivates them to buy from you.

Where Are Your Customer Now!

Who and where are your customers?

The very first step in building a customer base is to know: Who your customers are, and where you can find them. Once you have this information you can manage your customer relationships by engaging with them more effectively.  This will have the effect of increasing sales to these existing customers as well as attracting new ones.

Customer profiling: What you should know about your customers

Knowing your customer’s key characteristics will help you decide where, when and how to communicate with them.

If you have been in business for a number of years, or you sell to a specific niche audience, no doubt you will already have a good idea about your customer’s general age, location and gender, but there is a lot more information that could be helpful to you.

For example:

  • Do you know the websites your customers visit and what kind of publications they read?
  • What other products and services do they buy?
  • Why do they buy from you and when?
  • What type of customer spends most with you?

If you have just a few customers you could add specific personal information to your customer profiles, such as a buyer’s particular interests.

If your customer base is large and diverse you need to segment them into groups that share similar characteristics and think about the best way to target each group.

Profiling customers this way enables you to better communicate with existing customers and target new customers more accurately. Getting this kind of information could be a simple matter of picking up a telephone and speaking to them. Or it might require a more formal approach such as running a survey in your newsletter or online survey program (we can help you with both of these if you don’t publish an online newsletter or don’t know how to create an online survey.

Looking After Your Best Customers Now

Why you should concentrate on looking after your most profitable customers

There is good reason to concentrate on looking after your most profitable customers: In general 80% of sales come from just 20% of your customers. Figures also prove it costs around 5 times more to get new customers as it does to sell to existing ones.

So it makes absolute perfect business sense to identify your most profitable customers.  By making sure you provide them with excellent customer service, you are ensuring they will remain loyal and to maximize your profits.

Not only that, but they will be much more likely to recommend you to others. Your most profitable customers are the ones who will provide the foundation for the growth of your company. You can increase your profits further.  Knowing the characteristics of these clients makes it easier for you to identify and target prospective customers who share similar characteristics.

Derek Williams, chief executive of The WOW! Awards for Customer Service, highlighted how important it was for businesses to identify profitable customers.  He said: “The secret to growth is to have more customers of the type you want to have, to increase your average sale value and to get them to buy more often.”

Building Good Relations

Building good relationships with existing customers

Communication and good customer service is central to strengthening and building your customer base, but where do you start?

The golden rule of marketing is: Go where your customers are. You could have the greatest idea in the world, but you have to get people to see you. After all, you need to have customers before you start worrying about profits.

It is well worth doing your homework to find out what channels you should be using to target your customers. A simple way is to ask your customers where they go online.  It is also worth looking to see what your competitors are doing.

Continue to engage with your customers – even after the sale

A common trap many businesses fall into is they only communicating with customers to make a sale offer.  Take time to engage and build a relationship with them first. That way, when your customers are ready to buy, they will think of you first.

There are so many ways that you can do this. For example, social media and email newsletters are excellent for maintaining regular contact. Many small business owners comment successfully to local media via a press release to build their profile. You can even use face-to-face networking as a very effective way of getting to know your customers.

Make it a rule to always offer something of value whenever you have contact with your customers. This could simply be answering questions about your products or services.

If you are a niche business, you probably already share your client’s passion for your product or service. Make sure that passion shines through.

Interact With Social Media

Use Social Media

  • 70% of Internet users use social media
  • 36% of small businesses use Facebook to engage with customers
  • More than 1 in 3 social media users talk about brands online
  • 1 in 3 small businesses sell online.

Acquiring New Customers

Acquiring new customers

When it comes to increasing the size of your customer base, the first people you should look to are your most loyal customers. They are your best salespeople because they are more likely to recommend your business to others.

However, if you take the time to learn about them through profiling and communication this will help to tell you who you should be targeting next. Ideally, you should aim to get more customers that are just like the best customers that you already have.

Customer loyalty: How to generate repeat business

It’s always a great feeling to get a sale and though one-off sales are fine, the chances are you will want every customer to buy from you again and again. The most obvious way to achieve this is to provide a good product or service at a good price, along with excellent customer service. It has never been more important to treat your customers well, since almost half of all consumers now put more importance on customer service since the start of the recession.

Customers love being valued and treated like VIPs. Many shoppers today will not stand for a poor retail experience.

An ‘Insites Study’ revealed 36% would not give a business a second chance if they didn’t feel it was up to scratch.

But generating customer loyalty goes well beyond service at the point of sale.

If you really want to stand out from your competition, build a community around your customer that adds value in a unique way.

Take time to find out what customers really value about your business – and give it to them. Involve them in your business. You can even do this by letting them get involved in helping you develop new products and services.

There is always a market for anything that saves people time or money, makes their lives easier, or simpler or cheaper. When providing something like this, make sure your costs are very competitive and you are giving customers exactly what they want, rather than trying to tell them what you think they want. You have to be absolutely focused on delivering something of real value to them.

Targeting prospects

You will find that when you are marketing well to your existing customers, you will very quickly start to pick up new ones. To get to this stage, you will have had to learn not only who your customers are but where they are. You will also have discovered what they like about your product or services, when they buy and what communications channels they use.

You then use this exact same information to deliberately target fresh customers through offers and promotions and through generating referrals from existing customers.

Acquiring New Customers

How – and when – to run special offers and promotions

Potential customers are much more likely to take the plunge and buy from you if you offer good incentives for them to do so. The classic ‘Buy-one-get-one-free’ is great if you have unsold stock to shift.

However there are many other incentives you can use, and understanding customer preferences is crucial when making offers and promotions.

For example:

  • Offering a product or service at a discounted rate when a customer buys a popular related product or service will increase your average sale value.
  • Selecting popular products as prizes for competitions and challenges will increase engagement and referrals, particularly online.

Getting the timing right is equally important. When do your customers most likely want to hear what you are offering?  Seasonal sales and external events such as national holidays can offer good hooks for promotions. So, too, can the release of a new and improved product or service.

Don’t just do it randomly: Have a reason to make the offer and stress the value and benefits your customer will gain by taking this offer up.

Use your customers themselves to increase your customer base

Nobody knows the other players in the marketplace better than your existing customers so find ways to get your customers to promote what you do, such as a financial incentive in order to find you new business. Companies like Amazon do this very well by creating an affiliate program; individuals promote your products and get paid a commission on every sale.

Referrals are always a really effective way of getting new customers.  76% of consumers cite word of mouth as their main influence when deciding on which product to buy.

The internet makes it particularly easy for businesses to find get referrals because more than a third of social media users have talked about brands online, and four out of five online retailers reported increased sales after adding comment features on their websites and product pages.

If you are selling or marketing online it makes sense to enable ‘social sharing’ on your website landing pages. You can even ask customers to leave a testimonial if you advertise in online directories.

Your aim is to be certain that wherever new customers are likely to encounter you – online or offline – they are able to read something positive about your business that’s been said by another customer.

To encourage feedback offer customers incentive schemes to refer you. For example you could offer a discount when someone introduces a new customer or an invitation to a product launch. Some businesses now use group buying as a way of encouraging people to share discounts with friends and family on social media sites.

There is always something you can offer your customers as a reward for helping you grow your customer base.

10 Top Tips for Growing Your Customer Base

Ten Steps to Growing Your Customer Base

  1. Focus on the right customers. Just because you might have a small business don’t just think you can only sell to other small businesses.
  2. Stay connected with your customers. Engage with them. Build a solid relationship with them. The internet and social media marketing makes this extremely easy to do.
  3. Offer extra value. Always try to over-deliver so your customers will stay loyal to you and keep coming back for more.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and testimonials.
  5. Understand and address your customer’s key frustrations.
  6. Keep communicating with your customers. Don’t let them forget about you. You can do this via online newsletters, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook etc. Provide offers and information which may be of value to them.
  7. Make it your aim to get to know your customers. Find out as much as you can about them. Get to know their interests, their partner’s names, how many children they have, what pets they have, what car they drive etc.
  8. Improve your customer service skills. This includes how you communicate with them, how you answer the phone to them and how you present yourself and your business. Whatever contact your customers have with you, it should always be a positive experience.
  9. Ask customers how you can do things better. No company is perfect but if you allow your customers to give you feedback you will keep them on side and loyal to your business.
  10. Create forums or Facebook groups where customers can share information and ideas. Create a community for them to be a part of. It all helps with the engagement and keeping them loyal to you.

We have many more marketing ideas that will help to take your business to another level.

To find out more about how we can help your company and give you a solid online marketing strategy please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Citations For Local Businesses

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in General | Comments Off on Citations For Local Businesses

The more citations you have the better!

Especially in the online marketing world. If you own a business and you have heard of or read about citations, you may be confused about exactly what they are and why you need them to help your website’s ranking.In simple terms, a citation in the online world refers to any time your company information is listed on a website. (more…)

The Tools Of A Mobile Creative

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Video Marketing | 0 comments

I held a Google Hangout with Paul Deach to promote our forthcoming Hangout about Mobile Creatives – I know a Hangout about….A Hangout.

However this is meant as a precursor or trailer to the actual event on Thursday 26th February at 11am GMT

Its about 6 minutes long and we talk about who the hangout is for.

Take a look…I wish I’d worn a tie

Social Media Hangout With Paul Deach

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Social media | 0 comments

Paul Deach is a hyper local social media marketing consultant based in Surrey and he’s a local councillor too.

In this interview I talk to him about how and why small businesses should use social media in their business. (more…)

Video Testimonials For Business

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in General | 0 comments

Using video testimonials helps your business’s credibility.

We all know that having a series of written testimonials on your website can help to make your visitor more comfortable in using your services.

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Video Marketing Using The Business Owner’s Voice

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in General | 0 comments

People love to deal with real people. So I do not know why, actors are used to front videos for small business.

In this video I created for Pete Hillier of Eco Fires and Stoves in Church Crookham, you can see a business owner really explaining why he recommends this particular product.

Whilst its not a glossy, beautifully filmed piece, it nevertheless get the information across in a natural way. After all, when people come onto the internet, they are looking for information not some beautifully filmed images. So you could say this is a kind of promotional/informational video.

Of course there is a place for those kind of videos, where you bring on a full production crew that costs £2k and much more. Such as up market restaurants, hotels or expensive cars.

But with video marketing for local businesses, I believe either the interview with the owner type of video works best or the promotional/informational video.

For me Pete comes across in a very natural way.

Video Interview With Inventor Of The SHOFT

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in General | 0 comments

This is a video interview with Graham Cox the co-Inventor of the SHOFT

Graham along with his dad Ronald is the Co-Inventor of this gadget.

So what is a Shoft?

SHOFT  is a small palm-sized product made of soft material that fits over the top of your vehicle seat belt tongue (that’s the bit you grab and pull down every time you buckle up).  

After the 2 second install SHOFT reduces the usual ‘slack’ that creeps in to the seat belt.  

How does it do this?  SHOFT has a built in ‘brake pad’ made of GRIPtene that engages the seat belt when you buckle up and remove the slack by tugging up on the diagonal section of the seat belt.  Keeping tension on the lap belt portion of the seat belt helps comply with RoSPA & NHTSA safety guidelines and also helps with better posture as it reduces ‘slouching’.

Watch this video interview for further information

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