So, what’s your excuse?
You have a reasonably profitable business and regular clients… Ok, maybe they don’t spend as much as they used to, but they’re reliable; the sort that’ll stick with you.
But there’s a nagging doubt….
What if they were to be enticed over to a tech-savvy competitor? And what if they aren’t actually doing as well as you thought, and they just so happened to completely stop trading a few months from now?
Would you regret your complacency?
Marketing In a New World
Many local businesses are ignoring the seismic shift that has taken place in marketing in the last few years…
Businesses that absolutely do embrace providing great customer experience and realise the value in nurturing long term relationships.
Yet, apart from dabbling in social media – tweeting and posting status updates because they feel they have to – and because it’s free – they completely ignore the most effective strategies of online marketing.
If you continue to neglect proven online marketing tactics and persist in advertising like it’s the 1990’s, you’re going to get left behind.
Change Your Approach
Whenever you’ve seen a dramatic and inspiring weight loss transformation, is it usually the result of a moderate and gradual lifestyle change?
Invariably, the best fat loss results are achieved by adherence to a radical diet program… A complete change of mindset. Balance comes later. And it makes complete sense.
If the total sum of your online marketing efforts amounts to having a basic website and firing out a couple of daily tweets, it’s time to radically change your tactics.
Divert Your Offline Advertising Budget, Online
Initially, if the budget is tight and you can’t do both, we advise diverting most of your offline marketing and advertising budget to a new online strategy. It will not be applicable to every industry or business, but there’s a very good reason this approach will prove successful for many…
If you have multiple adverts running in newspapers, local directories and magazines… and you’re regularly distributing leaflets and flyers… are you absolutely confident that you can accurately gauge where your customers are coming from?
How do you and your staff record and analyse the results? Can it be done accurately, every-time? And are you confident you’re getting the best possible ROI for every £ you’re spending on your advertising?
Because from where we’re standing, we are seeing clients multiply their returns by reallocating their budgets to SEO, Google Ads, Website Refreshes and Email Marketing Software.
Only by purging your business of superfluous print advertising – and then slowly reintroducing these strategies one by one – will you get a true indication of individual value.
Why Interruption Based Advertising Is Dead
If you can generate enough customers online to fill your diary, week in week out, the cost of acquiring each customer online is going to be significantly less.
Yes, you’ll occasionally need to fill in the gaps with some excellent direct response collateral, but it’s something you’ll need to do far less frequently and in much less volume.
Yet, so many businesses are scared stiff of letting go of large scale print advertising, even when presented with evidence of diminishing returns. After all, it’s something that we’ve always done… irrespective of results.
But think for a minute, about how you deal with advertising in your daily life… Do you look forward to the commercials that interrupt a favourite TV series? I’m guessing that most of the time you hit pause, take a break and fast forward the adverts once a couple of minutes have passed.
This wasn’t an option available to us just a few years ago. We were a captive audience.
And what about leaflets dumped through your letterbox, laying strewn all over your hallway? I know what I do. I simply gather them up in one fell swoop and toss them straight into the bin. At best, I may notice the photo of a landscape gardener or the corporate logo of a local financial advisor.
We simply don’t need to be told where or how to find these businesses anymore. They’re there to seek out at the click of a mouse. And once we’ve found them, we can easily scrutinise their ability, services and customer reputation in our own time.
When It Doesn’t Work, You’re Left With No Choice
What happens when interruption-based offline advertising doesn’t work?
You know, like when that amazing 10% OFF promotion goes down like a lead balloon… You’re left with no option but to tread further into the murky world of price promotion… And from here, there is no turning back.
Every sale costs you more…and every client becomes more expensive to acquire.
Even worse, the customers you now attract are unlikely to be those who’ll return. They’re price shoppers. And now you are a price promoter. And when your price promoting competitors react, you’ll be cutting your prices even more.
Companies go broke every single day having sold fantastic numbers of products and services.
Price promotion – which is the go-to strategy of accumulated marketing campaign failures – is not a sustainable long-term strategy.
5 Strategies to Implement Right Now:
Refresh Your Website Content
Most businesses now have a reasonably serviceable website. If not…well….we give up!
Start by taking a fresh look at your content on each and every page. Then get to work refreshing it with copy that emphasises the benefits of your products or services to your customer.
If you’re a landscape gardener, nobody cares if you have a rear-wheel drive, self-propelled, rough terrain lawnmower with a pressed steel cutting deck!!
They simply want to know that you’ll turn up on time, every-time and never miss a single blade of grass.
And if you’re web designers, your clients will be completely turned off by discussions of HTML5, CSS3 and a bewildering assortment of technical topics.
They just want to be 100% confident you’ll design a great looking site that will promote their service or product and increase their sales.
Make sense? Great. Go knock yourself out deleting any unnecessary technical jargon from your website and replace it with conversational copy that actually impresses that you understand the needs and concerns of your clients.
Do your website visitors actually understand what you want them to do on your site? Are you hoping they’ll call? Ask them. Wanting their email address?
Make sure you have an email capture box on your website and provide a benefit in exchange for their trust.
Whatever your goal, don’t forget to include a call to action on most of your website pages.
Set Up Email Marketing Campaigns
In an ideal world, every visitor to your website would become an immediate customer. Unfortunately, the vast majority won’t.
Does that mean you’ve lost them for good? Even if they’ve engaged with a competitor in the meantime?
Everybody is in a different stage of the buying cycle and there are a huge number of variables that your visitors see as obstacles: Trust. Budget. Value. Confusion. Knowledge.
Some or all of these issues need to be addressed at some point. And no amount of broadcast messages offering price promotions will comfort these prospects if they do not fully grasp your value proposition.
So, how do you convert prospects who have visited your website but failed to order your product or book your service? Remember that email capture box we mentioned? It’s one of the most important features of your website.
Every visitor who enters their email address into this box is giving you permission to keep them up to date with informative content. They may have liked what they read and viewed… they just weren’t yet ready to buy.
And so you simply set up automated, pre-planned email campaigns that educate, inform and provide value and humour.
Use email marketing effectively and considerately, and you will see big improvements in long-term sales.
Implement SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
You may already be doing basic SEO without even being aware of it.
If you’ve simply included keywords for your services and location in the header and paragraph of your homepage, you’ve inadvertently dabbled in a bit of on-page optimisation…
Have you listed your business in local online directories such as yell.com? That’s another basic requirement of SEO right there.
But consider the possibilities of appearing in the top few search results of page 1 in Google for your industry keywords…
We know that the higher your business is ranked, the more clicks you’ll get. So if your industry searches run into the thousands – or even just the hundreds – that’s one hell of a source of the best possible qualified leads you’ve got there.
But the benefits of a compelling website will never be realised unless significant numbers of your potential customers find you.
And that’s why you need to pay attention to SEO. Maybe you’ll learn the basics and progress to tackling the finer nuances yourself.
There are certainly some great resources out there, such as Moz.com… It’s basically free info.
Just don’t assume you’ll see immediate results. Fast, high rankings are occasionally possible, but generally speaking, the more competitive the industry and, the better the rewards, the more difficult it will be.
SEO is a long-term strategy that you need to pay immediate attention to.
Make sure it’s part of your plans.
Trial Paid Search (GoogleAds)
Assuming you’re now paying attention to the rudiments of SEO, you’ll be wanting a way of attracting customers whilst you wait for all that optimisation to take effect and get your website climbing Google.
And this is where GoogleAds comes into play.
Paid search is relatively simple: pay the required amount of money and you’re all but guaranteed a seat at Google’s top table. How much you pay is dependent on the number of competitors you’re up against – which is influenced by the profitability of the keywords you’re targeting.
Some industries are more suited to immediately converting a higher percentage of first-time visitors (think carpet cleaning…) whilst others, like web design and software, have lower conversion rates but a greater potential return.
GoogleAds can form a very important piece of your marketing jigsaw, so learn the ropes and implement a simple campaign or two that you can measure and adjust.
If in doubt, get in touch with a GoogleAds representative and they’ll help you set up your first campaign.
And don’t forget to ask for your free voucher!
Build At Least Some Social Presence
The true ROI of social media is notoriously difficult to monitor.
Yes, there is software that can provide helpful data.
Yes, you can measure your success in clicks, favourites, likes, shares and retweets, if that’s important to you.
But the real value is in your customers knowing you give a ****
Social gives you an identity.
An increasing number of web browsers will click through beyond your webpage in search of confirmation that you are indeed a real local business with real people behind the wheel.
They want to know you care…And that you’re putting yourself out there to be shot at and deal with the issues that sometimes arise.
It helps build trust and confidence.
Forget the bottom line and just start being a little bit more social.
Over and Out
If this article convinces one digitally sceptical business to action just one of these strategies, we’ll be over the moon!
Go forth… and like, tweet, care and share with reckless abandon.
After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it..?