Category Archives: Marketing

Word Of Mouth Marketing

New business owners will often tell us that “word of mouth” is going to be a big part (sometimes the main focus) of their marketing .  We all know how powerful a happy customer can be and the impact it can have on a business.  But … the majority of people are not necessarily vocal about their satisfaction with a business or service until asked.  Conversely, we are more apt to be vocal when we are dissatisfied.  So if you are sitting back and waiting for great word of mouth to happen, you might be disappointed.

Any kind of marketing, including “word of mouth” takes effort.  And yes, there are things you can do to help it happen!

#1 Use Your Business Cards Wisely

A very wise and savvy mentor that I know always tells her mentees to give customers 3 of their business cards and to tell them “one to keep and 2 to give away”.  Make it easy for your customers and clients to make referrals to you.  If they have a couple of business cards they will give them away to people and they will be happy to help out their friends and colleagues.

Remember, a whole stack of business cards will do you no good sitting in your desk drawer, and they are very affordable.

#2 Support Your Own Clients

Do you have a client or customer who also owns a small business?  Do you have other clients who could benefit from their product or service?  Make that referral, promote their service.  It will come back to you as they will refer people to your business.  Mutual referrals will grow and benefit you both!
#3 Ask

Sometimes, all it takes is a request.  Ask some of your clients and customers if they would consider providing you with a testimonial that you can use on your website or in-store.  Choose wisely – ask individuals who are established in the community and are well-known so that it carries some weight.

#4 Give Them Something To Talk About

It takes an exceptionally happy customer to initiate positive word of mouth for your business.  You have to consistently provide excellent customer service, get to know them and make them feel appreciated, ask for and accept their feedback on products, etc. and then do something with that feedback.  When they feel special and appreciated they will talk about your business in a positive light.

When you put some thought into it, most business owners are able to come up with ideas that will appeal to the emotions of their customers.  Make them feel important, special, appreciated, safe, understood and provide them with positive experiences on a consistent basis.  Being proactive will result in positive word of mouth – don’t sit back and wait for it, make it happen!

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How to Create a Social Media Plan – Part 1

You many have social media accounts for your business, but are you using them to their full potential? Social media for business is meant to connect with your customers and increase your sales. To get the most out of it, you have to have a plan.

Ask yourself the following questions to create a social media plan that will benefit your business best.

  1. What social media is the best fit for your business?

You don’t have to have a presence on every form of social media; you have to have a presence on the ones your target market is using. A great way to find out is to just ask. If you get a lot of traffic on your website, create an online survey or ask them as they leave your store to get the most accurate respone. Entice customers with prizes or other tangible benefit to fill out the survey. Once you know which ones are used more frequently, create accounts if you haven’t already and familiarise yourself.

  1. What are you social media goals?

Now that you’ve determined which social media is the best fit for your business and you’ve created accounts, you need to decide what your purpose is for being there. Do you want to use social media to; increase your referrals or leads, build on your word-of-mouth, increase sales, become known as an expert, provide customer service? Once you decide, set one or two specific goals that can be measured and prioritize them.

  1. How will you measure the success of your social media plan?

This is a step that is often left out. What good is all your effort if you don’t track and measure the success of your social media? Success is measured by the cost and return on investment (ROI), the same as any other marketing efforts. To make measuring return on investment easier, use your social media account to drive your target market to your website then analyse your website statistics. Google Analytics is a great tool that makes it easy to see how your site engagement goals are being met.

To be continued…

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4 Ways to Promote your Website for Free

Nothing is ever truly free. If you aren’t spending money promoting your website, you’re spending time. So if you’re willing to give up some time, these free website promotion techniques will reward you with increased traffic to your site and profit for your business.

Work on your website SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the best for promoting your website. It’s easy to learn and apply to your website. Working on your SEO will improve your page ranking and drive more traffic to your website.

Get reciprocal linking.

Having other people link their website to yours is a great way to get free website promotion. Keep in mind that the quality of the links matter. Focus on finding quality, relevant websites to link to yours and vice versa.

Drive traffic using social media.

Social media is another great place to promote your website/ business for free. Keep in mind you shouldn’t just use social media to promote, but also share valuable information with your followers that keeps them coming back for more.

Create and present quality content.

These promotion techniques won’t find you success unless you have quality content on your website. Don’t drive your target market to a poor website, create content that your audience wants to read and learn more about.

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Content Marketing for your Small Business

Social media is valuable to business owners; it’s a way to generate trust and openness with customers. Aside from your time, social media marketing requires little investment and opens up the lines of communication with your target audience.

Creating good, valuable content is often forgotten when it comes to social media marketing. Here are five types of content you can easily create and share to get your business in front of the right people.

Blogs – Having a small business blog will become integral to your content marketing strategy. There are many types of blog posts you can write; from editorial to tutorial, to compilation blogs. Also including guest posts here and there can incorporate external voices that could draw in new audiences.

Videos – Like blogs, there are many different formats for videos. You can share quick tips, conduct interviews, or let your customers know what’s new with your business. Get creative and share valuable information with your followers.

Podcasts – Podcasts are a great way to connect with your audience in a one-on-one way. This is a form of content that can be shared and consumed easily on a smartphone or audio playing device anywhere, anytime. Convert your quick tips, tutorials, and interviews to audio.

Infographics – Infographics are great for business because they take data and break it down into an easy-to-digest visual tool. Infographics are also one of the most-shared types of content, so they are worth the time it takes to create them.

Images – You can create visual content without infographics by using images that can be quickly shared on sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Include a statistic with an eye-catching photo, an inspiring quote, or even a promotional message that leads followers to your website.

In the words of Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. Use social to drive awareness of your content more so than awareness of your company.”

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Content Marketing Checklist for Small Business – Part 2

  1. Pick the right social media platforms.

There are many social media platforms to share your content on, however that doesn’t mean you need to use them all. Pick platforms that will help you reach your target audience best. Also consider what type of content you will share. Visual content like images and infographics would fit best on Instagram or Pinterest, where as links to blog posts would fit best on Facebook or Twitter.

  1. Use time-saving tools.

There are different content marketing tools available that will help plan, research, measure and share your content. Some tools even help you write the content. Here are a few credible content marketing tools to save you time; Evernote (organization), Skyword (development), HootSuite (social distribution), Constant Contact (email marketing). Keep in mind that you should be choosing tools that have been proven to be effective.

  1. Measure the effectiveness of your content.

Once you have gone through the steps above, it’s important to remember to evaluate your content and its effectiveness. Find out how many people have viewed, shared and engaged with your content, and made a purchase. To see how your content is performing, gather this information on a monthly basis using a systemized plan. This will also help you compare your results over time.

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Content Marketing Checklist for Small Business – Part 1

Social media is a staple for small business owners who want to reach customers and forge relationships that lead to increased sales, making it the perfect marketing activity for budget-conscious business owners. It is an effective marketing tactic, however if you don’t have a consistent amount of relevant and useful content to share you could turn off your social media followers.

This is where content marketing comes into play. Follow this checklist to get the most out of your content marketing.

  1. Understand content marketing.

In order to create good content you must understand what content marketing is. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: “A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Meaning that content marketing is about knowing your target audience and goals, and creating content that guides them to purchase your product or service.

  1. Outline your content marketing goals.

Your content marketing goals are specific to your business and what you want to achieve, whether it is to communicate with customers, to create new relationships with potential customers, to build up your email marketing list, or to boost your credibility. Identify and understand your goals and the result you want to see.

  1. Pick the type of content you will create.

Now that you know what your goals are and what you want to achieve, consider the type of content you will create. There are many types of content such as; blog posts, videos, images, email messages, press releases, and more. Regardless of what type of content you choose, make sure it is relevant, informative and valuable to your audience and it must be consistent. Set a schedule for creating new content on a regular basis.

  1. Don’t forget SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays an important role when it comes to creating content. SEO is using keywords in your content to help search engines find your content when those key words are entered in a search. Focus on writing your content first, and then plug in keywords throughout to optimize your SEO.

To be continued next week…

 

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Building Your Online Reputation

Here are three key factors to develop your online reputation in the digital marketing world.

Content Creation

The most effective first step to a successful online reputation is creating great content. Customers expect a high level of effort to be put into content, especially if it’s designed to turn them into a paying customer. Many small businesses create this content through blog posts. It is great for Search Engine Optimization and gives you the opportunity to provide valuable information to your customers while boosting your online reputation.

Social Media

Your reputation on social media platforms relies heavily on your activity, your audience will forget about you if you’re not actively posting. But that’s just the beginning… Engaging with your audience can be a bigger hurdle because we’ve been taught to approach social media with a corporate perspective. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of humanity. Keep in mind that social media is meant to connect people and it works best when two people simply have a conversation.

Reviews & Public Perception

This is easily the most challenging aspect of managing your online reputation and also the most important. Online reviews have been a huge factor in determining the online reputation of a business. To the modern consumer, digital word of mouth is a very persuasive way of marketing. It’s important to pursue positive reviews, convincing customers that have had good experiences to write reviews.

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