So you’re a small business or franchisee and wondering how you can parlay your tiny or non-existent budget into more traffic using the myriad of tools and platforms in the online marketing space?
It’s a challenge for virtually every SME in Australia looking to get traction and build up opportunities and leads for their business. Whether you’re a sole trader, a growing SME with limited staff and resources or even part of franchise group – you need and want to be ‘flying your own flag’.
So how do you go about taking control of your business destiny? These 10 tips won’t turn you into a digital marketing ‘case study’, but they will help you drive more traffic and convert more leads.
- Who are you talking to? What’s their problem? How do you solve it? How should they feel? Why should they believe you? Answer these five questions on your website and on your social media pages and you are a long way down the path to talking to your ideal customer. I know your business solves lots of problems and offers a lot of services, but what’s the one thing you are famous for? (Tip – Be clear about this then market it consistently to the perfect customer).
- Assuming you have nailed everything in the first point and you have a website and active social pages – now you need to get your content right. The more relevant the content the better the response will be. If it’s talking directly to me and answers those five questions, I am far more likely to engage. Make sure your website in particular is optimised to convert visitors to leads. (Tip – A product Like Convertopages can create conversion landing pages very cheaply and effectively).
- For those with websites – install Call Tracking and Analytics. You can’t manage what you can measure. Analytics provides a ton of great, useful data, such as where your website visitors come from, how long they stay, and what they do on your site. The best part is it’s free and it will help you to track every lead that’s generated by your website. (Tip – track phone leads through the use of a ‘hosted number’).
Blogging = Traffic
- Blog – make time to blog about your business. Provide potential prospects with informative content that you can house on your blog. Promote it socially and offer it to other networks to supplement their strategy. You’ll find this will help support your position in your chosen area of expertise. (Tip – Blogging builds traffic).
- Use Social media – now there is plenty to choose from and it can be a bit daunting if this isn’t your playground when online, so pick one or two that match your perfect customer and where they are most likely to engage. Be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+, determine the best for you and build a presence. Once your account is established you can start sharing your original content. (Tip – Relevance of content beats frequency of content. Don’t post lots of rubbish).
- Use Facebook’s advertising platform. It’s cheap and can be very effective. The ads appear in the news feed so it’s impossible to miss. It is especially effective for ‘local’ businesses because there is virtually no waste, as opposed to more traditional media. A trade or community business such as a restaurant can promote just to the area and surrounding suburbs it draws customers from. It’s also very good for targeting specific demographics. (Tip – you can also be day ‘time’ specific. In other words chose the time of day to run your ads to target potential customers when they are most likely to be ready to buy).
- If you have the ability, post online video. Video cameras and editing software are very accessible and cheap and with a little bit of practice you could be shooting and editing your own videos which you can then post on You Tube or Metacafe. Video is certainly one of the growth areas of online marketing and advertising and more social platforms are changing their models to place video front and centre. Video works well on Facebook appearing automatically in the news feeds making it hard to miss. The algorithms of these social media platforms are also leaning towards rewarding those who share video too as it attracts high user views. (Tip – Better to have 15 seconds of quality video than 2 minutes of rubbish. You can’t hide poor production standards).
- If your product is highly visual (clothes, shoes, cars, etc.) then post images regularly on Pinterest and/or Instagram. Both platforms have strong followings, particularly among women. Pinterest will drive major traffic to your website and Instagram is great for using hashtags to build audiences. (Tip – Both platforms are free, so post often).
Consumers prefer options like email marketing because they are in control of the format and how they receive it.
- Email marketing – I’ve tried to make this article about activities that for the most part are free or low cost. Email marketing is another one of these activities which requires minimal cost but a little bit of time. Email marketing and email reminders are great for engaging customers, but won’t work if you do it on its own. To get the most out of Email, be sure to integrate your email marketing campaigns with other marketing activity. For example, if you are running a series of banner ads or remarketing content, increase the cut through by also notifying your email subscriber list of engaged customers. When they see the ad, they will have already been educated on the offer via email, increasing the frequency and giving them another reason to respond. (Tip – Email reminders massively increases coupon downloads).
- Finally, this one is for the franchisees out there. Understanding that most of you pay a levy to your Master Franchise for Marketing, you may be thinking, how can I maximise my budget or activity given they have a big say in what happens? Generally the Master Franchise looks to invest the marketing levy into activity and media that will help grow the brand and drive traffic for all franchisees. This can be difficult to see or feel the benefit at franchise level, depending on the model. For example if you are in a services franchise you may find leads are stronger geographically in some regions than others. Not the fault of the head office, just the way the market works. However there is a lot you can do to ‘piggy back’ off your head office activity. I’ve listed some of the specific actions above, but in addition make sure you are familiar with your group’s bigger marketing picture, time your own activity to run simultaneously or directly after a big advertising push. Car Dealers will often run ‘sales’ off the back of manufacturer incentives to maximise the market activity generated by their marketing. TV campaign impact can be extended by running radio in the weeks after the TV has finished. In the same way you can ‘slingshot’ your localised content if you schedule activity in and around big marketing pushes. AdWords, Social Media , Remarketing, You Tube etc. will all continue to deliver in the following weeks. (Tip – make sure your content and advertising has the same look and feel as your Master Franchise campaign to extract maximum benefit. Some franchise groups offer members generic versions of branded content you can localise).
So there you have it, 10 things we think will make your year a better one if you make the time to implement them and plan to monitor and update regularly. We know it’s hard to find time to do all the things we should do in a business, but can you afford not to? These 10 things will generate leads and in turn opportunities to make sales. That equals growth for your pride and joy. Speak to us today on 1300 859 600 to talk about waving your business flag online.