Hints & Tips to make your marketing work

Marketing for small business can be exciting and profitable. It can also be a sink hole for your hard earned cash if you get it wrong. We often get asked to review what and how a business is marketing themselves – it can often take a fresh set of eyes to spot where things can be improved. If you’re stuck and not getting the results you’re looking for, try looking at these common marketing barriers and how to break through them:

Not Knowing What a Website Can Do
Some small businesses think they can circumvent having a website with a Facebook
page. While that works on the customer facing level, it wont give the full analytical capabilities. Having a website on a platform like WordPress opens up the ability to get all of the analytical capabilities so you can make informed marketing decisions.

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Website Doesn’t Convert
You might be getting the traffic to your website but not the numbers in visitors who convert into sales. Remember, first impressions are just as important online as they are face-to-face. You might need to tweak your landing page to be more engaging, or review the UX (user experience) – is your offering clear, can they see all your products and prices, and do they know what they need to do next? Something as simple as bigger directional buttons might be all you need. Is the site giving them what they came for? Try simplifying your navigation to get them to your purchase page. And do some UX testing – ask your friends to give it a go.

Brand Image You already have your Brand identity ( logo, colours etc) but do you have the right Brand image – what people think of you, your service or product. And does your ideal actually match what people really think of you? Make sure you are meeting expectations and are clear and honest in all you say.

Keywords Fall Flat
Search engine optimization (SEO) doesn’t get your website’s ranking to where it needs to be if you aren’t using the right keywords. There’s a process to getting the right ones.
The first thing to do is make a list of the keywords that you think people will use to
search for your product or service and always think locally. What would YOU type into your browser if you were looking? Test this by using your search engine. There are also some good free websites which help you to document and rank your words so you know which are a most common and therefore most search-worthy.

Misusing Links
Having links to and from your site to other strong and influential sites is a great way to improve your ranking. Use these correctly and Google will reward you by ranking your page higher in the searches. Google is penalising sites for bad links. Citation links drive traffic to your website and build up authority with Google. Yelp is a good example of where you can get quality links.

Messaging that’s not hitting the mark
Knowing your audience, how you want to reach them, and then what you want to say to them is all key insight and you have to get it right otherwise you are shouting into the wind. How much information you share (enough to get them interested but not too much that you have given the game away), what tone of voice you use (friendly/professional) and what ‘hooks’ you use to get them interested enough to come in for more is an art. Try different styles till you get it right

Inconsistent Brand Messaging
A message that has the same repetitive approach will resonate with your target audience much better than lots of conflicting ones. Salience and recall is gained through repetition.
Take the time to blend any new messages into an old campaign style so there is a gradual phasing. That means developing tag lines and product attributes you can use across your whole marketing mix & campaigns.

If your retention rates are dropping, the problem might be in the tone of your messaging or that you haven’t made the customer feel ‘special’ enough to come back. Develop a strong Customer Journey, looking at key touchpoints in their life cycle. When and how do they want to hear from you, how frequent and what do you have to offer this time around? Is there a loyalty scheme or referral programme. Do they feel invested in your business?

Your Product Doesn’t Get Any Reviews
You might not be selling enough to generate reviews or you’re not allowing for customer reviews in your on-line space. Make sure with every sale you have a built in process asking your customers to add a review, either on your web page, social platforms or LinkedIn. Ask you web designer to add a widget to your website to allow for reviews to be added. Also use Google My Business which allows for Star Ratings.

Negative Online Reviews
Bad online feedback can be amplified through tweets and posts. And while some might actually be constructive and useful, you also need to mitigate the damage when the attacks are vicious. Everyone has an opinion and aren’t afraid (on line at least) to share it! If you have a bad review, own it, deal with it and resolve it. We all get a bad experience occasionally, but its how it is dealt with that leaves a good or bad impression.

Not Enough Leads Generated
The issue when you’re not getting a steady flow of leads could very well be with the image and tone your web page, emails and social media posts convey. If you don’t demonstrate a good offering, your prices are too high or your marketing is just falling flat, it doesn’t matter how good your product is..people just won’t come to you. Whats your USP (unique selling point), what makes you better than the next, is it range, price or customer service – and what do previous customers have to say?

Poor Lead Tracking and Follow up Small business owners can easily get overwhelmed with all the analytics choices they have. However, not picking a way to automate your follow up procedures could cause everything to stall.
Checking out the variety of social media dashboards available today is a good starting point if you haven’t already. These supply great metrics that can help you adapt your business to work smarter.

Long Sales Cycle
For some businesses the time lapse from initial enquiry to final sales completion can be much longer than – say – FMCG. But that doesn’t need to stop you from implementing all these marketing methods and ensuring a great Customer Journey. If there are ways to cut down the time then we would always recommend that, but still ask for reviews, feedback and referrals int he usual way.

Data is KEY
Your customer base is the richest source of sales data you hold. Make sure you are using it wisely and frequently. Setting up an email account in MailChimp or similar will enable you to send regular and impressive looking emails to your customers, about new products, services, team news or industry updates. This shows a vested interest in them, and also that you are on top of things. And track the results and try testing headlines, images or opening paragraphs to see which work best for you. #GDPR

Social Media is a pain!
There, I’ve said it. It takes up so much time, trying to generate fresh ideas, sourcing images, deciding which platforms are best for your business and to reach your target audience, and then there’s finding influencers, commenting and retweeting.. oh My! Good tracking helps you to decide what works and what can be cast aside. My advice? Get someone else to do it properly, and you spend your time on the things that matter most – developing your products, staff, premises or checking competition.

Which Social Media do I chose?

Duplicate Content
There’s a tendency for the busy marketer to copy and paste competitor’s content. Cutting that corner can lead to penalties from Google that can cost you ranking and money. The solution is simple. Make a few videos about your business and place them on your website.

Lack of Knowledge and Skills
Small business owners get overwhelmed with all the social media choices, analytical
capabilities and other marketing toys they can adopt. This one’s easy. Hire a professional marketer. Know your strengths and stick to doing what you do best. No one expects you to know it all, especially when just setting out, so use the services of those that do – like us here at Ringmaster Marketing.

PPC Ads are Prohibitively Expensive
Some people limit their scope to search-based ads where you are picking keywords
and choosing where you want your ads to appear.
Pay per click encompasses a lot of the paid options in social networks as well.

Not Testing Your Copy First
Many small businesses make the mistake of putting copy into their marketing mix without taking advantage of the analytics that can help to define it. Test the copy in an email or PPC environment first.

Getting the mix right
Quite often, there are some generational divides in organisations. Some people
may want to go for a more traditional print approach while others are interested in digital marketing. The solution here is to adopt an integrated marketing plan that makes the best of both and that each media compliments the other. An event for example, may have social media, email, ticketing (ie Eventbrite), but also posters, flyers and banners. Sometimes, your marketing team can be too big and/or disjointed. Social media teams might not have any connection to the print and radio advertisers. That can lead to a breakdown in the entire planning. If you integrate everything and load it into the right dashboard, you can see how Twitter and Facebook ads work together with live events and the ROI for all teams.

Keeping track
Once you have your marketing up and running for a while, don’t forget to take time out to review it. Benchmarks are a great way to determine how things are working. Analytics are fine but you need to have concrete signposts to check you are on the right path.

Your Spending Has Increased but You Don’t Know What’s Working
You’re trying new marketing platforms because everyone else is and you feel you should, right? Casting your net too wide might not work and is very time consuming, so take some time to review and refine where your business is to get the maximum ROI. And why not try some trusted fundamentals like AdWords where you can trial three different ads or posts to see which works best for you.

Expecting Social Media Ads to Work by Themselves
Nothing you do online works just by being in cyberspace. If you just put together a Twitter Ad alone you won’t get results.
You need to trial a few different ads, platforms, titles, images and lengths to see which resonate best with your audience. Then you can confine your activity – and your spend – in the right place.

Complicated Corporate Cultures
Franchisees might run up against this issue when they want to run a campaign for their
individual businesses. Not every big company will let you hold the marketing
reigns for yourselves. You might be able to get around a restricting corporate culture by setting up your own social media accounts and posting personal items from the job.
Adding pictures of employees and managers gives this a personal or geographic advantage


This article is designed to help answer some of the frequently asked questions, but if you have anything else that you need help with or want someone to talk through your ideas, we are just a phone call away.. 07508 467866.

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