Tag Archives: marketing

Small Business Websites Need to Evolve

People used to turn to local resources when marketing a small local business. There wasn’t really much point in trying to reach customers that were outside of the local area. But the Internet changed all of that. Now we find that people have completely changed their attitude toward commerce. The word eCommerce was coined to distinguish between online and offline marketing. But that word stands for more than just a change in the marketing medium; it also signifies a whole new dynamic for dealing with customers.

We have had the Internet revolution and it has completely transformed our lives. We have started to take it for granted. So much so that it is easy to forget how much it has impacted our lives. Yet in eCommerce, the impact has been significant enough to actually send some otherwise healthy businesses to the wall. And all because consumers have changed their approach to shopping.

What Role Does the Small Business Website Have?

When businesses first started promoting themselves on the Web, their websites were nothing more than flashy digital brochures. But that kind of site doesn’t hold much interest for the online visitor anymore. The primary reason that people are on the internet is to find information. They are not likely to be wowed by glitz unless the site is very entertaining. What people are looking for is relevant information that is pertinent to whatever they searched for. And that’s what the search engines will dig up for them.

The Changing Face of the Business Website

It isn’t enough anymore for a small business to tell people who they are and what they do. The Internet was never designed as a sales platform to showcase businesses. It was, and still is, about the free exchange of information. So when people come to a small business website, they are usually looking for information. The successful small business is the one that provides that information.

Now it might seem counter-intuitive to suggest that giving away information freely is good for business but that is the fact of the matter. Businesses build trust in their customer base by providing what they want. The business that engages with its customers is the one that they turn to when they are ready to buy.

As small business owners we need to be aware of the changing face of consumerism. We need to find ways to engage and interact with visitors to our websites.

 

The Three Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes Small Businesses Make And How To Overcome Them

If you’ve been looking for simple, proven and tested, step-by-step methods for generating more leads for your small business, then this article may just have the answer. Firstly, I want you to stop for a moment and think about all the advertising you’ve seen over the past week.

How many of those actual ads can you name? Researchers estimate that over the past seven days, you have been exposed to as many as 117,000 ads based on national averages. So out of 117,000 ads, how many can you name?

If you’re fairly attentive, you may be able to come up with 3 or 4 specific ads… but I’ll bet that’s because you probably see those ads over and over… week in and week out. Let’s face the facts… repetition works. When you see any advertisement multiple times every day you’re bound to eventually begin to recall the ad. But now answer this question.

What few ads you do remember, how many of their products or services have you bought? Because I have a passion for marketing I tend to go online and research for well accepted ads. Take for example a series of ads from online trading company E*Trade which uses babies to promote their products. These have a massive audience on both TV and YouTube. They even had one during the Superbowl. I think they’re a scream. But… I don’t have an E*Trade account. Never have, never will. Why should I?

What benefits do they offer me as a potential buyer of online trading services that any of the hundreds of other stock trading services offer? See my point? Does a smart-aleck, wise-cracking baby have any relevance to online stock trading whatsoever? Of course not. So why does E*Trade continue to make these commercials? Believe it or not, there is a reason… and by the end of this short presentation, you’ll fully understand what that reason is.

Businesses today are led to believe that all they have to do to build a successful business is create some type of attention-grabbing form of marketing and they will generate leads at will. Nothing could be further from the truth. And that’s just in the area of marketing. What about generating fast cash flow? EVERY small business needs to generate fast cash flow. So how do you do that as a small business owner? What about generating profits? Generating more cash flow is great… but not if you don’t get to put any of it in your pocket at the end of the day. How would you like the answers to all of these problems?

In this article I am going to reveal to you the three biggest lead generation mistakes small business owners make… and outline how you can overcome them.

Here are the three mistakes. Mistake #1… they fail to get professional help. Mistake #2… they don’t know the fundamentals required to successfully market their business and attract as many new clients as their business can handle. And mistake #3… they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow. Let’s explore these three in depth, and show you how you can easily and systematically overcome each one of them.

Mistake #1… small business owners fail to get professional help. Can you name me just one professional athlete who does NOT have a coach? There aren’t any. Tiger Woods actually has a total of 9 coaches guiding him in everything from his golf game to his financial investments. But do small business owners really need professional help? Remember the TV ads we previously discussed? Those ads are created by “professionals.” Unfortunately, those professionals have no clue what they’re doing. Everything they’re doing in marketing and advertising today is wrong! But let me prove that to you right now.

If you currently use any form of marketing such as a print ad, brochure, postcard, flyer… or for that matter… your company website, take it out and look at it carefully. And if you don’t have any form of marketing right now, take out a sheet of paper and sketch out what you think would make for an effective ad for your business. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy… just create a basic outline of the ad and where you would locate the various elements on the page.

Now that you have your ad… or a mock up of your ad sitting in front of you, let me provide you with the little known secrets that produce more leads than your business can handle. 99% of all marketing professionals DON’T know the lead generation secrets I’m about to reveal to you. This information is so powerful and compelling, it will position you in the top 1% of all lead generation professionals today. This example will show you why every small business owner should acquire our step-by-step roadmap as they start to generate leads for their business.

Here’s what a true marketing professional will know… and help you implement into your marketing. It’s known as the “marketing equation.” This marketing equation will let you quit competing on price… and let you start selling your product or service for what it’s really worth. You will drive in more leads and increase your advertising response by 10 to more than 100 times. You will convert a higher percentage of those leads and dramatically increase your number of sales. You will get a bigger bang for your marketing buck. The bottom line is this you will literally create a profit faucet that you will have TOTAL control over.

First, you MUST understand what marketing is supposed to do. Its purpose is actually three fold. Its first job is to capture the attention of your target market. Second, it must give them the hope that reading or listening to your marketing will give them enough information to help them make the best decision possible when buying whatever you sell. In other words, train and teach them how to recognize the true value of your product or service… and conclude that you… and you alone… offer the best value versus your competition. Marketing’s third job is to lower the risk of taking the next step in the buying process… and if necessary… continue to educate the prospect regarding the value you offer.

Marketing that accomplishes these three objectives will result in your prospects and customers coming to one single conclusion, that they would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price. It’s estimated that as many as 96% of all small businesses fail within their first 5 years. The main reason for this tremendously high failure rate has to do with the lack of expertise when it comes to generating leads and making the phone ring.

Most small businesses don’t know anything about those three things that marketing is supposed to do. But there’s also an additional problem to consider. Most small business owners use a tactical marketing approach instead of a strategic approach. Let me explain.

Running an ad in the local newspaper… sending out an email or direct mail letter… airing a radio or TV ad on a local media station are all examples of tactical marketing. Now don’t get me wrong… the newspaper, radio or direct mail can be successful marketing channels… If your marketing message is powerful and compelling. But that’s the problem… the message is the strategic side of marketing… and yet, it’s the most neglected.

This distinction between strategic and tactical marketing is huge and one you need to be acutely aware of anytime you start talking about generating more leads. Many companies mistakenly assume that when you talk about lead generation, you’re automatically talking about tactical lead generation… placing ads, sending out mailers, joining a networking group, attending tradeshows, implementing a prospect follow up system and so on.

They fail to realize that the strategic side of the coin, what you say in your marketing and how you say it is almost always more important than the marketing medium where you say it. If you fail to make this distinction, then you risk becoming jaded towards certain forms of marketing and advertising that should be a part of your tactical plan, but you eliminate them from consideration because they haven’t worked for you in the past.

When lead generation results are less than optimal, small business owners tend to almost always blame the marketing medium… like the newspaper the ad ran in or the postcards they sent out. They blame the tactical part of the plan… without any regard for how good or how bad the strategic messaging in that marketing piece was. People often say things like, “we tried radio and it doesn’t work for our kind of business,” or “we sent out 50,000 pieces of direct mail and only generated 3 orders. It just doesn’t work.”

Just because it didn’t work, don’t assume that it won’t work. Most people don’t have the evaluation skills or the know-how to judge whether poor marketing results from poor strategy or poor tactical execution. This is where our step-by-step roadmap can generate more leads than your business can handle.

For example, most small business owners rely heavily on platitudes in their marketing. They say things like – we have the lowest prices… the best service… we’re family owned and operated… we offer convenient hours… the best value… not to mention that we’ve been in business since 1431 B.C. Look at your own marketing that I asked you to acquire or create earlier. How many platitudes did you use in your own marketing?

By the way, this is NOT your fault. Small business owners have been conditioned to think this is the proper way to market their businesses… since most advertising follows this same pathetic marketing formula… including the Fortune 500 types.

As human beings, we’re all after just one thing when we buy something… the best deal! Unfortunately, when you use platitudes in your marketing, there’s absolutely no way to tell who is actually offering the best deal. Everyone says they have the lowest prices, the highest quality and the best rates. So who do you believe? There’s only one way to know… and that’s to research every single business that offers what you want to buy. How many of us have the time or patience to do that?

So most of us just automatically assume that everyone is pretty much the same, and therefore we default to calling on the business that offers us the lowest price. When you can’t communicate the true value your business offers, you’re doomed to forever compete on price. Our marketing equation will change all of that for you forever. It’s going to be the backbone of your strategic marketing plan. It’s the foundation on which everything else we build for you is based. Let me give you a quick overview and then spend some time going through it with you in detail.

A proper marketing equation has four main components. First, it must interrupt your prospects. It must get your qualified prospect to pay attention to your lead generation marketing. Simple enough to say, but a lot more difficult to pull off in real life unless you understand what you’re about to learn here. The interrupt is done through your headline if your marketing is in print… or it’s the first thing you say if your marketing through radio or TV. The second component is engage. Once your prospect is interrupted, it’s critical you give your reader the promise that information is forthcoming that will help the prospect make the best buying decision possible. In other words, it must help facilitate their decision to pick you over anyone else. This is the job of our subheadline.

The interrupt is our headline that highlights a specific problem that your prospects are looking for a solution to… and the engage is our subheadline that promises them that you offer a solution to the problem we mentioned in our headline.

The third component you need to include is ‘educate’. Once you have interrupted and engaged your prospect, you have to give information that allows them to logically understand how and why you solve the problem they’re facing. This is accomplished by giving detailed, quantifiable, specific and revealing information. This is typically done in the body copy of your ad. When you educate, you need to reveal to your prospects the important and relevant information they need to know when making a good decision, and that your business… and yours alone… provides it to them. The interrupt and engage hit the prospects emotional hot buttons. Educate is the logic they need to justify picking up the phone and calling you.

The fourth and final component of the marketing equation is your offer. Now that you have interrupted your prospect based on problems that are important to them… engaged by a promise of the solution… and they’ve examined the educational information that makes your solution real and believable… the last step you need to take is to give them a low risk way to take the next step in your sales process. You do this by offering a free marketing tool, such as a report, brochure, seminar, audio, video or something that will continue to educate them. Your offer will allow your prospect to feel in control of their final decision to call and buy from you.

So your marketing equation is interrupt, engage, educate and offer and together they equal market domination. Now here’s the problem. Most marketing today only contains two of these components. They interrupt by throwing something at you that’s either familiar like Tiger Woods… or unusual like a monkey or talking pets. Sometimes they like to use both, as in the case of the E*Trade baby. Then once they grab your attention, they make you some type of offer such as “call now for whatever.” They have left out the engage and the educate, and marketing seldom succeeds when that happens.

In fact, the only time this type of marketing does succeed is when you can afford to run the ad over and over nonstop for an extended period of time. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz… melts in your mouth, not in your hand… and the burgers are better at… have literally been rammed down our throats by Fortune 500 types. After hearing these slogans thousands of times, of course we’re going to remember them. But how can a small business owner like you that doesn’t have a billion dollar marketing budget successfully market your business. The answer… you can’t… UNLESS you follow the entire marketing equation.

And finally the third biggest mistake small business owners make is that they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow. When you follow this marketing equation in every form of marketing you do… from your business cards to your company website, the financial results are instantaneous and immediate.

So in conclusion, the three biggest lead generation mistakes small businesses make are #1… they fail to get professional help. #2… they don’t know the fundamentals required to successfully market their business and attract as many new clients as their business can handle. And #3… they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow.

The above marketing equation contains the fundamental components for instantly making your phone ring and positioning your business as the dominant force in your market. It provides the marketing foundation that will enable you to generate immediate cash flow. And small businesses can use this information as a minimum standard when seeking out professional help for their business.

When you can overcome these three biggest lead generation mistakes, you will generate all the leads your business can handle.

 

Small Business Marketing That Actually Works

Effective principles for standard and home based small businesses:

To best understand small business marketing we first need to agree on a definition. In simple terms it means “exposing your business idea to as many of the right people as possible and convincing them that you have the solution to their problem”. That’s about as “un-technical” as I can put it.

How did I come up with this definition?

A while back before I started my own small home based business I learned about marketing as an affiliate marketer promoting other peoples products. At the time I thought I had a very good idea of what this would involve to be successful. Now, as an affiliate marketer I have found that the most effective way to market to the general public is to use pay per click marketing, primarily through Google AdWords. I can’t begin to tell you how much you can actually learn about consumers and their habits by simply experimenting with AdWords.

To summarize my point, I just want to say that what Google taught me is that it is financially most beneficial to reach only those people who are already looking for my product or service rather than trying to market to the whole community in hopes of trying to “sell them” on the idea of my product or service.

Read that again and let it sink in.

With any small business your marketing must be as precise as possible and incur the lowest expense. If you can execute that equation you’ll reap the biggest reward. To clarify my point I would like present to you two examples.

Once again, let me refer to Google AdWords. Let’s say you’ve decided to become an Avon representative. I’ve chosen this only because my wife loves Avon and she also markets the products. One of the things that Avon doesn’t tell you is that it will take an incredible amount of work to build your business. The main obstacle anyone involved in this type of business has to overcome is TIME. You can only talk to or reach so many people in a given day or year. At some point you have to stop reaching out and service the customers you’ve acquired and/or develop the contacts you’ve made that want to start their own Avon business.

One the best things that Avon has recently done is to provide their rep’s with their own website. In theory this is great. But right away there are a couple of problems with this. Let’s take a look:

– simply having a website doesn’t mean a thing to the success of your business – most of these folks who pay for this benefit actually think that this will bring them more customers (why they would think this I don’t know) – very few people know how to take advantage of an already built website

If you understand small business marketing then you’ve already had the proverbial light bulb already go off. You’ve a great looking website that’s easy to use, you just need visitors. That’s where Google comes in.

I would advise anyone who planned on selling Avon and making use of this website to learn the basics of Google’s AdWords to conduct as many marketing tests as possible. For example, if you’re passion is “skin care” then I would learn as much as possible about the subject and study the pages on the website that are dedicated to this topic. Once you’ve done that then I would begin to think about the type of person who would benefit from these products. With that basic information you can conduct a few marketing experiments.

One of the things Google will help you discover is whether or not there is a market of the product or service you’re promoting as where and how to reach them. By setting a simple ad campaign using the topic “skin care” you can develop a list of keywords/phrases that people would type into Google’s search engine. Start with a bid of $0.05/click and cap off your daily expense and about $3.00/day and let it run for about a couple of weeks. The destination URL would simply be http://www.avon.com. Over a 14 day period if you got enough clicks to use up your daily budget you would have accumulated about 840 clicks. This means that over 800 people would have found your site.

Now, why would you want to spend $42 dollars with no chance of making any money? Simple, wouldn’t you rather know up front if you could get people to find your site before you spend a lot of time and money after you’ve made the plunge? Think about it. By simply spending $42 at the onset you would have a pretty good idea of what you’re chances are at generating leads for your Avon business before you totally commit yourself and end up being disappointed and frustrated.

This is a very simple small business marketing experiment you can conduct every time you have a great business idea you want to try out. Folks, this is simply good business sense. Do you think companies like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, WalMart, Home Depot simply put up retail outlets before conducting a single marketing experiment? You can operate just as smart as these guys.

Here’s my second example. We’ll build on the previous example just a bit. The method I now use to drive traffic to what I call an “affiliate website” like Avon’s I use a website builder program that actually uses a simple building block method along with powerful keyword research software to determine which terms are the most profitable and I design my web pages around these terms to attract “targeted traffic” to my site.

Let’s refer again to the topic of “skin care”. I can, for example, conduct a keyword research on the phrase “skin care” and come up with a list of words/phrases with high demand but low competition. Once I have this list I begin to write informative content that is based on these words. For example, I can write a page on “acne skin care”. The whole content of this page would address this subject and nothing more. The search engines would index this page and know exactly how to classify it so that it comes up with the right search terms on their search engine. This is exactly what I want. Why? Because to succeed with my small business marketing I need to attract “targeted visitors.

How is this being done you ask? Well, once visitors arrive at my website page, read my captivating and informative content they will want MORE information. At this point I will already have a included a “text link” within the context of my page that would direct them to my Avon affiliate site. But more specifically, they would be directed to the “exact page” with the information or product they are looking for, not the “home” page. The web page I created and submitted to the search engines does the most important job of all…it PREsells each visitor. If I have done a good job at this point then by the time they reach my Avon site they are probably ready to buy.

That is the essence of small business marketing as it pertains to the online world. For more information on this subject you can visit my site.