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Business Promotion Hints and Tips
Ann Brown, an experienced and well respected Bridlington based marketing consultant provides help and information on the basics of promoting your business.
Marketing is an investment that no business can afford to be without. Marketing that is specific for your business, that is planned, is strategic and that delivers. Whether you are an established business or have recently set up you will be looking to increase sales and find new customers.The right marketing will achieve this and save you time and money. Take advantage of Ann's helpful advice provided within this blog. Ann can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07947 779542
Many small and new businesses try to appeal to too wide an audience and are unclear who will like and buy their products and services. The result is usually that they appeal to no one. Knowing who your right customers are should be one of the fundamentals of your business and marketing plan.
Why you need to find the right audience
Simply put it becomes much easier to promote your products and services. Know who your most profitable customers are and who are most likely to buy and your marketing and promotion becomes more specific. It becomes easier to create offers and deals.
When researching your best audience think about how likely you will be able to sell to them, how profitable will they be and how big a market they are. Following this research you might have to widen the geographical area you are targeting or develop new products and services for different audiences.
Finding the right audience and a specific audience will make your marketing strategy more efficient and to make your business more profitable. When you know who you are appealing to you will be:
- Clear where they shop
- What they read
- How they spend their leisure time
- The specific items such as which phones they prefer to use
- And be able to write in a style that will appeal to them and promote offers that will attract them
Today people have more access than ever to sources of information and use the sources as part of their pre purchase research. It is important therefore that you have a presence wherever they do this and this can be on and online. Know who you are selling to and this becomes simpler. For example specific age groups use Facebook friend recommendations before buying.
How to do it
Define your audience by geographical area, by business type, by demographics, by income bracket, by leisure activities and by hobbies. It can help to create ‘buyer personas’ using some of your existing customers. Understand who the right audience are for your products and services otherwise you will flounder or waste a great deal of time, discovering what you could have learnt at an earlier stage of your business development.
Most business professionals and business owners have a LinkedIn page and some set up a LinkedIn business page, but very few make full use of their LinkedIn business page. This is a lost opportunity.
First off what does your LinkedIn business page include? Think of it as a mini web site with a home page, showcase page and insights (analytics). Within these three options you can post information about careers and jobs with your business, post business updates and news, target prospective customers by business size and business type, see how many have visited your pages and which of your posts have been the most popular.
Many people use LinkedIn as a search engine looking for the products, services and staff they need. At the same time the Google crawls LinkedIn so put the two together and you will see that LinkedIn is another opportunity to use the keywords that make sure your business is found.
Why do you need a LinkedIn business page?
- Grow your reach
- Spread awareness of your products and service and what you do
- Generate more leads
- Link back to content on your web site & other social network sites
You must include a cover image. You can create this in photoshop or paint as a corporate banner or build in an offer with a link to your web site for more.
Your home page should include an overview of your business and include your company video if you have one with a keyword title. Visit Arena Group on LinkedIn to see what can be done.
Add information about the products and services you offer. You can add up to ten pages and it is a good idea to create individual pages for each of your products and services. Include a link to the relevant page on your web site. In addition LinkedIn allows you to target your products and services at specific businesses and at specific levels of contacts within a business.
Just getting started or have been using Twitter for a while but feel that you are not getting anywhere. It can be hard to know what to tweet about and how to do it effectively. To help you up your Twitter game, build new followers and connect with your followers here are a few ideas.
1. The Basic Shared Content Tweet
This is the simplest tweet type. Include a hashtag(#) to increase its effectiveness. Don’t forget to include your Twitter name if the content you are sharing is your own, if not include a link to the content creator.
Your tweet might look like this
Your news or article, then add a link to your web site. Next add a hashtag such as #holiday promotion followed by your twitter name @TwitterHandle
2. Re-tweet with a comment
Re-tweets are easy, you see something that interests you and want to share it with your followers. Hit the re-tweet button and to get people to notice you on Twitter, add some personal comments. Such as ‘this is interesting’ or Common sense but useful’.
3. The solution tweet
People and businesses want to know how to fix problems. Help them with your own original answers or re-tweet and post from third party articles.
4. A statistic or fact
Find something that will intrigue your followers. Once they get this little preview, they'll want to read the full story to understand why this statistic is true, and what they should do about it.
Your tweet might look like this
Did you know 50% of UK holidays are booked only 3 days before departure. Add the web site link and follow it with a hashtag such as #familyholidays
5. The Endorsement Tweet
If you found something you love share it! Add your endorsement and if possible include information on why you enjoyed the article.
Your tweet might look like this
loved this article by @summitupmarket about “how to make money” http://url.co.uk #makemoney
6. The Question Tweet
Twitter, like all social media should be two way. So to get to talk to your followers ask questions. Tie the questions into an industry issue or something you have read.
7. The Tip or Advice Tweet
These might be your own, re-tweets or third party articles.
Your tweet might look like this
Do you know how to cook paella? Check out this http://www.url.co.uk #howtocook
8. An Inspiring Quote
Everyone loves inspiration! Keep your eyes peeled for great quotes. Give credit to the source of the quote.
9. A social tweet
Don’t forget to inject some personality into your tweets and tell your followers what your interests are and what you are doing.
Your tweet might look like this…”Lovely walk today in Keilder forest, part of my training for the three peaks walk’.
You’ve spent time writing and putting your blog post together. It’s posted online. What now? How do you promote your blog post, get more people to see it and build followers?
Assuming you have written your blog post with your customers and prospective customers in mind, the next step is to use all your resources and a simple plan to get it out there.
- Your web site
- Mailing list
10 ways to promote your blog post
- First ‘Add this’ to encourage people to ‘like’ your blog and tweet it to their followers
- Optimise your blog by using tags. Think of these as keywords and use the business and industry specific words that are used in Google searches.
- Don’t forget the importance of images in your blog posts and you can optimise these with keywords (look for ‘alt tags’). Not only do images make reading your post easier they give more opportunities to promote your blog post as pins for Pinterest.
- Add the titles of your blog posts to your web site with a link back to your blog and a sentence summarising what your post is about. Use keywords again in your link.
- E mail your blog posts to your mailing list using Mail Chimp or AWeber.
- Tweet your blog post with links back to your blog or use auto posting tools such as Hootsuite to promote your blog post across multiple social network sites.
- Post the first line of your blog onto LinkedIn with information about the post and how it will help people. Add a link back to your blog
- E mail your blog post to specific clients that you feel will benefit from the information in the post.
- Split your blog post into multiple tweets you can use and schedule over time.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to include a sign up or way for readers to contact you to join your mailing list. If your blog contains useful, interesting and original content, your readers will be back for more.
After your hard work writing and designing your posts, time spent to promote your blog post is well worth the effort Turn your blog promotion plan into a checklist to make it easier to promote future posts.
Every business has to market and promote their products and services to increase brand awareness and bring in sales. So often marketing ends up at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list even though one of the benefits of building marketing into the day to day running of a business helps to eliminate the peaks and troughs of sales and bookings. So how do you find time in a busy schedule for marketing?
Often the mere thought of marketing and the myriad of choices available are a barrier with marketing seen as overwhelming or a chore. Yet every business should think of marketing as an investment and the key is to keep it simple. It helps to set aside a specific time every week for marketing. With a bit of planning and a plan that suits you marketing is not only achievable but also something that spurs you on to greater achievements.
The easiest way to find time for marketing is to start by being clear about what it is you want to achieve. This might be a financial goal or a number of bookings or sales. Next make sure you are clear who your products and services appeal to. This might be by business type, by demographics or by geographical area or all three.
Doing these simple things means you will be clear about the way you present you project your business to your audience. Knowing who you are appealing to means you will be able to target advertising for example in one specific area of the country or in one specific type of publication for example.
Set aside a budget for your marketing. Some businesses allocate a percentage of their turnover, others a specific amount. If you are a new business you will need to invest more.
Your next stage is to list all your resources and this is more than simply financial resources. This might include:
- Your web site
- Your blog
- Social media sites
- Your premises
- Your staff
- Your packaging
- Direct mail
- Marketing material
Your final stage in making time for marketing is to decide how you are going to use your resources to promote your business and also to make sure you are using your resources to their maximum effect. For example is your web site up to date? Does your marketing material present your business in the best way and does it sell the real benefits of staying with you and buying from you?
At the last stage you also need to make sure you are using your resources together to promote your business, for example using your marketing material to send readers to your web site for offers and social media sites to read your reviews. Marketing is the life blood of any business!
Whether customers or guests, buyers check out businesses, accommodation and products online before buying and booking so it’s important to have a strategy for attracting customers on the web. Firstly as your web site is your shop front keep it up to date and review it every quarter to:
- Remove past events and add new events
- Add new images of events, room updates and new products
- Add new testimonials and reviews (testimonials say you are OK to buy from)
Your social media pages
Anyone searching for accommodation or for your type of products are likely to search using Google. Not only will your web site come up in a search, but so also will your social network pages, so it’s important to keep these pages fresh with news, images and videos. And you should also check out your social network pages to see what your customers and prospective customers are saying about you.
Social network pages are a great way to interact with your customers on an informal basis. If you have a business success, receive an award or had a news story published tell people on your social media pages. Post offers, deals and short term booking offers. As well as linking to your trip advisor feed add reviews from your guest book and feedback forms.
Everyone checks out Trip Advisor before making a holiday booking and increasing numbers of people are checking out similar sites when purchasing products and looking for services. Include a link from your review site feed to your web site so readers can view your reviews in real time
If you have a video add it to your web site, social media sites and create your own U tube channel for maximum exposure online. A professionally produced video is pretty essential to show your rooms, restaurant, reception rooms and gardens. If you are a retail business use professionally produced videos to showcase your products and shop. Videos don’t always have to be professionally produced, take your own videos of events you have attended or held.
Finally add your web address, review site logo and social network symbols to leaflets, ads, flyers, business cards etc. Take it a stage further and create QR codes that when scanned take readers to specific pages on your web site or to your social network pages. Don’t forget to tell people to scan them!
Before you decide to tweet no more here are a few ideas for improving your Twitter results. First be clear what you want from Twitter, you will be much more effective and it will be easier for you to monitor and judge your results.
Your Twitter goals – a few ideas
- To increase your profile on the internet
- To build a mailing list
- For customer support
- To promote offers
- To research your industry and monitor competitors
1. Make Your Content Sticky
Sticky content is content that interests followers and is content they want to share. Make your tweets original and interesting and your followers will re-tweet, respond and click through to your web site, offers, blog and subscribers list.
What to tweet a short list
- Social tweets – be human and show your interests and activities
- Useful and original information
- Quality images of your products and services
- Links to your web site, blog and other useful web sites
Post regularly and at different times of the day and week including weekends. To increase the chances of re-tweets save some of your 140 characters or your whole tweet will not appear. Keep tweets to 100-120 characters to give readers plenty of space to include your username.
2. Expand Your Network
The number of followers you have is not as important as the quality of them, but the more followers you have the more impact you will have. Build a reputation for original advice, offers and information and followers will follow! Tweeters with a large following and are high profile online are influencers who will re-tweet to a larger audience.
3. Effectively Using Hash tags
Before you schedule your next tweet, ask yourself if you are effectively using hash tags (#) in your tweets to reach your target audience? Think in terms of keywords and don’t use more than one per tweet.
Time is short staff are busy and you have no dedicated marketing department. Where to start and how to keep track of everything you should and need to do is the problem? It’s all to easy to let things drift along with the same routine marketing and advertising with no great changes over time. Take control by first looking at the resources you have now, these might be:
- Your premises
- Your staff
- Web site and/or mobile web site
- Advertisements you are running
- Review sites and testimonials
- Social networks
- E mailings
- Direct mail and mail shots
Each and every one of these can play a role in your marketing, with actions such as keeping your web site up to date, regularly tweeting and posting new information, images and new products together with helpful advice.
Make sure your marketing focuses first on your existing customers, guests, visitors and anyone who has made a purchase. You have to keep this audience on board and find ways to build loyalty and encourage repeat buys. Use loyalty clubs, mailings with latest news and products and offers. Find out what your existing customers like about buying from you. Encourage them to post reviews, give recommendations and testimonials.
Your second approach is to find new customers and new bookings. This might be through advertising, entry in directories and networking on and offline. For real impact with your marketing design individual campaigns using multiple resources. These campaigns might be:
- A new product or service launch
- Special offers
- Launch of new rooms
- New season menus
- New services
- Workshops and seminars
Planning is the key to your success and is well worth the investment. Planning will save you time, keep marketing on track and save you money. Set a budget and set aside a morning or afternoon every week to keep you on track. Use a monthly checklist to include, ‘What’s happening? What’s new and the sales results of ongoing campaigns.
New or established one of the most difficult things for any business is how to stand out in the market place and from competitors. Yet standing out is crucial and can make the difference between success and mediocrity. Here are some ways you can stand out.
By having great products and services
Having original products or services, if you can achieve this will make your business stand out. If not, having great products and services means you will stand out and will benefit from word of mouth enquiries and sales. For small service businesses word of mouth is often the greatest lead generator. Maintaining great products and services is essential, so keep refining, testing new offers and making sure you always put product and service first.
Great customer service
Brand loyalty counts for a lot and one of the basics of brand loyalty is great service. Set standards that you can keep and don’t let your customers down by failing to live up to promises. Stand by your promises and if you can add personal touches to every point of customer contact.
A memorable brand
It is essential to get your business name and logo right for brand recognition and do this as you establish your business. Changing your business name and logo later is in effect like starting a new business. Your logo and name should be easily recognisable and reflect the nature and tone of your business as well as appeal to your market.
Your brand is much more than your logo, leaflets, web site or products. The visual elements of your business include the whole of your customer journey from enquiry through to purchase. It includes what you do, how you do it, what your customer interactions are like and the information you share on social media.
Make Sure Your Customers know the face behind the business
Many successful businesses have a clear face behind the company, a leader and visionary. Think Richard Branson and Virgin and Steve Jobs of apple.
Build a Community Around your business
A successful brand is one that is trusted and respected by customers and building a strong community off and online can help you achieve this. Online Facebook and Twitter are great ways to do this as is your blog. Offline build a community with support for local fundraisers and charities, by hosting your own events and workshops or rewarding loyal customer at events. All help you build community and extend the trust you’ve earned to your brand.
Stand for something
And make your message clear. Volvo use safety first”, but it can just as easily be a green or environmental message or a charity you support. Make your support clear in all your marketing messages.
Are you constantly interrupting your working day to Tweet and Post and check for new followers? Did you know that on average it takes 20 minutes to get your focus back following interruptions such as posting, checking E mails and replying to phone calls? It is possible with a little planning to eliminate time spent wondering what to tweet and post and constantly interrupting your daily schedule?
- First decide which network best suits your business and which are you most comfortable with.
- What are the aims of social networking for your business? To increase your business profile, to illustrate your expertise, to find new customers, promote specific offers or research? Knowing this will save time later.
- Who is posting and tweeting for your business? It is good policy to have one person but you can have other contributors. What you must have is a social media policy in place to protect yourself, your business and your customers.
- Look ahead. What are you doing in the coming year? Is your business seasonal, do anniversary days (e.g. mothers Day) play a part in your business? Do your products and services change through the year? If selling B2B are there deadline dates that your clients need to know about? If you are planning a sale in February, you need to be tweeting and posting about it the month before.
- Plan a theme for each month that fits in with the other marketing you are doing. This might be a launch, a specific product you want to feature or new courses you are running.
- Plan to mix up your tweets and include some social tweets and posts. Promote events you are attending or holding and include a link to your web site or blog posts.
- Think about your industry, what access do you have to industry news, original news and views? Time spent in researching these will save time later. These can make up some of your tweets and posts
- What images do you have access to? It’s worth creating a directory of good quality images you can include with some of your tweets and posts.
- Join Hootsuite or Tweedeck. Both allow you to tweet ahead. Hootsuite will also allow you to manage your Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn accounts. Facebook allows you to schedule posts including images ahead of time in an activity log.
- Create a content calendar to pull all this together. Schedule your tweets for the coming week, month or more if you wish. Then all you have to do is check your schedule and twitter and Facebook accounts periodically to include a few on time tweets and posts and to joining in conversations.
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