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How Inbound Marketing and Content can Draw Prospects to Your Business

How Inbound Marketing and Content can Draw Prospects to Your Business

Hubspot surveyed 3339 marketing professionals in 128 countries about the current state of inbound marketing.

Why is this Important to You?

It is important to you as a small business owner because it gives you insight into what is working and where marketing trends are heading.

With the increasing use of the internet and businesses competing in the global marketplace, many businesses are replacing traditional marketing with inbound marketing. The common consensus is that to reach the global marketplace focus on using inbound marketing tactics and to pull prospects with content that is relevant to them.

The benefits of Inbound Marketing are:

  • Inbound marketing costs are 61% lower per lead
  • 41% of marketers say inbound marketing produced measurable ROI in 2013
  • 43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog
  • 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly — which, by itself, is still an impressive result
  • 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing this year
  • Just 20% of companies without a blog reported ROI from inbound marketing in 2013

How can Inbound and Content Marketing Help your Business?

  • Reach a targeted audience receptive to your message
  • Improve the ranking if your website or blog
  • Improve conversion rates of online sales
  • Establish you and your company as experts in your industry
  • Attract better qualified prospects to your website or blog
  • Repeat visitation to your website or blog from prospects and clients
  • Keep in touch with current clients and promoting referrals
  • Help to establish likeability, trust and credibility

What are the Different Types of Content Available for use by Your Business?

Blogs – Educate, entertain and inform readers about your topics, encourage return visits to your blogs with frequent updating, engages readers to share comments and share the information with others.

Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, , LinkedIn and other social media sites help promote your business, showcase talents, engage prospects and help spread the word about your business.

Presentations - Presentations provides readers with information that is appealing, informative, short and straight to the point.

ENewsletters – Inform, educate and entertain readers on a consistent and timely basis, helps promote your business, are shared with others, increases reputation, recognition, trust and loyalty among readers, and increases sales.

White Papers – Showcases your industry knowledge, provides the opportunity to be a thought leader, informs and educates the readers and can be shared with others.

Articles – Educate, entertain and inform readers about your topics, showcase your knowledge and lead readers to action.

Case Studies – Educates readers on your businesses pass success and tell how your business will help them achieve the same success.

Video – Educate, entertain, informs watchers, helps increase your likeability, trust, recognition and reputation among watchers.

eBooks – Establishes you and your business as experts in your industry, increases reputation, recognition and draws traffic to your website or blog.

Podcasts – Educates listeners, helps increase your likeability, trust and reputation.

Online Courses – Educate participants, showcases your knowledge, increases reputation and sales.

Workbooks – Educates readers, helps readers solve problems, increases reputation, trust and loyalty from readers.

Seminars – Webinars and teleseminars help educate participants, showcase your knowledge, increase reputation and recognition.

Businesses use a combination of the above inbound and content marketing tactics to create a online marketing strategy. While this is list is not comprehensive it is a good starting point to begin thinking about using content marketing in your business and what tactics are available. Inbound and content marketing allows small businesses and solopreneurs to level the playing field when competing against larger businesses.

Your Turn

How are you currently using inbound marketing and content to draw prospects to your business?

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Marketing and PR for the Professional Services Firms

Blogging for Business Growth

 

9 Tips to Help You Increase Your Repeat Business

9 Tips to Help You Increase Your Repeat Business

Its Cheaper to Keep em…Tips on Getting Repeat Business

It takes a lot of time to find new prospects and turn them into customers. It is much more cost-effective to turn existing customers into repeat customers.

Your current customers are already familiar with your work, how you work and the rates that you charge. You have already built a relationship with them and there is a level of trust between you.

9 Tips for Increasing your Repeat Business:

  1. Ask: Many times all you have to do is asked for more business. You should be talking to your customers about their business, learning to understand their business. Through conversations, you can learn of areas that you make be able to help you current clients.
  2. Do Your Best: Do the best work possible for your clients. Let your work and customer service speak for itself. Make sure that you return calls and emails quickly as possible. Address all concerns and complaints. Give them a reason to keep coming back to your business and turn to your competitors.
  3. Keep in Touch: Remain in contact with your customers even when you are not working on a project for them. Send keeping in touch cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, small gifts, surveys and just general conversation with you clients. Call them and ask how things are going and you make find ways that you can help them.
  4. Make them Aware: Make them aware of all the services that you offer. Sometimes customers are just unaware that you can help them with their other problems. They turned to you for a specific need and are unaware of all that you offer. Tell them in your newsletters, emails, telephone conversations and send out post cards. If you have a monthly newsletter, every month you can spotlight a service that you offer your clients.
  5. Offer Incentives: Offer special incentives only to current customers, maybe a discount on their next project. Try promoting other services to current customers by offering a discount or package deal. Think of ways that you can bundle services together or offer ongoing consultation services as part of a package or as a stand-alone service.
  6. Create a membership site or loyalty club: Create a membership site or loyalty club that is available to current customers for a limited time where they can receive special offers, coupons, reports, white papers, ask one another questions, ask your business questions, free podcasts, webinars and more. Once the limited membership has ended you can offer them the opportunity to remain members for a low monthly fee. If the membership benefits are worthwhile, many will sign up to remain members.
  7. Contact past clients: Create a list of past clients and contact them with a special offer to gain additional business with them. Call them to find out why they stopped using your services, to find out what is going on with their  them and how you can help. Then offer them a service that can help solve their current problem.
  8. Offer exclusive services: Offer exclusive services to only your best customers. Customers that have been doing business with you a long time or who often refer business to you.  Maybe there is a service that you are thinking about offering but want to test the waters before adding it to your list of services. Try offering the service as an exclusive offer to your best customers at a great rate and let them know that you are only offering it to your best customers.
  9. Create Promotions: Create promotions for your businesses anniversary, holidays or anything worth celebrating and offer your clients a special offer. Maybe a discount on a service, a free e-book that will go on sale when the promotion ends, a contest to when something of value and help spread the word about your business.

If you want clients to give you repeat business you have to make them feel special. Let them know that you are happy to have them as clients and value their business.

Your Turn:

What methods do you use to keep customers coming back for more?

 

Keep Your Customers Coming Back with a Customer Loyalty Program

Keep Your Customers Coming Back with a Customer Loyalty Program

5 Easy Ideas for Creating a Loyalty Program for Customers

In today’s economic climate has small business owners are stretched thin trying to find new customers and retain current customers at the same time. Customer service has become a full-time job for most small business owners. How do I reach new customers? What social media tactics should I be using in my business? How do I keep my current customers from going somewhere else? How do I get my current customers to refer my business to others?

We all have customer loyalty or reward cards in our wallets, whether is it CVS, Best Buy or some other retailer, but how can a service provider, solopreneur or small business create a customer loyalty program?

  • Use your email provider: Instead of having customer sign up for monthly newsletter, have prospects sign up for a customer loyalty program though your email provider.

Send out email offering free reports, webinars, podcasts, articles, discounts and other promotions available only to subscribers.

  • Use a Membership Widget on Your Blog or Website: Add a membership area to your blog where only members will have access to premium content.

Add special webinars, teleseminars, ecourses, seminar events, discounts, articles, eBooks, and other promotional items. 

  • Facebook Fan Pages: Create a Facebook fan page for your company and offer members content that is not available on your blog or website.

You can offer events to attend, videos, articles, promotions, discounts, information on seminars, ecourses, webinars, podcasts and much more.

  • Points Program: Create a program for customers where they are rewarded points for each purchase or referral, think frequent flier programs. Create a catalog where they can redeem the points for valued gifts.

You can offer free webinars, workbooks, books, teleseminars, consultations, promotional items, tickets, magazine subscriptions, whatever you can think of that will be of value to your current customers.

  • Blog Commenter’s: Use blog commenting software that gives points to readers when they leave comments. Let the reader’s know at the end of each posts that you will be sending a free gift to the commenter with the most comments each week, month or whatever deadline you choose, just don’t make it to infrequent.

You can give away free reports, eBooks, consultations, white papers or whatever item that related to your business that can be delivered electronically. Don’t forget to announce the winner.

How can Businesses put Customer Loyalty Programs to Work for Their Businesses?

Let’s look at a few ways that professional businesses can use loyalty programs:

Professional Coaches: You run a professional coaching business and decide to set up a free customer loyalty program. You begin by creating a landing page explaining the loyalty program to prospects and a sign-up form. You tell them all the benefits of signing up for the loyalty program which could include such benefits as free coaching sessions, discounted coaching sessions, free eBooks and workbooks, free worksheets, articles, webinars, and discounts on books, eBooks, and special reports. You send members an email monthly with links to the specials that you are offering and not available to general readers of your blog or visitors to your website.

Financial Planners: You decide to set up a membership site on your website or blog. Prospects sign up to become members to receive special member benefits. You offer members access to site by logging into the restricted area for members only where they read industry reports, company research, worksheets, educational information and forums. You then notify members though email that new products are available at the membership site.

Author: You decide to set up a Facebook fan page for your books. You are about to release a new book and you want to promote your book and get others to promote you book. You can add sample chapters, podcasts of you reading from your books, post book signing events, hold a contest to win a free book, and hold a contest to people to name characters in your next new book. The possibilities are endless, you could create an online novel where once a week you add a new chapter or create a novel where you begin the novel and have people submit the next chapter every month. You could post the winner’s chapter or you could also have members vote on the chapter that they like the most and post the chapter with the post votes as the winning chapter and ask members to post the next chapter.

Retail Store: You own a small online and offline women’s boutique and you want to increase your customer’s loyalty and get them to spend more often. You decide to set up a customer reward card and customers can swipe the card in the store or enter their customer number when they purchase online. You can reward customer by offering customer only sales, discount coupons, free shipping, in-store events and promotional items, the possibilities are almost endless.

Why set up a Loyalty Program?

Loyalty programs allow you stay top of mind with clients. By offering rewards that are of high value to customers you will give them incentive to due business with you and not your competitors. Don’t forget to offer referral rewards to encourage customers to refer others to your business.

Loyalty programs offer your business these benefits:

  • Targeting: Loyalty programs offer businesses the opportunity to target people are willing to become active participants in your marketing programs and helps moves the prospects through the sales funnel into becoming clients.
  • Engagement: Loyalty programs allow businesses to engage members and learn what they are interested in learning and buying. Engagement allows business owners to target prospects with offers that will appeal to them because they have creating an ongoing community involvement with the prospect. Engagement helps the build trust and loyalty among members.
  • Conversion: Loyalty programs that build trust and loyalty among members leads to increased sales conversion among members. The members already know and trust your products and are more willing to purchase your products.

All you have to do now is decide on what type of loyalty program you want to create. What you want to accomplish and how you will implement the loyalty program.

Your Turn:

Do you currently have a loyalty program for your business?

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Marketing and PR for the Professional Services Firms

Blogging for Business Growth

Understanding Your Picture Perfect Ideal Blog Reader

Understanding Your Picture Perfect Ideal Blog Reader

Do You Know Who Your Ideal Blog Reader Is?

You have created a blog for your business but how much thought have you given to what your ideal blog reader is like? What they want? How they will feel after reading your blog posts? What you want them to do after visiting your blog?

How would you describe your ideal blog reader?

When it comes to attracting your ideal readers to your blog you should be able create a picture in your mind as you describe them. You should be able to tell if they read your blog at work or home. How much time do they spend learning about the topic? What they are looking for when they reach your site and what is their current knowledge level?

Do you know?

When creating a description of your ideal reader here are some questions to answer:

1.) What is your reader’s demographic information?

  • Where do they live?
  • Are they married?
  • What is their annual income?
  • Are they male or female?
  • How old are they?
  • Do they have children?
  • What is their education level?

2.) What is their job and level of seniority?

  • In what industry to they work.
  • Are they the decision maker?
  • If not, do they influence the decisions maker/s?

 3.) What does a day in their life look like?

  • What brings them joy?
  • Do they spend more time at work or home?
  • Who are the people in their life that matter most?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What radio stations do they listen?
  • What publications do they read?
  • What type of clothing do they wear?
  • What associations and social networks do they belong?
  • Are they involved in their community?
  • What do they do online?
  • Are they involved in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?
  • What time of day do they read your blog?
  • Are they religious?
  • Are they conservative or liberal?
  • Do they have special hobbies?
  • Do they travel, where, how often?
  • Do they have pets, if so what kind?

4.) What are their pain points?

  • What do they worry about?
  • How do their problems affect their day-to-day life?
  • What challenges do they face?

 5.) What do they value most?

  •  What are their goals?
  •  What are they striving to attain?
  •  What does it mean to be successful?

 6.) Where do they go for information?

  • Do they go online when looking for information?
  • Do they talk to co-workers, friends, family or industry experts?
  • Do they read reviews, testimonials or case studies
  • How do they like to consume information, articles, books, audio, or video?
  • Whom do they trust the most?
  • What blogs do they already read?
  • How much knowledge do they currently have about your topic?

 7.) What experience are they looking for when reading your blog?

  • What do they hope to gain from your blog?
  • Do they expect to be entertained, informed or educated?
  • Do they know what they are expected to do after reading your blog?
  • What topics are compelling to them?
  • What type of articles thrill them?

 8.) What are some common reasons that readers do not return to your blog?

  • Are your blog posts too long or short?
  • Are they having a hard time trusting your authority on the subject?
  • Are there other blogs that are providing better information?
  • Are you not providing the information in the format that they most desire?
  • Does your blog lack uniqueness?
  • Are you speaking their lingo? Are you too casual or technical?

9.) How will I know if I have reached my ideal readers?

  • Look at your blogs analytics. How much time are they spending on your site? How many pages are they reading?
  • How many comments are you receiving on your blog?
  • Are they sharing your content?

How to Find Information about Your Blog Readers:

  • Send out a survey to your email subscribers and offer a free gift to those that respond
  • Read the profiles of people who have liked your Facebook page
  • Read the profiles of the people in your network on LinkedIn
  • Ask them on your blog to tell them about themselves

In order to create profiles of your ideal readers you need to understand as much about your ideal readers as possible. The answers to the types of questions above are not always available, but answering as many of the questions as possible will help you to build a relationship to your ideal reader and understand what they are interested in reading and how to connect with them.

Once you have obtained as much information as possible, add a real photo to represent your ideal reader. You may need to create several reader profiles, but not too many, 2-4 should be a good amount.

When you begin to write your blog post, write with one of your readers in mind. Make sure to reference some of the things that you have learned about them. If you know that this reader loves dogs, include a dog story, reference or picture.

Your Turn:

Do you know who your ideal blog reader is?

Have you created a profile of your ideal blog reader?

 Image via Flick by Seng1011