If you are searching for ways to increase sales in today’s competitive environment, there are 5 steps you can take to start generating enquiries.

infographic1.Website performance
Your website is the hub of all your online activity.

Even if you are advertising off-line using press ads or mail drops, the first thing most people will do is go online to check out your website and research your business before taking any further action.

Like a lot of things from designer clothes to product packaging, image and design are important and will create the first impression visitors will have of your business.

Quality of build is also important. What determines how successful your website pages are at being found by search engines will depend on how the site has been constructed, how engaging the content is and the relevance of the keywords used.

It takes the skills of a good designer and web developer with an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to provide a sound foundation for your website to develop and grow as your business goes forward. With the right management, continuous SEO work and generation of new content, these skills will help you achieve a page one ranking on Google over a period of time.

A good website is an investment and you will reap long-term rewards if you take time at the beginning of the project to work with your developers to give your website the best chance of converting visitors into clients.

2.SEO
Assuming your website has been developed with SEO in mind, this will provide a good starting point to monitor and improve the rankings of your most important keywords on the main search engines.

A new website will take around 6 weeks to settle and start providing the keyword ranking information needed to identify where to concentrate efforts on improving page content to move keywords up the page rankings.

New content and improving existing content are amongst the most important factors in SEO. Having a Blog on your website and regularly posting informative articles will help improve your keyword rankings.

We already work with a select number of our clients to achieve page one rankings. First, we carry out a review of your keywords and competitor activity. Then, if we think we can achieve results for you we would recommend a programme of work to achieve success. We will be honest with you if we think SEO is not the best way for you to achieve results and we consider one of the other steps below to be more cost-effective for your particular business.

3.Social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of the most popular social media sites. For small businesses with limited time, I would recommend focussing on one social media platform and spend your time there. Social media can be very time consuming if you want to generate quality leads and increase your connections with the aim of sending them to your website or taking the conversation off-line for a more detailed discussion. Call me to find out how.

4.Advertising
Developing a successful advertising campaign will bring a constant supply of leads into the business.

Choosing where to advertise and creating the adverts for a campaign that will generate enquiries will need research into your products or services. Price comparisons, competitor research and an understanding of your target audience will help decide where to advertise and what to say in your adverts.

Online advertising such as Google Adwords can drive traffic to your website immediately. Campaigns can be set up and tested very quickly to find out what works using conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of click-throughs to your website.

Social media paid advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn is relatively new and can be very effective for some businesses. Like Adwords, adverts can be tested and refined to maximise response rates and conversions to provide a constant supply of enquiries to your website.  

Press and TV advertising are still relevant for some businesses; however, it is more difficult to track responses to justify the cost unless you can direct readers to a specially developed landing page or unique phone number to record visitor numbers.

Whichever route is best for you, your website will be the hub of the activity.

5.Email marketing
Sending regular emails to your clients and prospects, providing you have their permission, is still one of the most effective ways of getting your message to your audience.

If you are writing a regular blog article for your website, as well as sharing on social media, send a link in your email to the article and continue to remind subscribers of your products or services.

Further reading
You will find more information about each of the above steps in some of our previous articles and I will be writing in more detail about each of the above in future articles. Alternatively, visit the Marketing Services section of our website.

Call 01584 890725 to discuss how you can use these and other marketing techniques to grow your business.

Mark Langston.
 

17th October 2014
It is easy to see why email marketing is so popular and why we all get so much junk mail in our email boxes – it’s cheap to send and anyone can do it - badly.

Email_Marketing_1Good email marketing is targeted, relevant and of interest to us and therefore useful. Used correctly it can be one of the most effective marketing strategies you can adopt.

Regular emails will keep your current clients up to date with your latest product or service, cross sell other services and encourage them to do more business with you, or just reassure them that they made a good choice using your services or products in the first place.

Mailing lists

Buying lists from providers is generally not a good idea. Your mailing list should be made up of clients that you know and who have bought products or services from you, or potential clients that have made an enquiry and have shown an interest in your services or products, or have opted in to receive further communications.

A recent court ruling went against John Lewis because they used a soft op in by way of a pre ticked box. Though the individual had registered he did not buy anything. The court decided that registering did not constitute a negotiation for a sale of a product or service.

The ICO states that organisations can send marketing texts/emails where:
  1. you have obtained the contact details of the recipient in the course of a sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;
  2. the direct marketing material you are sending relates to your similar products and services only; and
  3. the recipient was given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the cost of transmission) the use of their contact details for marketing purposes when those details were initially collected and, if they did not refuse the use of those details, at the time of each subsequent communication.
This means that a pre ticked box is not acceptable and the user must express consent before you can add them to your mailing lists.

Develop ways of capturing permission led prospect information on every page of your website or in your marketing material. Build your list over time and go for quality over quantity.

Email content

Make your message relevant.
Know your audience and make your content interesting.
Decide what you want to achieve from your mailing.
Make your message; targeted, educational, rewarding.
Make your subject title interesting but not spammy
Measure the results

Emailing systems

There are numerous emailing systems available. They offer many benefits:
  • White listed servers to maximise delivery of your email
  • Spam checking of content
  • Autoresponders
  • List management
  • Design templates
  • Result tracking – open rates and click rates

We use a proprietary emailing system for our own email marketing and manage email strategy for many of our clients.

Mark Langston

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