Many small business owners struggle with technology and to stay current, but the reasons differ. Some owners just want to stick to the tried and true, others worry about the cost and the learning curve and still others fear the future rather than embrace it. Here are a few trends to keep you in the know and reasons why you should consider updating your technology, marketing and tools. Where are you on the technology scale? Are you a 3, 5 or 8 out of 10?
Statistically, only a third of small businesses have a website. Having said that, many websites are still not mobile friendly yet and many are still the old static website designs. How will updating help you business? Nowadays your website needs to be responsive so that it can be viewed on all device sizes. This type of mobile website ranks better with search engines like Google so your business is seen more. Having a new design allows motion and media which keeps viewers more engaged and less likely to move on to other sites. To have a current website today, it can include integrated booking calendars, customer account logins and shopping carts for products and services. These are just a few reasons to make you higher on the technology scale
If you haven’t established an online social media presence, then perhaps it’s time to start a least with a Facebook profile and add a Facebook Page (business). Not sure how? Ask a tech savvy friend or family member to help get you started. Once you’re comfortable with that, add a YouTube channel and upload some videos and a Linkedin professional profile. Furthermore, stick to the common social media and add a twitter, Instagram and Linkedin profiles. Your website and marketing should be integrated to make all your marketing to work together. You could be close to a 6 or seven on that technology scale now!
Are you still sending out flyers and expecting the same results as ten years ago? Today a high percentage of people search online for products and services. With online marketing not only are the results better, but your customers can be targeted and results measured to tweak for further campaigns. Online marketing or digital marketing today includes SEO (website settings to make sure your found), social media marketing reaching out to online followers, Google and Facebook ads and email marketing reaching out to existing customers. Recently, marketing automation for online stores and sales teams are where online marketing is currently. How’s your technology knowledge now?
So you’re still using an office PC tower with older Windows and Microsoft office software and no back ups? Perhaps your phone is a flip phone or a Blackberry? What are current tools of the day and why should you upgrade? Today’s office tools include laptop or tablet with online services containing email, word processing and cloud backup storage. Connected with this technology is a smart phone that allows full sync with your other devices enabling complete remote access to files, emails and file sharing. Today’s current business includes online accounting to allow remote expense adds, quotations, invoicing and payments. Cloud backups and storage are old news, as remote collaborating and video web meetings are now commonplace.
To figure out what works for you, do a little research for current business tools or talk to a few business colleagues asking them what marketing tools works for their business and ask why. Make your small business current today. Become a 9 or 10 and be up-to-date with technology! Make it work the best for your business.
You may have read that Google Adwords and Facebook Ads recommend a landing page along with their online ads. Every marketing agency knows this all too well. It’s not so they can increase their billing, but they understand the power of conversation versus wasting ad budget money.
If I had a dollar every time a small business says they will do their own Google Adwords or Facebook ads and direct the ads to the website, I’d be a rich man. What I always hear them say after they’ve tried it for a while, is that these ads are a waste of money because they had no results.
It’s best to start by explaining what a landing page is. A landing page or marketing page is usually a hidden page on your website that online ads are directed to in order to help convert ad clicks in actual dollars.
Why can’t you just send the ad clicks to your website? It’s been proven that ads sent to your website do not show the results and do not provide good ROI (return on investment). Why? It’s because landing pages have key components to encourage viewers to stay engaged and to move to action.
Here are the components required and why: to begin with, the landing page needs an engaging capture line and image to keep them reading. Usually this page should identify a problem, provide a solution and then expand with some key benefits. All this needs to lead to a call to action that matches your business model. (buy now, get a free trial, book an appointment etc.)
- no website navigation
- social icons or sharing
- captivating catch line
- relevant photos
- key features
- 2-3 different call to actions
So take the advice from Google, Facebook and the professionals, design your own or have a landing page created so that your ad money is not wasted. You want your ads to convert from clicks to conversations to increase your business revenues or exposure.
I get this asked of me many times over. What is the least expensive way to bring in sales? The answer is simple; sell to your customers. This coincides with the business principle indicating that 80% of your business comes from your existing customers. It’s the easiest way to bring in more revenue because customers are already sold on your goods and services. Furthermore, your return on your investment is usually far greater than selling to a new audience. Marketing automation is an affordable and effective tool that allows you to target existing customers and sell them your products and services. Once that’s in place, relax and let the marketing automation work for you!
Ecommerce Marketing Automation
Ecommerce means a lot of different things, but I want to look at online store or shopping carts and assume you are not a new business. You need to spend some of your marketing budget to get found by web searchers with good SEO and spend money on paid ads to boost your efforts. However, email marketing automation is still the best “bang for your buck” and offers the best return on your investment. Automating your marketing with your website store will help you stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis, keep them informed about related products or services and remind them when they abandon a shopping cart. All this with little effort and cost on your part. Thus this added marketing tool will provide a huge uplift in your online store sales as well as save you time.
Sales CRM Marketing Automation
A business model that uses a sales team requires more than just marketing automation. They require a customer relationship management system known as a CRM, to track leads, opportunities and activities. These also integrate email programs to sync up tasks, calendar events and contacts. These CRM’s integrated with marketing automation provide a combination of sales and marketing now expected from salespeople and organizations. Marketing automation usually includes lead generation forms added to websites, triggered autoresponders from signups, a series of educational emails and email campaigns to promote and communicate with clients. This powerful dual tool can increase sales and improve business relationships with less effort, yet personalize the buyier experience.
What should you do moving forward?
It makes sense to automate your marketing for two great reasons:
- Increase your sales revenues
- Reduce wasted time on your own efforts
Pick a marketing automation that works for your business model and set it up properly or get it setup for you. Put it to use to get the sales you require and to save your time. All business owners need to take a breather. Let the automation do the work..
Free marketing for nonprofits sounds too good to be true, but every word I say is a good as the gospel. Most of the big names in marketing have a heart for registered charities and want to help them out. So if you are on the board or the chairman of a local charity, you should never have to pay for marketing services. I know as an owner of a few marketing firms, I send nonprofits this direction first as a contribution of my own. We even pick a charity a year to donate to and support their great efforts for our communities. Most good firms will even provide free consulting to aid charities.
You’re registered charity should be able to raise funds easier, collaborate with board members and volunteers more effectively and share your cause with a broader audience. Take your mission much further with the right management tools and a cost your budget can afford. But how? Google offers charities G Suite that includes domain email, drive for document processing, backup, storage and collaboration. You can even use Google sites to create a free website.To promote your charity and expand your reach, Google Adwords grants can boost your efforts. YouTube donor cards can be added to your video for direct donations to help your fundraising. Donors need to know that 100% of funds go toward furthering your mission, so with Google ONE, there are no transaction fees and they have automatic receipting. Even Google premium maps keep sensitive data internal by displaying valuable community or donor locations. Get started today.
To get your charity found locally, set up a Google My Business account and get verified. Why? Besides getting found by local searches, it allows the creation of a free single page website and posting for events or your Google Adwords. Start now
Use their free services for both email campaigns for lists with subscribers up to 2000 and unlimited use for marketing automation. Keep track of your donors with signups. Send funding campaigns for request to donors or keep them in the know with recent efforts. Keep volunteers in the know on a regular basis in a legal manner. To keep up with your efforts, new marketing automation can trigger a series of education emails to signups and send branded thankyous or reminders from your website. Should you need to expand your subscribers, they do offer a non profit discount. Subscribe for free today.
Set up your Facebook Page for your charity. Regular postings, blogs, photos and video will increase your online presence. I would also suggest a Twitter profile and Instagram profile as well. Get set up now.
Create a logo and design it yourself by using Vistaprint free online logo maker. It costs nothing to design it with only a small fee if you want to download it. You can also get affordable business cards, print materials and clothing. Taking it one step further, your organization can even get a 25% discount using their basic membership program. Start now
Why am I revealing all this free stuff for nonprofits? Most nonprofits are volunteer hours by dedicated individuals who are passionate about their cause. Their share their areas of expertise so why wouldn’t I do the same?
There are always changes in local SEO services with Google and Facebook. Recently there has been some Google services changes and additions that you should be aware of and how they might affect your online presence. There has been some confusion between Google Plus and Google My Business. So why do you need these free online services from Google, which ones are right for your business type and what do they do to help your business?
Google Plus (Google+)
This is Google’s social media page which is similar to Facebook and allows share links, videos, pictures, and other content with people who share your interests. Having a Google+ Page is good for online recognition and it helps with your SEO rankings as it’s tied into Google’s search engine. So if your business model doesn’t have a physical location and requires an online brand presence, then this tool should be set up.
Google My Business (GMB)
This online marketing tool allows your customers to find your business locally by providing mapping, hours of operation, photos and reviews of your business. GMB is really designed for businesses that have a physical location, but you can add a home-based business or services business too. GMB will help your business rank better with local searches and provide insights of the results. Recently a basic web page, promotional posting has been added and Google Adwords Express will now display ads for increased exposure.
Google My Business is a dashboard that allows you to see different kinds of information that relates to how your business is found on Google. Google Plus is a social network that allows you to more closely connect with your online visitors. Most businesses are aware of one or both of these Google tools, but the industry has changed over the years.
This summer might be a good time to set up these services and integrate them with your current online marketing efforts. Start by getting a Google account if you don’t have one, then set up Google My Business to get found by local searchers or Google Plus Page to engage people interested in your type of business or nonprofit.