In part 5 of 5 – the final blog in this series, it’s time to think about that all-important marketing campaign and how you are going to share your business with the world and generate sales!
Marketing your business online
Online marketing is important to any business looking to get found on Google, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else on the internet for that matter.
Depending on how you approach your online marketing strategy, it will determine how much website traffic you will receive, how many sales you generate or how many customers enquire about your services.
How about Social Media?
Too many business owners think they need to have an array of social media accounts for the sake of having them because “Social Media is the way forward and all my competitors use it, so I must use it too” but this train of thought is not right.
We see many businesses that have dormant Instagram accounts or Facebook profiles that haven’t been updated in 2 years, or a Twitter account that has a few “hello everyone” style tweets that were made soon after the profile was originally created, and that profile has also then been left to collect dust for months – even years!
In short, you need to understand what each Social Media platform has to offer, and whether or not it is relevant or even appropriate for your business before deciding upon which platforms you should be using.
For example, it would be pointless for a Funeral Services company to have an Instagram account, but Instagram would be perfect for a company that makes decorative cakes / pretty things.
That said, the main Social Media platforms that most businesses use nowadays are as follows:
- Twitter – this is a great platform for all businesses and really helps to build community level engagement with your target audiences. Twitter is a must for any business.
- Facebook – Facebook is great for leisure / recreational based businesses, or if you are a lifestyle business, such as a car dealer, holiday rental company, entertainment company or similar.
- LinkedIn – A professional platform for connecting with others at a high-level. If you want to connect with CEO’s, MD’s or executives within a company, LinkedIn is perfect. This platform should be used strictly on a professional level, so not posting pics of your dog or cat doing something cute, or videos of a recent holiday.
- YouTube – This platform is all about video content. It is great for creating short videos, introducing your company, and especially good for creating how-to guides or tutorials on how to do/make something.
- Instagram – A huge platform that is all about instant “of the moment” pictures / images. This platform is great for most business types however needs lots of images, captions and hashtags on each image/photo description so people can engage. Instagram suits similar businesses to Facebook – so leisure / recreational / lifestyle businesses.
- Pinterest – Similar to Instagram in the sense that it is all about images, however Pinterest is better suited to image based how-to guides, like infographics and similar. A great platform for people that do arts, crafts and hobbyists.
However, as already mentioned, you don’t need to use all the accounts listed above – only the ones that are relevant to your business.
It is equally as important to plan a proper Social Media marketing strategy. Not doing this will result in social media accounts that become stagnant and unused, and this can be more detrimental to your business than you might think.
The first time a potential customer might encounter your business could be via Social Media, and if you have a Twitter or Facebook account that hasn’t been updated in months/years and a new customer sees that, they may think you are not trading anymore and go elsewhere, or simply realise that you can’t be bothered to use Social Media correctly and this in itself can send out all the wrong signals to your potential customers! You need to make sure your business doesn’t fall foul!
Vaccoda offers monthly Social Media management services – why not have a chat with us about the options? We also have many blogs that provide guidance on how to use Social Media effectively along with top tips – have a browse through our other blogs for ideas!
Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO)
Both as important as each other, however offer very different marketing solutions. Search Engine Optimisation it is all about online visibility and awareness through the optimisation of your website to rank high up, organically in Google search results pages. SEO is progressive service that gives steady month-on-month improvements and increases in exposure, but a long-term winner that can reap incredible, consistent results for business owners with great visibility online to all your target customers and a steady stream of website traffic, enquiries and sales.
As you are aware through your own use of Google to search for information, products or services online, Google is a huge part of your, (and everyone’s) lives – in excess of 100 billion searches are carried out each month and with Google being the first port-of-call for anyone looking for something on the internet, it is safe to say that any Business that chooses to ignore or overlook the importance of Google and what SEO can do for a business does so at their peril.
Without getting too complicated or technical, Google determines the search results that are shown to you after you have entered search terms, keywords or phrases based on many different factors to ensure that you only see relevant and accurate results (websites) on Search Engine Results Pages (or “SERPs” for short).
For example, if you were searching for a gardener local to you; in this example, we will use “Kent” as the area; you would probably type in keywords in along the lines of “Gardener in Kent” into the Google search box.
If Google then presented you with search results for gardening businesses based in Scotland these results would obviously be useless to you, therefore the considerations that Google gives to the results that are shown are predominately based on showing only the very best websites that contain fit-for-purpose, accurate and relevant information based on the search criteria you entered and in most instances location also, dependent on the business type.
Pay-Per-Click (also known as Google AdWords)
Google Pay-Per-Click / AdWords works completely differently by way of charging you each time a customer clicks on one of your sponsored ads on Google search results pages. You will notice the sponsored ads at the top and bottom of search engine results pages. They are distinguished by a small green “Ad” icon – these are pay-per-click adverts.
AdWords is designed to give near instant results (if the campaign is setup correctly), so for example, you might create an AdWords account on Monday morning, and quite possibly as soon as Monday evening your sponsored Ads could start displaying in Google search results pages and generating customer clicks and leads through to your website.
So, if you are looking to achieve a steady flow of highly targeted customers from Google right at the moment when they are looking for your products or services, then Google AdWords will provide exactly that. During the early days of an SEO campaign, AdWords can also prove to be very beneficial as you can start to generate leads in as little as 24 hours after your AdWords campaign has been started, but SEO would really be the long-term strategy because when you are ranking on page one organically, you will no longer need to supplement your online marketing strategy with AdWords, or at least you can reduce your monthly AdWords spend.
The only down-side to AdWords is the budget – as soon as your daily budget is used up, your ads stop displaying, and whilst in most cases your Ads will only be clicked on by your target customers with an intent to buy your products or use your services, there is no control over accidental / unintentional clicks, so if someone came to your website by accidentally clicking on your sponsored ad, you will still be charged for that click even though it was an accidental/unintentional click. With SEO there is never this issue as the budget you pay each month for an SEO strategy is based on further growing, enhancing and maintaining your online visibility without the worry of depleted budgets each month.
We have written another blog that provides loads of ways you can promote your business online for free – read it here: https://vaccodadesign.com/promote-your-business-online-for-free/
And if you would like your online marketing managed by us, whether that’s SEO, Social Media or AdWords, have a read over our online marketing services here: https://vaccodadesign.com/marketing/
Another clever way to attract customers is to offer live chat on your website. Sometimes people don’t want to ring up, or they are busy, or perhaps they would rather discuss something with you via text chat. If so, live chat makes it very quick and easy for a potential customer to make an enquiry about your products or services – and if you are not online at that time, they can simply send a message to you via the live chat service!
Marketing your business offline (things like leaflet drops, local newspapers, etc)
Whilst online marketing is important and must be included as part of your overall marketing strategy, let’s take a look at offline marketing methods to promote your new business.
There are many ways to promote your business offline that are just as effective as other marketing methods.
First of all, let’s consider print – whether that be a local newspaper, magazine or even leaflets. Local newspaper advertising to target the surrounding community can be a great way to reach out locally to promote an opening, a special offer or something else that you want to keep locally focused.
In the same sense, local magazines are also effective to run an ongoing ad promoting your business – perhaps mixing it up every so often with a new advert that focuses on a service you provide or product you sell. Keeping the designs seasonal and interesting can also be fun – think about pumpkins at Halloween and Santa at Christmas – inject a bit of fun and humour – it will keep your Ads interesting and visual.
Another effective way to market your services is to do a local leaflet drop. To design and print flyers isn’t expensive (have a look here for more info: https://vaccodadesign.com/design/) and you can either deliver the leaflets yourself or employ the services of a leaflet delivery company to do it for you.
With any leaflet drop, the success depends on the information contained within the leaflet, so spend some time really thinking about what you want to offer and be very clear in your message.
Sponsoring community level activities, local events such as school fetes, or even things like the local flowerbeds can also bring attention to your business. Charitable events are also great for not only showing a charitable side to your business, but also puts you in front of lots of local eyes.
People like to know they are dealing with a business that looks after the community, and whatever choice you make when deciding who to sponsor or what charity to support, you can be sure of a positive following and a flurry of customers.
Final thoughts and summary
We hope you have found this 5-part blog series helpful and interesting, and that it has given you some guidance or even highlighted tasks you might not have thought of!
We will be doing more blog guides like this one in future. If there is something you would like to know about, or you have a suggestion for a future blog or guide, please let us know!