There was a time when one of the most preached phrases in marketing was “The money is in your list.” While that may not be everyone’s top phrase any longer, it’s still very true. Collecting email addresses from website visitors is a great way to keep in touch with your audience.
So how do you get people to just give you their email address? You must give them something of value in return. Give them something they can learn from in relation to your product or service, but also leave them wanting more. Don’t give away ALL of your secrets!
What is a CRM?
Now that you have them signing up, what do you do with the addresses you have collected? There are a vast number of CRM systems you can use. According to searchcrm.techtarget.com, Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns.
Deciding which system is right for you.
There are many systems to choose from and each has its own unique features. To decide which system to invest in, you need to know what is the most important feature needed for your business. Is it automation or a tagging system? To me automation is the most important. Set it and forget it! All systems have it, but you may need to upgrade to the next level to enable this feature. A few things to consider before deciding on a system:
- Your budget
- List or tagging system
- Drag & drop features
Systems to consider for small businesses
- Mailchimp – Probably the best “bang for your buck”
- Convert Kit – Probably the best for mobile use, but not the easiest to set up, limited styles
- Active campaign
- Constant Contact
Start sending new product announcements, newsletters, specials, and information that you think your audience will find interesting. This list should get the heads up on new items and specials before you announce it through other marketing channels. Monitor your open and link clicks stats to see what people are interesting and give them more of it. I recommend sending only one or two emails per month so as not to be labeled as spam.
This is another blog post that could go on for days so we just covered the basics. If you do not have an optin on your website to collect email addresses, you could be missing out on numerous opportunities. Contact me if you would like to discuss your lead magnet or CRM options in detail.
Next week we will cover getting started marketing in general. Once again we will be hitting on the basics because to cover all marketing we would need to write a book!
Digital marketing includes social media marketing and all the individual networks that go along with it. As a business in today’s world, social media is a “must have”. Let’s look at the number of users you can reach with social media. Expandedramblings.com keeps updated stats on the number of social media users, here are a few of the networks:
- Facebook – 2.01 billion monthly active users
- Instagram – 800 million users
- LinkedIn – 500 million users
- Twitter – 328 million monthly active users
A complete list of networks is available at https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/how-many-people-use-social-media/#.WedhC2hSw2w
Even though social media is a “must have” if you are in business, that doesn’t mean you need to have a profile on every network. The best social network for you is the one where your target audience hangs out and that can vary from business to business. So, do some research to find your people.
Here are a few of the reasons your business needs to be on social media:
- Real-time communication – Customers can communicate freely with you in real-time. Often people will use social media to ask questions or thank you for a great product/service. It could work against you though if you have a disgruntled customer. Just be sure to reply quickly and address each situation individually.
- Brand awareness – By using social media consistently, you can keep your name in the forefront of your customer’s mind. Connecting with them basically on a personal level will keep your customers engaged.
- Promotions – What’s the point of social media if you can’t share new products/services? Share them with your following to help create buzz around your new item, but be careful not to do it in a salesy way, but in a more conversational mode. And be careful not to post constantly about new products or services, just sprinkle those posts in among the posts you are using to build your engagement and following.
- Increased SEO – Each new blog post that is shared on your social media networks helps to attract new customers, build your authority, and helps to increase SEO.
- Web site traffic – Successful social media will improve the traffic to your website. The more traffic you get the better your SEO ranking will be.
If social media seems a little overwhelming, there are many individuals and businesses that can help you get set up and teach you how to use it to your advantage. It will be well worth your time! Schedule your consultation with us if you would like to talk about letting us help you.
Next week we will focus on marketing automation platforms.
I could go on and on about creating a website but for the sake of this post let me just hit the high notes. It’s time to get your website up and running so you start marketing. But what platform do you use? Let me say that almost any platform you decide on now will be responsive, meaning mobile friendly, and have drag and drop building options if needed. I still highly suggest using WordPress so let me share with you my reasons.
WordPress has almost limitless options for themes, plugins, and integrations. With other platforms you are limited to using only the services they have chosen for you such as shopping cart integration and automated marketing platforms. Squarespace for example only integrates with Mailchimp, not Constant Contact, GetResponse, Aweber, InfusionSoft, etc.
With the limitations placed on you by the different platforms, you may not get the functionality you want. You will look at other websites and say, “why can’t I do that?”. The main reason will be because that other website is built on WordPress with its many choices.
You do have to choose a hosting platform with WordPress which is different from the way other site builders work. However, this choice allows you to save money by comparison shopping, but remember, you get what you pay for. The least expensive option is not always the way to go. I highly recommend SiteGround for your service and choosing the WordPress Hosting. They have a wonderful track record for uptime, support, and reliability.
After choosing a platform and a hosting service, we can look at themes. No matter what platform you decide to use, there will be a theme that is perfect for you, even if it needs a little customization. Any platform will allow you to choose your own branding. Your logo, colors, your own “voice”. Your website is where you can express what you (or your business) is all about.
Do some research by looking at websites of your competitors. See what they are doing and make note of the things you like and dislike. People are no longer taking the time to read everything on your site. Visuals are extremely important. There are several websites that offer free images and please take advantage of those. However, I do suggest purchasing a few more prominent images that you will be using on your site. You don’t want the same images everyone else is using. You want to stand out.
When it comes to text, the easier it is to scan, the better it is. This means bolding words and phrasing that you want to stand out and using lists and bullet points so it’s easier for people to see the main points that you want to get across.
On your home page, you need an eye-catching image, and an optin for with a lead magnet (freebie), your social media icons which should be near the bottom (so people don’t immediately click away from your site), and you want to be sure your contact information is easy to find. Yes, you will have a contact page but ideally your email and phone number should be on every page.
Your home page should be very clear on the product or service you offer. People will not dig around on your site to figure it out, they will immediately click away and go somewhere else if they can’t find the information they want fast enough. Your website should have a clean and uncluttered look.
While WordPress and its many choices may seem intimating at first, you will be glad you chose it in the long run. Especially if after a couple of years, your business is growing and you need to make changes and step up your game. With WordPress, you won’t need to switch platforms to accommodate your new needs. If you feel like hiring someone to build your first WordPress website is what you should do, then do it. Other platforms may seem easier and less expensive at first, but their limitations will cost you more in the long run because they do not grow with you as a business.
We have really just touched on the basics in this post. Schedule a consultation to discuss building a website in more depth at a time that is convenient for you.
Watch for next week’s blog when we talk about setting up your social media platforms!
Welcome to the first blog post in the series to help you get started marketing your new business! Now that you know what you want to sell, whether it’s a product or a service, you need a business name. Deciding on your business name requires some thought and research. Take it from me, I’ve renamed my business three times in the last 10 years. The first time because I changed the focus of my business, but the second time because I just didn’t like the name. Hence, I should have put more time and research into it!
Naming your business really is the first brick you lay in building your business. It’s the foundation on which your entire business will rest. A few things to take into consideration while deciding on a name include:
- Think about what your business objectives are or what describes your company.
- Try to stand out in a crowd. Be memorable.
- Do not use odd spellings. This makes it hard for a potential customer to find you online.
- Don’t get so cute that people have no clue what you are talking about. Avoid puns that only you will understand. Check the list of business names at Funnynames.com and you will understand what I’m saying.
- Avoid being a cliché. Words such as next level, precision, solutions, services, affordable, global, and enterprise are overused.
- Avoid using a geographically based name. What if your business expands to other areas of town or even globally? Don’t burden yourself with a name that keeps you rooted to one place.
- Be careful if you try to combine two names into one. It needs to make sense and be easy enough to spell so that people can find you online.
- Don’t pick a name that is too long. This is important when registering your domain name that you will be using for your email address.
- Naming your business goes hand in hand with finding your domain. Your business name and your URL should be the same. Check if your domain is available with individual domain name registrarsor at http://www.register.com.
- Know that it is okay to change your name as your business grows and changes. (Remember, I’ve done it three times!)
After deciding on a business name, be sure to check with your local county or state office to register it. Registration requirements vary from place to place. Deciding on a name can be confusing at times but just take these few things into consideration, do your research, and you will be building a strong foundation for your business.
Next week we will be discussing branding and websites!