Masterful Marketing https://masterful-marketing.com Ignite Your Web Presence Sat, 24 Oct 2020 21:18:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://masterful-marketing.com/wp-content/uploads/mm-favicon-200x200.png Masterful Marketing https://masterful-marketing.com 32 32 Small Business Marketing Strategy – 5 Things You Need to Know https://masterful-marketing.com/small-business-marketing-strategy/ https://masterful-marketing.com/small-business-marketing-strategy/#respond Sun, 25 Oct 2020 12:22:38 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24699 Before you add any new marketing activities to your plate, make sure you know the following 5 things about your business. This will help you determine the most effective marketing strategies for your small business.

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Small Business Marketing Strategy – 5 Things You Need to Know is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Small Business Marketing Strategy - 5 Things You Need to Know

Sometimes we need to get back to basics when creating a marketing strategy for your small business.

In many conversations with small business owners, I have realized that my conversation with them seems to focus on the same topics. They want to do some type of marketing because “someone said they should”. 

But not all businesses are the same. Even if you are in the same industry, what you should be doing for marketing may or may not be the same as your competitors. 

You need to understand the various options available based on the type of business and the target market. Once we have that data, then we can determine whether a marketing activity is appropriate now, later or never.

Having this same conversation with many different people got me thinking. How many small businesses:

  • Get distracted by the next shiny new marketing thing because they were told they should?
  • Wasted time and money on marketing that wasn’t right for their business because they believed what they were told?
  • Are frustrated now because they believe marketing is a wasteful expense?

Before you add any new marketing activities to your plate, make sure you know the following 5 things about your business. This will help you determine the most effective marketing strategies for your small business.

What is your vision

What is the vision you have for your business? Your vision is the key driver of your marketing.

If your vision is to grow your business substantially, then your marketing will be very different from a competitor who wants to stay the same size and keep the pipeline full. Knowing this helps you make decisions on how much marketing is needed. 

This will help you make decisions about what to do to keep moving towards the vision you have set.

Who is your ideal client

I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Narrowing your target audience can help grow your business. Knowing who you ideally want to work with and how you can help them makes marketing a lot easier. This helps you know what they want and why. You can then incorporate clearer messages into your marketing. 

Successful small businesses understand that only certain types of customers will buy their product or service. If you can determine who those people are and target your marketing efforts toward them, you can develop that trust relationship that will in time, turn them into customers.

What makes you different from your competition

The secret to understanding how your business is different is knowing what your ideal client really wants and delivering it better than anyone else. Don’t be fooled – this exercise is not easy to do. It takes a lot of thought, brainstorming and sometimes some trial and error to see what works. Sometimes we are just too close to our businesses to see that differentiating quality that makes us stand out.

What is the value you offer

Your target audience will have different issues, goals and needs. They will be looking for a solution that works for them. You need to define your value proposition so that there is no doubt in their mind that you can help them solve their problem.

Remember that your value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to customers after they buy from you. It describes the benefits your customers can expect from your products or services. It should clearly convey:

  • Value. The specific benefits you provide your ideal client.
  • Relevancy – How you solve your customers’ problems.
  • Unique differentiation. Why customers should buy from you and not your competition.

Remember to say who you work with, how you will help them and why you are the best to deliver on this promise. Don’t underestimate what you do. The value you offer may be something simple for you but complicated for others.

What are your available resources

How much time and money do you have to realistically spend on marketing? There are plenty of options available especially in the digital marketing arena. We just need to be selective and spend our precious resources on what will get us the best return on our investment.

Once you have decided on the best marketing activities for your business, be disciplined about how you spend your time and money. It’s easy to get enticed by empty promises and activities that don’t pay off for you.

Having a solid understanding of these 5 fundamental pieces of information about your business helps you determine your strategy, stay on course and measure your results. And when that new shiny opportunity arises, having this plan can help you quickly determine if the opportunity is worth pursuing.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Small Business Marketing Strategy – 5 Things You Need to Know is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Amazing Ways to Shine on Instagram With Perfect Captions https://masterful-marketing.com/amazing-ways-to-shine-on-instagram-with-perfect-captions/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 14:30:53 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24771 Instagram is a fantastic platform for businesses and influencers to connect with an engaged audience. With the right images and captivating captions, businesses can stop scrollers in their tracks. However, accomplishing the latter is more challenging than one might think.  Guest post by Wendy Dessler, Daily Cup of Tech

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Amazing Ways to Shine on Instagram With Perfect Captions is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Amazing Ways to Shine on Instagram With Perfect Captions

Instagram is a fantastic platform for businesses and influencers to connect with an engaged audience. With the right images and captivating captions, businesses can stop scrollers in their tracks. However, accomplishing the latter is more challenging than one might think.

Finding the right words can be an art form. Here are some amazing ways to shine on Instagram with perfect captions.

Find Your Voice

It’s advice that the greats have been telling writers for centuries: find your voice. However, this somewhat nebulous statement leaves a lot of aspiring creatives and marketers wondering what that means. For Instagram, it means finding the tone and manner of speaking that connects with your audience and conveys your core values. In other words, it’s finding your signature style.

Finding your voice requires digging into your ideal follower or customer as well as the mission and values of your brand. This strategy applies to both large businesses trying to make an impact and solo influencers building a brand online. Your voice may evolve over time.

Tell a Story

At the crux of it, Instagram is a visual storytelling platform. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Other times, it’s the hook that sparks interest and a desire to know more. 

Use your caption as a way to tell a story, either short and sweet or long and engaging. The benefit of using a longer caption to connect with your audience is that it triggers the algorithm to flag your content as compelling or engaging. Instagram measures an “engagement” by flagging a like, comment, or three-second pause on a post. While three seconds may seem negligible, it’s quite long in the world of social scrolling.

Instagram Captions - Tell a Story

Perfect Your Editing and Spacing

Run through your caption a few times before posting. Go back through and ensure everything is spelled correctly, as autocorrect can throw a wrench in the best-laid plans. This second glance also presents an opportunity to carve out redundancies to create a clear, concise caption.

Consider using a line breaker app or social media scheduling app to perfect your spacing. These tools mitigate the need to add dots to break up text walls, making the content more visually stimulating and inviting.

Stay Relevant

Ideally, your caption will have something to do with the image you’ve posted. Additionally, it should resonate with your audience in some way. If you’re at a loss, use online resources and hashtag research to find relevant content. For example, good photo captions for selfies can help you turn your selfie posts into engaging, noteworthy conversations.

Start with a Bang

Every great story starts with a hook. As mentioned before, your image will likely be the first hook when someone is scrolling. The second opportunity to engage your audience comes in your caption’s first three lines (this is how much shows without expanding). 

Use a strong one-liner that inspires people to keep reading. This one-liner could be anything from a question to a confession. For example, when posting an image of food, you might ask, “what’s your favorite fall recipe?” Then, the story should start below. By posing a question, you make viewers feel as if they’re a part of a conversation, not being broadcasted to. Starting a conversation is the key to an amazing Instagram caption.

Use Eye-Catching Emojis

Finally, break up your text with a few well-placed emojis. These graphics were designed to convey emotion in an often-emotionless medium. As 93% of language is non-verbal, relying on body language and tone of voice, text often falls flat. Adding an emoji can clarify the tone and set the stage for the message you’re sharing. 

Use this expert advice to craft amazing Instagram captions that attract an audience and boost engagement. 

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Amazing Ways to Shine on Instagram With Perfect Captions is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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5 Tips for Managing and Improving Your Online Reputation https://masterful-marketing.com/managing-online-reputation/ Mon, 05 Oct 2020 23:40:12 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24402 Managing your online reputation is no longer optional. It needs a simple strategy that combines monitoring what is available about you and responding appropriately. This will ensure your business is not unknowingly damaged by negative comments.

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. 5 Tips for Managing and Improving Your Online Reputation is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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5 Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

This children’s rhyme does not apply in today’s highly connected world where a few negative words can cost your company a lot of business. Now everything from quality reviews and recommendations, legitimate issues and reputation damaging complaints are there for the entire world to see.

Managing your online reputation is no longer optional. It needs a simple strategy that combines monitoring what is available about you and responding appropriately. This will ensure your business is not unknowingly damaged by negative comments.

Even if you have never added your information into Yelp, Google My Business or other online business directories, it doesn’t mean that your business isn’t already visible online and immune from the backlash of an unhappy customer.

How should your business approach managing its online reputation?

Because of its critical nature to the success of your business, you need to proactively manage your online reputation. It’s not something you should leave up to someone else. When it comes to responding and engaging your audience, you should handle that personally. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

Regularly monitor your brand’s reputation

Search for your business name and see what comes up. Conducting a vanity search helps you identify not only where you are listed but also what is being said about your company. You want to be sure your information is accurate and complete. 

Take note of all the places your business name appears. You will need this information to determine what online directories are important to claim and control. 

Claim your local business listings

Did you know that 90% of consumers search for local businesses online? So how does your business be visible in a crowded local market.

Claiming your local business listings is a mandatory action item. When a listing is claimed, it sends a message that the business is open and ready to help. Unclaimed listings make your business seem out of touch. Plus you run the risk that someone else can claim your listing.

Make sure the content in the listing is accurate and optimized to include your top keyword phrases to get better visibility for local searches.

Stay or get more active online

Is there something negative about you or your business that shows up in the search results? Removing content from the search results is nearly impossible, but you can make it less visible.

Implement a sound content marketing strategy. Create more interesting and positive content that pushes the negative down and out of the first few pages of the search results.

  • Start a blog. Remember each blog post is a new page that can be indexed.
  • Implement a public relations strategy. PR is a great way to post positive news about you and your business.
  • Post on LinkedIn. This content can show up in search results.
  • Guest post on popular blogs. Put together a strategy for guest posting and reach out to quality blogs that take guest posts.

Google wants fresh content so the more you post, the more content you will have in the search results. New pages of content in your or your business’s name will push negative content lower in the results and out of site.

Encourage customers to write reviews about your business

You can’t easily remove negative reviews but there are ways to minimize their impact. However you do need to get your best customers to speak on your behalf.

There are several ways to encourage reviews without being pushy:

  • Add a note to your invoice asking “How did we do?” and point them to your website.
  • Provide links directly to your Google My Business write a review feature.
  • Create a big “Write a Review” button on your website which takes them to a page of links to your Google My Business, Bing Local, Yelp or other online review sites. This makes it easy for you to point them to one place where they can click a link and write a review.

Respond to negative comments and reviews immediately

You cannot ignore what is being posted about your brand online. Reviews, both good and bad, will happen whether you want them or not. Most rational people understand that you can never please everyone all the time, so a couple of unflattering reviews are expected. But if all I find are negative comments, I will question the integrity of the company.

Take the high road and respond to negative reviews. Try to resolve them as quickly as possible. Respond as you, the business owner and be visible, authentic, concerned and humble about the situation. This will alleviate fears and send the message that your company is concerned about their customers. (Then strive to get happy customers to post positive reviews!)

For most of us, monitoring and managing our online reputation is not that difficult. It takes a little time to monitor what is out there and determine what you need to do to respond or change the perception. This exercise is part of your marketing plan. It is important to create the image you want your prospects and customers to see. Even if you don’t have any negative content about you, you still have work to do to create an image that is visible, credible and consistent with your brand.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. 5 Tips for Managing and Improving Your Online Reputation is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Website Lead Generation – Your 24 Hour Sales Person https://masterful-marketing.com/website-lead-generation/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 23:00:39 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24393 Is your website pulling its weight? As the hub of your online marketing, your website is the most important component of your web presence. The primary goal of your inbound marketing activities should be lead generation - driving more traffic to your website and then converting the traffic into leads.

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Website Lead Generation – Your 24 Hour Sales Person is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Website Lead Generation - Your 24 Hour Sales Person

Is your website pulling its weight? As the hub of your online marketing, your website is the most important component of your web presence. The primary goal of your inbound marketing activities should be lead generation – driving more traffic to your website and then converting the traffic into leads.

But is your website working as your 24 hour sales person? Or does it just sit there making people figure out why they should contact your business?

If you are getting traffic but you aren’t seeing the quantity or quality of leads you expect, maybe it is time to take a hard look at your website. Let’s walk through it from the perspective of your ideal client to get the truth about its effectiveness. Some questions to ask:

  • People visit your site for a reason – do you know what that is and do you provide them with what they need so that they are satisfied?
  • Is your website fresh and modern, incorporating all the latest design best practices?
  • Does your content hold their interest, making them want more?
  • Is what they are looking for easy to find, viewable on any device and presented in terms they understand?
  • Are you wasting their time with elements on the page that don’t add value?
  • Does your homepage talk more about you or does it let the visitor know you understand their challenges

Your 24 hour sales person

Your website is your 24 hour sales person. It’s awake and working for you all the time. Even when your business is closed for the day, your website can help customers determine if they wish to work with you.

You must constantly take an objective and somewhat critical view of your website to ensure you are delivering the experience your visitor wants and expects from your business.

At a minimum, your website must include:

  • A homepage that quickly lets the visitor know that you understand their needs
  • Content that speaks to your visitor by showing them how you can help
  • A modern design that aligns with the latest trends, projecting a consistent and powerful brand
  • Visible contact forms and calls to action (CTA), encouraging lead capture
  • Specific landing pages for marketing campaigns, to convert more traffic into leads

Homepage and content that speaks to your visitor

The content on your website must focus on your visitor’s needs and how you can help them better than anyone else. Let’s start with the homepage since most visitors enter there (unless you have some fantastic blog posts!)

What does your visitor see when then get to your homepage? If all the content is about you and your business, that needs to change. People need to quickly figure out what your business is about and whether your business can help them. A clear headline that lets your visitors see that you understand their challenges can stop them from hitting the back button and encourage them to find out more.

When your visitor sees that you offer a solution that aligns with their needs or desires, they will want to learn more. This is where the rest of the content on your website needs to be helpful and well-organized.

To help your visitor identify their solution with your company, you may need to have the following content readily available:

  • Pages that include a well-written FAQ (frequently asked questions) and customer case studies
  • Customer testimonials and reviews that speak about how you helped them solve a problem
  • Blog posts that illustrate your knowledge of your industry and your client’s issues
  • A lead magnet that is valuable to your prospect to entice them to sign up for your email list

Work on strengthening your content on your website and reorganize it for easy access. This will help your visitor know they have found the right solution for their needs.

Modern design

It is very obvious when a website hasn’t had a design update in a while. Web design, like other creative industries, changes rapidly. Building your website in WordPress, however, makes it easier for you to update the design without disturbing your content.

The following are simply must-have features for your website. 

Mobile responsive design

Google is now using mobile first indexing for all new websites and transitioning to it for older sites. Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Responsive design enables you to get the benefits of supporting all devices from one website, serving the same content to all devices. Google recommends responsive design because it is the easiest to implement and maintain. 

Flat design

Creating a better user experience is high on the list of web design. Using a flat design can help a website provide a better experience for your visitors.

Flat design is a design philosophy that takes a minimalistic approach to design. It recommends that you remove anything that creates the illusion of three-dimensions, such as beveled edges, gradients, drop shadows, and reflections.

Flat design helps improve user experience on websites and apps and can lead to better engagement and conversions. This modern, up-to-date look eliminates distractions and improves readability. 

Simple layout

A minimalist layout removes unnecessary elements and showcases your content. Simple doesn’t mean boring. Before you put something else on a page, ask if it enhances the user experience. If not, remove it. Not only will you make your website more appealing, you may also speed up your page load.

Better typography

With the number of fonts available today from Google fonts, Websites are no longer restricted to web safe fonts. With Google fonts and CSS3 @font-face, you can select from a wider variety, making your headers more eye-catching. However, don’t go crazy with too many fonts. Not only will your design look too busy, too many fonts can also slow down the loading of your web pages.

Faster load times

We all have become much more impatient with the speed of our devices. When your website loads slowly, you are more likely to lose your visitor. No one wants to wait for a huge image, video or slideshow to load.  The faster the page load time, the better the user experience. An improved user experience translates into higher conversions and more revenue. Give the people what they want. People want and need a fast online user experience. 

And in the not so distant future, Google’s core web vitals will be the next important ranking factor.

Visible forms and calls to action

Websites without a contact form says you don’t want to hear from people. People searching for solutions want to contact you when they are available, not when you are. Make it easy by having forms on all service pages so visitors can send in a request or question immediately. I’ve seen inbound leads increase substantially by simply adding a highly visible contact form.

Now combine a form with a CTA (call to action) incentive to increase your inbound leads even more. A CTA refers to active copy that entices a user to take action. Be specific and clear about what you want them to do rather than leaving it up to chance. The obvious CTAs are “register for this seminar”, “subscribe to our newsletter”, “buy now” or “add to shopping cart”.

Other more subtle or non-invasive calls to action are those used to move the visitor through the site on an information gathering process. Hyperlinks that help the visitor walk through a set of pages, next and back buttons or hyperlinked phrases such as “read our success story” are all types of calls to action that get your visitor to stay at your site longer.

Landing pages for specific campaigns

A landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on, including your homepage. However, when spending marketing dollars, you should always direct visitors to a specific landing page that has been designed for a single focused objective. Driving online advertising, such as pay-per-click or sponsored posts, to your homepage is a waste of money.

Send the person to a page that explains the offer in more detail and directs them on what they need to do. Lead generation landing pages objective is to capture user information in return for an incentive and to give you permission to connect with the prospect again. Types of incentives include valuable content that is relevant to your target audience, such as an ebook, webinar registration or white paper.

Online lead generation – Make your website sell

If you aren’t converting website visitors into leads, you need to review all the pieces – target audience, offer, landing page, forms, creative and copy – to find out why.  Make sure you are not putting up unnecessary roadblocks that eliminate key opportunities to convey your message, relate to clients and get your visitors to take action.

Your website can generate more leads and be a better marketing tool for your business. Nothing is better than having someone find your website, review what you offer, convert into a lead and then become a customer.

How is your website generating leads and selling for your business?

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Website Lead Generation – Your 24 Hour Sales Person is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Marketing is an Investment in Your Business, Not an Expense https://masterful-marketing.com/marketing-investment/ Sun, 30 Aug 2020 21:03:47 +0000 http://vista-marketing.net/?p=187 Any business owner that feels marketing is an expense and not an investment is probably going to have a difficult time keeping the business profitable. To be successful, you need to develop a mindset that views marketing as an important investment regardless of the state of the economy or other external factors.

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Marketing is an Investment in Your Business, Not an Expense is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Marketing is an Investment in Your Business, Not an Expense

Any business owner that feels marketing is an expense and not an investment is probably going to have a difficult time keeping the business profitable. To be successful, you need to develop a mindset that views marketing as an important investment regardless of the state of the economy or other external factors.

Marketing is not something you can turn on and off. Marketing is 24×7 and should be an integral part of your business culture. Excuses like “I’m too busy right now” or “I don’t have the budget or staff” is a recipe for disaster. What happens when your pipeline empties? How will you get your business rolling again?

Like any task that must be performed consistently, you need to figure out a way to make it a habit. We must learn to schedule time to develop your marketing campaigns. If you never put marketing high enough on your list of important tasks, you will never find the time. This article covers ideas that can help you make time for marketing.

Create a repeatable marketing system

As the business owner, you need to set up a marketing system that becomes a regular routine. If you have this system set up and integrated into your normal business day, you won’t consider it an extra activity. Time then becomes less of an issue.

You begin to realize that you have many opportunities to market yourself. That doesn’t mean to “sell” your business every time you interact with someone. It does mean that you can project a professional brand so that prospects and referral sources will want to find out more.

You must commit to make time for marketing. Activities that you could do consistently include:

  • Posting on social media
  • Writing a blog post
  • Sending an email newsletter
  • Developing a webinar
  • Seeking speaking opportunities
  • Writing proposals

Schedule the time and treat it like any other appointment. Without a commitment to your business that marketing is essential, you’ll find yourself consistently putting off your marketing efforts. Doing so could haunt you a month or two from now.

Develop a Marketing Plan that Helps You Focus

Without a plan, most businesses spend time, money and effort on activities that don’t benefit the business. Trying to navigate your way through the web of marketing possibilities is time-consuming and most likely not your core competency. By developing your own, individual marketing plan enables you to make optimal use of the time you have and to avoid tasks that don’t align with your priorities and basically waste time.

A marketing plan guides you though the maze and breaks the effort down into manageable pieces that are more easily accomplished. Marketing is not a monolithic entity that is undertaken as one major project. It is a series of small, integrated activities that help you educate your target audience about how you can help them and continues to build visibility and awareness over a period of time.

Outsource Marketing to Buy Back Time

Have you determined your marketing goals? If you have, align your marketing activities that help you work towards your goals first. If a task does not help you achieve them, determine whether you are better off outsourcing them. Does it make sense to try to design your own brand identity, business cards, or Web site? Or should you take advantage of external skills for those tasks while you prepare for a seminar, speaking opportunity or event? Which tasks are most crucial to you achieving your marketing goals? Create time for marketing by determining where you can effectively delegate and where you need to take control.

Opportunity costs are a topic of every economics class. So why are we so hesitant to spend money to off-load our time so we can take advantage of every opportunity that arises? How much is your time worth?

As a small business owner,  it is hard to spend money on something you know you can do. But is that a smart use of your time? Would outsourcing project to a capable resource help you get to your outcome goal faster? The choice is yours.

Transform Marketing into a Way of Life

In order to market yourself 24×7, consider marketing as a way of thinking, acting and getting the word out about you and your business. Redefine marketing as projecting who you are, your strengths and how you can help others solve a problem. For many services businesses, this is exactly what their marketing should communicate.

When you meet someone, introduce yourself in a more interesting way. For example:

  • A marketing consultant is someone who “helps businesses get new clients”.
  • An interior designer is someone who “transforms houses into dreams”.
  • Insurance salesperson is someone who “helps you sleep at night”.

By introducing yourself by the benefit you bring to your clients, you have a better chance of getting the attention of the person you are speaking with long enough for them to remember you. As a business owner, you are marketing your business continuously. Take advantage of every opportunity to be visible and be noticed.

Develop Marketing Communications that Work

Depending on your business, there are many avenues to take to get the word out about who you are and what you do. Your prospective clients must be aware of you and feel you have the expertise they need before they will even entertain hiring you.

To become more visible and credible to your target audience, create a powerful web presence so your audience can find you. Then:

  • Write articles for publications read by your market
  • Create a lead magnet that helps solve one of their problems
  • Research and connect with people on LinkedIn
  • Host webinars for industry leaders

Each of these activities will increase your visibility, make personal contacts and help you become the expert in your field. 

Be Persistent and Patient

Marketing is a process that never ends and it takes time for marketing activities to bear fruit. Don’t expect instant results from your marketing activities or you’ll get discouraged and give up too quickly. Every activity plants a seed. Every activity reinforces the previous one. Persistence and patience are the keys to successful marketing. If you spend time each week marketing your business, you will find your pipeline is always full.

Think of marketing as something that doesn’t cost money, but helps your business make money. Investing in marketing can help you stay visible, increase sales and help with brand awareness.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Marketing is an Investment in Your Business, Not an Expense is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn Video Marketing: Secret Weapon to Get More Clients https://masterful-marketing.com/linkedin-video-marketing-secret-weapon-to-get-more-clients/ Sun, 23 Aug 2020 21:00:58 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24651 If your business is using social media and content marketing to drive traffic and lead generation, you might be overlooking one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. As a platform, LinkedIn offers unique marketing opportunities, especially for business-to-business marketers. Guest post by Wendy Dessler, Daily Cup of Tech

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. LinkedIn Video Marketing: Secret Weapon to Get More Clients is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn Video Marketing: Secret Weapon to Get More Clients

If your business is using social media and content marketing to drive traffic and lead generation, you might be overlooking one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. As a platform, LinkedIn offers unique marketing opportunities, especially for business-to-business marketers.

Native LinkedIn video marketing combined with the ability to leverage your industry contacts makes for one powerful combination. In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at why you should be using video marketing on LinkedIn, and how to do it.

Why Should You Post Marketing Videos on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has always been thought of as a platform for ‘professionals’ to connect, and not as a traditional social marketing tool. However, recent statistics have shown just how powerful it can be. Here are a few notable points:

LinkedIn video posts are shared 20 times more often than regular content posts. Statistically, consumers prefer video to regular content. According to Google and Forbes, 59% of senior executives prefer video over text, while 42% will make a business-related purchase after seeing a work-related video.

It’s one of the best ways to reach B2B audiences. LinkedIn is seen as the platform of professionals for a reason. With more than 562 million users in more than 200 countries, it’s the largest networking platform for businesses and experts. As a result, 97% of B2B marketers use the platform for their content marketing – and if you’re not, you’re losing to your competitors.

Native posts boost performance. Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows users to post videos directly on the platform instead of posting external links. Since then, the popularity of native video content has skyrocketed, and it performs noticeably better than external video.

It’s a great way to establish and build your business as a professional brand. It’s a social network, a job board, a recruitment tool, and a popular blog system. If there’s one sure-fire way to create, establish, and promote your business as an expert and trusted brand, this is it.

How You Can Use LinkedIn Video Marketing

Show Your Expertise

LinkedIn Video Marketing - Show Your Expertise

LinkedIn is still the platform where it’s essential to show that you’re an expert in your field. A perfect way to do this is by publishing videos that inform and educate people in a way that showcases your understanding and knowledge of your industry.

For example, webinars are an excellent way to establish yourself as a leader, and it’s a crucial component to creating a respected and valued LinkedIn presence.

Live Video to Foster Interaction

According to LinkedIn’s statistics, live videos get 7x more reactions and 24x the number of comments that regular videos get. If you’re trying to create an interactive brand that actively communicates with potential clients, you should consider occasional live videos. You can do interviews, instructional tutorials, or even give service or product launch updates.

As a bonus, live video creates the impression that you’re a transparent brand that cares about getting in touch with your potential customers’ needs and wants. 

Promoting Your Products

Just to be clear, we’re not talking about straight forward “look-and-buy” videos. It’s not enough to just show your product; you need to convince these professionals why they need it.

How-to’s and product demonstrations are great ways to show off your products. You can also do a live video to allow your potential customers to ask questions. You can even share details of upcoming projects or product launches. Not only do these videos show what you’re offering, but it allows you to generate excitement and interest.

Tell Your Story

In B2B marketing, telling a story is important. Customers find brands that appeal to them on an emotional level far more appealing and telling the story of your business or brand is a great way to do precisely that.

Bonus Tip: Be Professional but Creative

LinkedIn Video Marketing Creative Editing

Just because the platform was created for industry experts and professionals to connect doesn’t mean that it’s a dry wasteland of technical content. You can get creative, colorful, and even humorous – as long as you capture the essence of your business, brand, product, or service.

That said, it’s vital to make your video stand out to the type of audience you’ll be marketing to. Your filming, script, and editing need to be perfect to look like a big-budget production.

A great way to add a few extra creative touches without a lot of technical knowledge would be to use a video maker. According to Boosted, you can bring your LinkedIn video maker to the future using customization tools and following specific content guidelines. 

The Final Word

LinkedIn’s reputation as nothing but a glorified profile board is completely outdated. Over the years, the platform has added numerous features that make it an extraordinarily powerful tool for professionals, marketers, and businesses.

Now, with the ability to utilize native videos to reach a broader audience in an exciting and interactive way, LinkedIn video marketing is an essential tool in any online marketer’s arsenal.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. LinkedIn Video Marketing: Secret Weapon to Get More Clients is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Business Focus – Key to Small Business Success https://masterful-marketing.com/business-focus-key-to-small-business-success/ https://masterful-marketing.com/business-focus-key-to-small-business-success/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2020 21:00:28 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/focusing-your-business/ One of the hardest exercises for small business owners is to figure out where they should focus to grow their business. Business owners are sometimes afraid to focus for fear of leaving money on the table. But to try to be everything to everybody, you confuse your audience and never achieve your true purpose.

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Business Focus – Key to Small Business Success is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Business Focus - Key to Small Business Success

One of the hardest exercises for small business owners is to figure out where they should focus to grow their business. Business owners are sometimes afraid to focus for fear of leaving money on the table. But to try to be everything to everybody, you confuse your audience and never achieve your true purpose. It prevents you from loving what you do and working with those who appreciate your expertise.

In order to focus on the important areas however, you also need to abandon those things that get in the way of you achieving your goal. As business owners, we tend to often get distracted by other people’s urgent “opportunities” and have a hard time saying no. And saying no may be a more important habit for us to learn than anything else.

Things you can do to focus more within your business include: 

  • Setting one outcome goal that drives all activities
  • Narrowing your ideal target market
  • Streamlining your service offerings
  • Focusing your marketing activities
  • Adopting the two week sprint
  • Eliminating and outsourcing tasks that don’t drive revenue

The more you can streamline and work on the right things that make a difference in your business, the more successful you will be.

Set your outcome goal and stick with it

Trying to achieve too many goals sets you up to achieve none. You should have one outcome goal and it should be revenue or new clients. All other things that seem to be “goals” really aren’t. Building a new website, launching a new marketing campaign, growing your email list are all projects that should be tied to performance. These projects should be selected to help you achieve your outcome goal.

So, if you are launching a new marketing campaign, make sure the campaign has a deadline and a target result. For example: Create and promote a new lead magnet by September 1 so that it grows my email list by 500 subscribers per month. 

Now your project has meaning. You’ve specified the what, when and why of the project. Increasing subscribers to your email list should help you achieve your outcome goal.

Narrowly focus your target audience

For your marketing to fall into place, you truly have to understand your target audience. We may be able to work with many different types of businesses, but doing so just complicates your business. Trying to manage different audiences with similar but slightly different products can break your business if you’re not careful.

Ideally, you should pick one target market niche or “starter market”. Choose those from your best clients. When you narrow your focus to this audience, create the right product offerings and deliver, serving them becomes a system. This makes your business more consistent. 

For example, if your market is service-based businesses like health and wellness professionals, home service providers (like plumbers and electricians) or coaches and consultants, choose one of these to begin with.

  • Build your product offering just for them.
  • Craft your messages that speak to them in their words
  • Create a customer experience that is better than your competition

Now you have a narrowly focused service offering that you can deliver without any complexity. 

Once you have that market working well, feel free to add your next market. Adapting what you offer your initial market will be easier than starting from scratch.

Develop your service offerings specifically for your target

When you are considering what products you will offer your narrow target audience, think about what they will value. Don’t over-complicate them. Once you begin working with a client, you can always offer them more. Doing it this way will also let you test your services to be sure they are getting value, and you are getting paid for your expertise.

Once you have data to prove your offerings fit your target, then you can create value-added packages that can be marketed more consistently. Value-added packages makes it easy for prospects to select what they need, simplifying your sales process. 

Focus your marketing activities to gain visibility

Choosing the right marketing activities for your business can be the difference between gaining visibility and wasting time and money. 

If you are a small, local service business, focus on:

  • Building a powerful web presence and optimizing it for local search
  • Creating a robust Google My Business profile
  • Asking for reviews and testimonials from your best customers

Trying to do more while servicing your clients can put a strain on you and your business. Choose your marketing activities wisely and be sure they lead you towards your outcome goal.

Plan your work in two week sprints

Trying to plan out your work for longer than two weeks leads to procrastination. By focusing on a shorter time frame and reviewing your results every two weeks, you can track your progress and see what works. Planning your work for only two weeks at a time encourages you to be very particular about what you will add to your to-do list. 

This also provides a feedback loop that helps you quickly learn about what isn’t working in order to make changes before you can’t recover. When you wait for weeks to review what is happening, you miss opportunities to adjust your plan to accommodate changes in the market.

Eliminate or outsource things that aren’t aligned with your goal

One of the real challenges of a small business is all of the noise that appears to be important but really only gets in the way of results. The two week sprints help you make decisions on what you should be working on. Keeping your outcome goal as the focus, you can choose the right things to work on. With everything else, you can decide whether to stop doing them totally or, if important to the business, outsource the tasks to experts.

Implement a system that helps your business focus

A system helps you make decisions on what you should be working on and what you can eliminate. As a certified partner in the 90 Day Year Peak Performance System, I help you incorporate this focus into your business that will help you work on the right things to keep you moving forward. When you focus on the right things and eliminate the noise from your daily schedule, you will be more productive and will keep moving closer to your goals. 

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Business Focus – Key to Small Business Success is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Inbound Marketing – Your Lead Generation Engine https://masterful-marketing.com/inbound-marketing-your-lead-generation-engine/ https://masterful-marketing.com/inbound-marketing-your-lead-generation-engine/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2020 23:38:43 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=6203 You are probably wondering "what's in it for me" when it comes to inbound marketing. It seems like a lot of work. Does it really work for lead generation?

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Inbound Marketing – Your Lead Generation Engine is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Inbound Marketing - Your Lead Generation Engine

You are probably wondering “what’s in it for me” when it comes to inbound marketing. It seems like a lot of work. Does it really work for lead generation?

The answer is definitely yes – inbound marketing does generate leads. In addition, there are many benefits to implementing inbound marketing as one of your primary marketing strategies. Inbound marketing:

  • Increases visibility and brand awareness for your business
  • Attracts better quality leads that are interesting in your offerings
  • Demonstrates your knowledge of your industry by educating your prospects
  • Provides long-term visibility unlike paid advertising which disappears when you stop paying
  • Increases trust and credibility
  • Is cost-effective.

The ultimate goal of inbound marketing is to help people find your business when in need of what you offer. Many buyers research solutions before they contact a business. If you provide quality, educational content that helps them move through the buyer’s journey, you are probably one of the solutions they will consider when they are ready to buy.

So add inbound marketing to your marketing plan. But like everything in marketing, lead generation using inbound marketing is a process. It only works when all the pieces come together and deliver a clear, compelling message.

Six step process to generate leads using inbound marketing

1. Develop your inbound marketing strategy

As always, you need a strategy. Developing your strategy helps you focus on the right things needed to consistently drive inbound traffic. Your strategy should incorporate:

  • An in-depth understanding of your audience so you understand what content they need to solve their biggest challenges
  • Knowledge of our top keywords and how to optimize our content for better visibility
  • The right social media channels to build communities and develop relationships.
  • An action plan to successfully execute your strategy

2. Create your content strategy

If you understand your audience, you know what type of content they need. From this, you can create the right content strategy to attract them to you and satisfy their needs.

To plan out your content, create an editorial calendar that includes:

  • What content you plan to create
  • What format you will use – blog post, podcast, YouTube videos, presentations and webinars
  • Who will create it
  • The style to be used across all media channels to project a consistent brand image
  • Your schedule for sharing your content across all of your social media channels.

Don’t worry about the exact dates for each piece of content. Create the list and arrange as you go, selecting those pieces that you feel compelled to work on.

3. Develop your offer

Great content that attracts visitors to your website is the first step. But what do you want your visitors to do now that they have found you? Create an offer that will have them take some action, which will generate a lead.

What can you provide that has so much value to them that they will trade their email address for your offer so you can nurture them through the buyer’s journey? Creating the right lead magnet is important to attracting the right audience. 

  • Will an eBook on the top 10 questions in your industry be something of value?
  • Is your audience in need of useful templates, checklists and free tools to simplify a process?
  • Can a free webinar covering a hot topic draw your audience in? Include a free recording of the event so those who can’t make it will still sign up.
  • Could it be a free trial of your product? Or a free estimate for your home service?

As you can see, the type of lead magnet you choose to create depends on your business. Plus whether the lead needs to be nurtured or is ready to buy is also dependent on the type of business. Someone who is attracted to a free trial or estimate is further down the path to purchase than someone who signs up for your email list to get a template or checklist.

Those who want the checklist or template will sign up for your email list using a signup form from your email marketing company. But those who may want more information on your products and services will need a lead generation form. Therefore you need to …

4. Create the right lead generation forms

Once people are ready to pursue an engagement with your business, how do people contact you? You must have web forms to generate leads. Many people conduct searches for products and services at night, after dinner and after their children have gone to bed. If you don’t have a form that makes it easy for them to contact you when it is convenient for them, you are missing a huge opportunity to get qualified leads.

A well placed lead conversion form with a compelling offer is an important component of your website. Keep the form short and only ask for as much information as you really need. Also, respond to an inbound request as quickly as you can. If you wait, the lead may go to your competitor instead.

If you have all the above pieces in place, you have the foundation. Now our task is to implement the strategy in order to begin gaining visibility with your ideal client.

5. Implement inbound marketing action plan

How do you incorporate inbound marketing into your daily schedule while still working in your business?

An inbound marketing action plan creates a system that enables you to consistently execute your activities and see the results. Without a system, you will find yourself in one of two places:

  • Doing nothing because you don’t know where to start
  • Overwhelmed and ineffective because there’s too much to do while still servicing clients

As with setting any goals, if you write them down you will be more likely to achieve them. Put your system in writing and make sure that it will work for you. Start simple and expand if you find that you can do more:

  • Start with an activity plan for when you will do certain inbound marketing activities such as create content for the blog, curate content to share and post to social media.
  • Book time in your calendar to make it part of your schedule and stick with it. Your goal is to stay active and visible in order to continue to attract those that may want to form a trusted relationship.
  • Be realistic about how much you can invest in time and money on marketing your business. If you only have 30 minutes each morning or at lunchtime, schedule it to do some inbound marketing activity that will benefit your business.

6. Make use of the right tools

To collect ideas and content to share, you can either use Evernote or the OneTab extension.

Evernote can be used to save content ideas and posts to share. Install the Evernote Clipper extension to make it easy to clip content and save it in specific notebooks.

Evernote Clipper

OneTab extension to Chrome and Firefox can also be used to save content to read and share later. If I open the post and see that it is worth reading and sharing later, I save it using OneTab and organize it into a group. 

OneTab extension

Either of these will enable you to save content to read and schedule for posting at a later time. This way you can set aside some time every week to fill the posting schedule of one of the following products so you remain visible.

Buffer or Hootsuite makes it very easy to schedule posts to Facebook, LinkedIn (both personal and company profiles), Twitter and Pinterest. They offer a different experience so check them both out to see which one you prefer. I use Buffer because the Buffer extension makes it easy for me to put content into the queue for all of my supported social media channels.

Both products offer a free limited version that gives you 3 social media channels, 10 scheduled posts per channel and 1 user. Start with the free version to decide which one you like best.

Next step

Now that you have your inbound marketing system in place, you can create and share content to start gaining visibility within your target audience. Stay consistent with your efforts and you can drive new visitors to your website that are likely to become leads.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Inbound Marketing – Your Lead Generation Engine is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Empowering Email Marketing Strategy With Artificial Intelligence (AI) https://masterful-marketing.com/empowering-email-marketing-strategy-with-ai/ Sun, 28 Jun 2020 21:54:59 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24473 AI is expected to yield $14 trillion additional revenue and 38% increase in profitability by the year 2035. It has helped businesses enhance their customer experience by approaching them with relevant and data-driven insights. It’s high time small businesses start making the most of this AI revolution. - Guest post by Kevin George, Email Uplers

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Empowering Email Marketing Strategy With Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Empowering Email Strategy With Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is expected to yield $14 trillion additional revenue and 38% increase in profitability by the year 2035. It has helped businesses enhance their customer experience by approaching them with relevant and data-driven insights. It’s high time small businesses start making the most of this AI revolution.

AI can automatically figure out things with the help of three Ds.

  • Detect – In this step, AI discovers the attributes or elements that are most predictive. Then it helps to determine the ones you can pay attention to and the ones you can do away with.
  • Deliberate – AI weighs the most predictive attributes against each other to suggest personalized recommendations or answer questions.
  • Develop – Machine learning, a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence lets it program and reprogram itself. Subsequently, it can modify and evaluate the data according to the information or results obtained through experiments. The beauty of AI is that it matures with every iteration.

When it comes to email marketing, AI can be incorporated in each and every step of the process. Let’s understand how.

1. Better segmentation and personalization

With the help of segmentation, you can target your subscribers with personalized messages. 74% of marketers think that targeted personalization enhances customer engagement rate.

Predictive analytics comes into picture here. It means that complex algorithms are used to predict the kind of customer behavior, which eventually helps in creating emails that are more relevant for the subscribers. Predictive analytics is used by 28% of U.S businesses and most of them consider it a ‘critical’ or ‘very critical’ step.

Through AI, you as a small business, can build audience groups that exhibit similar kinds of behavior and target them accordingly.

2. Improved subject lines

Tools like Phrasee, an AI copywriting tool, enable brands to craft better subject lines by employing AI. These subject lines are likely to resonate with the reader more and entice them to open the email.

While manually drafted subject lines work on the basis of trial and error, AI-driven subject lines are based on data-driven insights which makes them more effective for your small business.

3. Automated A/B testing

There was a time when A/B testing used to be a two-dimensional process. It has now become a multichannel hyper-targeting model that allows you to test a number of variables in different combinations.

Bandit testing lets you determine the kind of traffic you would get. In case you find that one of the variables is winning, bandit testing can help you get the statistical significance faster.

4. Easier Channel Optimization

With the help of AI, you can determine whether the prospect or customer would respond better to an email, push notification or a message on social media. Armed with this information, you can then send the message on the appropriate channel.

5. Optimized send times

AI can determine the best times to send your emails based on when your subscribers are checking their emails. By knowing when your subscribers will pay attention to your emails, you will have  better chance of them responding. This information will allow you to send the right message to the right person at the right time, increasing your conversion rate.

6. More effective retargeting

Cart abandonment is one of the most unfortunate things for any marketer. Whether you are in the e-commerce industry, retail business or travel sector, AI allows you to more effectively re-target those visitors who abandoned their carts. Some customers respond to the cart abandonment emails sent immediately after while others may be more likely to respond a week later.

AI helps to differentiate between these groups of customers, sending the re-targeting emails at the optimal time. This helps you recover potential customers by reminding them of their attempted purchase. Through these emails, you can send out product recommendations and cross-sell or upsell products.

7. Enhanced automation

Persado is a wonderful tool that can assist you in creating persuasive messages for your subscribers. With the help of the Persado Go Service, you can analyze email copy and get suggestions through natural language processing and machine learning.

AI can ensure you send relevant emails by taking into account the subscriber’s past interactions with the brand and purchase history. Such insights can enhance your email marketing strategy without any manual intervention, saving time and resources.

Wrapping Up

Having gone through these 7 ways AI can be used for better email marketing, it is quite clear why 30% of the companies around the world are likely to use AI in at least one of the sales processes in 2020. 61% of marketers have claimed that AI is the most critical aspect of their data strategy.

With perfect combination of rule-based email marketing and constant optimization, you can improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns while reducing the time you spend on them. AI becomes a robust tool that lets you promote your small business business and eliminate uncertainties despite the dynamic customer behavior.

To learn more on the AI revolution in email marketing, take a look at this insightful infographic by Email Uplers.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Empowering Email Marketing Strategy With Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Costly Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make https://masterful-marketing.com/costly-marketing-mistakes/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 20:32:03 +0000 https://masterful-marketing.com/?p=24407 Marketing is an investment in your business. Creating and implementing an inbound marketing plan can increase your visibility and strengthen your expert reputation. But marketing mistakes can be costly to your small businesses in terms of dollars, reputation, visibility and results.

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© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Costly Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Costly Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Marketing is an investment in your business. Creating and implementing an inbound marketing plan can increase your visibility and strengthen your expert reputation. But marketing mistakes can be costly to your small businesses in terms of dollars, reputation, visibility and results. They can lead to customers questioning your expertise and move on to evaluating your competitor.

Successful marketing efforts take a combination of planning, creativity and patience. As you review your plan and adjust for the next 90 days, make sure you are not making these costly marketing mistakes.

Strategic marketing mistakes

1. Not defining your target audience and understanding their needs

Trying to be everything to everybody means you dilute your message and attract no one. People want to do business with someone who understands them. They want someone who can provide clarity and help achieving their goals. By focusing on one specific market, you can clearly identify why they should do business with you. 

Once you have chosen your starter market, define the characteristics of your ideal client.

  • What do they desperately need that you can help with?
  • Do you understand their challenges?
  • Can you clearly describe how you can help them better than anyone else?

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. Study your best customers and why they chose your business. Get to know your ideal client intimately so you can produce the results they are looking for.

2. Not developing a marketing plan or 90 day action plan

Jumping right into activities without understanding what strategies can help you achieve your goals, sets you up for inefficient marketing with little to no results. Not establishing a solid plan before taking on any activities results in ineffective programs that waste your budget.

The value of developing a plan is to set the direction of your marketing  so you can keep moving towards your goals. Once you decide on your strategy, you need to stay focused on executing that strategy. Constant change to compete with the latest fad does not breed success.

Once you have your strategy, create a 90 day action plan that provides constant feedback loops. This feedback indicates whether things are working or not. Break your 90 days into 6 to 7 two week sprints where you can narrow down what you need to work on now. These two week sprints enable you to quickly measure what is working or not, enabling you to adjust your efforts before its too late.

Costly marketing mistakes that a sprint eliminates includes:

  • Sticking with an ineffective strategy – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Don’t get complacent and think that “things will get better” if you are not getting the results you want with your current activities. Review what is happening at least quarterly and adjust as needed.
  • Changing a strategy that works – On the other hand, if you have a marketing strategy that consistently gives results and gets you closer to your overall outcome goal, then why change it? Enhance, extend and improve your strategy to keep it fresh and effective, but don’t make radical changes to something that is working.
  • Stopping an Activity Too Soon – Easily the most costly mistake is changing your marketing messages or brand midstream. Just about the time you are sick of your marketing, your prospects are just beginning to recognize who you are. Marketing requires patience so give your marketing time to work.

3. Not creating a powerful web presence

All businesses should develop and maintain an extensive digital footprint. The bigger the footprint, the more likely your business can be found when someone is searching.

Your digital footprint is everything that can be found about your business online. It is made up of your:

  • Website
  • Social media profiles
  • Directory listings

Some of these you create, others are created for you. All of them should be consistent in their brand and messages to avoid confusion. Consistency with your message and brand across all of your online properties helps to drive home your value.

Your website is the hub of your online presence. Make sure it:

  • Is professionally designed in WordPress
  • Works perfectly on a mobile device
  • Has an SSL certificate installed 
  • Optimized for visibility.

Prospects want to know how working with you is going to help them. They need to see the value you offer and quickly realize the potential benefits of working with you. Keep the details about how wonderful your company is as background information. People need to trust that your business can help them. 

Create social media profiles only for those platforms that make sense for your business. You don’t, and shouldn’t, be everywhere. Focus on those that can reach your audience most effectively. Then use these platforms to get your prospect’s attention and drive them to your website or to sign up for your email list.

4. Not investing in marketing when the economy is bad

Marketing keeps you visible when the market is slow. It helps you stay top of mind with your prospects. Staying active lets your prospects know that you are alive and well.

Cutting marketing is a big mistake in tough economic times. Reducing spending and ensuring your marketing dollar is spent wisely is important. Look at your plan and do the things that are low cost or free to get you through the downturn. But stopping marketing completely requires you to start all over once the economy turns or your pipeline is empty.

Now avoid these 6 marketing tactical mistakes

1. Not paying attention to details

Marketing mistakes attention to details

How people perceive your business is based on what image you regularly project. Whether it is online or off, not reviewing your marketing materials for typos, grammatical errors or other issues can detract from your message. It hurts your professional image and can send a negative message.

If you don’t care to project the best image for your business, what makes a potential client think you will deliver above and beyond when providing services to them? Always have another pair of eyes look at your materials before you publish, both online and in print.

2. Deviating from your brand

Your brand is the promise you make to your customers. It is the perception the world has of your business and communicates your personality and values. It also highly influences your prospects’ opinion of who you are and whether they want to do business with you. 

Customers know immediately when there is a disconnect between what you have promised and what they receive. If your marketing activities deviate from the voice and reputation your brand has already established, you run the risk of confusing, disappointing or angering your customers and prospects. Ensure that all of your marketing stays true to your message and the promise of your brand.

3. Not adhering to email marketing best practices

Nothing is more frustrating than receiving an email newsletter I didn’t sign up for. People are adding their LinkedIn connections to their email lists. Don’t do that! Connecting doesn’t give you permission to add someone to your list. In fact, it can damage your brand reputation.

One of the most powerful resources for marketing your business is your in-house email list full of prospects that are interested in what you offer.

  • Use a reputable email service provider (MailChimp, Constant Contact, aWeber, etc) to build your list. 
  • Write interesting emails that grab their attention.
  • Be sure your email is easily read on a mobile device.
  • Figure out the best cadence for your emails (i.e. frequency and timing)

Then use email marketing to keep in touch with your prospects and customers. Create offers that take them from being an interested party to a paying customer.

4. Not seeking professional help to create your brand identity

I’m all for small business owners being in control of their marketing efforts. However, when it comes to laying the foundation for a consistent online brand, you may want to think twice about creating your own brand, website or social media strategy without professional help.

It is far more cost-effective to create your brand identity right the first time. Hire professionals for those areas that require a unique skill – design, development and user experience. Then you can begin promoting your business with confidence, knowing your brand projects all that is good in your business.

5. Neglecting your online presence

Now that you’ve spent time creating a powerful web presence, don’t forget to review it regularly. You need to know what has been written about your business across the various review sites. Once someone searches for your business, what they see will determine whether they contact you or your competition. 

No business will ever please 100% of their customers. Unfortunately, when someone is unhappy, they are more likely to go online and write a bad review. Make sure you respond to that review. Ask your happy customers to contribute a good review. Provide them links to your preferred review pages. Get a few on Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and any industry specific review site.

The biggest marketing mistake of all: believing that marketing is an expense, not an investment

If you have the mindset that everything you do in marketing is an expense, ready to cut when things aren’t working just right, then you are setting your business up to fail. Marketing is a process that requires a regular, consistent investment to increase your visibility and demonstrate your expertise. If you stop marketing to cut costs, your marketing efforts, and ultimately your business, will fail.

Spending time on marketing while trying to manage other aspects of your business has its challenges. By implementing your 90 day marketing action plan, you can avoid making these costly mistakes. Your business will be more successful if you do.

© Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved. Costly Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing: Masterful Marketing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Masterful Marketing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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