Global Entrepreneurship Week is an inspirational event for would-be entrepreneurs that need advice and guidance to get started and build their own businesses. And advertising and marketing are an important part of any start-up strategy. Here’s a nine-step plan to help you make the best use of your marketing budget — however modest.
Your other marketing and advertising options include:
Advice supplied by GEW partner, Barclays. Global Enterprise Week takes place until 24th November. You can find out more in our GEW Guide.
Do it! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition by David Newman is a refreshing new book filled with blood-on-the-wall, “fierce competitor”, no nonsense marketing tips. All 77 of them of them are practical and applicable to businesses like yours. And there’s a workbook at the end to help you go and do it.
This book has restored some of my faith in marketing.
Businesses are struggling with marketing. It has become incredibly complex. The marketing mix, the communication mix, the channels available, measurement, the pressure on budgets, delivering ROI, understanding social media and technology — these are all hot topics.
Marketing sometimes gets a bad press. It’s not accountable, it’s manipulative (“brandwashed”), it doesn’t understanding social media. The old rules don’t apply.
This books asks who are your clients and why? It encourages you to focus on the “what” after you have answered those two questions. What do you want to be known for, how can you speak the language of your clients, position properly, brand properly and sell?
Here are some of the highlights:
Your clients are not interested in your business. Apply the “so what test” and the “prove it” test. Your brochures, website and other collateral are most likely to be all about you — and that is boring.
Could you say what has been written out loud to someone in a conversation? Without them having a laugh? Use authentic client language from your conversations with your clients.
Are you visible and annoying, visible and insignificant or visible, credible and consistent? Are you, in other words, buyable? Is it a mistake not to buy from you?
There are only three problems you can solve. Process, people and profit. Which one is it? Ask the right questions and develop the right sales conversation.
Position your offering in more control and less chaos. Buyers will only remember one thing about you after one week. Clarity is key. Speak, write and use social media. It is called “expertising”. However, competency will not win you clients. That is a given. Be unique.
52-72% of B2B professional service buyers are willing to switch. So do not revert to self-promotion, self-solicitation, pathetic begging or self-commoditisation.
Always include a call to action. Establish a referral circle of trusted contacts. Sell like a girl — it is relational, not transactional. All leads are 999 calls — you have 15 minutes.
The “be serious” section is one of my favourites and it highlights some of the marketing crimes that some small businesses are still making:
Creating great content is a sure-fire way for small businesses to attract and keep customers. Research shows that businesses that blog 15 times or more each month get five times more traffic than those who don’t blog at all. So it’s clear that content is key to generating leads and driving traffic to your website.
Yet, according to Hubspot, only 10% of companies have a dedicated content creator. That means, the vast majority of small business owners have to do all the hard work, and the marketing, themselves.
However, Hubspot research also shows that businesses that create new content just once a month are still 49% more likely to have acquired a customer through their blog. So even if you can only create a little content, you’ll soon be reaping the benefits.
But where does a small business that’s new to blogging start? Or if you’re already blogging how do you keep the ideas flowing? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Who are my clients? If you already have your marketing personas carefully scripted out, go back to them. Think again, have their needs changed? What are their business pains? Can you still provide a solution? And importantly, have you really been considering your targets when creating your content?
2. Why will they listen to me? What do you offer that makes people want to listen and how will your content benefit them? The average prospect doesn't want to hear a sales pitch, so what can you provide that will break down those walls and grab their attention? Authentic, intelligent and educational content is a great way to attract new clients, and keep them.
3. What search terms are leading people to your website? Use these to create content that answers their questions, but keeps them coming back for more.
4. What has been popular in the past? Remember that blog that got 2,000 shares six months back? Is it still relevant? Or could you update it and share it again? Think about the lifespan of your content — are they all one hit wonders, or do they have a longer shelf-life? Why not consider writing new posts on topics that have proved popular? If they’re still getting hits then it makes sense to provide your prospects with the great content that they’re looking for.
5. What do I want them to do at the end? Do you want potential clients to leave your page, or do you want them to download an eGuide? A simple call to action, a comment asking people to get in touch with their views, and at the very least, social share buttons are the next step in the lead nurturing funnel of love.
It’s just the beginning. But while these tips won’t turn you into a modern day Shakespeare, what they will help you develop ideas and pull new customers to your website — and fundamentally, that’s what content marketing is all about.
Rhian Morgans is an online PR executive for Tomorrow People.
If you’re in the business-to-business sector, then customer churn is a major issue. B2B companies are often obsessed with calculating “churn rate” which helps them remain sensitive to customer feedback.
There are three major reasons for churn:
So how can you achieve churn rates that are near zero?
It’s important to get your customers on board by under-promising. This is about being realistic and setting expectations for worst case scenarios. This doesn’t mean that you conceal some of your product features. The better you under-promise, the higher scope you create for delivering more than what’s been asked for. In addition, if your client needs are recurring, good service reinforces your values and creates an affinity within your customer base for your product.
Considering the three main reasons for churn is important during the pre-sales phase. Planning for the “could have”, letting clients know about the “can’t” and explicitly avoiding “surprises” is key to meeting expectations once a customer is on board.
Knowing the line between a bloat and a feature-rich offering
An offering should be such that it solves an end-to-end requirement without being an overkill. Getting this right is an art not a science and it develops with experience.
Your offering should not come across as directly hitting at competitor’s prices. Instead, the pricing should be justified by your product’s value as perceived by your customers.
Technologies change faster than anything else. It’s important for your product to adapt with the market dynamism, not just because the underlying technologies might be obsolete, but also because newer problems arise in the market.
If your customer isn’t doing well in the market, the chances are higher that they will go elsewhere. It’s important to get closely involved with your customers’ businesses, and keep asking for regular feedback on how well your offering is serving their portfolio. It’s worth identifying trigger points that indicate if your customers are using your product enough.
Often, long-term contracts are seen as a way to achieve lower churn rates. While this might work great for cash flows, the issue of churn isn’t eliminated this way. On the contrary, from our experience, this creates reluctance and curbs freedom at the customer’s end. It’s a better idea to introduce notice periods instead so that there’s enough buffer time to take action before your customer leaves.
Arpan Jha heads the products and market strategy at PromptCloud.
If you want a successful ecommerce website, then there is a formula you must apply. It is:
Traffic is the most powerful of the three items before the equals sign because the traffic influences both the AOV and the conversion rate. However, simply driving a lot of traffic will never be enough.
You also need to be driving the right kind of traffic. Here’s how:
1. Understand the traffic mix that’s hitting your website and how it is performing. Almost always this will show that one traffic source is performing particularly badly — so that’s the one you need to deal with.
2. When analysing your traffic, you need to consider what sort of marketing activity drove that traffic to your website in the first place. There are nine key marketing methods in ecommerce: content, email, social media, brand awareness, offline marketing, search, Pay Per Click (PPC), remarketing and partnerships.
These methods are either free or paid-for and what they achieve is either brand building or conversion driving.
3. Think about each of your marketing activities and consider how they should be performing:
When you start looking at your marketing this way, you’ll quickly find some activity you really want to stop, some you want to do more of and some you need to test.
4. Once you have your existing traffic sources optimised, you will be ready to start looking for more traffic.
An ecommerce business can’t afford to rely on one traffic source — you never know when it’s going to dry up or change, or when the Return on Investment (ROI) is going to deteriorate too much for it to be useful. As a minimum you should be using four at any one time and test others.
Recent changes to Google Adwords means “simple” PPC has become a labyrinth of different testing opportunities which, when combined together in the right way, could bring you some very cost effective traffic.
Looking at and reviewing the performance of your traffic, and making sure you’re using the right marketing methods, and enough marketing methods really is essential for your success.
Export is vital to the future prosperity of UK plc. The chancellor’s target of getting 100,000 more companies exporting and a doubling of our exports to £1trillion by 2020 is a clear indication of how much importance the government is placing on British businesses trading overseas.
But before you leap onto the international stage, what factors do you need to take into consideration when you’re marketing a company, product or service abroad.
The essence of export marketing is in getting under the skin of the people you plan to sell to; really understanding them and then communicating your offering to them in a way that appeals and makes sense. These fundamentals will help you do exactly that.
Now go export!
Neil Payne is the marketing director of Kwintessential.
Exporting events and resources
Following the success of Export Week in May, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will be running regional events from 11-15 November encouraging businesses to increase their export activity, with the ExploreExport road show visiting eight English regions.
In support of the week, we’ve gathered together free resources — including guides, articles, checklists, blogs, tools and case studies, all aimed at businesses that want to sell more to customers overseas.