Building Brand Advocates

If you look at how your customers find you, chances are that many to most of them will have been recommended to you by one route or another.

Word of mouth marketing has been and continues to be one of the most effective forms of marketing there is.

People trust the recommendations of other people - friends, family, social media, review sites. And it can have a pretty significant impact on sales. 74% of customers say that recommendation is a key decider is making a purchase.  In today’s online world, word of mouth marketing has taken on a whole new dimension under the heading of brand advocacy. 

Brand advocacy isn’t just for big businesses with deep pockets. In fact, as a small business, you almost certainly have the edge over bigger businesses when it comes to capitalising on the power of your customers to grow your business.

Want to know how?

Of course you do!

The Perfect Tweet

Is there such a thing as the perfect tweet?

Probably not, perfection is pretty subjective anyway.  But there are a few simple guidelines you can follow that will help you craft some great tweets that will engage, excite and interest the Twittersphere.

Social media leaves many small business owners feeling somewhat anxious or lost at sea. And Twitter seems to strike the fear of God into many.

Even seasoned users are convinced they don’t know enough about Twitter. But I am not convinced it’s as complicated as it seems - simplicity is my byword after all!

Start Up Top 10 Tips

If there is one thing I have learnt over many years working in lots of different fields, it is that there are some things that are absolutely consistent. When starting a new chapter in life, some lessons need to be learnt but they can be made easier with a little sage advice.  The following is hardly an exhaustive list of tips for young and growing businesses - but they are my most consistently offered guidance. 

Customer JourneyEvery customer experiences a journey from their first knowledge of your business or product through to their appreciation of the services you have provided.

The individual stages of that journey determine how smoothly potential customers move through your processes.

Typically the processes that drive that journey are described as a funnel - moving from customer awareness through to the sale. But a funnel is a pretty limiting analogy that ignores the full extent of the factors which influence the journey. 

A customer journey does not just include marketing and sales - it incorporates every aspect of your business where there is a customer touchpoint. Everything from your branding, style of communication, physical and visual presentation and - potentially most importantly - your customer service.  A funnel is a linear process that is not integrated into all these aspects.

Head Heart or Intuition

The upside of running your own business is being your own boss. But are you actually your own boss or is how you naturally think and respond running the show much more than you realise?

Some of us pore over statistics and facts to make decisions.
Some of us are led by what we would like to happen.
And some of us go with what feels right or wrong.

We all lean towards one form of decision making more than another. There is a place for decisions made by head, heart or intuition but how we manage ourselves is critical to using the right approach at the right time.

Email Marketing

Are you avoiding email marketing?

Every day we are all bombarded with an array of emails - from mailing lists we seem to have ended up on, from people we want to hear from and companies we have bought from.  I’ll admit it tests the patience of even the most saintly of us.  And it is probably what sparks the regular “Email is Dead” trends that come round every so often in the marketing field.

But nothing could be further from the truth, email marketing is becoming more important and you need to be in on the act.  

As a marketing tactic, email works.  Done well, it will probably be the single most effective tactic in your whole suite of marketing activities.  It consistently shows the highest rate of return on investment of any marketing activity - with some figures showing a 70:1 return.   It works to build relationships with and repeat purchases from existing customers and it brings new customers on board.  

Marketing on a Shoestring

When your business is small, so is your budget.  

Growing your business needs investment - and marketing is an essential investment for growth.  Which, of course, is a bit of a Catch 22.  How can you grow without the resources to make it happen?  

For many small businesses, this causes a lot of anxiety.  And often that anxiety leads them to invest scarce resources in marketing activities that aren't ideal or just don't get results.  If you have little or no budget, take a deep breath and reassure yourself - because the good news is that you can break out of the Catch 22 - marketing without a budget is challenging but possible.  Invest your time wisely in activities that will kickstart growth.  

Here are 10 low cost or no-cost marketing ideas to get you started.  

Calculating Customer Value

If you are putting any time or resources into getting new customers (which if you are running a business you are) then you need to know one thing - what is a customer worth?

Without this critical bit of information, you run a serious risk of spending more on acquiring a customer than you will recoup.

Take some time to get the most accurate customer lifetime value (CLV) you can. It’s an essential investment to help you build a sustainable business.

Calculating customer lifetime value is a much more robust process if you have a stack of data to use but how do you tackle it if you are small or new business?

8 Steps to Better Writing for your BusinessIf you are one of the many business owners who find writing a challenge, take consolation in the fact that you are not alone.

You may well avoid it until you have no choice and begrudgingly sit down in front of that blank screen or piece of paper waiting for inspiration to strike.

Or you may rather enjoy it - sitting down with enthusiasm only to find that it never comes out quite the way you intended.

The good news is that there is a simple way to improve your writing skills, make the process easier and get better results.

Searching for the long tail

I have two mantras with all my clients and it comes up on my blog a fair amount too:

  • Know your customers

  • Work your niche

Being specific, targeted and highly focused about finding your customers is the key to building a business where you stand out from the crowd.

There are, of course, many factors and components to making this work but one key aspect to maximising your online presence is search marketing.  And one of the biggest components of search marketing is search engine optimisation (SEO) and one of the most critical aspects of this is - keywords.

But any old keywords won’t cut the mustard.  Precision in choosing and using keywords is essential.  And to get the most out of building your niche and getting in front of your customers you need to be using long tail keywords.

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