How To Engage In Content Marketing Like the Big Boys Do

Here’s a terrific opportunity to educate your customers in a big way and at the same time show your expertise. Write an eBook on your specialty. This doesn’t have to be the size of a novel, it just has to be rich enough to cover what’s important for them to know. It gives you the opportunity to put any myths to bed as well. If a customer takes your eBook, you then have their undivided attention. They are actively seeking the information you are providing. Ebooks are great because not only are they typically a quick read, you also have the ability to put live links in place to bring in other resources for them to enjoy. Maybe send them to your website for more information.

If you move into eBooks you are actively participating in content marketing. This type of marketing is hugely influential online right now. Content marketing is massively desirable to the search engines. Ebooks are fresh valuable content. You can use it in so many ways. If you’re trying to grow your list, you can use it as an email harvester. Offer it to customers who give up their email to possess it. You can use it to influence the way people view you. It shows your authenticity. I try at every turn to show customers what I know and how it can help them.

Once you write one eBook, I can assure you, you’ll write more. There’s a large payoff, when people care about what you say. We all have an audience, most of us are unaware. Take the benefit of a doubt and try one small eBook. Email it to all your existing customers. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It will show your thought leadership. They will appreciate the education. Many I’m betting assume what you do or at the very least under estimate the full extent of your services. Consider an eBook for each service. Develop it into a series.

If you also do public speaking having an eBook, to draw attention to, gives your listening audience a reason to visit your website. Direct them to a landing page where they can get your latest eBook for FREE. On the front end make it look like the cover of a book. The graphic and message should resonate with whom your speaking. If you get enough ebooks together over time, you could put them all together and do a hardcopy book. I call my book of tips – “101 Branding Tips.” I refer to it as my 114 page brochure. (http://www.edroachbrand.com/) it’s unconventional but is always well received. As content marketing suggests, it’s all about valuable information that customers are looking for. It all follows the mantra of give before you get. NEVER use this platform to sell directly. As you write your content, try your best to not write an ad. It’s tempting, but i suggest you resist the urge. Once you first experience the reaction to authoring content, it’s value will be apparent. 

Why your small business simply must have a memorable phone number

When you’re picking a telephone number to promote your small business, getting a memorable phone number, rather than any string of digits, could make a significant difference to how many of your customers, or potential customers, respond.

Business phone on white background

So, what constitutes a memorable number? This can depend on a number of factors, including whether you want your business to be recognised in a particular geographic location, whether you want to offer free calls to your potential customers or whether you’re a charity or other not-for-profit organisation. Some examples of memorable numbers include:

  • 020 3151 1555
  • 0800 955 22 55
  • 0333 444 1 444

Here are 3 cast-iron reasons why your business simply must have a memorable phone number:

A memorable telephone number can be part of your brand

The best example of this is with taxis. If you’re anything like me, you’re more likely to remember the taxi company’s number more than the name of the taxi company. People will share a memorable telephone number, then remember which taxi company the number relates to.

This sort of “telephone number to company” association can work for other companies as well, particularly if you rely on word of mouth (e.g. plumbers, glazers, computer servicing).

But there are other ways you can make a telephone number more memorable and link it with your brand. They’re called “Alpha numbers”. This is more popular in the US, but can still work in the UK as well.

Alpha numbers aren’t any different to normal telephone numbers in how they work, but all you’re doing is associating the digits in the telephone number to the letters shown on a phone’s keypad. For example: 0845 468 MINT (0845 468 6468).

A memorable telephone number can make your adverts stand out

Having a telephone number with repeating digits or repeating your company name within it (an Alpha number) will add another dimension to your adverts.

You’ll see this all the time in TV advertising. People with short attention spans, or simply walking passed your advert in the street are more likely to take in your telephone number and respond if it’s made up of repeated digits, or sequences of digits.

But do people really remember telephone numbers anymore?

This is a common question. Is there really value for your business in getting a memorable number? Surely with mobile phones these days, people don’t remember numbers, they’re just saved in recent call lists on the phone?

That may well be the case, but in the same way as a memorable number helps your adverts stand out, so will that memorable number when it appears in people’s call lists.

Even with the power of Google at everyone’s finger tips (literally), word of mouth seems to be more important than ever. People still want to deal with people, so if you can make it easy for your customers to share your contact details using a memorable telephone number, you’ll then be sure of getting those quality leads.

Do your research and choose wisely

There are a number of telephone number vendors in the UK and it is important to make sure you deal with a reputable company that is classified as a Network Operator by both Ofcom and PhonepayPlus. Look for a company that has a simple to understand pricing structure, an easy to use number management system and offers different payment types for your memorable number. A particularly good example of an established, regulated telephone number company is TTNC who offer numbers for all UK area codes and 40 countries internationally, including USA toll-free numbers. Numbers can be set up to forward to your mobile or landline in a matter of minutes. You then have complete control of your numbers through their specially developed control panel.

How to Write Effective Product Descriptions to Capture More Sales

Understanding Your Sales Model

For all the talk about the best ways to shift traditional sales models and techniques to the online world, there’s one important aspect you always need to keep in mind. In contrast to a traditional brick and mortar store, an online customer can’t really look at the product you’re selling – they can see pictures of it, but they can’t actually pick it up in their hands and look at it directly.

Tips for Writing Effective Productions Descriptions-030414

This is why it’s absolutely essential that you effectively tell them about what you’re selling. You accomplish this by writing solid product descriptions for every item you sell on your website. Here are some tips for writing the most effective product descriptions possible.

Your Product Must Be Good For the Buyer.

Don’t waste your prospect’s attention span talking about why your product is so good, or why it’s better than anything else on the marketplace. Isn’t this exactly the same as what your competitors would say about their own products? Instead, explain to your prospect why the product or service you’re selling is the best solution for them. A potential customer isn’t looking for the product that’s the best in an abstract sense; they’re interested in buying what’s going to be best for their individual situation.

You Need to Identify Your Customers.

Of course, in order to explain why your product is the best for a particular person, you need to understand more about that person. This includes not only identifying your ideal customer in terms of their general demographics, but also making sure to measure everything you can about the actual individuals who come to your product page. There are various ways to accomplish this, including Google Analytics, and customer signup where you ask them for key bits of information about themselves.

Write For Your Customer.

Chances are you take SEO considerations into account when you write your blog posts and other information on your business website (and if you don’t then you probably should be). After all, if a prospect never finds your site, there’s no chance they’ll ever become a customer. But scale back your SEO practices when it comes to your product descriptions. You want your descriptions to do the best job possible in connecting with a prospect, even if the text of the description doesn’t boost your SEO ranking.

Quantify and Evaluate Your Product Descriptions.

How do you know if your written product descriptions are doing the job? You can’t necessarily assume that they’re as good as possible just by the fact that you’re actually making sales. After all, maybe your sales figures would be even higher if your descriptions were better.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your product descriptions is to quantify them. Track your sales figures (both in terms of absolute numbers of sales as well as your conversion percentages), then tweak your product descriptions to see what types of descriptions lead to more sales.

Presentation Matters.

Finally, it’s important to understand that it’s not just the text of the product description that matters – how you present it to a prospect matters as well. Would a different font or font size lead to more sales? Should the text be placed in a different position on your product page? What about the colors you’re using on other parts of that product page?

Again, you can only be confident that you’re providing the most effective sales pitch to your prospects when you measure your sales figures and test against other options.

You’ve Been Voluntold!

confusedIf you’re anything like myself – you do a great deal of local networking. At least two or three days a week, you might run into me at some event or another. Some are professional groups where my target customers lurk and others are general professional organizations local and national. In a few of these organizations I play a managerial role, (one I’m the president). As you may well understand this takes a great deal of commitment and effort. I absolutely believe that these groups help get my brand in front of the right people who desire what I’m offering. I have a strategy for my efforts and all involve being in control of my efforts. I’m proud that my brand commands the respect of my peers and as such I never have to suffer the the terrible affliction of being “voluntold.”

If you’re on a committee or two but fail to show up when you’re needed to participate, you will fall fate to joining efforts you are unaware of at the time you were induced. Some describe it this way – ” the fasted way to getting the worst job on a committee is to not show up at an important meeting.” At that critical meeting your brethren will take great pleasure in volunteering you, and if this happens – brother you’ve been VOLUNTOLD!”

Being Voluntold is the scarlet letter of organizations. If you’re Voluntold too many times your personal brand is going to take a beating. For the sake of your brand, be aware of the importance of meetings and your responsibility within a group.

You’ve been warned.

Alternatives to eBay for Businesses

Many businesses would love to sell products online, but for one reason or another, do not wish to use eBay. Fortunately, there are many alternatives out there that can ensure rapid sales and are easy to use. The diversity of function and variety of options of these sites far exceed eBay, and they allow you to sell products in ways that are much cheaper than eBay, and can ensure more rapid payments than the auction giant.

Craigslist – This popular site is a preferred way to get your products noticed by the general population, especially if you live in an internet-savvy community. It’s free to post classifieds on here, and you’ll be able to deal directly with customers, which can be a real plus in some industries. Craigslist is well-known by Internet shoppers as a site that allows them to find just about everything, so even if your products have a very specific market, chances are your customers will be looking for them on this site.

Amazon – Traditionally identified with books, Amazon actually offers a wide variety of products. Of course, most people visit this site in order to purchase media products, so keep that in mind when considering your options. Unlike eBay, which forces you to deal with PayPal, Amazon allows sales to instantly be deposited into your bank account, which means that you won’t have to wait days to receive your money and ship your product out.

Facebook – Chances are, you already have a Facebook page for your business. In the Facebook marketplace, you can list items for sale, and the categories cover just about everything. Since Facebook is one of the largest worldwide social networking sites, you have the ability to reach people all over the world, making this a great website to advertise niche products, for example, or simply to be able to get your name out to large numbers of trusted Facebook users.

iOffer.com – If you enjoy the auction route for sales, this site offers auctions with plenty of web traffic. One huge benefit here is that you do not have to pay a fee to list items for auction; you only give a small portion of your profit to the site if your item sells. You do not have to set a minimum price, if you do not wish, and an interesting function of iOffer is that you can even list products for barter, which can be helpful if you are trying to expand your product line and deal with like-minded business owners.

Exhibiting Your Small Business – Why Exhibition Stands Make Sense

Why should a small business invest in an exhibition stand? The costs can seem prohibitive. However, those businesses that present themselves to the public not only earn back everything they put into the exhibition stand, but they generate tremendous amounts of potential revenue. In any business, retaining customers is essential, but creating new ones is equally vital.

In many ways, an exhibition stand functions as one of the most cost-effective methods of advertising and promotion. By securing a physical locale at a trade show or venue, a business can literally attract people who are interested in a particular product or service. By exchanging information with them at the stand, these businesses quickly build a base of people with which they can send product announcements or service launches. This highly targeted approach enables a company to create new customers at a much faster rate than with more blind avenues of advertising.

Meeting people in person is also highly underrated in an age where many transactions occur virtually. Small businesses may or may not have a large number of walk-in customers. In some cases, small businesses do not even have the facilities for a traditional reception area. An exhibition stand functions as a temporary reception area in a region swarming with likely customers. By being able to physically shake hands, hold a conversation, and generally communicate about interests, ideas, and requests, a small business can grow its sales. This is partially because people enjoy the human aspect of communication, and are more likely to buy a product from someone they feel they “know” than a company which has no human representation.

In this way, exhibition stands offer a competitive advantage against businesses that do not exhibit. This can be especially useful in “virtual” industries such as computer software or gaming. A product display, even if it is as simple as being able to view a function on a computer screen, is far more effective in person than in isolation. Generally speaking, exhibition stands should be staffed by highly genial, friendly members of the small business. If the small business owner does not choose to work the stand, he should send his most affable sales representative to do so.

By creating a positive impression in people’s minds, positive word of mouth invariably follows. Exhibition stands excel in this regard, especially if people feel welcome and informed. If a visitor to the stand meets a friendly representative of the company and is given a short but informative tour of the product or service, that visitor will ultimately describe her experience in positive terms to anyone else she meets. This kind of personal recommendation is invaluable, and will only aid in the acquisition of more new customers.

Small businesses should research local events, gatherings and other business oriented locales to determine the best time and place for their exhibition stand. The question is not whether or not to invest in a stand, but rather whether to do so now, or a few weeks from now.

Resource:

Find out more about exhibition stands at the the Nimlok website.

Why should you promote your business at exhibitions and fairs?

As a small business you understand the need for running tight budgets and keeping marketing costs under control. At first thought, exhibitions and fairs may seem an extravagant activity, but executed well, with the right preparation and follow up, they can provide a great return on investment and help to take your business to the next level.

So, what can you hope to get out of an exhibition or fair?

Lead generation: Perhaps the most obvious of outcomes, exhibitions are a great way of sourcing new leads for businesses, which, once followed up after the show, will hopefully convert into sales and ultimately profits.

New sales:
Depending on the type of exhibition or trade show and the service/products that you offer, your goal may be to make sales at the actual exhibitions or fairs themselves. If you have the right product and approach, you can capitalise on the fact that the venue is filled with your core market.

Generate brand awareness: Full of your potential customers, exhibitions give you the opportunity to influence as many people as possible and build your brand with your target market.

Launch new product lines: Fairs and exhibitions are perfect for showcasing new product lines or services and allow you to sell to new customers as well as tapping into your existing customer base by upselling or cross selling.

Access to the media: Journalists are always looking for new industry trends and use exhibitions and fairs as a key research tool. By preparing a press information pack to give to the media (including a press release, photos, product or service information and contacts) you will give yourself a greater chance of some free publicity.

The opportunities are there for the taking, however, it’s no good turning up at an exhibition or fair without the right preparation and forethought. To get the most out of your investment there are several tips you should follow…

Tell the world!: Use your prospect and contacts list to notify everyone that you know that you will be attending the exhibition and where they will be able to find you inside the venue. Using email and social networking are cheap and easy ways of doing this.

Make your exhibition stand eye-catching: At an exhibition or fair, visibility is vital and there are certain elements you should consider:

The design of your exhibition stand: The design of your exhibition stand needs to ensure that you get noticed for all the right reasons. It must convey your brand and product/service clearly and concisely and your message should be visible from across the hall. Also make sure that it appeals to your target audience by using eye-catching graphics and text. Lighting is also an important but sometimes forgotten element. At a basic level, the lighting should be sufficient enough for visitors to read your displays but on a deeper level it can be used to create an atmosphere or highlight certain parts of your stand.

Offer an ‘experience’: Once you’ve enticed people onto your stand, it is a good idea to offer visitors a real hands-on approach so that they can see, handle, interact with and experience your product or service for themselves.

Your people are your brand: Ensure that your staff running the exhibition stand know why they are there, what the overall goals are and how to deal with potential questions. They can be a key differentiator between you and your competitors and so body language and behavior on the stand are also critical, so make sure there are lots of eye contact and smiles and no mobile phones, eating or crossed arms.

Use your time well: The old adage ‘time is money’ is never truer than at exhibitions or fairs. They generally only last for a day or two and in order to achieve as many leads or sales as possible you simply don’t have time for a lengthy chat with a prospect or customer. Make sure you get all the details you need from each visitor and then politely move on.

Follow up promptly: After the exhibition is over it is essential to follow up on all the leads you have gathered as soon as possible. This will keep you at the forefront of your prospects/customers’ minds and show that you are keen to do business with them.

Resource:

If you’d like to find out more about exhibition banner stands you may do so here. They supply a wide range of portable and fixed banner stands to help guarantee a successful exhibition experience as well as buying guides to help you choose the items that are right for you.

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