Traffic

Shining The Spotlight On Awareness of YOUR Business

photographic-spotlight-1418290-640x480In sales and marketing, you cannot overstate or downplay the value of awareness.   100 Percent of people who didn’t know your business was an available option didn’t buy your product or service.  Some of you say this fact is obvious, but it is also 100 percent true.

Successful business owners know that generating profitable sales goes beyond merely having a product or service to sell. Your overall success of also relies on how effective you are in creating greater visibility and awareness for your brand, products or services, especially with targeted customers who are about to make purchasing decisions.

Businesses with massive marketing budgets once went the traditional route and spent fortunes advertising on radio, TV and print pieces. According to research from the State Bar of Michigan, the Great Lake State has currently over 33 Thousand lawyers practicing law. If you watch the same local broadcast TV for news I do, you would think there are only eleven law firms practicing in the state and most of them specialize in Social Security and disability, accidents claims or divorce and family law.  Some of these firms first try cases in the headlines. Others sponsor everything possible program they possibly can put their name on.  Others have catchy jingles, celebrity spokespersons or moody music to make the point that they are out here for us.

What do you do to stand out?

Awareness means more than you are the person who comes to mind when I say the generic term for your field or area of expertise.   It means that those who are making a purchasing decision consider what you do a real and available solution for the products and services they seek.

Now, in the rapidly evolving digital age, all businesses can get the same or even better visibility and exposure for their brands through utilizing digital marketing channels.  The most important of which is the strategic use of social media. This also has the advantage of a lower point of entry, less than the cost of the traditional media that those law firms use.

Creating greater awareness for your brand can be a bit challenging particularly for small and medium businesses.  Too many people think just because they have a simple account for their personal use, this should create an avalanche of business for their company. Effectively using social media platforms for a consistent campaign can however level the playing field.  It seems it should be simple, but to create an effective campaign takes experience, knowledge and insight. Understanding how to reach your targeted customers effectively gives g your business the potential access to over  2.05 billion active social media accounts.

It has to begin somewhere. The first step on the journey of digital marketing success starts with awareness.  It bears repeating: 100 Percent of people who didn’t know your business was an available option didn’t buy your product or service.  You can’t rush out and put closing sales and being profitable before it.

In my next post, I will talk about the second step in the process.

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The one sure way to kill any marketing program

money-gun-1495486-640x480There is one sure way to kill any marketing program – Underfund it.

Marketing takes capital. Only liars will tell you differently.  They will say you can just work hard and good things will happen.

Capital will not take the place of hard work, but as yeast is a catalytic agent … so too is Capital.

How much should you budget? Even the brightest minds argue how much. I have seen figures from as low as 2% of sales up to 10% of projected revenues, depending on where you are in the business cycle.

Isn’t Markethacking supposed to be about marketing your business for low or practically no costs?

You can’t have a website if you won’t pay for a domain. You can’t go networking if you won’t pay for business cards. You may have expenses, but you have to invest some capital into your project. Ideas and effort alone will not make your business a success.

One key to Markethacking is putting the money into things that matter.

People matter. You can’t be like Tom Sawyer and con everyone into whitewashing your fence while you skip down the street.  Raw materials matter. You need the elements that make your product and service.

You can’t say that you will market when you have the money.  You will never have the money if you think that. 

You can’t cringe and cry when it’s time to invest in the elements of your marketing. See the costs as similar to utilities. You would be lost without electricity, gas and water.

You can’t go cheap on elements of marketing when you have no experience or ability. If you aren’t a photographer or writer, hire one. Hire a good one. Don’t rationalize some half-baked effort and say “Good Enough.” Good enough really isn’t.

Take the time to invest in your future. Set a percentage of each dollar you earn for marketing:  4 to 6 cents doesn’t sound like a lot, but it could ensure that you will have the ability to create the awareness you want in the future.

There is one way to feed the future of any marketing program – fund it.

Make Your YouTube Videos More Valuable

YouTube is a great place to share videos online. It’s wonderful that hundreds, if not thousand of people can YoutTube Hacksee your message without the cost of paying for placement. Yet, the question is can YouTube offer more opportunity for engagement?

The obvious answer is yes, via the comments. That is what social media is about; the ability to comment to the content creator. Comments give the creator the opportunity to see how well viewers connect with the message. They also offer the creator the opportunity to directly respond to questions. The service also has annotations that you can place on the video to share more information. Annotations are valuable for sharing important points, expanding on the topic and making corrections.

Still, YouTube has even more opportunities. Earlier this year YouTube launched a tool called cards. Cards add a note or call to action to your video during a period of time that you select. There are multiple message options such as a link to your website, fund-raising requests, featured products, promotion of another video, playlist or YouTube channel.

Market Hack: Use cards to highlight your most popular product, service, video or promotion with a catchy call to action to earn the attention of video viewers and drive traffic.

Market Hack: Send your viewers to a custom landing page directly related to your call to action on the video. If you have enough traffic, A/B test the landing page for best results.

Video continues to increase in popularity. The value of a good video for a marketing campaign can mean the difference between success and failure. There is a lot of competition online and your video must standout or it will go nowhere.

There are many uses for video beyond directly sharing your message. Video can be used for customer service, such as how to solve a problem or assemble a product. Testimonials are a powerful use of video. When you develop a good relationship with a customer, pull out your smart phone and record a few kind words that you can place on your website and YouTube channel.

One of the best uses for video is to tell a story. Good market hackers know that stories travel. Dig down deep and share why someone would want to pay money for your product or service. A video about how long you have been in business and your great customer service will earn a yawn and quick pause. Your video must be about them.

YouTube continues to add features that make the platform more powerful. Take advantage of the medium and the tools that come with it.

 

Does your website suffer from CRUFT? Here’s what to do about it.

As a professional writer, I champion “Your Content Matters.” Yet, the exact opposite quality content is cruft.

Cruft is low quality and duplicate content on websites that needs serious attention. While some blow it off as harmless or something they will get around to fixing, this extraneous information is actually quite harmful to your websites potential. Here is a great video from MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday to help keep your webpage content tidy and taught which will result in keeping your search rankings high.

 

Your Content Matters. Insure that your content is high quality and very searchable.

— WDL

What combines well with SEO?

 

seo combination

Photo by Kev-shine

SEO is a long-term project. It satisfies the driving traffic portion of the Market Hacking puzzle by earning new traffic from the search engines. Although SEO is not considered a short-term hack, you can start to see positive results within 4-8 weeks. Unfortunately, a large percentage of your new visitors will not call, give you their email or share your information in social media. So, what can you do after your visitor leaves?

The answer is remarketing, also called retargeting. Remarketing is an excellent option to combine with your SEO campaign because it give you the opportunity to continue sharing messages or offers with your visitors after they leave your website. You know remarketing ads, they are the ads that follow you around the Internet. The good thing about remarketing ads is the relevance to the viewer. Remarketing ads only show to people who have visited a specific website while running such a campaign.

The advantage for you, the advertiser, is that it can support your branding strategy. Once people visit your website most will not click on your ad again because they already know you. However, they will see your message multiple times reinforcing your company name and message. If viewers don’t click, it doesn’t cost the advertiser anything. Those that do click on your ads tend to be people who need more information or are ready to buy. This is what gives remarketing ads such a good conversion rate.

When you combine SEO and remarketing you are addressing the three core activities in Market Hacking. Driving traffic, developing awareness and improving conversions. Sounds like a winning combination to me.