It's amazing that in 2017 there are still thousands of small businesses in Ireland (north and south) that don't have a website. Why is that?
20 years ago, if we were looking for a new service provider (e.g. painter, plumber, electrician, florist), we'd take out the trusty yellow/golden pages and let our fingers do the walking. Those days are gone. I know in our house, the new phone book makes the short journey from the gate to the recycling bin.
I don't thing the yellow pages even run the TV adverts any more either. They can't avoid the fact that hardly anyone uses the phone book anymore - yet they still sell advertising space to unsuspecting businesses....
So if we don't use the phone books to find businesses anymore, where do we go to look for them?? No prizes for shouting the right answer - "Google". Not only is google the biggest search engine in the world (over 70% of searches worldwide are carried out on Google) - but the very act of searching online is just known as googling! Remember when vacuums were called Hoovers - even though Hoover was just the brand name?
So being found on Google is the way forward, right? Even my 70 year old father turns to Google if he's looking for something, and he's only had a PC for the past 2-3 years. That should tell you something!
Then the next logical thought should be, how does my business get found on Google? Well the most important part and the absolute starting point is having a website. You have zero chance of ever being found on Google, or any other search engine if you don't have a website.
I've spoken to several business owners who tell me that they have a facebook page, and that will get them found. No it won't. Facebook pages are not indexed in Google or any search engine. Only websites are indexed, and just because your site is indexed, doesn't mean you'll be found easily. I'll write another article soon on what you need to have to be found and link to it here.
That last statement is almost a justification for those who think having a site is a waste of time and money. The fact that just having a site doesn't guarantee that it's found.
Well here's my counter argument. Your add in the golden pages won't be found either when the book goes straight to the bin! Or the beautiful brochures that you had printed, don't get looked at when they're in a box in your office. You have to get you brochure in the hands of the people who are interested in your services (or products).
And the same goes for your website. You have to do some work (or have someone do it for you) to get your website in front of the eyes of the people who need what you offer.
So why don't you have a website? You think it's a waste of money? Definitely not. It's a 24x7 sales person who could easily double your business in the next 12 months - if it's done right.
Don't waste your money on a bad site - or one that has no hope of ever seeing the light of day (like those brochures you've had under your desk). Here's a few things to avoid. The free or £1 websites that you see advertised on TV. What do you really expect to get for a £1?? Sites built on 'Wix' or 'Weebly'. These are two systems that you can use to "churn out" a quick and simple site on a template. It will probably look ok, but it will never be found on Google. These are the type of sites that you can usually buy for between €300 and €600. Just think shiny brochure under the desk again!
What you do want to look for is a site that is built on a content management system. WordPress is excellent - though a little bit complicated to use for someone looking to build their own site. If you had 3-4 weeks of idle time on your hands, and you spend 40 hours a week on it, you could probably end up with a half functional site - if you tried. but why would you? Do you cut your own hair to save money? Or would you do your own dentistry?
If you would like to learn more about what a great, lead generation website should have, drop me a line at [email protected] or fill out the form below and I'll send you a 12-page guide on how to get more business from your website.
Cheers for now Chat soon.
Yesterday morning I was listening to the Sunday Business show on Today FM while out walking my dogs. One of the topics being discusses was Small Business Advertising and the trends for the coming year.
I haven't listened to the radio for 6 months months or more. I spend my "listening time" with podcasts that I can learn from, rather than being distracted by other people's problems and opinions - most of it negative anyway.
Anyway, the show had an advertising expert on to give his opinion on what small business advertising should look like for us owners. He was an ad agency owner or CEO and his take was that small business owners are doing too much digital marketing and not enough newspaper and radio advertising.
That annoyed me more than a little bit - but given it was being played out on radio - there is an obvious adjenda... They were hardly going to bring someone like me on to make the case for going digital/online?? Or should they? Just to give a balanced view!
His argument was that if you want to build a brand name, that you should be placing regular ads in the print media (newspapers and magazines) and making use of radio.
Do you want to build a brand name for your business? If you listened to this guy, you may think that you should. However, building a brand takes deep pockets because to get brand recognition you need to repeat your brand ad over, and over, and over. And if you do that, there's still no guarantee that you'll make any money.
Brand advertising and marketing is fine for big companies with deep pockets. They have huge marketing budgets for brad advertising in the print media, radio and television. They can afford to throw money at it. To keep shareholders happy and engaged, sometimes they have to do it.
It's why many small business owners feel advertising is a waste of money. Brand advertising is not measurable. I don't know many small businesses who run an ad in a newspaper and can honestly say that they made a profit from the ad. Most just feel that they have to do it to keep their competitors out. They think that they'll stay in their customers minds by repeating the ads. There is an element of truth, but it's expensive and more often than not - unprofitable. "It's just a cost of doing business"!
There is a type of advertising that you can do in the "old media" that works. Most people don't know what it is or how to use it. Most newspapers don't know - and those that do - would prefer that you didn't know either.
It's called Direct Response Advertising. It used to be very common in the 60's through to the 80's. It has all but disappeared from view and I'll tell you why in a minute.
Direct response is a form of advertising that calls the reader, listener or viewer to TAKE ACTION NOW! It's immediately measurable which is important for us small business owners, because we can quickly decide if it's profitable or not. You can run one ad and get a response. An example is the 'cut-out' ads that you use to fill in your details and post back, or call a phone number to get a voucher or free booklet, etc.
Modern newspaper and magazines don't like this type of ad. Neither do advertising agencies. They don't want their results to be measurable. They'd prefer the very vague idea of brand recognition.
Online or digital marketing is the modern equivalent of the old cut-out ad. It is Direct Response advertising at it's very best. It's way better than the old print form because you can put up an ad through Google, Facebook and other forms - and get an immediate response - within minutes or hours at worse.
If you have an advert that you run in the local paper (or radio, or magazine, etc) and it works, keep doing it. Any advert that brings in more business than the cost of running the ad should be continued until it stops being profitable.
N.B. A little side not is required at this point. Lets say you run an ad at a cost of €500 per week, and each week you get a customer from that ad to pay you €500 - is this ad profitable?... The right answer is NO. At best, depending on your business it is break-even. If you supply a service and the customer comes to you - then it might be considered almost break-even. If you have to provide materials, put diesel in your van to travel to the customer - then you are at a loss. Keep this up and you go broke and out of business slowly!
If you run an ad at €500 and it brings one customer that results in a gross profit of €500 then it was just about worthy.
The small business advertising that I prefer, is digital marketing (that I can test and adjust immediately to improve response) that I can track directly to a sale. It's direct response advertising in it's very best form. You'll know within hours if you're targeting the right market, if you've got your message right and if your offer is appealing.
Take Google Adwords for example. I can place an ad that targets my customers geographically, use the keywords and phrases that I know my customers are searching for and put my message and offer right in front of them.
It's a simple process - though not just as easy as I've laid out. You need a landing page on your website to send your potential customers to, you need content that describes the problem and your solution. And you need to give the visitor a reason to either call you immediately or fill out a a form on the landing page.
There's also Facebook advertising, YouTube and Instragram, among others. I've written another article on Facebook advertising that you can read by going here.
The principle of online advertising is pretty simple. The mechanics of doing it right are much more difficult. Do it wrong and it gets expensive really fast and you may not end up with any customers to show for it - just like the newspaper and radio ads!
If you'd like to have a chat about how you could get customers through online marketing, or small business advertising in general, drop me an email at [email protected] or click here to fill out the contact form and we'll set up a time for a chat.
Until the next time, cheery bye. Adrian
That's the question that I'm asked most often. And for most businesses, it's the first question that comes to mind when they hear marketing or sales. So what is your best way to get more customers?
The straight answer is to use as many ways as you can. And there are lots of ways. But before you decide on which tactic or method, you should start to think through your strategy first.
Strategy... that sounds serious??
It isn't as scary as it sounds. Creating a strategy simply gets you to define who your target customer is, what message and offer you'd make that would be of interest to them and how you're going to get that message seen by your target customer.
Only when you've decided who you want to attract to your business, can you decide on the message that will best attract them. You want to attract as many of the right customers, but try not to attract the time wasters or 'tyre kickers'.
After that, it's a question of media. Will you use offline newspaper ads, leaflets, word-of-mouth? Or is online better with Google Adwords,Facebook Ads, or organic search (getting your website found in search). These are only a few examples, there's a much bigger list to choose from. But some methods will be better than others for you. You need to think through the "Who" and the "What" before you select the "How's".
Many of us are guilty of hopping around from one marketing method (tactic) to another. Always chasing the lowest cost way or the latest fad. So many times I've been told that "Google Adwords doesn't work" or "I tried Facebook ads and I didn't get anything".... That's because we can all be guilty of "throwing something together" without thinking through the whole process of getting an enquiry. It take more than just trying a few words on an advert and entering your credit card number.
Same applies to newspaper adverts. I'd hazard a guess that 90% of the people placing newspaper adverts don't get a return on them. With good reason. You can't attract a customer by putting your name, logo and a phone number in the paper and expect customers to fall from the sky. You have to give them a reason.
Lots of people who try Adwords fail to get enough business to cover the cost of their ads. They try it because it looks easy (which is kinda true but in Google's favour), they've been told that there is loads of business to be had on the internet (which is very true) but they don't generate much or any business from it.
Here's a few reasons why Adwords are not working for you: Poor or no geographic targeting; poor choice of search keywords; not using negative keywords; pointing your ad at a generic home page on your site; no dedicated landing page; poor copy on the landing page; no data capture; failing to use analytics; not tagging visitors; failing to make use of re-marketing... and there are many more reasons but these are the main.
There's no way that the average or even better than average business owner can do all of the above. Those that do, get all the best enquiries and leads. And with a good follow-up process, you'd suck up more business than you could manage.
So back to the original question.. what's the best way to get new customers? In my opinion, and I've tested this thoroughly over the past 15 plus years, the best way to get new customers is using online marketing. That goes for just about any business too. There are a few exceptions, but not many.
If you'd like more information or just to have a chat about what is the best way to get new customers for your business, you can email me directly at [email protected] or click here to fill out the contact form and book a free consultation to talk about your business
When you were at school, did you play basketball? I did. Wasn't very good at it, but I tried. I really liked playing, but would never get picked for the competition teams.
I was just average height and average ability. There were 15 or 16 really tall lads in my year, and as sods law would have it, most were very good basketball players too. There was no hope for a short-ass like me.
These tall guys had a big advantage over me. One I didn't like. An unfair advantage as I thought. There wasn't much I could d about it - just suck it up.
You know how you hate it when someone has something better to offer your potential customers. Very often that something is a lower price.
Or equally, that something may be a better product, thought we tend not to notice these as much, but they are there as much as we don't like to admit it.
When price is the problem, the temptation is to reduce our price to compete.
And that is a very dangerous game to play!
You see, there can only ever be one lowest price. If you decide to play the lowest price game, you and your business end up in a death spiral.
You lower your price, then one of your competitors lower theirs, and on and on.
I have watched this happen so many times. If you decide to compete on low price - there is always someone willing to go out of business faster. and they drag all the other players down with them.
Many people feel they have no alternative but to chase business on low price, but there are lots of alternatives. Service, quality and product range being the key ones that you might think off.
But there are many more. The big one for me is Marketing. I always like to play my games on marketing. I'll use better marketing and more of it than any of my competitors know about. That way, I'll always get more customers, and generally better customers.
Think of it as being like fishing. Most businesses fish only with one line. The bait that they put on the hook is not usually very good either. Now imagine you are fishing with 5 or 6 lines, and your using a really tasty bait. That's what good marketing does for your business. The more lines you cast and the better the bait, the more you'll catch.
Marketing is an unfair advantage in business
It's very often overlooked as an expensive luxury in most small businesses. And that's probably because it's misunderstood. Most people confuse marketing with advertising.
Marketing done right includes a strategy. Sounds too fancy for your business?? Wrong!
A marketing strategy states clearly who your customer is, the products or services that they look for, what they're prepared to spend and how your gonna get in front of them. Lots more too, but that's enough to get started.
Having a defined marketing strategy makes getting customers easier - because you're clear on what type of customer you want to work with., what you will offer them and at what price.
If you'd like to find out more about how a marketing strategy and what tools and tactics could bring you more enquiries and customers, click here to fill out the contact form and get in touch.
Every business needs a regular flow of new enquiries to keep the wheels turning. Facebook lead generation is one way of generating those enquiries, but is it gonna work for you?
Let's start by making sure everyone understands what Lead Generation is... It's simply attracting people toward your business (in this case online) who have some level of interest in your product or service.
It's important to note that in Lead Generation, you are not trying to sell them anything. You only want them to "raise their hand" and show interest.
Lead generation can be done by offering something that is of interest - like helpful information, a free guide, a checklist, a free trial or sample, a free consultation, etc.
This lead generation is intended to provide something that is of interest, in exchange for their contact details - such as name and number or email. Once you have gotten their attention, and some level of interest - and collected their contact details - you should now follow up.
In days gone by, when businesses advertised in the newspapers, most would place what's known as "brand" adverts. Basically their name, logo, description of their product, how long they've been in business, and their contact details.
The really sharp advertisers used a method of advertising which attracts a response. They'd use smaller, cheaper, lead generation adverts to get the attention of those most interested. Then they'd follow up with the people who provided their contact details.
You might think that there's no real difference here? They are both advertising - right?
Well the lead generation adverts only cost a fraction of the cost to run. Which means they can afford to run the ads in several different papers, and run them continuously. Aaaand... the follow up could be a 12 page booklet or a 200 page book, video tape, audio cassette - whichever they chose to do. The guys running the brand adverts were hoping that their logos would do the trick.
Here's another big advantage to lead generation. It gives you to opportunity to follow up. And you can follow up again and again, giving you a much higher chance of making the sale.
I hope by now, you see the difference between the lead generation advertising and the brand adverts?
So what has this to do with Facebook? Well Facebook advertising can be run with the same principles as the old lead generation adverts. You can attract attention from people who may be interested in what you offer, and it creates the opportunities for you to follow up.
That's a short and sweet description of how lead generation advertisng could help your business. In practice, it ain't just that straight-forward. There's a lot of levers to pull and buttons to push in the background to make it work.
Ideally you would have the facebook advertising integrated with your website and with a CRM system (customer relationship management).
That might sound a bit complicated and scary to you? Okay - so it is a little complex to set up and get working together right - but once it's working - it works away in the background all alone. It's like a 24 hour, 7 day-a-week sales person.
For all that this system may take some thinking, planning and work to implement, it will make your life in business much simpler, and save you a lot of time and effort.
If you're interested in finding out if and how something like this could work in your business, please feel free to go to the home page and fill out the form for a free consultation and chat.
Please note that this system will not work for every business. It will for work for most, but some are more difficult than others and may not be suitable.
What's the main reason businesses fail?
You've heard that two out of five new businesses started will fail within the first 3 years? And apparently 4 of every 5 don't make it to the 10 year mark...
Those numbers are hardly encouraging for anyone thinking of starting a business.
Do you know what's the main reason businesses fail - specifically small business?
Not running out of cash - that's just a symptom.
The biggest cause of failure is not getting enough customers.
And the reason they don't get enough customers is because they don't get get enough enquiries.
And the reason there isn't enough enquiries is because they don't do marketing - either not enough, not at all, or just do it badly!
But that's not their fault... Nope.
Everyone starting a new business is told a load of tales about having a great product, and doing good work, having a low price (being competitive), borrowing enough money, etc.
No-one telly you how important it is to know how to do marketing or sales.
Both are really important for the survival and growth of any business.
Marketing is everything that you do to make the phone ring with new enquiries. Selling is what you do when you get those enquiries on the phone.
Most small businesses don't have a process or a system for either marketing or selling - they just wing it and hop for the best.
Would you like to find out how to put a reliable and repeatable marketing and sales system into your business?
Grab a free 20 minute consultation with me by going to our site and filling out the form
Hop over there now to www.Leading-Results.com and book your slot.
Lots of business owners don't like the idea of online advertising - for various reasons...
The first reason being is that many people don't understand how advertising on the internet works.
Yes - you probably know a bit about searching for a product or service on Google. But most don't know the difference is organic search, paid search and display adverts.
Fewer people know about FaceBook advertising - or how it works. It's a different animal from Google altogether. You can think of Facebook advertising as kinda like newspaper advertising of old...
Think for a minute about newspaper advertising. If you're a business owner, you'd have put your ad in the local paper, maybe in the local services or classified's section.
You would hope that enough people would see your advert and that someone seeing the ad, would need your service and call you.
Note that most people didn't go looking for the newspaper to find your ad. the were reading the paper and happened across your ad.
FaceBook advertising is the same. People don't go to FaceBook looking to buy a product or service. If your ad is placed in their news-feed, at a time when they are thinking about "that service", then there is a very high likelihood that they will click on your ad and engage with you.
this might seem pretty simple, but i't a bit more complicated than that. See, with Facebook ads, we can put your advert in front of people who are likely (according to their online actions, conversations and behaviours) to want your services or product.
You could think of it like placing an ad for your gym in a fitness magazine, that's being given out for free to people who are attending a health and fitness seminar. That's how good the targeting can be...
However, there is a catch. You've got to be able to place the right ad, in the right magazine, at the right seminar... that's not just so easy!
But luckily for you - that's what we're good at!
Click Here for the Contact us link and get in touch now.
Can you get customers from Facebook?
Indeed you can, and here are a 3 ways of doing it.
The old way - and least effective way is to set up a page for your business. You've seen this lots of times. It's really popular with beauticians and hairdressers. The post a few pictures of their latest client. Tag the client in the post and the clients friends and family will "Like" and share the post because of the person that has been tagged.
This works well for hairdressers and beauticians, because they generally have the same clients coming back to them again and again. They might pick up a new customer because the post has been seen.
This is the least effective means, for a couple of reasons.
Here's the main reason.
When you post anything organically, it's only seen by about 10% of your friends in their Facebook newsfeed.
Why only 10% - because Facebook is a business and they don't want to give away free advertising. The visibility is much lower when it's a post on a business page. FB wants you to pay to advertise - after all they need to make money from this!
The second way - slightly more effective.
When you create a post on a business page - you'll be offered the ability to "Boost this Post". This means that by paying, you can extend the reach of your post - more people will see it.
You can select the location of the people that you want to see the post.
It's better than organic posts, but only just. You can't see who is seeing your posts, the demographic data or any helpful information that will guide you to improve.
On the plus side - it's easy to use. On the minus side - it's easy to use - and loose money on fast. I'd say it's on a par with Adwords - dangerously easy. You can spend a lot of money on ir really fast and get no results if you're not sure where you're going...
The third and best way is Paid FaceBook advertising.
So what is this?
If you've noticed the posts in your facebook newsfeed - that have the word "Sponsored" in the top left corner - they are the paid ads.
Why are they so good?
We can place those adverts in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in them.
I'll try to explain this better....
Imagine for a minute that you own a gym.
the old way of advertising a gym was to place an advert in the local newspaper and hope that enough local people, who are interested in fitness will see the advert and respond.
With FaceBook ads, we can place the ad for the gym, in front of local people, who have shown an interest in fitness and health, and we make it easy for them to respond to the ad right away.
The really big benefit is that we can place the ads ONLY infront of people who may be interested - and we only pay for it when someone clicks on our ad. That's why it is known as pay-per-click advertising.
Is January going to be a quiet month for your business?
It doesn't have to be.
Retail will have a busy month - helped along by the January sales. But the retailers do well on the full price items too in January - not only the sale discounted items.
Car sales will be pretty good and many car buyers will want the '17 registrations.
Lots of property sales will be done. People change jobs, and don't forget the gyms.
The gyms make a killing in January...
The reason I mention this is because I've spoken to a lot of people over the last few weeks that expect January to be a quiet, hungry month - when in reality, it's really busy many.
For those that expect doom and gloom at the start of the year - it probably will be a self-fulling prophecy. Their heads are down. They cut back on promotion and marketing their businesses. Staff moral tends to be low in January and the employer does little to correct this.January is a fantastic opportunity to help your business shine - and few take advantage of it.
They just don't know how.
It seems easier to wallow i self pity, than it is t do something about it.
What are you planning for your business?
A few weeks ago, I was giving a talk to a business group and against better judgement, got into a bit of an arguement. Basically, someone had asked what the best way to generate online leads for estate agents is, my response was to:
1) Create a free piece of content a lead magnet) like a webinar or eBook helping buyers/sellers solve a problem
2) Create a landing page for people opt in to an email list
3) Drive traffic to the page using Adwords or Facebook
4) Send emails and include a section in your lead magnet selling a free strategy session with you
5) Retarget people who haven’t contacted you yet
6) Have a coffee and quit cold-calling for a while because you’ve found a new lead gen method
What is PPC?
If you’re not familiar with the term, PPC, it stands for pay-per-click, a powerful advertising method used by Google and Facebook.
You set up a specifically targeted ad, and pay a fee when users click on it. The amount you pay per click depends on a number of factors, including your relevance to the target market and the competitiveness of the kind of ads you’re running.
I was suggesting that using a combination of PPC, email marketing and content marketing was the best way that I know of to get leads coming in.This was met with some ire from a defensive guest who thought I was trying to sell something.
There’s two sides to every story, I guess, so I won’t pretend to be the hero here. He might tell you a different story.
His response? What I was saying has been said 100 times, and that he was “generating PPC leads a decade ago when it actually worked.
”So the question is, does PPC work anymore? Yes, but only if you know what you’re doing.Ten years ago, the landscape of the internet was very different. Facebook was just gaining steam, and Google was a dominant force, but not the world-domination level company it is today.
As a result, both were a little more desperate for advertising money. Advertising was a lot less competitive, since the average businessperson hadn’t caught up to the technology and targeting options that Google and Facebook were offering.
If you were putting up ads on Google Adwords, you were paying ridiculously low prices for a high number of clicks, since it was way less competitive back then. You didn’t even have to be a particularly savvy marketer. Any old ad and website would do.
Cut to 10 years later, when Google and Facebook have grown exponentially. They are way less reliant on any old advertising dollars. They only want the best to win.
As a result, advertising has gotten a lot more expensive and competitive, since many business owners have at least dipped their feet into PPC marketing. The room for error and sloppy marketing is gone.
So when this defensive guest called me out, saying it didn’t work anymore, my mind automatically assumes that because he’s an estate agent, then he’s probably a really good estate agent and not an expert online marketer.
That’s just the reality of online marketing today. Unless you take the time to really study it and take it seriously, you’re never going to get the result you want. You have to commit completely and be willing to take some risks to get the massive rewards waiting online.
The pile of cash sitting on Facebook is still there, but it’s a lot harder to pick up.
If you want to discuss a marketing strategy that can get online leads coming to you within a month, feel free to contact me to chat about getting started.
We’ll discuss a plan for creating a lead generation system that gets buyer or seller leads coming to you automatically and consistently. Click here to schedule a time to talk with me.
I’m not going to be a pushy salesman about it. It doesn't suit everyone and I'd much rather work with someone who can get customers and make money, than someone who can't. Let’s just see if we’re a good fit.
Click on the link above and it will take you to my calendar, where you can book a time that suits you.
Pay per click advertising is an alternative method of online marketing to SEO.