April 8, 2020

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You know small businesses are suffering,

You know small businesses are suffering,

But how can You help? 

It’s no secret that COVID 19 is hurting many businesses here in New Zealand and all round the world.  Stuck at home in Alert Level 4 you may be wondering how you can do your bit.

Well, here are 8 ways that you and your smartphone can support your favourite local businesses from the comfort and safety of your couch. And they don’t have to cost you a cent! 

Get active on Social Media.

Hit up their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and spread the engagement love. Many small businesses are doing their very best to get attention and will be posting regularly. If you are their customer then chances are that you are part of their target audiences and so are a lot of your friends. Your likes, comments and shares on their social media posts will help increase their brand awareness across your social network. Helping with the organic reach of pages will also help their promoted posts go further.

Get active on LinkedIn.

Again engaging with posts is very helpful but go a step or two further if you can. If you know individual business owners and contractors connect with their personal LinkedIn accounts and give them some endorsements to help boost their profile. Invite them to relevant LinkedIn groups you are active in. If you can use your professional network to help people make some connections, please do so. This is particularly helpful for the contractors, sole traders or employees of small and medium business who are on shaky ground in terms of job security.

Write reviews.

Smother your favourite businesses with review love. Facebook, Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, there are loads of review options out there – just get typing! Customer testimonials are marketing gold for a small business (or any business for that matter) and they cost you nothing but a few minutes of time.

Give them content they can use.

Videos and photos of people enjoying their products is another form of marketing gold for small business. If you are comfortable letting them share your images/video this can be such a valuable tool. This works well for trades to especially if you happen to have before and after photos of the work they did for you.

Show Up.

Many trainers, performers and fitness instructors are doing online performances, classes, webinars or live Q & A sessions. Make sure you show up and get involved. Let them feel heard, make comments, add to the buzz around their live events. For many, trying to move their business online is pushing them way outside their comfort zone. They will be very grateful for the support that your presence offers them.

Buy Vouchers.

I know, I know I said this wouldn’t cost you a cent – let’s rephrase that to it won’t cost you a cent that you wouldn’t have spent anyway.

If you know anything about business finance you will know that bricks and mortar businesses are taking the biggest hit right now. Yes there is the government wage subsidy but many have massive overheads they are trying to cover with very little money coming through. Many are also doing their best to support their employees through this difficult time. Buying vouchers will give them some much needed cashflow and hopefully help prevent further job losses.

Got someone you love celebrating their birthday during lockdown? Buy them a voucher to use at their favourite local business once the lockdown is lifted. As a bonus you will be able to send the voucher to them on the actual day of their birthday without breaching any lockdown measures. Beats a pair of socks from the supermarket any day!

Planning a meal out to celebrate the lockdown being over? Buy a voucher for the restaurant now.

If the business doesn’t have their own obvious eCommerce platform set up for vouchers send them a message – I’m sure they will figure something out. There are a few sites like SOS Cafe popping up to help with this.

Order now – receive later.

Missing your favourite retailer and craving some non-essential stuff? If they are set up for it, shop in your favourite online stores now. Sure it won’t be sent till after lockdown, but you have the joy of knowing it will arrive eventually so fill that shopping cart!

Book Appointments.

Make sure your favourite service providers have work to come back to. Book in your haircuts/ spa treatments/ home improvements now.  Being able to forecast future work will allow these small businesses to get the right business strategy in place to carry them through the remainder of what will be a difficult year. Do keep in mind you may have to reschedule if the alert levels stay high.

Now I’m not saying that throwing out a few likes and shares is going to take the pressure off a struggling business, I’m not suggesting it is going to result in massive growth, but I promise you it will make a difference. If even a few of us care enough to make an effort to offer some not-so-random acts of kindness then we might just be able to give our favourite businesses a fighting chance.

Published by Kiri Mayers


April 8, 2020

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2 Experts give advice on COVID-19

2 Experts give advice on COVID-19

Your company’s marketing during the crisis

“Be kind to one another, think not only of yourself but of those around you.”

This message has been ringing loud and clear from all sources, most notably from our Prime Minister. In these uncertain times, consistent messages are comforting, giving us set of expectations which enable us to rally and support one another.

So, as business owners, how can we provide the same level of support to our customers who likely share the same sorts of anxieties we’re experiencing?

Lessons learned from marketing during the Global Financial Crisis

Research by the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) UK after the GFC showed that businesses who continued to market during challenging economic times were able to pick up more quickly than those that chose to hibernate. The main findings were as follows:

  • Cutting budget in a downturn will only help maintain profits in the short term.
  • Ultimately the brand will emerge from the downturn weaker and much less profitable.
  • It is better to maintain SOV (share of voice) at or above SOM (share of market) during a downturn: the longer-term improvement in profitability is likely to greatly outweigh the short-term reduction.
  • If other brands are cutting budgets the longer-term benefit of maintaining SOV at or above SOM will be even greater.*

With the effect of Covid-19, a large number of businesses have been wondering what the best strategy would be right now and how to allocate their scarce resources wisely. Right now is NOT the time to slow your marketing efforts. Now is the time to tweak your marketing plans to gain more value and get out of the crisis and become even stronger. Here are a few things you should be doing to manage your company’s marketing during the crisis:

Keep marketing but adapt your tone

Continue marketing but adapt your messaging and your expectations to suit the times. Now more than anything, being “helpful” will be one of the best ways your business can support customers and build prospective customer lists for later, when customers are ready and able to move to the next stage in their relationship with you. Content creation that is empathetic and helpful is far more important than customer acquisition campaigns.
The last thing you want is to sound heartless, snobbish and money-driven. Do not use heavy sales techniques in order not to be criticised by your audience. Act with empathy, sincerity and spread some positive thinking.

Adapt the marketing channels you use to fit the current situation

With many of us in lockdown locally and overseas, we are searching for reliable information that will help us deal with a new Covid 19 environment. People are watching more videos, podcasts, taking up online educational courses to up-skill and reading content that directly answers their questions. Face to face has been replaced by facetime and live video streams for anything from professional services to exercise classes. Think about what you need to change to still be accessible to customers.

Use the right visuals

Think of all those people in isolation right now, and please do not use images of crowded places, people partying or at large gatherings. It just looks odd. We all know that our life will get back to normal, so inspire your audience instead. Mirroring the reality is great, and I love unique content, but do it in a bright and light way.

Expand your audience

Think of your audience as being connected right now even more than ever. They gather information every minute. You, as a business, can benefit greatly by a huge number of people being available online much more than ever. With the right communication techniques, you have the potential to grow your audience and gain not only followers but brand advocates.

Make sure you can be found

Now, more than ever it’s important for your business to be found through Google Search. Make sure your website is optimised. An SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Audit can identify where there are gaps and how you can rectify them yourself or by using a specialist. Use the time to update your content, load up the projects and case studies which reinforce the value you provide and update your keyword search terms into your page headings, content and meta descriptions. If you provide products or services to companies categorised as an essential service, make sure your content and meta descriptions are optimised so that they can find you, ensure your listings are up to date in online directories and that you link to reference websites they may be using to drive inbound traffic to your website.

Ask your customers what would help them right now?

Doing some informal research with your key customers will help you to keep connected with them and learn how best you can provide value and assistance. By making some subtle changes like making it easier to do business with you, or providing better training or customer support, you can demonstrate your willingness to adapt and serve your customers when they need it most.

Create value through online platforms

If you ever contemplated whether it was worth your business to go online, now is the time to put that in action. Provide valuable advice to your audience, create programs, launch apps, i.e. add more value! We see numerous examples of businesses creating value through providing exercise programs, distance learning, online courses and others.

Offer value

Look at your offer as it stands today. Is there anything you can add in that would help your customers right now? Can you offer existing customers a free month’s extension on a contract or service you provide to keep them on board? Can you produce content that provides tips on how to get the most out of your product or service? If you provide a professional service, run online seminars about topics that are important to them and their businesses. Sharing your expertise through a seminar can be a great way to provide value, build customer loyalty and grow your list of prospective customers.

Get creative

Help communities, provide free advice and service, offer free delivery. Help those who are in need the most. A large chain pizza company offered free pizzas to the elderly population. How can you help the locals? Donations for goodie bags for health care workers are being created daily. No, you don’t have to be physically present somewhere right now but you can still help with a huge benefit for your business.

With COVID-19 marching around the planet, in the next few weeks, we are all going to be called to sacrifice something and it won’t be easy. However, you can make it easier for your business and your team to come out on this even stronger. Soon it will all be over, so let’s use the chance to learn and grow, here and now.

Even in unsettling times, small changes can make a difference. Keep calm and connected.

Published by Maria Albert & Maria Holic

* Source: Advertising in a Downturn- A report of Key Findings from an IPA Seminar.


March 11, 2020

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6 Steps to prepare your marketing for the Coronavirus

6 Steps to prepare your marketing for the Coronavirus

 

Over the last few weeks, our clients have been asking us for help to avoid a downturn in their business due to coronavirus. During any crisis its important to have a communications plan to explain to customers how your business will trade through the crisis, and give existing customers reassurance that you are managing any risks that might affect them. For small businesses in New Zealand, this can be hard to navigate, but there are steps you can take with your marketing campaigns that will ensure you emerge from the crisis stronger.

What could you do?

1) Develop a clear Campaign Message

Proactively contact your existing customers and explain to them how you might make changes to keep them safe. This can include protocols around the retail space or switching from face to face meetings to video conferencing. Make it clear that you have a plan for the business to continue through the crisis including how you will manage any servicing that would normally take place face to face or how you will manage stock of products that would normally be coming out of China or other affected countries. If you anticipate a shipping delay, be clear about your response to this and see if you can divert customers to another product line whilst you try to source products locally.

2) Focus on Digital Marketing

Improve your online marketing to ensure customers can still trade with you. If you have a retail store, consider improving your ease of use of your website, run an email marketing campaign to let customers know they can shop online, and consider including shipping costs to limit barriers to trading with you. Now is a great time to ensure your key words are adjusted for search engines so that you also pick up traffic that is looking for ways to purchase from you or your customers. Hand Sanitiser received 10,000 searches per day last week – and was the most searched for product on Google. Make sure Google knows where you are!

3) Use Social Media to your advantage

Be active on Social Media Marketing so that you remain top of mind for your customers, let them know you are still trading and remind them how to engage with you. People aged 35-55 years are still avid users of Facebook and Twitter, and are busy using these tools to keep up to date on covid-19 cases, so this is your opportunity to turn those eyeballs to your messages.

4) Innovate your offer

Necessity is the mother of invention. Now is the time to consider how you can change your products or services to respond to people’s need to stay inside. If you are a restaurant can you create an UberEats offer for your customers? If you are a beauty salon, perhaps you can offer automated subscriptions to your product ranges that are sent every month. If you are in travel, can you offer local trips or tours to customers not wanting to fly overseas? Can you help people to buy your goods or services by creating an online self-select tool that makes it easy for customers to say yes? Your loyal customer base may be willing to spend money with you on an alternative product or service so now is also the time to consider what business you are truly in, and whether there are any adjacent products or services that your customers could benefit from that they would be happy to buy from you. For example, if you are selling vehicles, could you offer a service to search for customers requirements from the comfort of their homes, instead of getting them out to look at your stock? Or can you move your business into finance or insurance from your customer base?

5) Consider your Sales Promotions

In the event of a short-lived dip in sales, a specific and targeted offer can be appropriate to ensure your business survives the mortality rate. Without resorting to price discounting, there are many other levers you can use to drive increased sales through offering product or service bundles, or rewarding customers who are demonstrating loyal behaviour. Make sure your marketing goals are clear around what you hope to happen with your promotion, and once the crisis is over, the campaign should be too. Reliance on offers and discounts is a sign that your marketing strategy may need a review.

6) Laying off staff

Before you consider laying off your staff due to a downturn, now is a great time to engage staff with other proactive tasks that will help you to grow, including contacting customers for market research, or training them in other skills such as creating content. There are lots of great training courses online that staff can do at home around content marketing whilst they are self isolating, or looking after family members in the event that school closures occur further down track.

Ultimately, it’s about having a marketing plan that is set to guide you through the crisis. We are offering FREE 30min video meetings with our marketing experts to help you create a marketing communications strategy that will ensure your business not only survives the Coronavirus crisis, but is able to thrive through it. To book, call 09 4761921 or start our FREE online Healthcheck now.

With the media focused firmly on public health, our focus is on ensuring your marketing efforts remain strong and healthy during the Coronavirus pandemic.

March 7, 2019

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Marketing your Assets

March 7, 2019

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International Womens Day at Max

Why is International Women’s Day significant for me?

By Louise Maxwell, Director Max Marketing

I don’t often write about my personal life for business, in fact mostly I work super hard to keep them as separate as possible, but National Women’s Day is something that is significant for me as a businesswoman and as a mother, and as a feminist.   I can almost FEEL people shudder at that last word, and not just men – I’ve come across so many females who don’t understand the term and shun it rather than taking time to understand what it means or why we should all become feminists too.

International Women’s day is about shining a light on gender equality and trying to work out how we strive as leaders and business owner to create equality in our workplaces and our lives.  It’s about taking time to check in with our daughters and our sons to make sure that the world they grow up in recognises them as equal in terms of potential, value and opportunity.  Even in my household I have to pull up my husband from time to time with his ‘stop whining like a girl’ comments to my son, or to my kids grandparents for the gender-bias of dolls and dresses for my daughter’s gifts and science kits and space exploration books for my son.  This year International Women’s Day wants to raise awareness around #balanceforbetter. Why is it so important?

Gender bias is real and makes it hard for everyone

I employed a man last year to do my telemarketing for my business as he was the right person with the right skills for the role.  Prior to that I had three different women doing the role.  They all had vast experience and were good at their jobs.  But Craig’s hit rate was around 3x’s higher than theirs.  Was he simply better at the job than them?  He was using the same list, the same pitch, the same offers.  He was even less tenacious that some of my ladies.  Yet his engagement rate was far higher.  On closer inspection and talking to some of our prospects as to why they had taken the meeting I was told that ‘The man calling sounded very professional’.  Similarly, my husband stepped into help out my business doing BDM work last year and listening to his calls and seeing how people responded to him within my business, even assuming that his position was higher than my own, was remarkable.  It was just EASIER for him.  People like speaking to a man.   When we met people together, customers assumed Jamie was the superior officer in the business and the key decision maker.  And it wasn’t that they didn’t see value in what I said or how I spoke, it was simply the assumption that the man was in charge – and knew more and could do it better.

Is this happening in your workplace?  What can you do to change perception or to help women be viewed equally both internally and externally?

You’re only as good as your last emotional outburst

If a man shouts in the workplace he is called strong, perhaps even a bully.  But if a women shouts in the workplace she is called unstable, or emotional.  Women are assumed to be driven by their monthly hormonal cycle and incapable of working without thinking about fluffy kittens or babies.   We respect women leaders who exhibit male qualities in the work place and we tend to dismiss qualities such as nurturing, multi-tasking, creativity as being less desirable.   Employers often give pause to employing women who are pregnant, who are recently married (ie likely to become pregnant) or women who are recently divorced.  Why?  Because according to popular belief, women are unable to compartmentalise their lives and deliver focus and value to a role as well as men.

Is gender discrimination language prevalent in your workplace?  Is there a culture of divisiveness that could be impacting healthy workplace culture?  When did you last check your team or employees for feeling empowered to be themselves at work?

Women are amazingly resilient leaders you need in your business.

Have you heard the term ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person?’  Most of the women I know in business take on more than one role.  They are typically the primary care giver for children, the household planner (and often meal maker and chief bottle washer).  With military precision, women cajole children through a morning routine, clean the kitchen and prepare a million lunches to then reach work on time and then complete the tasks of a male counterpart, working through lunch to and finishing exactly on time before tearing from the office to resume home-based duties of care that will often go on to 9pm or 10pm at night. Without exception I have found mothers to  be the most productive people in my office teams, as they are used to completing tasks without the luxury of staying late, they are focused and they deliver on time and in full.   Their training in negotiating, conflict resolution and sales at home results in exceptional skills they can draw on in the workplace too.   Do you have a good understanding of the skills of your female employees in your business?  Are you utilising or developing skills and experience your female employees have that could help drive your business performance effectively?

 

We are missing out on incredible talents if we don’t start with a level playing field and ASSUME women are equally competent to a man with the same skills and experience.  Part of my reason for developing Max Marketing was to provide women and men with the opportunity to find more balance in their lives – to be productive and to maximise their income with the flexibility to do this around their personal needs.  My team all work from home – set their own targets and are supported in reaching them.  I find this approach creates a strong, loyal staff base who make the effort to go the extra mile and are happy to promote my business as being a good place to work.

 

So this women’s day, I challenge you to pause and consider your own gender bias and how you can make your business or workplace better balanced for all employees.

For an amusing take on the day to day life of women in business, check out this page ‘Man who has it all’ our Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/MANWHOHASITALL/

August 30, 2018

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Do a regular Asset Audit using fresh eyes

So what has this got to do with Marketing? This is why you have an Accountant, right? Not quite, here we are looking at those assets that do not necessarily appear on your balance sheet. Those items that are hidden assets, the seemingly peripheral items that create real value for your clients and make them return again and again.

Physical Assets

Sometimes it can be a physical asset, in Wellington, for example, providing free customer parking in and around the CBD can be a huge plus, depending on the nature of your business. In fact, it might be the tool you can use to poach customers from outside of your traditional geographic catchment area. In the retail sphere, the old saw “location, location, location” springs to mind. Unless you have a highly differentiated product offering, that by virtue of its exclusivity people will happily travel to buy, stick to the traditional high traffic areas and use attractive and tidy POS material and window displays to draw people into the store. As a rule of thumb the clearance sale signage should be rotated before it fades in the sun.

Hidden Assets

Be aware though, that these hidden (and not so hidden) assets, can be a double-edged sword, you might consider your expensively wrapped delivery van to be a major marketing asset as it moves around the city making deliveries and creating awareness. This is only true if your driver is courteous and obeys the rules of the road. Your social media presence is your channel to Web 2.0, but it has to be monitored by a person with some Marketing or PR training to ensure that any negative feedback is dealt with, quickly and professionally.

Your People Are Your Best Asset

Sometimes the asset is a person. Receptionists who have a pleasant phone manner, combined with some product knowledge can have a tremendous impact on inbound sales, call retention and eventual conversion. They ensure that the query goes to the right person, alternatively that the right person returns the call with the correct information if they are busy during the initial call cycle. This has an immediate impact on the level of perceived professionalism your organisation projects. Being on time for meetings and informing people that you will be late for whatever reason also falls in this category.

Have good systems in place

Investing in back-end systems that integrate your web presence with your billing and ordering systems, avoids the need for double-handling. Additionally, creating digital sales channels based on (for example) Shopify, that target a more price sensitive segment of the market, will protect you from discount competitors. Competing with yourself is sometimes the best way to dominate a market.

A Marketing Expert can help you identify and leverage your Assets

Finally, why fresh eyes? Because you have been so close to the way you do things that bringing in a different perspective via a consultant can help to identify these hidden assets and more importantly, how they can be leveraged, for increased revenue.

Juan De Lange is a Wellington based Marketing Strategist

Contact Juan today on DDI 04 595 1254 or M 027 366 3821 

 

 

 

January 14, 2016

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Designing your Marketing

Designing to grow

Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses.  However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.

How can Design help my business?

When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience.  The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it.  The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.

When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.

Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.

Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.

Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval.  Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.

Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot.  The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.

Which company has applied Design thinking processes?  Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.

To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.

January 14, 2016

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Designing your Marketing Strategy

Designing to grow

Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses.  However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.

How can Design help my business?

When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience.  The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it.  The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.

When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.

Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.

Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.

Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval.  Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.

Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot.  The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.

Which company has applied Design thinking processes?  Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.

To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.

 

January 14, 2016

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A Starters Guide to Content Marketing By Nicola Heath

Content, it's at the centre of your inbound marketing

How does content help your marketing?

Content is at the heart of the marketing strategy of many businesses and small businesses should be no different. Businesses use content marketing to generate awareness for their brand and demonstrate expertise in their industry. Well produced content can makes a vital connection between your brand and your target audience, whether this be existing customers or prospects. Determining the right messaging for the right people, and delivering this in the right medium at the right time, is the fundamental key to successful content marketing.

The goal is to offer tips, help and education that will be insightful and beneficial to your audience and draw them towards your business. In order to do so, your content needs to be meaningful, relevant and deliver real benefits to your recipients. Once you’ve determined the right messaging, you’ll need to consider where best to publish your content. The online environment offers many opportunities for the publication of content from your own social media channels to third party websites, so most marketers choose just a few channels to focus on.

When choosing where to put your focus, it’s critical to pick the channels that’ll offer the most value or the best access to potential customers. In other words, the goal should be to be ‘fish where the fish are’ that is, go where your prospects go. Your information can be shared in many forms including blog posts, web articles, white papers, infographics, webinars, videos or social posts. Repurposing content to enable publication in different formats and different mediums is crucial to delivering an improved return on investment as you’ll reach a wider audience with reduced additional cost.

How do you start?

First, start by revisiting your business goals, who you are targeting, what value you will offer the customer and what value you’ll deliver back to the business. Then consider what information you can provide that will truly be of benefit your customer.

To do this, you need to build a real understanding of the needs of your target audience to appreciate where and how you can help them. Start by talking to your frontline staff, reviewing email and phone queries and speaking directly with your customers. Identify some common demographics and common needs and focus your content accordingly.

Some options for content could include educating your clients, offering advice on best practice in your industry, warning them of common pitfalls, sharing valuable tips for achieving success, answering their questions, opening their eyes to new trends and innovations or sharing relevant case studies of other customers’ success.   Creating and distributing relevant, valuable and compelling information will help you to reach prospects, turn prospects into buyers and buyers into long-term supporters.

 

October 6, 2015

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Will your website cut through the clutter?

How will you make your website stand out in 2018?

If you have ever looked up how many websites are currently online, you might find Internet Stats Live’s counter which records new sites at around 3per second, hovering around the 1 Billion mark since September last year. With 4.6Billion indexed pages, it’s little wonder that Google has to keep improving its algorithms to ensure that you can find the absolute most relevant and most up to date source of information for your needs.  With approximately 3Billion people with access to the internet, that’s around 1 website for every 3 people.

Webstats

 

In marketing we talk a great deal about Relevancy – right message, right audience, right time. In the days of traditional media it was easy to control the clutter because there were a finite number of tv and radio channels – and if you wanted to get more people to pay attention to you, you simply bought media during prime time viewing or listening and you had a captive audience. Even so, your message needed to be crafted to ensure that it stuck in the minds of the viewer, or else they could simply switch off and make a cup of tea.

But our challenge with new age technology is much much harder.  At a recent Google conference we were told that

the average consumer looks at their phone 250 times per day.

250 times.

It means that the traditional means we marketers had to capture your attention has been reduced from 3 seconds to less than one.

So how do you cut through the clutter and grab attention for your site?  If you are planning a re-vamp or to finally get your business up on line in 2018, here are some things you need to know about trends that will save you from the clutter:

1) Trend from cookie cutter sites

You can get a site built almost for free – in NZ, if you are a Spark customer, they can build you a website as part of your internet package.  Alternatively there is a proliferation of D-I-Y web builder platforms where you can create your own site from a template in an evening over a glass of wine and some nibbles.  Yet one thing that will count against you here is that all these sites will start to overcrowd the market, and it will be those who break from the mould, do something different and create something engaging that will capture those eyeballs.

2) Every page is a homepage

If google is indexing pages based on key word search and relevancy, then you have to imagine that someone could come into and go out of your site from any page – maybe never seeing your beautifully crafted introduction on your homepage. Make sure every page can stand alone if it has to, and that it tells the users exactly what you want them to do – very quickly.

3) Layouts like journalism

Newspapers were the internet of yesterday. They had to grab your attention with strongly, well-written headlines and pull your attention through copy line by line, paragraph by paragraph, always assuming that you would eventually be distracted by something else – their trick? Distract you with something else on their page – an idea, concept or offer that was placed specifically due to its relevancy to the article you were reading.  Newspapers relied on eyes travelling from headline to headline, not left to right, top to bottom like a book. your site needs to do the same – plot and plan where you want to take the reader and lead them there.

4) Short, regular, timely updates

The world wide web is growing faster than many nations, if you stay still, you are simply going backwards at an alarming rate.  Since the new MaxMarketing website went live in May 2013, there have been 295 million additional sites join the web. You need to ensure that you are keeping yours fresh and up to date and giving people, and Google, new news to rate and rank.  It is a vicious circle of attention – the more you get, the more traffic gets sent to your site, but it needs to stay on your site and engage with your site in order for Google to think that it is a site worth sending people to.

5) Integrate with your Off-line

Finally – don’t abandon your other marketing channels.  Whilst it may seem cost effective for you to take the ‘Field of Dreams’ approach  – ‘if you build it, they will come’; the chances are they won’t. You need to point people to your site, have a really great reason for them going there, and ensure that you manage their experience whilst they are there, otherwise you risk throwing the doors open to a party that no one knows about. And with 1 Billion other invitations to attend, they actually may never show up at all.