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Biggest Marketing Problem

seasonal marketing

Everything you wanted to know about marketing for seasonal businesses

Everything you wanted to know about marketing for seasonal businesses 560 315 Lloyd

Are you looking for the cure to the midweek blues for your business? Or how to get more punters during off-peak times? I understand that struggle (I’m looking at you December & Christmas) and have put together some tried and tested tactics with favourites you’ll no doubt be aware of. The goal here is to help you formulate a plan so you can turn your off-peak time into a prosperous peak time for your seasonal business. Before we start with the tactics, some prep is required.

Use the slow time to build your marketing machine

What are the offers and incentives that will generate attraction for your desired customers? If your first concept doesn’t strike gold having multiple campaigns ready will help you move on and find success faster. Pro Tip: Ask your regulars for ideas!

Focus on email capture 24 / 7

Email is a great channel, when done right it’s hard to beat. If you are building your contact list 24 / 7 then the size of your campaign reach will grow in your slow season. Not sure where to start with email marketing? These two resources are amazing.

 

4 Tactics for turning your slow periods into new busy seasons

Incentivise off peak

Here are some ideas you could use to encourage people on your loyalty programme to buy in your slow period.

  • A cafe could give double coffee stamps during off peak times
  • A cinema might do the second ticket at half price on Tuesdays
  • A midwinter harbour cruise has all second tickets at half price

Bring your busy season forward

If you grow strawberries what can you do when there aren’t any to pick? If you sell snowboards, how do get people thinking about your products when it’s really hot outside?

  • Sell coupons now that people can redeem when they are ready
  • Remind your audience about how good your products are via your outbound and inbound channels and help them get ready for your busy season:
    1. Tell whale watchers where the best places to stay are
    2. Show parents of school aged children everything they need to know about BYOD (bringing your own device to school)
    3. Renew annual contracts early with price incentives.

Hold an event

Have an open house at your business. Get all fancy with music, nibbles and champagne or whatever would appeal to your audience. It will allow you to:

  • Showcase your products / solutions
  • Show your VIP customers they are special and you care
  • Sell something at the event

But how do you do that when you don’t have a location? Team up with others in industry verticals e.g. builders, architects and electricians could all cooperate and collaborate on a suitable venue.

Update your products and services

Hubspot in 8 ways to market your seasonal business during the off season provides the example of Big Bottom Market. “A specialty food story in Guerneville, California survives their slow months of October through April by adapting their marketing efforts to target local residents instead of seasonal tourists”. They stock $12 – $15 wines during this time instead of premium brands.

 

These are my recommendations on filling up your off season / slow period. I’d love to know what you do, let me know in the comments below.

 

Brand recognition where competitors have similar names

Brand recognition where competitors have similar names 825 470 Lloyd

Are you in a market where it seems like every Moll, Nell and Sue have the same name as your company? Some of those buggars even have similar toll free numbers as yours. How do you compete? In a word, branding.

In doing the research for this post it became clear that all we needed to do was bring you these excellent posts. Get clarity and create distance between you and your pesky competitors.

Brand check. 4 signs you have an awareness problem

Richard Branson once said, “Your brand is only as good as your reputation.” The first step here is to get a sanity check on your current brand state. Josephine Hardy gives you a quick 4 point checklist.

 

Stop the rot. Generate a competitive advantage

Jeremy Miller runs through your options on creating a competitive advantage and hence standing out from the crowd. Here are 9 unique brand options you can use to create a compelling competitive advantage in your industry.

 

8 strategies to drive your competitive advantage

You’ve got your point of difference, time to drive it home. Anada Lakra at 99designs covers your logo, the content on your website and how to put all that together to make it work ( or werk werk werk for the hipsters).

 

Extra: For those leaving no stone unturned

Glenda McGarthy-Gaspar covers time proven strategies that will lift you from industry competitor to leader. These will take time, effort and energy, however you’ll be the envy of everyone who isn’t willing to take the time to plan and execute. Guest posting, webinars and video production will become your go to marketing tactics.

 

What tactics do you use to get attention in a crowded market? I’d love to know, let me know in the comments.

Reaching your target audience

Reaching your target audience 825 470 Lloyd

You can’t seem to reach your target market through any advertising platforms. Your competitors advertise heavily and some have significant marketing budgets. How do you reach your target market and engage them?

 

via GIPHY
 

A 4 point strategy to cut past your competition and engage your audience

The purpose here is to get clarity on:

  1. Your target audience
  2. Where they hang out
  3. Your available channels
  4. Widening your funnel to future customers

It’s a saturated advertising world we live in with few advertising free spaces. How do you get heard?

1) Define your target audience well and your value

Imagine you are fishing and you’ve got two hooks to choose from. One is from 1973, a little rust but has a worm attached to it. The other was designed especially to attract snapper with a small laser that automatically detects sharks and shoots them before they steal your catch.

The mistake here is thinking this step isn’t important. It’s vital. Here is an example for Online Traffic.

Online Traffic is an online advertising company. Or,

Online Traffic is an online advertising company that helps busy small business owners get wins online by helping them match their resources to the most appropriate tactics.

2) Be where your audience is

For our audience, busy small business owners, we know they are in their email inbox. For many they spend the majority of their time there. Where is your audience?

  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Google Search

If you don’t know, find some real people in your audience and ask them. The recommendation at this stage is to demonstrate your value to your audience where they are. But…

3) Don’t just use paid media

In our saturated advertising world people are desensitised to offers where they accustomed to seeing them. So be where they don’t expect you. This isn’t a recommendation to hide from them and jump out with a flyer. Consider using earned media. Here are some examples:

  • If you were a smartphone manufacturer, send devices to tech journalists asking for a review in their publications
  • If you were an organic flour producer send ingredients to food bloggers and ask them to post their thoughts about using your product in their recipes
  • If your industry has an awards ceremony, enter to get your name and brand highlighted as a finalist.

4) Start recruiting future buyers

Some people are ready to buy. Most however won’t be. What are you doing with this large group? (Nothing? Shame!)

Instead of talking about your product or service to this group, the aim here is to talk about the issues and problems they have. That way you’ll capture attention and get consideration when people are making purchase decisions. Here are some great examples:

How do you reach your target audience and what do you do to get their attention? Let me know in the comments below.

4 free time saving tools that will make your CFO scream with delight

4 free time saving tools that will make your CFO scream with delight 825 470 Lloyd

In a follow up to our strategies for the time poor marketer post we’re going deeper into the 4 tools we swear by to keep our sanity and hair.

If you are like us and don’t know how to make more time, then these tools will help you do more, keep on task and automate the repetition in your daily workflow. They are amazingly useful, powerful and FREE.

 

4 awesome marketing tools that will make getting things done easier and faster

 

Trello

What is it?

It’s a project management tool or as we like to call it the first thing we put in our bag before we are deserted on a island for a month. In Trello’s words their boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritise your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. If you are working with an internal or external team you can set your to do list, order it, upload files, ask questions, have discussions and almost anything that would feel natural as part of a project.

Benefits

  • Information at a glance
  • Set up unique teams for different projects
  • Integrate with a range of other services
  • Apps for mobile devices so you can see updates as they happen

Best bit

  • It allows you to keep projects together with ease for yourself and any collaborators

 

Canva

What is it?

It’s a design tool with easy to use features that anyone can use to create engaging visual content. It’s a browser based tool that gives you a ton of design elements and pre made layouts to lift the non designer into the world of “this looks good”.

Benefits

  • Drag and drop interface
  • A ton of pre-made layouts and design elements
  • Millions of images
  • Photo filters
  • Icons, shapes and fonts by the boatload
  • A design school

Best bit

  • It only takes 23 seconds to learn!

 

Buffer

What is it?

In Buffer’s words their app is social media management for marketers and agencies. They let you schedule social media posts for the big social platforms from one central location. So if you need to start pushing a promotion on a specific date Buffer lets you get ready in advance.

Benefits

  • Schedule posts for later
  • A clean user interface that makes composing your social media updates easy
  • Manage multiple accounts in one place

Best bit

  • A browser plugin that lets you easily share the web page you are looking at

 

IFTTT

What is it?

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a web based service that creates automated actions based on the conditions you set. For example you could create an IFTTT recipe to save all images you are mentioned in on instagram to dropbox. If you are a cafe or restaurant and customers are constantly snapping pics of your amazing food this would be very useful.

There are many thousands of options that you can use. You can even make your hue lights turn blue when it rains.

The benefit and best bit

  • IFTTT will make all the other smart services you use even better.

 

Those are some of the tools that I use. How about you? Let me know in the comments.

How to start measuring where your lead sources come from

How to start measuring where your lead sources come from Lloyd

Not too long ago, knowing what advertising worked and what didn’t work was mysterious and only one person in the office knew how to log into Google Analytics. Torment, pain and frustration were feelings often associated when trying to find out where leads and revenue came from.

Today with the growth in media and mediums, think using Facebook on your mobile, knowing what is working is vital in order for your advertising spend to be effective.

That’s exactly what we are going to cover here.

3 steps to start measuring your lead sources

1 – Measure your desired user action

Google Analytics provides a range of great data, but seeing where your leads come from needs a little bit of work before you can see that data. Think of this as telling Google Analytics what you want to see.

Measuring contact forms

In analytics you have 4 ways to track goals:

  1. URL’s
  2. Time
  3. Pages/Visit
  4. Events

Our recommendation is to track website contact form completions is via the URL goal. Here is how we do that for our Free SEO Guide.

Once a user completes the contact form they are then redirected to a success page which is great for setting follow up expectations and cross selling 🙂 These are the steps inside Google Analytics:

Once in your account, select the Admin tab

 

goal-set-up

 

Click on Goals in the right hand side column

goal

 

At that stage you’ll see a red + NEW GOAL button. Click that to create yours. In the Goal setup select custom and then continue

 custom-goal-type

 

Give your goal a short name and select Destination and then continue

 

goal-name

 

Enter your destination URL – this is the success page we mentioned earlier. As Google states, don’t include your domain in the url. So for our goal the destination has satur6.nz removed. In our example we have a funnel as we want the goal to track only those who come from our SEO landing page first. You don’t have to do that.

 

goal-details

 

Click save and you are all done! with the goal set up.

 

Measuring commerce transactions

This gets technical really fast. So fast that our recommendation is one line.

Ask your web developer to enable Ecommerce Tracking

Measuring phone calls

If you have access to a telco that can help you track calls via your google analytics that is great. To find out, just ask if they can insert a virtual pageview into Google Analytics. Our Lead Pack shows the benefit of doing that and we’ll cover that shortly here too. Once you’ve got that enabled set up a destination view as above to track the phone calls.

 

Further excellent resources:

 

2 Track your inbound links

This step is about tracking your traffic coming in so you can measure them against your goals. We do this by creating custom links, which are just link any web link but with the addition of utm parameters following the link.

If you are using a product like Google AdWords, seeing that data come through into Google Analytics is usually taken care of by the advertiser linking the accounts. But what about other inbound traffic you create such as from email, directories or partnerships?

Welcome to the Google URL Builder. In Google’s words, it allows you to easily add campaign parameters to URLs so you can track them in Google Analytics.

Here is how we make custom tracking links for our email campaigns, and below an actual link used.

 

url-builder-example

 

Pro Tip: Keep a spreadsheet of where and when you use these as over time you might not recall the specifics

 

3 Enjoy the benefits

So after all that work, you get to enjoy the benefits. After the goals have been running and recording your efforts you’ll start to see the results. Here are just a few examples.

 

In Google Analytics go to the reporting tab and in the left hand menu select Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium. Here you can see the result of our email marketing traffic against our Conversion Guide URL goal to the right hand side.

 

 

conversion-guide-results

 

Again from the left hand menu select Conversions > Overview. In this example we are looking at our phone call goal. Google / CPC (Google AdWords) is generating 82% of the phone calls.

 

phone-call-goal

 

If you know what is producing leads, you’ll be able to stop spending your precious dollar on ineffective channels and focus on what is working.

 

How do you track where your leads come from? We’d love to know, just let us know in the comments.

 

4 articles for the time-poor marketer

4 articles for the time-poor marketer Lloyd

Do you find yourself struggling to find time or taking constant interruptions and no marketing is getting done, then read on. While there is no magic wand below these articles will help you get focus and stay on top of what matters most – driving your business.

 

27 time saving tools for the productive marketer

Hubspot is really good at online marketing. They have one of the best crm / automation tools that make marketers salivate. In this marketing productivity post Meghan covers strategies to speed you up, productivity tools and keyboard tricks.

 

29 ways to save time and overcome your marketing challenges

CoSchedule is a content marketing and social media editorial calendar. Their content marketing lead Nathan Ellering prepared the following article based on research of their audience. These 29 time saving tips cover an approach to consistently hit your short and long term goals.

 

9 strategies to get the most out of social media

Most marketers and decision makers view social media as a must. The issue is that it can be easy for Social Media to take all of your time, and even the time you don’t have. Get ready to run a hard line over what you are doing with this brave advice from William at cyberalert.

 

3 marketing tips to save time and money

Time is money, and many marketers find themselves short on both. Michelle’s post at inc.com will help you make time, leverage from others and position yourself as an authority. If you have a sound understanding of your customers and the solutions they are looking for this one is for you.

 

How do you manage your time and get your marketing done? Tell us in the comments.

Building brand awareness in a competitive market

Building brand awareness in a competitive market Lloyd

Creating a strong and recognisable brand is essential for your business’s growth and development.

When your product is the preferred choice, no longer do people use the actual word for the product but rather the name of your company as a substitute. This kind of brand marketing happens through people using your brand name over and over again – cost effective and smart.

Examples being:

  • Aspirin instead of Pain Killers
  • Scotch Tape
  • Post-It Note
  • And this one recently, just watch to the end of this 1:24 funny clip brand domination

 

But how do you start building a brand from scratch? And where do you start? Below we’ve got recommendations to help you begin a long term process for building your brand.

 

5 simple and effective ways to grow your brand and get you a constant stream of high fives in the office.

 

Car Wraps

If you have a team on the road, wrap your vehicles in your branding. It’s a common feature many companies employ and helps to signal to the market that you take pride in your brand.

Benefits

  • If you service local areas, it is a highly targeted advertising tactic
  • No restrictions on your creative compared to other mediums owned by third parties

Pro Tip – Along with a logo, have a phone number, url and state what you do

 

Freebies

I remember getting a welcome pack from Meridian Energy when I switched power companies. It included household cleaners, chocolate and a wind up torch amongst other things. The hand wind Meridian torch was awesome as I don’t have to worry about batteries and the marketer in me liked the link to renewable energy.

Benefit

  • No restrictions on your creative compared to other mediums owned by third parties

Pro Tip – Don’t go for disposables that once used are discarded

 

Partnerships

Going back to the Meridian example above. Their welcome pack included items from Eco Store and Whittakers. I assume Meridian customers often sign up when they are moving into a new residence. Having some household cleaner and chocolate to make moving in feels like a great idea. What other companies can you pair with to create added value?

Benefits

  • Permission to put your brand in front of a new audience
  • Very cost effective. It’s often less expensive to share with an audience than pay for it

 

Interview experts

Social Media Examiner came up with this formula for measuring good content.

“valuable content = influence = social reach = traffic = more reach and so on”

Oprah found the best way to do this and became one of the worlds biggest brands. Interviewing. Regardless of the industry you are in there will still be one or two experts you can contact and ask to interview.

Benefits

  • Positions your brand as an authority and expert
  • Creates timeless content that won’t age
  • Great for multiple content types e.g. blog post, sales aid, proposals and white papers to name a few

 

Publish research

It might sound like the bar is very high for this one, however it can be achievable and effective. Let’s say you are an insulation company and insulate a lot of hot water cylinders. You could call or email each customer after two months and ask what the reduction in their electricity bill was. This could be automated using the likes of Survey Monkey or Survey Gizmo. The information you collect can be used to create infographic for your website, estimates sent by email and the list goes on.

Benefits

  • Highly accurate value proposition for your product or service
  • Tangible benefits for potential customers

 

What other activities would you recommend? Let us know in the comments 🙂

4 cost effective tactics for tiny marketing budgets

4 cost effective tactics for tiny marketing budgets Lloyd

Is your marketing budget so small that borrowing from petty cash feels like a good idea? We’ve felt that pain. What if you could start implementing tactics right now that wouldn’t cost a bomb and even produce results to be proud of? Our recommendations below outline our favourite budget friendly marketing tactics. We’ve included key details and our own pro tip — to get you on the right path.

 

Tactics for the cash strapped marketing budget

 

DIY Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the focus of improving your organic (non paid) search engine results, i.e. getting them closer to the front of the results list. If people are searching for information about products and services you provide then having a programme to work on your search performance makes sense. If your company has long term goals this is the perfect tactic to align with those goals.

 

Investment: Time

Benefits: Improved brand presence online, more organic traffic. You’ll learn a lot about your website and how the web works

Recommended resources: The moz.com beginners guide to seo, Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors , Buffer’s beginners guide to SEO and our Small Business SEO Guide

Pro Tip: Start with all the things you can. Don’t wait for your website to be perfect before starting with content creation

 

DIY Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion optimisation or conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of improving the percentage of people doing the things you want them to do. By working on your CRO, more visitors will start doing the things you want them to do. The work often involves looking at the user journey in their eyes from start to finish, creating a test or hypothesis to improve the journey, conducting the test, adjusting website content, rinse and repeat.

Note: This is an advanced technical field and you’ll need to get a developer or systems admin to help implement the required tools. 

 

Investment: Time and usually a small monthly fee

Benefits: Your website will go from pamphlet to lead / revenue generator

Recommended resources: Unbounce’s Ultimate Guide to Conversion Centered Design

Recommended tools: Optimizely (freemium), Unbounce (from $49), Google Analytics Experiments (Free)

Pro Tip: Your sales team will be able to give you all copy you need to test, from pain points to benefits that sell

 

Content Marketing

Think of content marketing as your own newspaper, writing for your customers and future customers. It allows you to have opinions, break news and position yourself in your industry as a thought leader and authority. Content marketing is a perfect pairing with SEO & CRO.

One of the best examples on the web at the moment is Buffer. Their core business is an app that makes scheduling social media posts easy. Their ‘newspaper‘ helps marketers be better at everything digital by teaching and informing.

 

Investment: A lot of Time

Benefits: Improved quality of content will lead to an improved quality of website visitor

Recommended resources: Hubspot’s content marketing guide, Getting started with the Content Marketing Institute and Marketo’s 100+ page definitive guide to engaging content marketing

Pro Tip: Think holistic and get a range of people (Sales, Tech, Engineers…) contributing to your content pipeline

 

Email marketing

If you need to do more with less, it’s hard to go past email marketing. Some say it’s dead, but in reality it’s more relevant than ever in an increasingly fractured media landscape. If you have a database of customers this is the best channel to send personalised 1 to 1 marketing communications. Daylight is second.

 

Investment: Time

Benefits: High detail of performance metrics as soon as users start clicking

Recommended resources: Vero’s email marketing guide and for inspiration Hubspot’s best campaign examples

Recommended tools: Mailchimp (Freemium), Emma (Free Trial), Constant Contact (Free Trial) and you can start email marketing with us

Pro Tip: Test everything with smaller segments before sending to your entire list

 

A google search for ‘marketing on a budget’ will show you a great number of other options.  What do you use for a cash strapped budget? Let us know in the comment section below 🙂

4 steps to fix your website redesign disaster

4 steps to fix your website redesign disaster Lloyd

Have you been through a website redesign and it didn’t work or are you in that situation right now? The phone isn’t ringing, nobody is completing your contact forms and even the spam messages have stopped.

Well, there is good news. This post will help you look at common reasons why things go wrong, and actions you can take to get back on track.

Turn your website redesign disaster into a success tsunami

With the right information you’ll be able to find the leaks in your lead or sales funnel and get the phone and contact forms working again. Ready? Let’s dive in.

 

1) I’ve got no traffic since our new site went live!

Look at your analytics data. How much traffic did you have before your website change and how much traffic do you have now? If you had traffic before and none now, check you have Google Analytics installed. Here is a simple process you can use to check.

Get your Google Analytics Profile ID by logging into Google Analytics. Your profile id starts with UA, and is next to your property name. It is highlighted in the example below. Select and copy to make the next stage easier. Just click the image to view a larger version.

 

Get your Google Analytics ID

 

Check your site has this installed by opening your website in a browser. Inspect the page source and look for your profile ID. In Chrome put your mouse over the browser, right click and select view page source. You’ll see a whole bunch of code. Use Command + F (or Control + F for Windows) to open the page search, paste your profile id and if it is present you’ll see it highlighted like the below example.

Locate your id using view page source

But what if…

  • Your UA id isn’t present. See if there is one present by using the same procedure to find “UA-“. If there is ask your developer for access to this property and ask why it was changed while your tap your foot impatiently.
  • There isn’t one there. Well step one is to get it. Ask your developer to create one and give you access pronto.

 

2) My analytics is working correctly, but traffic has dropped substantially.

Did you change some of your urls and not inform search engines?

 

oh no

 

This is important because search engines keep a catalogue of your website pages. If their copy of your website is out of date then they’ll stop delivering new pages into search results until they are comfortable with your new content and sometimes something like a url change is enough for that to happen. While this won’t be permanent each day will feel like a lifetime.

Engage positive action.

  1. Get Webmaster tools up and running quick. This guide from Search Engine Watch is a must.
  2. Check your site speed. That new full width image slider on each page your CEO loves has got to go.
  3. Ensure you have:
    1. A robots.txt file
    2. An xml and html sitemap
  4. For the next month or so, look for your company in search results for your major products and services. Make sure your search result makes human sense. The drivers for the search result information is comprised by your Page Title, URL and Meta Description which is a page summary up to 160 characters long.

a serp example

 

This is a big topic, but here is a pro tip from Glenn Gable from his post how to avoid SEO disaster, which is still relevant if you are in fact in disaster.

If you can keep the same URL structure as your original website when redesigning or migrating a website, do it! It will make your life a lot easier. If the URL’s remain the same, you don’t need to issue 301’s. And for larger sites, this can save you a lot of time and pain.

 

3) I’ve got the same amount of traffic as usual, just no leads 🙁

Perhaps, just perhaps the new website forgot about customers? Try answering these questions below.

  1. My users are looking for …?
  2. Have I created a page that provides information about (no 1), and talks directly to common purchase questions about (no 1)?
  3. Have I developed calls to action (a button or link) that prescribe to Hubspot CTA best practice?

If you can’t answer yes to 2 or 3 that is where you’ve got work to do.

 

4) I’ve perfectly matched user intent with my website content, still no leads 👿

Focus on your conversion centered design, and by conversion centered design we mean conversion centered design. Here are some actionable tips you can use today.

  1. Understand the principles of Conversion Centered Design
  2. Each page on your website should have one primary goal
  3. Fix your attention ratio. Look at your lead pages, count up all the things your visitors can do (all the links) and divide by what you want them to do. Work on moving the ratio down
  4. Plan your page content first, then design it with the principles from above

Follow up with a big helping of trust building. Here are some great examples:

 

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are the issues we come across and help people resolve. If you’ve got any questions about the above, let us know in the comments below.