5 things to consider before you make your first post on social media

So I’ve just been working on the marketing strategy for a brand-new tech start-up that I’m bringing to life called Secret Think Tank and thought I’d share with you, some of the factors we’ve taken into consideration before taking the leap into social media with the new business. Let’s dive straight in.

What’s your goal?

It’s a simple question which for many people, proves difficult to answer. Many organisations we speak to have a social media presence because they think they should, but they don’t really know what they’re trying to achieve from it or what they should expect from it – and that’s a problem. If you don’t know why you’re doing social media, how do you know if what you are posting is helping or hindering your objectives. For our new start-up, Secret Think Tank, our goals are to increase brand awareness and generate registrations for the platform before the launch. With that in mind, we can now tailor our posts accordingly and build a strategy to maximise the reach of our posts to improve brand awareness.

Who is your target audience?

The chances are that you’ll want to target your ideal customer or at least, the person with the decision-making ability with regards to purchases.  The last thing you’ll want to do is publish a stack of posts giving them the hard sell so you’ll need to think about the interests, the values and the challenges that they have and how that coincides with your products or services. Think about how you can relate to your target audience and most importantly, how you can add value to your target audience. It’s important at this stage to also figure out where they hang out. There’s little point having a LinkedIn strategy if for example, you’re trying to sell to teenagers. But don’t be presumptuous about this. Go and do your research. Hang out on a range of platforms and find which ones work best for your brand.

What is your brand persona?

Now you might think we’re starting to get all “agency” on you, but this is a very important point. Your company will be defined to the online world by how you come across on social media. If your business is always posting negative things, you’ll come across as a negative company. If your posts are short and devoid of personality, that’s how your company will come across on social media. Think about your brand values and how you want to be perceived by your followers and make a sustained effort to adhere to that in every post you deliver.

How can you integrate your social media into the wider marketing strategy?

If you’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers, you’ll probably find that social media is a strong sales tool in its own right. But if you’re not that lucky, then you’ll need to think about how your social media fits into the bigger picture. How can social media be used to complement your sales and other marketing activities? Where does it sit in the process? How can you maximise the value of social media to your business, day in day out?

What’s your growth strategy?

Starting off with zero followers and no social media posts on your wall can be pretty daunting, so how are you going to get through the first few months and build a sizeable following that starts to deliver value to your business? There’s no doubt that in the beginning at least, you’ll need to allocate a decent amount of money to run social media advertising campaigns. If you’re a social media newcomer, that might come as a surprise. After all, social media is free… right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s a bit of a myth. Sure you can post for free, but if you want to reach anyone outside of your friends, family and work colleagues, you’ll need to pay.

There’s typically three types of campaign  you might want to run – (i) increase the number of followers (ii) drive traffic to your website or (iii) maximise engagement with your audience. Whether you choose one, two or all three of those options and how you split your social media budget between them will all depend on the answer to the first question – “what’s your goal?”

 

So there’s 5 things to consider before you even tap a hashtag into your keyboard. I’m sure there’s more. Can you think of any? If so, let us know and we’ll publish the best ones on a second blog and give you credit for them.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve find this article useful, don’t forget to share.

Chris Mayfield

CEO of businesshands

Founder of Secret Think Tank

Not seeing any results from your marketing budget? Here’s why…

Over the years, we’ve spoken to literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of companies about their marketing and we’ve found they typically fall into one of four categories.

  1. Companies that don’t believe that marketing works
  2. Companies that have no marketing budget but would ‘do’ marketing if they had one
  3. Companies that do have a marketing budget but aren’t getting the required results.
  4. Companies that do have a marketing budget and are getting results from it

If you recognise that your organisation sits firmly in the third category, this post is for you. Below we’ve listed five common reasons why a company’s marketing efforts might not bare any fruit. Don’t forget you can drop us a line at any point if you would like more information or assistance.

Wrong place

It’s a classic. Someone, somewhere at some point in the past said “Facebook works great for our business” and since then you’ve been valiantly pushing out content on ships propellers or the latest bulletproof vests through your Facebook page waiting for phone to ring. There’s a school of thought which says the more places you market to the better… but it’s wrong. That’s only good for a marketing agency’s wallet. Spend your time, effort and money on marketing your business in places where your customers hang out. If that’s LinkedIn, great. If it’s a forum or a specific industry platform, then market to there. Don’t be too quick to jump to assumptions though. You wouldn’t think Instagram for example, would be a good place for a shipyard to market, but Besiktas Shipyard in Turkey has got over 17.6 thousand followers. Take a look.

Wrong Message

Customer-centric marketing is nothing new. It’s about focusing your marketing message (and your strategy) around the wants and needs of your customers to drive engagement. It’s not about pushing out product or company information and explaining why you’re the greatest. Imagine if we were to say that we’re the best marketing agency for small and medium sized businesses in the UK over and over again… you might find that interesting once, but you’d grow tired of that message pretty quickly. Audiences are fickle and it might not be a very “PC” thing to say – but they’re self-absorbed and will always ask “what’s in it for me?”.  Focus your marketing on how your product or service will make your customers feel. What problems does it address? How will it transform your customer’s lives?

If you’ve got your head around customer-centric marketing and it’s still not working – your message can still be wrong, irrelevant or outdated. Market research will tell you the challenges your target market face and what their buying triggers might be with surprising results. One last thing. Keep your message simple. Don’t unnecessarily confuse your audience.

No measurement

Imagine giving someone £25,000 to buy a vehicle for you. A specialist vehicle that had to make a very specific trip and deliver a particularly niche product and your business depended on it. Now imagine after handing over the money and never bothering to check whether the purchased vehicle was up to the job or in fact, completed the job.

That’s the same as spending money on a marketing campaign and not measuring it. How do you know if the campaign is up to the job? How do you know if it delivered results? How do you know if it’s something you should be putting more money into it?

Before starting any campaign, understand what you’re trying to achieve and make sure you’ve got the tools in place to measure the metrics. If a campaign isn’t working, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bin it and start again from scratch. Sometimes a slight change of wording or a different image is all it takes to turn a campaign around. A good marketing manager will always measure and refine again and again and again.

Poor Website

Marketing forms part of your customer journey. It reaches out to people and draws them in… normally to your website. Your website then furnished your visitors with more information and gets them excited enough about your product or service that they’ll want to purchase or make an enquiry about it. Having a poor website puts an instant stop to the customer journey. We’ve seen some great campaigns recently on LinkedIn ads and we’ve clicked through to see if they can help our business. Often though the campaigns have directed us through to a dated or incomplete website with poor grammar and broken links. LinkedIn marketing isn’t cheap and some companies are spending hundreds, if not thousands of pounds every month directing people through to a website which is turning potential customers away. Before you start any marketing campaign – plan the customer journey and make sure every step along the way leads your customers towards a potential purchase.

No follow up

Following on from our point about marketing being a journey, prospective customers often need a little nudge in the right direction, even if they’ve reacted positively to your marketing so make sure you give it to them. It’s easy to think that a prospect has gone off the idea of buying your product because they’ve not been back in touch, but the truth is – we’re all busy people and we all get distracted. Make it a rule that every marketing campaign is measured and followed up to ensure you’re making the most of your marketing budget. You’ll be surprised at the difference a follow up can make.

That’s all in this post. If you would like more information about the points raised or you would like to talk about how our marketing services can benefit your organisation – get in touch on +44 (0) 207 458 4788. Thanks – and don’t forget, if you’ve found this article useful, someone you know probably will do too so place share.

Meet your end of year target with this to-do list

With the summer holidays now coming to a close, it’s time to turn our attention once again to business and helping you get more of it through the door. With that in mind, here’s a helpful to-do list to help you meet your end of year target.

Set your objectives

Sit down and confirm your objectives in writing. What is your revenue target? How many sales does that equate to? What must the average sale value be for you to achieve your target? Define lower and higher sales value thresholds and calculate how many sales of each you would need to still achieve your goals. Don’t just pick numbers out of thin air – use historical data from previous sales to understand your average transaction size.

Plan how to maximise your average sales value

There are two ways to increase sales revenue.

  • Increase the average deal size
  • Increase the number of sales you make

If your revenue targets are looking challenging or quite simply, if you want a better chance of hitting your targets – you’ll want to put a strategy in place to maximise the value of every single transaction. Look at the portfolio of products or services you sell and ask yourself…

  • Can I cross-sell purchases of product/service A and also sell them product/service B?
  • Can I upsell them from product/service A to a product/service A+
  • Can I create a value bundle by combining a selection of my products to increase the overall transaction size? (the profit per item may be less, but the overall profit will better)
  • If you have customers that pay on a monthly basis, can you create an offer to persuade them to purchase a years’ worth of product/service up front?

Plan who you are going to be selling to

You’ll need a separate strategy for each of the following:

  • New customers who you want to sell in to
  • Existing customers who you want to sell more to

Existing customers are traditionally “low hanging fruit”. They already know and trust your brand and you simply need to get them to spend more. Think time-limited money-off vouchers, seasonal related campaigns (Halloween, the day the clocks go back, Diwali etc.), weather / news related offers and general “thanks for being a loyal customer” deals.

For new customers, ask yourself:

  • Where am I going to find them?
  • What am I going to do when I do find them?
  • What is my “multi-touch” strategy to bring them down the sales funnel (people rarely buy from a company the first time they see / hear from them so you’ll need to have a consistent marketing strategy in place to build trust before a sale will take place)

Build your strategy

No single activity on its own will “bring in the goods” so you need to think about your sales and marketing mix. Will you need to make outbound sales calls? Will you be writing regular content (this is pretty much a “must” for all businesses)? What does your social media campaign look like? Will you be using paid advertising (AdWords / Social PPC)? What about social and blogger outreach? Don’t forget email marketing. That’s a lot of things to think about and a lot to figure out if you’re to make it a success.

Decide if you have time or if you need help

There’s no point in doing the above half-heartedly.  You need to commit serious time and energy to both the planning and implementation stages if you’re going to pull this off. Random unstructured content or social media posts don’t work. Neither does the occasional half-baked sales email, so if you think you can “wing it” as and when you have a bit of spare time, let us save you the effort by assuring you that challenging revenue targets cannot be achieved unless you put your sales and marketing strategy at the very top of your agenda – day in, day out until the end of the year.

If you don’t have the time, the skill-set or the inclination to do this in-house, that’s where we come in. Here at businesshands we offer a comprehensive outsourced marketing department service which includes everything from in-depth marketing strategy through to content creation, social media, email campaign management and much more besides.

Want to know more? Contact us this week on 0207 458 4788 to get you sales and marketing strategy in motion and don’t leave it a moment more. They say time is money and in this case, the greater the delay in starting your strategy – the greater the loss in revenue to your business before the end of the year.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you like it and you’ve found it useful – perhaps your contacts will too so don’t forget to like and share it.

7 ways to make the most of the quieter summer period in your business

Schools out and the majority of your customers and team are off for two weeks of sunburn and margaritas… so whilst the phones are quiet and there’s little activity in the office, what should you be doing with your business to make the most of those quiet summer months? Here’s a few suggestions…

Do a deep dive review of your business performance so far this year

Go deep into your figures to really understand what’s happening in your business. How is it performing against last year? Are you spending more in some areas than you should be? Are the buying trends of your customer base changing? Are you in front or behind where you were at this time last year in terms of sales? Why is that?

Review / revise (or even create) your business strategy for the rest of the financial year

No matter how small your business is, you should already have a well-developed business strategy in place. Ask yourself, what do you need to do, to make this year the best year ever? What is stopping your business getting more sales through the door? Are there events you could be attending, what about networking, what about your marketing / advertising?

Define / refine / streamline your customer journey

How do you currently get a new customer through the “door”? What does it take to move a prospect from an exchange of business cards through to an exchange of contracts… or from a new follower on Twitter to a new and valuable customer? Do you have a defined sales process in place? What is it? Is it effective and could it be better?

Take some time to bond with and train your team

Of course, you could continue to push you team to make hundreds of sales calls a day but the reality is, the summer months are the least effective time for many organisations to acquire new business. That means it’s the best time to take days out for training, team building and refocusing of minds for the months ahead.

Review your suppliers

Are you really getting the best deal on your purchases? It’s time to take stock of your suppliers and make sure they are still the best ones to take your business forward. If you can find cheaper or better elsewhere it’s time to renegotiate your contracts or switch to something else. Don’t just do this for physical stock either… think software services, IT support contracts, office cleaning and anything else that’s provided to you as a service.

Get your marketing in order

It’s time to do a deep dive review of your marketing. Do you have core messages that you’re delivering to your customers? Are they still relevant? Are you still pushing your messages out to the right places? Analyse your marketing in depth. Which bits are driving traffic, creating enquiries or closing sales? Which ones are adding no value to the business at all and can be stopped? Where are you wasting money? What could be done better?

Focus on your own well-being

If you’re a business owner or a senior leader within an organisation, now is the time to plan some downtime, take some time off to re-energise and reconnect with hobbies you once had, friends you haven’t seen and places you used to go. Happy and relaxed people make better decisions and are able to get more done so take some time off whilst you can.

3 kernels of wisdom from a true marketing legend

I was privileged to be present at a talk a couple of weeks ago, hosted by one of the world’s foremost authorities on strategic marketing – Professor Malcolm McDonald. Malcolm, who is now closing in on being 80 years old and still actively works on the operating boards of the world’s biggest brands. Not only that – he’s also the chairman of no less than 6 companies and has written over 40 books on Marketing, Sales and Account Management. Malcolm then, knows his stuff and during his long career – he has witnessed and assessed just about every marketing trend you can possibly imagine. So it’s with great pleasure that I’m able to pass on to you 3 kernels of wisdom from a true marketing legend.

Kernel No.1 Identify your core market

If you can delight this group, you will have a resilient customer base. Everybody has different needs and the broader your target group, the more generalised and average your product or service has to become to meet them. Average products delight no-one, so find your core market and commit to delighting just these people.

Kernel No.2 Define your ‘must’ target

Marketing targets for businessesYour ‘must’ target is an objective (usually turnover) that you absolutely have to achieve at a defined point in the future (typically either in 3 or 5 years from now). It’s not about projections – it’s about setting your business a bold and aggressive target and saying “no matter what happens – in ‘x’ years, this business must meet that objective”.

Once you have your ‘must’ target, you can compare it to the projections you have in place for your current strategy. The task then is to understand how to plug the gap between your current projected earnings and your ‘must’ target.

According to Professor Malcolm, there are only 4 ways in which this can be done.

  1. By increasing productivity (by eliminating inefficiencies or increasing the man-hours worked)
  2. By increasing market penetration (through more productive sales and marketing activities)
  3. By introducing new products (could be costly and has risks attached)
  4. By venturing into new markets (generally a high risk and costly strategy)

Kernel No.3 Answer the question “Why should I buy from you?”

Here’s a list of typical answer that 99% of companies will give you when asked this question:

  • We have better quality than our competitors
  • We have a great reputation
  • We get good results for our customers
  • We’re very responsive
  • You can trust us
  • We are innovative
  • We are the leading provider of….

If this is your answer, you risk sounding exactly the same as your competitors. You must be able to prove to your target audience that dealing with you will give them a distinct advantage – not merely help them avoid being disadvantaged. You need to deliver a true value proposition.

So that’s 3 kernels of marketing wisdom from a true marketing legend and in keeping with his advice, I’m going to leave you with the businesshands value proposition.

The businesshands value proposition

At businesshands, we offer a better standard of marketing and a broader range of marketing expertise then you would ever get if you were to spend the same budget on marketing personnel in-house. We also offer greater flexibility in terms of choosing and changing the blend of skills you need throughout the year and by allowing you to increase or decrease your budget as your needs dictate.

That means our outsourced marketing department services will put your business at a strategic advantage by (i) having better marketing skills (ii) by being agile and being better able to adapt to market conditions and (iii) financially – enabling you to spend more money in other areas of your business.

If you would like help with your value proposition, your marketing strategy or any other area of you would like to discuss our outsourced marketing department services, drop us an email or call a member of our marketing team today on 0207 459 4788.

Thanks for reading