Tips for launching a social media marketing campaign

The number of Social media users is growing at a fast pace.
Social media users spend a lot of time on various social media platforms, which forces both small and big businesses to spend a lot of money on marketing campaigns.
If you are using social media for your business you should have a strategy for your marketing campaigns. You need to have an effective strategy to get the return you expect.

Here are some tips and advice to note for when you are creating a strategy:

1. Post engaging content
If you post interesting content then your followers will be more likely to click and share the content you post with their friends. You should always be posting engaging content and include a compelling call-to-action. If you want your followers to share a post, then ask them.If you want them to click on a link, then tell them to “click here.”
The more customers you have, the more money you are able to make. If you post dull and tedious content on your social profiles, then your followers will not engage with your content and they will not be likely to click. You may even lose followers

2. Pay attention to data
You need to know what actions to take or what types of strategy may work out and to be able to do this you need to analyse the data.
You can get required information easily and quickly. There are plenty of studies and tools that can provide you with real-time data on your performance. For example, Facebook offers an “Insights” section on pages that offers a variety of statistics on the performance of particular pages.

3. Be careful with content
Always remember that what you share on your social media accounts contributes to your brand image. Whether you share your story on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts, you need to make sure you make a good impression and post something of value.
Do not only promote your products and your company. Instead you could write a blog post about an interesting topic related to your niche and then post a link with a creative call-to-action on your Facebook page. You could also post interesting “behind the scenes” moments to help your customers connect with your business on a more personal level.

4. Stay on topic
Point number 3 already mentioned that you need to cover interesting topics that relate to your product and brand. While you do that, it is important to stay on topic and try to keep the information you post on your social profiles relevant to your niche.

5. Posting engaging content only
If you post interesting content your followers will be more likely to click and share the content you post with their friends. You should always be posting engaging content and include a compelling call-to-action. If you want your followers to share a post, then ask them to do so. If you want them to click on a link, then tell them to “click here.”
The more customers you have, the more money you are able to make. If you post dull and tedious content on your social profiles, then your followers will not engage with your content .

6. Do not avoiding negative feedback
There will always be people who provide negative feedback no matter what you do. Don’t ignore it! accept the criticism and carefully reply back. For example, you should thank the individual who posted the feedback for pointing out the particular issue or problem they are having and address the problem in a professional manner.

Do not expect to get instant success of your campaign as you may need to experiment before you manage to get a good return from your social media marketing efforts.

 

www.businesshands.co.uk

 

Common branding mistakes

 

Here’s a quick summary of the most common branding mistakes  and some brand-building advice.

  • Not taking the time to develop a brand platform

A brand is a set of perceptions that live in the mind of the customer. If you haven’t even identified what perceptions you want to own with your target audience, how on earth do you expect to build those perceptions? The first step is deciding what those perceptions, known as brand pillars, should be:
a) they must be meaningful – something that the target customer wants
b) they must be credible – something your brand can own
c) at least one of them should make your brand different from the competition.

  • Your brand is not focused tightly enough and you re not communicating consistently .

Branding is often about sacrifice and letting go of the desire to appeal to everyone .
Do a good job of clearly and consistently communicating your brand messages in multiple ways. Keep your message simple and the chances of owning it are much greater.

  • Not having a Plan B

There are many businesses that think a brand is something you establish and then it takes care of itself. You should constantly refine and revise your offerings to deliver better quality and adapt to the changing needs of the market. Not all branding strategies will work the first time. In those instances, you need to be ready with a second plan to ensure that recovery is immediate.
Managing a brand is not easy. But you must always understand that your business is more than just its products and services. Success depends on the way you shape the experience of your customers. This is what defines your brand identity.

  • Not realizing the importance of brand cascading

It’s a common mistake is to lose sight of the fact that a big part of a brand is the people behind the brand. If your people don’t know how to live and breathe the brand, how do you expect the brand message to get through to the target audience? Brand cascading sessions – in which employees brainstorm ways they can help bring the brand to life in what they do each day – are critical to strong and consistent brand delivery at all points of contact with the target. These sessions not only serve the purpose of communicating the brand essence to employees, they also involve the employees and get them thinking creatively about how they can help bring the brand to life in their specific areas. It also helps get everyone, regardless of individual roles, in the mindset of serving as brand ambassadors and not simply as employees.

  • Not focusing on first impressions

There’s no logic in trying to get an audience before you’ve established what your brand is about. Branding is the first step to entering the marketplace, and you should prioritize it before trying to make money. The first impression is always the first point of contact between your brand and the customer

Businesshands

How to make the most of a quieter period in your business

 

Its the start of the new year, phones are quieter out and there’s little activity in the office, what should you be doing with your business to make the most of this quiet period ?

Here are some suggestions…

Do a 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.

 

Businesshands

 

Plan your 2018 end of year target with this to-do list

 

With the Christmas 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 2018 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.

Starting your own business in 2018

 

If you’re looking to start your own business in 2018, you’re going to need some start up finance – but how much will depend on how well you plan.  You may not need to apply for  a start-up loan with some careful planning and a little extra thought… so here’s our rules to starting a business on a budget.
Only pay for what your business really needs
Sounds obvious but every penny counts when you’re starting up, so ask yourself how much value the product or service you are paying for is going to deliver to your business. Do you really need a separate mobile phone or loads of branded stationary when first starting out ? If it’s not essential at the start, leave it until you’ve got more cash in the bank.

Office space
It’s so easy to get excited and  hire a small office somewhere and buy some quirky office furniture only to realise that £500 per month could have paid for your marketing to get the product off the ground. Libraries, conference centres and other public buildings are a great free way to get away from working at your kitchen table without forking out on expensive space. Look for paces like Regus where you can hire out an office on a daily or hourly basis.

Technology
There are so many free or incredibly cheap technology platforms out there to help your small businesses thrive. Some great (and free) starter tools to check out are MailChimp (mail) and Hootsuite (social media). Don’t sign up for anything that pushes you into a yearly contract.

Barter , Barter, Barter
You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save if you just ask. Most companies will throw in some extra freebies or give you a discount for a quick sale. Similarly, if you’ve been loyal to a service provider for a while – ask them for a loyalty discount. There are very few things that can’t be discounted, so get on the phone and speak to a sales person rather than clicking straight through to buy on-line.

Stay away from Google AdWords
Yep, that’s right. If you have a limited budget, Google AdWords will suck every penny of it from you and deliver very little. Explore other ways of getting your message out there like paid Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn campaigns. Perhaps look at banner advertising through someone like Clicksor but leave AdWords until you have a higher budget. Having someone doing your marketing means they can maximise a smaller budget with their expertise.

Make a 3, 6 and 12 month plan for your business and revisit it regularly
Without a plan for your business, you’re like a driver of a bus without a route or a destination. Sure you can drive around, but where kis it taking you and is that productive? Sit down and fully understand what your business means to you and what you want to achieve from it. Set yourself goals and always measure your progress.

If you want expert advice and some hands on help with your business, you might want to check out our marketing services  to really help drive your business forward.
Businesshands

Challenges for a small business

 

Challenge 1: Managing and Understanding Finances

Any business needs enough money to stay afloat. Not every small business has the luxury of multiple cash reserves on hand. This often ends up with a company founder working a job on the side while also attempting to maintain a business. Without focus from the business’ founder, the risk to fail is great.

What to Do

Managing money is certainly a challenge and can take a lot of time and energy away from tasks at hand. This is especially the case when the company founder splits his or her focus between running the business and earning money for it by other means. In these cases, a professional bookkeeper can help manage the business accounts and allow the owner to see exactly where money should go.

Challenge 2: Staying Balanced

When managing all of the tasks required to run a small business, it can be hard to maintain an equal balance between growing the business and maintaining a quality service. It can prove difficult to grow without sacrificing the seemingly smaller aspects of a small business, such as personal relationships with clients.
Now What?

Paying personal attention to detail – including to clients – is ultimately the deciding factor in quality of business and, in turn, business success.

The answer here is compromise: unhealthy perfectionism and poor work both prove to be huge problems on their own. It’s up to businesses to navigate the process of scaling up without harming the brand’s promise to its customers.

Challenge 3: Attracting Customers – and Keeping Them

When small businesses are faced with limited finances, it can be hard to do enough outreach to attract or retain customers, especially in comparison to larger companies with higher advertising budgets.
Solving the Problem

The answer is strategy. Online marketing is crucial to your business including SEO, social networking, and email marketing.  By creating high quality content and sharing it through multiple sources, you are creating an online brand presence and can show customers what differentiates your brand from competitors.

How To Improve Marketing For Small Business

How To Improve Marketing For Your Small Business

If your marketing strategies never change, they can go stale. Your competitors will find better ways to market, and your customers will get tired of you.
While your basic marketing plan might work for your business, there are things you can do to improve. Find out how to improve marketing for your small business.

1. Get Reviews
Before people buy something, they often look for reviews that validate their purchase. People want to know that they’re spending money on quality. And, they want to know if what you have to offer is better than what your competitors have to offer.
You can attract more customers by getting reviews from people who have already purchased from you.
You might have a dedicated testimonials page or let customers leave reviews on social media. Customers can also leave reviews on dedicated review sites.

2. Update Social Media
You probably already know that social media marketing is important for small businesses. But, simply having accounts isn’t enough.
Keep your account information updated and accurate. If something about your business changes, your social media profile should change, too.
You must regularly post new content on your social media pages. Don’t create an account and then forget about it. Frequent posts keep you in front of customers’ faces. Post about new products and sales, and show your followers what you and your business are up to.

3. Learn from your competitors
Find out what they are doing to attract customers. Their tactics might works for you as you are tying to attract the same customers. For example, if you see that your competitors regularly run ads on Facebook, you should consider doing the same. The regular Facebook ads might indicate that your competitors see success from running this form of advertising.

You can improve your small business marketing by positioning yourself as a local expert. Becoming an expert is one of the long-term marketing tactics for small business, but can provide a big payoff.
Find local interest group meetings that fit in with your business’s brand. Attend them to network, find customers, and show off your expertise.
You can offer yourself as a speaker at local events and meetings. You might also do demonstrations.

Social Media for Business to Business Marketing

 

Social media visitors will follow your business updates and promotional offers and will know more about your business than website visitors.

Decide what social media  platform to use
LinkedIn- Is more business orientated and allows you to connect with more clients and possibly a business partnership.
Facebook and Twitter – Represents a large source of potential clients because of its popularity.
Instagram and Pinterest– Allows  businesses  depending on the industry to promote itself with pictures. Post attractive images of your products and boost your potential client base.

Develop a strategy
1. Be clear on your target audience – Its important to know who you are aiming to reach as potential clients. Connect and engage with that audience.
2. Content Sharing – Use engaging videos and images and post links to blog content.
3. Have clear social media goals- Each post should be tailored depending on if you aiming to boost website visitors or gain more likes and shares.

Social media is very important for B2B marketing.  B2B buyers will conduct research before making a decision and  satisfied clients will spread the word via social media. Its important to be part of this process and be able to interact and connect via social media.

 

Businesshands

Business in the doldrums? Here’s how to kick start it back into life

If you’ve clicked through to read this article, the chances are your business is a little bit stuck at the moment. The phones aren’t ringing, your inbox is empty and your sales team aren’t delivering the goods. You could of course, put it down to Brexit, or the Election result or even the hot weather, but that doesn’t help to get things moving again. What you need is a plan of action, a business turnaround plan to get you back off the blocks and below we’ve listed some key pointers to help you do just that.

Be Brutal

It’s time to cut needless expenses out of the business to give you more money to spend on creating new business. Here’s what to check:

  • Technology – Are you paying for software you’re not using? Are there cheaper alternatives to the software you do use? Are you getting the best value from your IT support contract? Are there any contracts you can renegotiate?
  • Utilities – Don’t pay over the odds for your electricity, water, gas or internet. Shop around and you could save big
  • Rent and business rates – Do you really need that expensive office in that exclusive postcode? Do all of your employees need to come into the office every day or can you hot desk and downsize your office space?
  • Staff – Is every member of staff adding value to your business? If not, why are they on the payroll? What about your sales team? Are there individuals that always have a deal “just round the corner” that never closes? If so, it’s time to give them a deadline to close their deals or find a new job.
  • Your bank statement – Last but not least, go through your business bank statement with a fine toothcomb. You’d be amazed at what you’re probably paying for on a monthly basis that you hadn’t accounted for. Eliminate all unnecessary expenses and question any payments you don’t recognise.

Go back to basics

For many business owners, the idea of writing a business plan when you’re already years into your journey could seem like a waste of time. After all, you know your business, you know your industry and you know your clients, right? But times change and if that were the case, the business wouldn’t be in the position it’s in today. A business plan forces a business owner (or leadership team) to ask itself questions about the business that are often overlooked. It questions the assumptions a business has been built on and can lead to genuine business insight which can help to reshape the company going forward. Putting a business plan in place with strategic objectives and revenue targets for the next 1 – 5 years helps to focus your mind and your business development activities on achieving those goals at all costs. Most importantly perhaps, it can help to justify any expenditure needed to change the business to meet those long-term objectives. The savings you made in point 1 should go some way to help pay for any changes that need to be made.

Look at the market and adjust your message

Following nicely on from point 2 – if you’ve done your business plan correctly, you’ll have taken a deep dive into your customers, your competition and your industry. That means you will hopefully have identified if your customer’s needs have changed. You’ll also have noted if the industry or most importantly your competition are talking about the product or service you offer in a different way. Ask yourself, is your message and your offering still as relevant today as it was when you set up the business? If it’s not, you need to adapt to survive. Failure to do so will almost definitely result in the failure of your business.

Communicate

Having a business that is not hitting its sales targets is not just a worry for business owners and CEOs. It’s a worry for employees too. It’s important to explain the predicament the business is in to employees, particularly if you’re planning on making changes. Make sure they understand the gravity of the situation and their role in helping the business move forward to better times. By keeping your team in the loop, there will be less pushback about any changes that need to be made and it may even work to your advantage by bringing everyone together to work towards a common goal. Remember, communication is not only about delivering bad news. It’s important to celebrate the good news too so be sure to make public any big business wins.

Put a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy in place

A common theme with many companies that find their sales figures heading south is their reliance on just one method to get new business through the door. Enterprise software companies for example, tend to focus heavily on using sales teams to make outbound, new business calls. E-commerce websites rely heavily on Google Ads, whilst restaurants tend to rely on review sites and online guides. Of course, they use these methods because they work, but they need to be backed up with secondary and tertiary business development channels at the very least. This means that when one method is drying up, the other methods can pick up the slack. A good business will use an array of business development tools including Google PPC, social advertising, blogging, email, events and outbound calling.

Don’t get complacent

So you’ve reshaped the business and things are looking good. Now it’s time to sit back and reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in… or maybe not. Industry leading companies are always looking for new ways to drive their business forward. They want to be ahead of the competition, trying new ideas, engaging with potential clients in different ways and innovating wherever and whenever possible. It’s a good strategy to have. The best time to try new things, is when you’ve got cash in the bank to absorb anything that doesn’t work out. If it does work out, you’ll be in even better shape should you run into difficult times again in the future.

7 things you need to do to your website right now

So you’ve just had a brand new website built and you’re ready for launch. It’s packed full of glossy images. Stacked full of information about your company and jacked up to the nines with widgets to let people follow you, sign up to your newsletter or even book a meeting. It’s all very exciting and you’ve led the project from start to finish. You really feel it shows off, not just your creative genius but also the values and the personality of the brand it represents. But before you hit the “launch” button, there’s a few things you should be checking to make sure your website doesn’t end up doing more damage to your brand than good. Things which you’d be amazed how many businesses fail to do.

Check for spelling and grammar errors

For every website that is spelling and grammar error free, there will be five more websites that are littered with literary mistakes and that’s bad for business. If you’re building an all singing, all dancing website, it can be easy to get caught up in the aesthetics and the functionality and forget to proof read the information your website displays. For best practice, get at least two other people to proof read the entire website before going live. If you’ve already gone live, go back and do it anyway.

Check for inaccurate or outdated information

Yes, this might be a shiny new website, but for many, the temptation to copy and paste at least a few paragraphs from the old website will be strong and why not. After all, the company has probably not changed much over the years so where’s the harm? Well, if your website contains statistics or outdated processes from a decade ago, it’s not going to look very relevant today. Similarly, expressing pride for winning an award back in 2012 isn’t going to make you look like a very forward thinking company. But what’s more important than both of these however, is if your website mentions laws or regulations that have changed. You could become liable if a visitor comes to your website for advice and then suffers because of it.

Check your links work

Links between different areas of your website are good for SEO and depending on the size and type of your website, your links could run into the tens or even hundreds. But faulty links have the opposite effect. They’re bad for SEO and bad for the customer experience so check every link works before going live. The most common link failures we come across are the social media icons, which often still link to the web developer’s social media sites or don’t go anywhere at all.

…. A further note on social media links

If you have no intention of implementing a social media strategy and will not be using your social media regularly, we would recommend not putting links to them on your website. Social Media is used by prospective clients as a validation tool to aid in the buying process. If you are not using social media, it’s better to not advertise the fact. If you have an existing website with social media links and you’re not using social media, ask your development team to remove them.

Make sure your contact information is correct

Its easily overlooked, but check the website developer hasn’t left a “filler” number in the contact information field or in the footer by mistake? If it looks like the right number, just go through it slowly. You’d be surprised how many times a couple of numbers are the wrong way around or one of the numbers is missing. What about the email address. Is that correct? Is it still in use? Have you tested it recently? It would be a shame if customers are emailing you and their message is going into an online abyss. And of course, don’t forget to test your contact forms too. Do they work? Where do they point to? Will your customer receive an automated responder once they send in a query?

Check it works equally well on a mobile

With well over half of all internet traffic taking place on a mobile device these days, if you’re website is not mobile compatible, your business will seriously miss out. It’s worth remembering that Google rates mobile friendly websites higher than non-mobile friendly sites, so even if your website is viewable but not “mobile compatible” your Google ranking will be affected. And if your web developer says your website is mobile friendly, don’t just take their work for it. It’s up to you to thoroughly test your site. Often developers will use website themes (like a template) which automatically adjusts the website for different devices, however they don’t always work as they should and you might find different parts of your website end up overlapping or become unusable.

Get third party feedback

Last but not least, ask someone who is not immediately involved in your organisation to look at your website and explain to you what you do and the value you offer. So often, the content of a website is written by someone so entrenched in the company and the industry they represent that the message they deliver is not coherent to people on the outside. Remember, your message has to explain to a potential customer, the value you deliver and why they should have an interest in your products or services. It doesn’t need to deliver a detailed historical account of your company or provide in-depth technical specifications for your offering (unless you are an e-commerce site).

So there you go. 7 simple things you can do right now to make your website that little bit better. Of course there are many more and we’d welcome your thoughts and advice, so website guru’s – we look forward to you adding your thoughts in the comments field below.