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Business Web Marketing 101: From Concept to Web Presence Creation

Whether you have an existing business or you are planning to start a new business, the business of web marketing should be high on your list of priorities. The Internet as we know it is vast, ubiquitous and, thanks to mobile computing, it’s in everyone’s pockets. If your business isn’t marketing its services on the web, you are likely losing out on serious revenue. The time to market your business online is now. The following is a short checklist that will help you get your business Internet marketing presence up and running quickly.

Market Research

Without the proper market research, even the most well-thought out business web marketing strategy will likely fail. A business must know its audience through and through and, furthermore, there must be a demand for the brand or the products and services that brand promotes. In the past, the business of marketing was much more difficult. To conduct the proper search, you would have to hire focus groups and design polls in order to put a finger on the pulse of your future prospects. Today, we have social media which makes the entire business of web marketing much easier.

Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and popular online forums are great ways to get into the minds and aspirations of your prospects and customers. The business of web marketing requires you to get to know the men and women you will be marketing to. What better way to get to know your prospects and customers than by monitoring their conversations or even engaging them directly?

Thanks to the tools most people use to keep in contact with friends, family and (good for us) their favorite businesses, products and services, we now have a window into the lives of the very people we will be marketing to. What a time to be alive as a business-to-business or business-to-consumer Internet marketer.

Other Research

To effectively market a web presence online, you must conduct the proper keyword research. Knowing which keywords to use in your marketing materials will help you rank higher in the search engines thanks to search engine optimization (SEO). The proper keywords will also be used in future PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, which are essential for maximizing your business web marketing efforts.

Google AdWords is one of the most widely used PPC platforms and there is a built in keyword research tool that is free to use. Business web marketing experts from all over the world use this tool to find those keywords that are highly searched for, but that offer the least amount of competition. By competition, we are referring to websites and other online materials that may be using those same keywords in an attempt to garner attention from the search engines through SEO.

Competitor Research

Notice how we haven’t even begun to discuss a website or even graphics, which is typically where the beginner wants to begin. Right now we are merely discussing concepts, ideas and the concepts and ideas that your customers will go gaga for. This requires extensive research, both market and keyword, but it also requires you to research your direct competitors.

When you find the keywords that you plan to use in your business web marketing campaigns, start looking those keyword terms up using Google or similar search engine. Start researching the first few listings that each term yields. These are the websites and pages created by your direct competition. It is recommended that you take what works from these sites and make them better. Now you are ready to market your small business with a website and other materials.

Web Design and Development

Many people think that the business of marketing relies mostly on sight. It’s the images that count, a business-to-business Internet marketing beginner might say. That online marketer might have a point to a degree. The design of your site does matter, as do the colors. Certain colors have been known to elicit certain responses in people and if your website looks like trash, most people aren’t going to bother to stick around.

That being said, your business web marketing presence does not need to be flashy or laden with the best videogame-like graphics. Your website should be simple, pleasing to the eye and the entire presence should mesh together into one cohesive element.

If you are not artistic or if you don’t know PHP from HTML, it’s recommended that you hire someone to do this part for you. While there are many do-it-yourself open source web design platforms online, if you don’t know what you’re doing it’s usually going to show. Don’t skimp on the design. Let the experts do it for you and wow your audience with a design that flows with your overall message.

Content

A business web marketing site should be filled with content that is useful, well-produced and to-the-point. Nobody wants to read a website filled with a lot of fluff, nor does anyone want to read one that is filled with grammar and spelling mistakes. Keep your information short and sweet, go for shorter paragraphs as opposed to longer ones and always have a call-to-action.

State Your Goals

In the business of marketing online, you should always write down and memorize your goals beforehand. With so much information out there and so many techniques to choose from, it’s easy to get sidetracked. When you know where you’re going, you’ll be more likely to get there.

The goal of your website may be to garner more leads, sell a product or service or it may be a squeeze page designed to capture valuable information from your online visitors. Whatever the case, your business web marketing presence should always have a clear call-to-action so that your audience and web visitors always know what to do.

10 Simple Strategies to Increase Referrals and Increase Sales To Your Business

Step 1: Change Your Mindset on Referrals

First of all, let’s clear out some cow webs from your thinking about referrals before we dig into creating a system for getting and increasing referrals to your business. Realize that referrals are the least expensive and one of the most efficient marketing methods to build a business and practice. Yet most businesses do not create and implement a complete referral blueprint system. They haphazardly take a shot at it but are not consistent with it as they do not have a true referral system in place in which they and their employees routinely implement. Therefore, client referrals are the untapped “gold mine” collecting dust or are right underneath a business rarely explored and left un-mined.

This is what many of you do or have done in the past: plow straight to asking for referrals almost immediately after the “close” or delivering a of product/service without establishing a foundation of trust. That’s like asking someone to marry you after just going out one time. Huh? Are you kidding me? Then why do you ask for referrals before establishing and building trust? It can be perceived as sleazy and lowers your credibility.

Step 2: Are They a “Client” or a “Customer.”

The term “client” originally denoted a person or entity under the protection and patronage of another, hence a person protected by an adviser (trust-based relationship), while the term “customer” denoted a person or organization that simply buys goods or services from a business (transactional relationship only). So from now on refer to them as a “client.”

So here’s a simple question: Which would you rather be, a trusted adviser and authority for your clients and someone who they will keep in mind (two-way benefit), or just a person or business that a client contacts or visits only when they want something (one-way benefit)?

Step 3: How Referrals Happen:

Referrals take place when your client trust you or your business to deliver high-quality products and world-class service(s). When you’ve just closed a transaction but not yet delivered, you still have to prove to the client that you can. So, rather than do the typical thing and ask for a referral at “closing”, as has been taught for decades now, change things around and use the “post-closing” conversation to describe action items that you will take on their behalf that will earn the client’s trust. Ask the client how you could be of service to them or what other services or products would they like to see offered that would help them out or make life easier?

With that mindset and foundation in place, here are the 10 Strategies to Increase Referrals and Revenue to Your Business:

STRATEGY #1: World-Class Service!

Provide world-class service so that the customer feels that there is little risk in recommending your business, your firm or you to their network of family, friends and associates. You do that with each and every single client, no matter how big or small the value of the transaction. In some cases, they may be “testing the waters.” Case in point: I had a client who began our business relationship with only $5,000 but within a couple of months it turned into a $450,000 client. He said he wanted to see what kind of quality service was delivered. He also happily referred other major clients as well.

World-class service, first of all, is the correct thing to do. What did you think you would do: provide sub-par service and expect to build a long-standing business? It also makes clients feel and believe that they matter, make a difference and are important to you and your business or practice. You are their trusted advisor, expert and “doctor” that can cure the pain they have in the area in which you provide services or products.

STRATEGY #2: Be Engaging, Not “Salesy!”

Befriend your existing clients and future clients by engaging with them in friendly non-business or non-marketing conversation at school, meetings, social events, business networking events, place you frequent often (restaurants, church, synagogue, market, etc.), community events (parades, fairs, farmer’s markets, etc.) and other non-business related gatherings (local chamber, city or entertainment). The hint: don’t approach every engagement as a possibility to sell but rather to offer service, educate or help people.

STRATEGY #3: Ask and You Shall Receive!

Once you’ve engaged the client and earned a level of trust, ask for a referral appropriately, but ASK! What it would it take for the client to refer you to his or her network of family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues? Let them know that you prefer to work with and service a network of clients you have a connection to.

Advise them of Strategy #7 and if they are willing, receptive and, in some instances, incentivized to giving a referral, then get the contact information (name, address, phone number and email). The best referrals are when a prospect calls you (not the other way around) as the result of a recommendation from an existing client.

Then kindly ask the client to contact the referral (text, call or email) to let them know you will contact them and remind the client that with their permission you will mention their name to the referral.

STRATEGY #4: Them First, Not You!

Since you are their trusted advisor, resource and expert be proactive on their behalf and about their needs by anticipating what they’re likely to want and arranging ahead of time to have it handled, if not by you then someone else. Always be thinking of your client’s interests, hobbies, likes, and needs.

If you find an article or story you believe will help them, will educate them, enhance their life or give them a pep, then send it to them. However, do not make a habit of sending “junk” weekly just so you keep your name in front of them. Yeah, you will but they’ll start to think of you as a spammer not as a trusted advisor! Ask if it was helpful or insightful?

STRATEGY #5: Bring Unique Value to Relationship!

Bring unique value to the relationship with your clients. Be a provider of extra value, by finding something that you can do for the client that may be outside of the expected products and services you already offer. If you don’t know: Ask! Perhaps you can provide that for them in the future and to the rest of your client base. Or, if appropriate, to fill that need you would be willing to recommend another business or person to solve a problem, need or issue they may be experiencing.

By all means, make sure to follow-up with the client on the referral(s). It’s professional and lets them know they matter to you. Thank them and send a “Thank You” card. Be unique and send them a $5 coffee shop gift card or even a $1 lottery ticket.

STRATEGY #6: Be a Referral Machine!

Become a referral marketing machine and consistently give referrals to your own clients, network of family, friends, acquaintances, associates and other businesses that you have previously approached and set-up a mechanism for two-way referrals so that they too can quickly build their own business. This will undoubtedly create a sense of gratitude on their part and increase our side-revenue.

Ask for their business cards and for the referrals you give to them make sure to write on the back of their business card something like: “Thinking of You Jane, Louis F. Vargas”, and keep them always with you. Give them your business cards and marketing literature.

STRATEGY #7: Provide Incentives!

Advertise and announce that your business or practice offers incentives, discounts or “thank you” rewards to anyone who gives your business or practice a referral that turns into a client for you.

You can incentivize clients and tun them into an unpaid sales staff and pied piper for your business when you pay them a bonus for sending you referrals. You can give them discounts on their next transaction or appointment with you. Or, in cases, where regulations exist and a professional cannot pay an unlicensed individual for a referral you can offer “goodies” (for example, gift basket, gift certificate, movie tickets, lunch/dinner certificate to their favorite place, etc.) as a way to thank them and to them show how much you appreciate the referral.

STRATEGY #8: 100% Money-Back/Warranty!

Offer a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee that is unabashedly and clearly marketed on your website, flyers, print material, business cards, business signs and place of business. A guarantee can be in the form of cash-back, credit for other merchandise or 100% protection warranty for 12 months from the time the service was completed.

This is a huge trust generating factor and crucial for new prospects or referrals. It lets their guard down significantly.

STRATEGY #9: Testimonials/Endorsements!

Obtain testimonials and endorsements from your clients. People are busy and have no idea what to write as a testimonial, so ask them if it would be easier for them if you pre-wrote a testimonial which they could review and edit, if necessary. That way it’s nice and easy for them and they feel they are helping you without having to bog down their mind about “writing” a testimonial.

You then use them everywhere: on your website, place of business, business cards, marketing literature, etc. It establishes trust.

STRATEGY #10: Educate Clients and People!

Attend business networking meetings and events (chamber of commerce, Meetup, BNI, conferences etc.) with a purpose to educate and offer advice, not just to gather business cards and be a “hustler.”

Give out valuable literature that contain “social proof” (i.e. testimonials/endorsements and (eBook/article/Special Report) that educates people on the topic or area in which you are an expert in. Ask for referrals from business people at networking events in the course of an engaging conversation if appropriate at the time if not set up a date and time to find out more about them and their needs.

CONCLUSION

Yup, you got it! Clients and prospective clients like and prefer to do business with people and organizations that they know, like and trust. Be honest in how you provide services to your clients and how you answer questions from prospective ones. If you don’t know the answer tell them so. We’re human and are not expected to know everything. But do tell them you will find out and follow through with them. Then do it!

Referrals are about trust, acting like and being perceived as the go-to expert and trusted advisor of your clients, business associates, colleagues, media and even your competitors. Implement this strategic referral system with military-like consistency, precision and dedication to achieving victory and you will find all the gold there is!

How to Get Lower Business Insurance Quotes

Business insurance is considered as most valuable and basic necessity for any business. Business insurance protects your business from losses incurring from unexpected events like fire, theft, flood, vandalism or injury to an employee or customer. Insurance helps in keeping your business active in the event of any loss and helps in recovering the cost.

You need to identify the risks that your business is prone to and accordingly choose the cover for your business. Go through multiple insurance quotes and choose the one that offers comprehensive cover at affordable premium rates.

Following are a few tips on how to get lower business insurance quotes:

Adopt safe business practices
Every business has its own set of risks while in operation. You need to carefully study the risks and consequently take measures to reduce them. Some of the risks that may affect your business operations are safety and health of your employees, security of data, breakdown of equipment and building security. You can overcome them by adopting sound and safe business practices. You need to manage risks as it reduces the cost of insurance and also helps employees to work in a safe environment. Remember, greater the risk, higher the insurance premiums.

Train your staff to follow health and safety procedures
You need to provide a safe and healthy workplace for your staff, for which you need to identify the hazards that may affect your business and train your staff to follow it. You need to inform and involve your staff in taking up health and safety procedures such as handling the equipment and machinery safely, and educate them about the negative effects of using drugs or alcohol at workplace, how to get over physical or mental tiredness, etc.

Draft a business continuity plan
It does not matter if your business is small or big, a clearly drafted business continuity plan is a blueprint that ensures that your business will be well maintained in the next 5 to 10 years. Include the possible business risks that may take place such as fire, floods, theft and possibility of injury to employees or customers and determine the unexpected occurrences that may affect your business adversely. A well drafted detailed business continuity plan shows your readiness and professionalism to the insurance company and will help them in taking the correct decision on how much amount to be charged as premium.

Make sure that the insurance policy is customized
Insurance policies, to fit your business, must be tailored in such a way that they cover the risks that are relevant to your business. You need to exclude covers which are irrelevant, as this may simply increase your premiums. Pay premiums for the risks that you expect to be covered and not for the ones which do not even exist for your business.

Take help of an insurance broker
A professional insurance broker will tailor a policy according to your business’ risks. He will present it to different insurance companies to get comprehensive and affordable quotes. It saves a lot of your time and money. Professional insurance brokers will take care of renewing your existing insurance policy and will also help you with legal issues while facing claims. Therefore, take help of professionals in this field to obtain business insurance with low premiums.

As a business owner, you need to protect your business from any kind of unexpected risks. Get insurance that suits your business’ needs from a suitable insurance broker who will help you in getting insurance for your business at lower premium rates.