Archive for category Web Marketing
SME’s say marketing is critical to growth, but measuring return on investment (ROI) holds them back. Has it held you back?
This was the question posed to members at our recent Business Exposure Group meeting.
If ROI is difficult to measure for a marketing activity, then don’t do it, was the view of one member. Others felt that they did unplanned marketing activities with no certainty of ROI and not included in the marketing budget. Research shows that businesses that develop and use a marketing plan go on to outperform those that don’t, by an average of 30% and every £1 spent on advertising benefits an SME eight times as much as it would benefit a larger company (Deloitte).
Marketing is important to SME’s but, lack of budget, lack of expertise and time are barriers. Some of our members see marketing as a cost, not an investment in the future, and only 20% of SME’s believe that increased marketing spend will be their path to growth.
However, those businesses which seem to be flying are marketing led. They have the marketing budget at the top of their business agenda – if you are not spending you are not gaining customers!
Tracking where the enquiries are coming from is crucial. It is easier to track ROI from a digital campaign rather than a traditional one. Always ask an enquirer where and how they found out about your business. Is your record keeping system good enough to make sense of where to spend your money? Understanding, ROI is important, but some felt that measuring ROI was futile because most marketing is about creating long term brand recognition.
68% of SME’s say it is difficult to get customers to take action as a result of marketing, questioning how much should be invested.
Consider a ROI formula? ___ROI ____ x 100 as a percentage, so you can work out
whether one medium generates 15% and another 50%, then clearly you know where to invest your money. When you spend £1 on marketing how much should you expect in return? A good return thought by the members was in the region of 5/1.
If a marketing activity can’t be measured perfectly, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered, but don’t throw money across the whole marketing mix without deciding quickly what works and what doesn’t.
All the members concluded that they needed to spend more time on the question of ROI when glibly doing ‘appropriate’ marketing.
As more and more customers use the internet to access products and services, building a good website has never been more important. Businesses should never underestimate the value of good website design and user-friendly navigation when it comes to building their reputation.
Gone are the days when customers solely relied upon recommendations via word of mouth. In today’s marketplace, many of your customers may never have heard of you until they enter search terms for the service they require into the internet and are led to your website.
As a result, your website is often now the first contact they will make with your company and it needs to be as helpful, striking and informative as possible.
As a business, your website must act as a sales funnel if it is to bring you increased custom and profit. A successful website is a gold mine of information containing powerful, relevant and useful facts which are of benefit to your customers.
It should offer more than a visitor can absorb in one visit and act as a continuing source of advice and guidance. You need great free content – which can spread virally.
Good content attracts larger audiences and creates credibility. This the new marketing expense. Do you know why customers would be interested in your site? Identify the unique benefits you offer and base your written content around these core issues.
Many businesses fall into the trap of using their website as a free promotional tool, advertising themselves and their services to potential customers. The best websites, however, deliver what the visitor wants to read and provides free, genuine advice which makes their lives easier.
A good business website will keep visitors signed in. Many websites have links that take visitors away.
Visibility is key to developing a successful website. Businesses should register with lots of search engines to maximise the chances of being ‘seen’ and fully utilise social media.
How important is SEO in the creation of a website?
While there are still people who search for a tradesman in local directories, most customers nowadays turn to a search engine to provide them with a list of options. Businesses which want to maximise opportunities and attract more customers should aim to enhance their position in a Google search using keywords.
Once you have identified the keywords which are applicable to your industry, use them liberally on your site and preferably in headings. Competition can be very strong when it comes to keywords, especially if your business offers a common product or service, so it is better to find something more specific to your business which will give you a better shot at reaching higher rankings.
Web design – Simplicity is the key
Web design works best when pictures and text state the obvious. Remember, websites are used by your customers and should be constructed in a way that makes their life easier. So that it gives them a good visitor experience.
Good website design provides web-users with instant information. Web users are notoriously impatient and will lose interest with too much text and busy pages.
Businesses should respond to queries quickly and utilise the unique information available for future marketing purposes by gathering visitor data and feedback. This can be sourced through online surveys or newsletter subscriptions.
Using a website optimiser will enable you to ascertain which content on your site users respond to best, to improve your conversion rates. Businesses also have the option of testing different landing pages via pay per click campaigns for the same purpose but in different styles, to see which message works best.
At the end of the day. Stop simply advertising yourself and deliver what your visitors want to read.