Local Business Social Media and Online Marketing – To Generate Leads

local business marketing online and social media

Local businesses and salespeople need to really focus more on their online marketing. With the growth in mobile devices there is so much opportunity to have your business found through search engines or shared through social media from anywhere.

Even if you’re just a local Auckland business marketing to your suburb, you can also be discovered from anywhere. You need to have an online presence that shines for prospective customers.

With marketing online, the end game is getting a list of contacts that you can market to.

In the old days this was a physical address but now it’s the all important email address.

To get these emails we create an online ‘Sales’ funnel. The funnel will look like this:

 

 

 

  1. advertising driving awareness and traffic
  2. read magnets
  3. lead magnets
  4. marketing
  5. asking for the sale
  6. maintaining a relationship with your loyal customers

A read magnet is really good free content that people consume. It’s a gift to potential clients. The aim with this content is to make it so good that people feel that they need to reciprocate the gift by doing something in return.

They do this through sharing the content or downloading an eBook or booking a webinar. These items are your lead magnets. Valuable content that you may charge small fee for or you might just give away too.

Your lead magnet of course requires their email, and maybe some basic details.

(I have a lead magnet of sorts in my free audit tool).

From there you have the ability to market to them on a regular basis and take them down a funnel to ultimately buy from you or subscribe to your services.

Building an email list is the one thing that you need to make the main thing consistently.

With your funnel in place – we then drive traffic to the funnel using social media or paid advertising.

So how do I use Social Media?

To understand the best approach to this we need to understand traditional and modern media.

Traditional mass media

Television, radio and print media are platforms where you need to pay to get your content shared – they provide us with entertainment and education.

We watch/listen/read programs or publications that:

  • tell us what the latest news is
  • entertain us and make us feel better
  • educate us on how to be smarter, fitter, richer, etc.

In between TV shows (if we don’t Tivo or Sky record and jump over them) brands inject ads. We’ve come to accept its the price we pay for the entertainment they provide.  Local business marketing has had some take up for radio and TV but many find it too expensive and untargeted.  People that aren’t in an area they service see the message and often the leads are uniformed.

Social Media and more specifically Facebook has become mass media


We go there for entertainment and to keep up with our community.  People only share and interact with content that will:

  • tell us what the latest news is
  • make us feel better
  • make us look better (smarter, fitter, richer etc) in front of their peers.

But because these new online mass marketing channels like Facebook don’t have ad breaks we are very wary of brands, companies and local businesses putting ads in our news feed.

But Facebook is mass targeted media

We are still very reluctant to accept that it’s the price we have to pay for the entertainment social networks provide.

Local business marketing has take this up because they see it as inexpensive targeted. The smart ones pay to get their message in front of exactly the right type of customer. But what do they say?

The workaround for social media and online marketing

Some say the key to success in business is leading with generosity – being of service to your customers.

If we share educational content around the local services we offer we will be found online through SEO. People will share our content as the local expert if it is:

  • topical
  • makes them feel better
  • or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.

To help you create or share content that is topical and entertaining visit Google alerts to create an email that is sent to you as new content is indexed for:

  • topical news in your industry
  • local philanthropic news that could make them feel better

This is a fairly clinical description of how to be a relatable person online but sometimes we forget to be relatable and dive straight into selling.

In Browns Bay last week the if I was a local business in Browns Bay I would share photos of this and how you’re proud of the community getting involved.  While this won’t generate leads, you will be seen as a connector in your community and this topical entertaining content is relatable.

It’s not enough to just produce ‘content’ – Your Uniqueness your USP and niche has to shine 

People do business with people they know, like and trust.

Ultimately, regardless of our job or career, we are all salespeople. Some sell products or services, others buy-in on ideas or concepts and many are just convincing others to do their bidding.

We all have something that makes us unique as salespeople and that capacity needs to be your ‘angle’ online. Your unique selling point needs to come through as there are so many of us out there vying for eyeballs and dollars. Your angle allows you to create long tail keywords – which basically means when people look for something specific you have less competitors in search results.

There is one person online touting that they are “fluent in Agile Digital Marketing, Portuguese, Spanish and Residential Architecture”. Don’t bother Googling. I’m the only result.

We can add to this uniqueness our audience. This might be through simple demographic and geographic segmentation of your market. Even better would be creating a buyer persona. A description of your ideal customer that you can address when creating content. With this persona you can ask each time you blog, create a video, post on social media. Will this resonate with ‘Sam ‘ my ideal customer and does it help them on their journey with my business.

If we know our audience, our uniqueness and what problem we solve it is far easier to evaluate if a marketing any activity fits with our business.

We can then get your audience to “know” you online and create a loyal connections with people that share your posts and ultimately buy your product or service and encourage others to do the same.

Remember the more valuable the content the more people will perceive your products or services to be of even greater value.

There’s a tendency to hold back from divulging secrets online. Your secret is in the fact that you can combine your services in your unique way to create success for your small local business, yourself or your brand.

So what do you share in specific networks?

Not having a company profile for you local business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter is a missed opportunity to:

  • create links to your website
  • be found or shared by other members of the network
  • to interact with your customers
  • to drive traffic to your read magnets – the start of your ‘sales’ funnel.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business social network, an online resume and content sharing platform for business people.

People use this network to find jobs or work and to learn from others how to be better professionals.

Sharing
Share content that is relevant to your local audience and that makes you be seen as the local expert. Respect that it is a business platform. Memes and potty humor has no place here – or anywhere you’re trying to be professional right?

Recommending
One other useful piece of functionality on LinkedIn are the recommendations

If you can, request a recommendation on LinkedIn and connect with each of your customers. LinkedIn even lets you suggest wording for a potential recommendation – this is an opportunity for you to incorporate local keyword terms and your speciality into the recommendation. Make it easy for them to recommend your services and products.

Connecting
LinkedIn is a great tool for collecting and maintaining business contacts. Use it to introduce contacts to others that may need their service. I call this Triadic connections. If you do this regularly and often, people will come to you and think of you as a connector – the local expert that ‘knows somebody that does X’.

Facebook

Facebook is the main social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.  

People use this network to keep in touch with family and friends, sometimes to learn and regularly to entertain themselves.

Sharing
Remember people like to share content on Facebook that’s:

  • topical
  • makes them feel better
  • or is useful in making them feel smarter, fitter or richer in that area.

Get yourself set up with a Facebook business page and try to attain fans that really like your business.  As people discover your content and they’ll like your page to receive more.

Buying page likes can have a negative effect on reach – for each unengaged follower you acquire (people that don’t enjoy your content by giving it a like, comment or share) you decrease the reach of your posts.

Promoting posts and linking to your site is a great way to get traffic. Targeted posts – even at just 5 or 10 dollars a post allows you to target specific audiences on Facebook. In general for about 1.4 cents you can reach a person on Facebook.

We can also “retarget” those that visit your website with an ad to remind them to come back.  Once you have a database of emails (from followers on your website) you can use that list to market to them on Facebook and to what Facebook calls look-alike groups. Those with similar profiles – that would have a similar propensity to like, share your content and enter your sales funnel.

Twitter

Twitter is the second social network for the majority of people in the English speaking world.
People use this network to find out about breaking news and to share and discover content on specific themes.

Sharing
It is a great place to share content on your industry for all audiences. The users of Twitter are a small subset of your target audiences. That said,  journalists, gatekeepers and key industry experts are on Twitter.  Aim to use the fast-paced news focus of Twitter for newsjacking opportunities. You can follow trending events by clicking on a #hashtag and then using that hashtag within your message to reach others that are reading that stream.

Here are two examples of newsjacking:

  1. California trial lawyer comments on legal aspects of news to grow influence

  2. Hillary Clinton leveraged the #superbowl hashtag.

     

     

Instagram

The fourth big social network and owned by Facebook.
People use this network to share pictures of their world, motivational quotes and memes.

Sharing
A lot of brands, celebrities, authors and consultants use this channel to show behind the scenes, the personality of their brand in an authentic manner. The only clickable link from this mobile centric app is in you profile so it is challenging to drive traffic to your website without creating a sponsored post.

Google business

Although the google plus is not the most lively of social networks, creating a business page at https://business.google.com/manage/ allows you to register your details and confirm your location.

This is great when people search for your local business as it will show result near them. In this example you can see burger joints near me in Auckland. These results are pushing the organic or unpaid search results further down the page.

Burger Fuel and McDonald’s are paying to appear above the map results and the first organic result for arguably the better burger joint ‘Burger Burger’ only just features on the page.

Using Search Engines to drive traffic to your sales funnel

With your blog posts and read magnets in place, use AdWords campaigns and YouTube video preroll to reach your audience.

With search engine marketing your audience are seeking answers or products. You could choose to pay for exact matches on your product or service like the burger joints are doing above, and have some success with expensive short generic keywords.

Or you could look to use the long tail ‘more niche’ keyword phrases that are related to your read magnets.

If your read magnet is the perfect answer to their question then think of other ways you would phrase the question. Group those terms and and craft an ad that matches the question. This  can really gear up your lead generation and is really limited only by what you consider to be an acceptable cost per acquisition. To put it into perspective,  if you sell a set of tyres with a profit margin of $500 would you mind paying say $5 to have them visit your website and request a quote?

Running online advertising also has a secondary benefit of brand awareness. Google also offers the ability to retarget or re-market to people that have visited your website. The conversion rate for retargeting is significantly higher, but as you may have experienced you can get tired of seeing the same banners everywhere.

Creating end dates and rules around specific pages on your website will optimise the experience for your visitors and your costs. For example if a visitor has completed a purchase then retargeting them with the same product should end.

And with the world consuming more and more video you could explore pre-roll advertisements on YouTube. Again targeting topics and keywords related to your product, service or read magnet topics.

Using other websites and events portals to drive traffic

Groupon / GRAB One / Daily Deals sites

These websites allow you to create fires sales of certain products or services by offering a discount. They have their own existing social media networks, search engine optimisation and Adwords marketing that drive traffic to their websites. So why not leverage them to gear up your sales funnel.

Eventbrite / Meetup / event tools

Similar to the portals mentioned above. If you have an online or offline event coming up you could use these networks drive traffic to your sales funnel as well.


 

OK, so there’s a starter path for local businesses and consultancies to get started online.  I’d love to answer any queries you might have around how to go about specific areas like AdWords or SEO or Social Media. Just drop me a line or contact me. Contact Nick

Podcast 36: Panel Discussion – Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Panelists discuss using social media to grow your business

Welcome to episode 36 of the Waiake – My podcast to help you take your brand to new heights online.

In this episode I wanted to share with you the wisdom of my three co panellists from the recent Harcourts Real Estate Conference. We talk about digital marketing and using social media to grow your business.

We were interviewed by Troy Rawhiti-Forbes who has for the last few years been the conduit between New Zealand’s largest telco and our nation on Twitter and Facebook. Having experienced the highs of branding brilliance and the lows of national outages and email hacks Tory is in good space to bring out the best in my fellow guests and to prompt me to say a few things of merit too.

Coming from quite different backgrounds it was really interesting to get some diverse perspectives – yet hear some common themes as to whats best when using social media to grow your audience and business.

I’ll let you hear Tory give the impressive introductions (I cringed through mine) and I hope you find it of worth as the topics covered work in many industries.

If you’re keen to follow along the other panelist are:

HR

Key takeaways:

  • Know your Unique Selling Points and incorporate this into your online presence and SEO.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new networks, find out what fits best with you.
  • Always be transparent in your actions.
  • Think – “What would I want to hear from a brand?” and “How does this help my customers?”

HR

Three core tactics in my Twitter Strategy

While I loath to call it a strategy, I have decided to take a strategic methodical approach to my use of Twitter.

I’ve decided to:

  1. Network, share and support a core group of influential people in my Dunbar 150 list – daily
  2. Participate in weekly #sshour social selling chats and one other #hashtag chat from a new, unrelated field.
  3. Post useful and insightful links to content from those in my 150 list and insightful sources

But why just three core things you say?

Stick to three focus points and measure their success

I have been reading the book Good To Great by Jim Collins. I which he thorough researches and presents the core elements of what’s behind great companies – those that outperform consistently over time. He summarises a good concise strategy very well.

If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any ~ Jim Collins.

Hence the three pronged approach I am taking on Twitter. They are each in different areas, are SMART and can be measured independently.

My Dunbar 150 list – or small group – allows for focused core networking

The UK psychologist Robin Dunbar did some quite thorough research into human relationships and the number of meaningful or at least memorable relationships we can keep. He came to the conclusion that the average person can only really keep – to some reasonable level – relationships with 150 people. If I think of my personal relationships this sounds about right. 50 odd work contacts, 50 odd friends, 25 family members and 25 business connections – give or take.

So hence my Dunbar 150 list on Twitter – it’s still growing, but will include a core group of people – people who’s Tweets are worth reading, they share good content and I really value their input to my time on Twitter.

Participating in #sshour now #SBizHour and other chats to discover new contacts

Being part of a larger hashtag based chat lets me discover cool new people on Twitter, to get different perspectives and a chance to expand my knowledge. I’ve also found myself following along with design hashtags, UX, customer service and just recently social C suite chats. All help me connect with more people and develop a breadth of knowledge.

Share really useful content

Finally, sharing stuff that is really of value is paying off. People comment on it and share it more frequently. If I take the time to explain why it is of value and also add a supporting visual element – content I tweet far more useful! I hope. You will get the odd motivational quote or bit of humour in the mix but I hope that in general you’ll get valuable content from my stream in 2015. Less noise, more signal I hope!

If you’d like to listen to this post I’ve made a short summary here:


On a personal note. Many thanks to those subscribed to my blog. I wish you all very happy holiday season and a great 2015!

What Crazy Chef – Gordon Ramsay – Has Taught Me About Online Marketing

In the background this evening is Ramsay’s kitchen nightmares playing on the TV.

For those who have not been blessed with the acne scarred, expletive derived, Michelin star holding master chef – this post is about a restaurant expert coming in to put things right.  How it relates to digital marketing? You’ll see.

20130429-233125.jpg

Gordon is travelling around the US visiting SMEs and owner operator restaurants. It’s brutal truth as always with expletives in every sentence. Yet…

There are main themes that come through that I would relate back to digital marketing.

  1. Of course his expertise means he can comment on quality and that is step one that many of us forget. User surveys, customer insights and anecdotal comments at client meetings all need to be collected and aggregated. We need to understand explicitly what customers feel about your web presence and work to prioritise improvements. Including users within the organisation!
  2. The second point is that NONE of the owners have an exacting view over costs and income. At either end they are throwing away good food or not catering to the right market and missing income, or don’t even know their income. Having a clear understanding of cost per acquisition, how many of your warm leads are converted to sales or even how many conversions you get from PR, PPC, SEO or Social is paramount to selling ‘marketing’ to your colleagues.
  3. The third is finding your USP, what differentiates you from competitors, direct or indirect. Ramsay brings the basics: fresh, seasoned and tasty. Yet every restaurant brings its own twist. Be it Michelin star presentation, hyper local produce or just like Momma makes. More often than not, once Ramsay has been through they’re leading on price and offering top quality and service. Likewise, we need to have a fresh take, content and aggregation that can’t be found elsewhere. We also need to support this with well managed PPC and SEO to feed the sales loop to be ahead of competitors.
  4. As I watch Gordon work his way around the restaurant each staff member openly shares their thoughts on what’s wrong, and very few seem horrifically off the mark. Flattening hierarchies and asking for feedback from the front line is paramount with your online channels as well. Open communication is needed about how hard it is to run with an incomplete lead, how hard the analytics are to understand, or simply how long it takes to publish. All reflect on your end website and service.
  5. The main underlying point though seems to be stepping back from the routine to focus on what could we do differently. Doing this seals the episode. If we could all schedule a monthly day-long growth hacking session, where the day to day grind is completely dismissed, I am sure that our digital marketing will grow from strength to strength. Innovate.

As Henry Ford said –

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

SoLoMoCo the four essential pillars of online marketing

SoLoMoCo - Social Media, Local Marketing, Mobile Marketing and Content

Digital Marketing has its old favourite acronyms and phrases that marketers, heck anyone online needs to need to understand at a tactical level: SEO, PPC ,CTR, CPA, Long tail, edge rank, to name a few.

But at a strategic level there are four characters we should all be focusing on over the next year.

SoLoMoCo
As I’m yet to have lunch I’ve taken a food theme to lay out the member of the SoLoMoCo team.

Boris Johnson in Tooting

Social Media
Mr Social is the friendly manager/landlord. He knows all the guests personally and makes sure to say hi to all and sundry. He know his valued connections and who can help him with his cause. People follow him and can’t wait for what he’ll say next. Although he looks like a bit of a show off, he knows the 80/20 rule and spends lot more time sharing his friends thoughts over his own.

Dallas Farmers Market 2

Local or geographically base search and interaction
Mr Local is the king of the farmers market. You search for him and his big banner pops up and is relevant to those within a stone’s throw. He does a different farmers market each week and he has a tailored offering for each location. Oh and its fresh stocked daily with new products and content.

bread sled

Mobile
Mobile is the driver of a turbocharged breadtruck. He needs to be ultra-fast and lightweight. Right now – you at least get a custom packaged takeaway meal from him. Very soon networks will be so fast he will need to offering you the full menu. Knowing that snacking on the run and delivery are the future of dining, restaurants will even think takeaway first. The same is happening with the web!

The Story Teller

Content
I’ve left the storyteller to last, the one that ties brand messages together. He’s not new to the mix but his face is more prominent. He’s the one that knows how to tell the true story the brand. He has many hats and could be the landlord for all we know. But he thinks innovatively about content.

He throws a cameraman in for a wild ride in the breaddruck. He shows you the variety at the farmers market, the care that the chefs take with meals and the personalities behind everything. He also talks about customers, their experiences and has a story for those considering buying, those buying and those that will buy again.

Now you know the team spots. Make sure you’ve got players!