5 Reasons to Hire a Marketing Consultant Even Though You Don’t Want To

photo credit: inneedofhelp08 via photopin cc

I’m a marketing consultant, so the title of this post may not appear too shocking, but let me start off with why not to hire a consultant.

Consultants aren’t magicians. Don’t go looking for someone to fix your marketing if your product doesn’t make sense. Don’t expect a consultant to swoop in and get you more clients if you don’t have a methodology that allows you to stand out. And finally, don’t hire a consultant so you can abdicate the all-important role of marketing to an “expert.”

A really good consultant won’t take your money unless they believe they can actually help you and, no matter what you believe your burning need is, you should hire a consultant to help you in the following five areas first and foremost.

You need a real strategy

A good consultant will demand that you spend time building a firm foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting traffic. Until you find a way to change the context of how your ideal customer views what you do and in effect render the competition irrelevant, you’ll find that your marketing efforts never seem to build momentum.

You need fewer objectives

A good consultant will help you determine your highest payoff work and your most pressing objectives based on where you want to be in a year, in three years, in five years – not next week. And, a good consultant will make sure that the number of priority objectives at any given time stays very, very small.

You have resource gaps

Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business it’s difficult to spot the areas that require outside help. You may be able to set up your newsletter, add plugins to WordPress and clumsily create header graphics for your social media profiles but is this work actually robbing you from focus on higher payoff work.

Sure, those things above might need to be attended to, but a good consultant will help you stop doing the things that are better handled by others. In fact, they might just help you become the CEO again!

You need to fix your conversion

This might be my favorite. Too many business owners, and sadly some consultants, focus on traffic and likes when the highest priority should be conversion. When you can figure out how to get visitors to your website and prospects that respond to your sales presentation to buy you can build a significant business.

Once you have conversion trending upwards you can buy traffic confident in the fact that you can bank on conversions.

You can’t stay focused

One of the dirty little secrets of consulting is that a part of you simply needs someone to hold you accountable – someone to help you document your goals and objectives and then whack you with some sort of a stick when you wander off into new ideas and social networks, because staying focused seems way too boring.

A part of this is accomplished through nagging and set appointments, but the greatest gains are achieved when your focus starts to produce results. A good consultant will demand metrics tied to objectives and help you process and understand to overarching value you’ll derive by hitting your goals.

Okay, now you can go and check email and play around on Facebook for a bit, but tomorrow it’s back to rocking your marketing plan.

What analyzing 19,000 transactions taught us about mobile sites

Today’s guest post is from Carl MacDonald– Enjoy!

photo credit: splitshire
photo credit: splitshire

Are you selling something online? You need a mobile site.

You’ve no doubt heard that a mobile website is a great way to boost your online sales and revenue… But that’s an understatement. A mobile site is no longer just a benefit; it’s a necessity.

We analysed 19,000 transactions across our successful portfolio of e-commerce clients, looking at the volume of sales which were made via a mobile device. The results were eye-opening. If you’re in the ‘we don’t need a mobile site’ camp, prepare to have your mind changed.

But first, why is a mobile website beneficial?

Mobile websites – an essential requirement

The statistics are simple. According to figures from Ofcom, the independent communications regulator, over half of people in the UK (57%) use their mobile to access the internet.

That means that more than half of the people that you are looking to target are browsing via mobile. And there are other reasons why you should have a mobile-friendly site when selling online…

Mobile sites help with SEO

Sites that are not mobile-friendly are already less likely to rank higher in mobile searches, with mobile-friendly sites given preference by Google.

Additionally, a mobile site reduces bounce rate – another factor that influences search ranking. If a site is optimised for mobile users, they are more likely to be able to use it effectively, remaining on the page for longer.

Google recently added ‘mobile friendly’ labels to mobile search listings, giving potential customers the confidence that they will be able to easily use your site, and importantly, purchase your goods via their mobile.

A mobile site improves user experience

SEO is becoming more about the user experience. Deliver high quality content and an enjoyable browsing experience, and you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings and additional revenue generated by the increased traffic.

A dedicated mobile site greatly increases the user experience because it is optimised for and responsive to the device, meaning visitors (and therefore potential customers) are using a site which is tailored to their needs.

To pass Google’s mobile-friendly test, the user experience is a key consideration. A regular site might appear on a mobile device with tiny text which needs to be zoomed to read, and links clustered together might be clicked accidentally. A dedicated mobile website can help to iron out such issues.

Get ahead of the competition

If they don’t yet have a mobile site, your competitors could be losing out on just as much revenue as you are. Beating them to the punch and launching a dedicated mobile version of your website will allow you to get one step ahead, perhaps even poaching some of their customers – who might then become loyal to your brand.

It’s always nice to see which tactics your competition are using, but at the same time, being a trailblazer in your niche can have its advantages. Being the first to do something gives you a competitive edge and leaves others playing catch-up.

19,000 online sales – what we learned

If those reasons above aren’t enough to convince you that you need a mobile version of your website, take a look at our findings.

Looking at transactions across a broad spectrum of e-commerce clients, we examined the total percentage of sales from mobile phones. More specifically, we looked at the total sales from a mobile phone of clients who had a mobile-friendly website, compared to those who had no mobile site.

Here’s what we found:

  • Companies without a mobile site received 11.85% of their total sales via a mobile device.
  • Clients with a mobile site found that mobile sales accounted for 28.85% of their total online sales.

That means that mobile sales from sites with a mobile version make up almost 2.5 times the amount of overall sales as those without.

The takeaway: Mobile sites increase business

As our research has shown, mobile-friendly e-commerce sites greatly increase the percentage of sales that come from mobile devices.

And that’s not to mention the increased click through that you’ll receive from mobile searches – hopefully driving further custom and revenue. If you haven’t already, make a dedicated mobile site your number one priority.

Are you mobile-friendly?

carlmacdonald_biophotoCarl MacDonald is a copywriter and SEO technician working for Sound Solutions Internet, a UK based web design, development and marketing agency.


Small Business Marketing Tips to Implement in 2015

Today’s guest post is from Chris Bibey – Enjoy!

spruce-image(3)Now that 2014 is in the books, it is time to turn all your attention to the new year. From a marketing perspective, there is one question you need to answer: what can you do in 2015 that will improve on the success you had last year?

Since you only have so much time and money, it is essential to create a plan that will yield the greatest results. Here are five tips to implement in 2015:

1. Don’t give up on what worked in the past.

Which marketing strategies brought your company the best results last year? Once you have an answer to this question, you should carry these over to the next 12 months. Until you see otherwise, you can assume these tactics will continue to produce.

2. Focus on mobile.

This blog post shares some interesting stats related to mobile use, such as the fact that 75 percent of Americans take their phone into the bathroom with them. Along with this, 80 percent of consumers use their smartphone to shop. If you don’t have a strong mobile presence, you are missing the boat.

Additional tip: at the very least, make sure your website is mobile friendly. Along with this, consider contracting with a developer to build an app for your website.

3. Use the internet to increase sales.

This marketing tip doesn’t apply to every business, but if your company sells any type of product or service, physical items in particular, you should focus on building out a powerful online store. You don’t have to build your store from scratch. Instead, you can consider one of the many ecommerce platforms that millions of other store owners are using. From Shopify to Volusion, you have options.

4. Hire outside help.

Let’s face it: you only have so much time to spend on marketing related tasks. This is definitely true for companies with only a few employees, all of who are wearing many hats.

While there are reasons not to hire a marketing consultant, there are quite a few benefits to keep in mind:

  • Free up time in your schedule for more important tasks
  • Professional advice and guidance
  • Somebody who can offer fresh ideas that you and your team may have overlooked

5. Track and measure your return on investment (ROI).

If you aren’t doing this you will never know what is and is not working.

There are many tools that can help you track and measure results, with each one providing data that will assist you in determining where to spend your time and money in the future. You may be surprised at what you find once you open your eyes.

What Now?

These marketing tips may be all you need in order to achieve greater success in 2015. Regardless of what you have done in the past, there are always changes you can make in the future.

The small business landscape is changing from a marketing perspective. If nothing else, consider implementing the five tips above. You may find that one or more of these allow you to reach all your goals.

Chris BibeyHeadshot is a corporate blog specialist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in providing content and consulting services to organizations of all sizes, ranging from start-ups to publicly traded companies.


Tips for Building Marketing Strategies

Today’s guest post is from Evelyn Golston– Enjoy!

Business people in headsets in meetingThe size of your business doesn’t matter that much, it’s the size of your dreams that decide whether a business venture would be a success or not. Every big company in the world started off small and made it big through constant hard work and a tiny bit of luck.

One thing was common in almost all these success stories; they knew how to build a marketing strategy for these businesses from its childhood days itself. And it’s a path that all entrepreneurs must follow if they want to hit the target with their business.

Unlike the big fishes out there, you might not have a specialized team or budget that works on a marketing strategy, but there are a lot of things that could be done within the limits and budget of your small business.

Build the brand through customers

No matter whether a business is small or big, customers are Gods, period. Building a long-term relationship with each and every costumer that stops by will be crucial for the growth of your business as a brand.

It’s through these customers that your business is going to get noticed by other so every interaction made should be with good intentions. Never promise things that you cannot deliver on time and always play it safe if the business is just standing up.

A customer giving a bad review is the last thing we would want while things working the other way around will make the brand building process much easier.

The internet is a game changer

We all live in an era where not using the Internet as a marketing strategy for your business could go down as a sin. Using the same mantra could be a game changer for all the small business out there.

The business could get an infinite amount of reach if it maintains a good hold in the internet. This includes having an ever so active Facebook page or LinkedIn page which can bring in an array of new customers.

Constantly showing off all the positives through the internet will prove to be an excellent tactic and the best part is that: this idea does not take much out of your budget as it only requires a chunk of some quality time here and there for the updates.

Stay away from inconsistent advertising

Inconsistent advertising could be a big waste of money.  Earning some money and investing all that into an advertisement might sound like a great idea but it isn’t. If we look at the trends that are going around the market, consumers are attracted to products which have a constant advertising throughout a period while the products that came with an advertisement every now and then are ignored.

Smaller businesses often don’t have enough firepower to challenge the biggies out there and it’s better to stay away from these risks and play it safe with the internet as mentioned earlier.

Uniqueness is the key

There might be a lot of businesses out there that gives the customers the same product that you offer. So why the customer should choose you? It’s a question that needs to be answered before embarking on any marketing strategies.

A motto should be there on why your business stands out from the rest and all the marketing should be done around that motto. This should be strong enough to attract new customers and keep the current ones happy.

The uniqueness factor might be as simple as serving cookies and milk in your office, but still, it’s an upper hand over your competition.

Network, network and more network

While expanding your brand through customers is a great idea, seeking new markets through your competition can be equally effective. Know the clients with which your completion interacts with and explore the possible options.

Meet new people on a constant basis and never be hesitant to start a conversation with anyone who shows a bit of interest in your business because you never know where your next customer is going to come from.

Evelyn Golston is an internet marketing expert with an experience of 7 years in the industry and she also works as a freelance writer at essaypro.com

Your Best Marketing Opportunity Just Walked Through The Door

Today’s guest post is from Sean Freidlin – Enjoy!

photo credit:123rf

The success of any marketing initiative is predicated by its ability to reach and capture the attention of an intended audience.  No matter how compelling your creative may be, it can’t do much if it isn’t seen, which is why on February 4th, 2004 the world of marketing changed forever.  That date marked the launch of Facebook, and serves as the starting point for a decade long boom in social and mobile technology that shows no signs of slowing down.

Over that ten-year stretch, Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords and other new marketing channels have emerged as viable solutions to help web-based businesses get noticed, drive traffic and earn revenue…but can the same be said for physical businesses and the owners of these offline venues?  The answer isn’t so clear-cut.

These channels are valuable because they make it easier, faster and more affordable to communicate a message to an audience.  For web-based businesses, the analytics, data and insights from these channels naturally tie into their web traffic to paint a picture of what drives results for their audience and whom they should target.

Physical businesses, however, are in a different boat.  Web traffic doesn’t directly translate to foot traffic, and, their audience online isn’t necessarily the audience they should care about.  Every new Facebook fan or page view isn’t directly tied to an in-store purchase or representative of a real customer.  A disconnect exists between digital initiatives and real world behavior, putting the owners and marketers of physical businesses are at a crossroads.

Should their marketing efforts be focused on foot traffic or web traffic?

My vote is for foot traffic (let me hear yours in the comments).

Web traffic does have its advantages over foot traffic, and those advantages rest in the data.  Every person that visits a website or online business has one thing in common: cookies.  A cookie is “a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website.  Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the user’s previous activity.”  These have been critical to the online shopping experience as they provided a way to implement shopping carts on websites.

So if cookies exist for the digital world, what is the real-world equivalent?  If every visitor to a website has a cookie, then what is something that every visitor to a physical business has?  By asking that question, business owners and marketers can identify new opportunities and channels for reaching their most important audience.

Before Facebook, and before 2004, finding something in common between every person that walks through your door would be considerably difficult.  Today, however, finding the answer to that question isn’t so difficult.  According to the Pew Internet Project, 90% of American adults own a cell phone as of January 2014.  Every one of those devices shares something in common, and it isn’t a cookie.

The only thing that every mobile device has in common is they all connect to WiFi.

So what if your business or venue provided free WiFi to customers?  What if you created a guest network and put a “free WiFi” sign in the window.  People would connect to that network, right?  If everyone in your store has a phone, and that phone always absorbs a share of their attention, then your WiFi network is accomplishing two things:

  1. Empowering your foot traffic to connect with what matters to them, acting as a bridge to their most beloved social networks and web-based activities.
  2. Capturing the attention of your visitors, guests, leads, and customers while they are on site, in your business, before it gets lost in their inbox or newsfeed.

For years, physical businesses have been searching and experimenting with online marketing channels to find the best solution for their goals.  If you ask me, their best marketing channel has been in their store all along.

seanDTMpicSean Freidlin is a blogger, social media manager and marketer for SocialSign.in currently living in Brooklyn, New York.  To read more of his insights and thoughts on marketing trends, follow him on Twitter and visit the SocialSign.in blog, which is updated weekly with new content.