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5 bad habits marketers should avoid

Marketing can be fast paced and demanding. There’s always another job to do, always another goal to reach to keep the flow of leads and customers coming in. It can be tempting to fall into bad habits and old routines so you can cut a few corners and save time… but if you’re not careful, those bad habits will start impacting on your campaigns, costing you customers and hurting your business. In today’s article, I look at five common bad habits that marketers can fall into, and how to avoid them.

1. Talking about yourself

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you might have noticed that this is something that I’ve talked about until I sound like a stuck record… and I’m going to say it again here. Your customers don’t care about your company. Talking about how good your company is, what awards you’ve won and what great things you’ve accomplished doesn’t mean a thing to your customer. What they want from you is to know how you can help them.

Sometimes, that will mean talking about your company; things like the years you’ve been in business or the number of customers you’ve served can help to build trust. But mostly, you want to talk about how you can help the customer and what your services can do to solve their problems. Approach the content you create and the campaigns you build from the perspective of the customer’s needs and you will see more responses and better overall results.

2. Relying on “hacks”, not content

If you search online, you’ll easily be able to find scores of articles that say they can increase your inbound leads with just a few simple “hacks”, quick fixes built around playing to Google’s search engine and pushing your site to the top of their search results. And for a while, things like that might pay off and give you the results you want. In the long term, however, relying on tricks like that is building on a shaky foundation. Google hates being tricked. They want their users to find your site because it’s genuinely relevant to them, not because you’ve gamed Google’s system. They constantly update their search algorithms to reduce this kind of manipulation, and that could easily lead to your site’s position falling dramatically in the listings.

The best way to avoid this is to build up your position on Google by doing the things that Google likes; proving relevant content on a regular schedule that will appeal to your customers. That takes longer than using SEO hacks, but it leads to much more reliable results.

3. Emailing non-subscribers

There’s no quicker way to alienate a potential customer than by sending them email they don’t want. Avoiding this means carefully building up and carefully maintaining your email lists. Don’t add a subscriber that doesn’t know what they’re signing up for. Don’t keep a subscriber on a list when they’ve asked to be removed. Don’t email someone who hasn’t agreed to be a part of your subscriber list. Unsolicited emails annoy your customers – and in some cases, following the introduction of GDPR, they’re illegal.

That sounds like a lot of negativity, but there’s an upside. Knowing the audience that you are building each email for and the reasons they have subscribed means that you can tailor your emails specifically to that audience and their needs, creating content and offers that will have greater impact and appeal.

4. Not testing

Running campaigns and creating content based only on your assumptions about your audience will only succeed through luck. You can carefully research your audience, build up a clear picture of who you’re marketing to and craft a campaign based on what you know, but unless you test its results once it’s out in the wild, you’re still only seeing half the picture.

No matter how much you know about your customers, you can never completely predict what will appeal to them and what will have the best results. A/B testing tools are built into most campaign managers, and you should take advantage of them. Even for platforms that don’t have specific testing tools, you should do your best to create different versions of campaigns and content, testing your headlines, your content, your imager, your offers… Test everything, see what works best for your audience, then create new material and test it again.

5. Sticking in a rut

This is one of the most insidious bad habits to fall into. If something is working, then it’s easy to feel like you shouldn’t rock the boat – marketing costs money, and you want to know that you’re getting the best results for your outlay. But over time, what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow… and if you don’t investigate new methods and new platforms, then you might be missing out on opportunities that could lead to great results.

Taking the opportunity to try new tools, learn how to use new systems and diversify the material you are creating will help to keep things fresh and your audience engaged. Keep an eye on the trends in the industry and aware of new opportunities, and take the chance to build on your skills.

If you’re looking to grow your business, John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help you take your marketing further. To find out more, visit jrdm.com.au and book an appointment today.

Five steps to building better ads

Advertising isn’t cheap, and every ad you run that doesn’t bring in business is money wasted. Without the right content, the right setup and the right follow through, you could pouring you advertising budget down the drain. In this article, I list five steps you can take to build better, more successful ads and stop wasting ad spend.

1. Start with a powerful headline

Your headline is the first chance you have to grab the viewer’s attention. Most people will skim their way down their feeds, and they won’t stop unless something catches their eye. A good headline gives the viewer a reason to read the rest of your ad; it might be an interesting statistic, an appeal to the customer’s emotions, a tie-in to current events, or an irresistible offer. Whatever it is, make it big; you only have moments to attract attention.

2. Use an enticing offer

Customers care about getting the best value they can for their money. Offers are a great way to build interest in your services, and a good offer will make or break an ad. Consider pricing, free trials, two-for-one deals; the opportunities will vary depending on your business, but every business can offer something.

Offers don’t always have to be related to customer savings; appealing to the customers emotions can have the same impact. For example, promoting that for every sale, a donation will be made to a relevant charity will connect with the customer and help position a purchase from you as an act of good, driving engagement and building their intent to buy.

3. Meet the customer’s goals

It’s a hard fact of marketing; you love your business, your customer doesn’t care. The only reason for a customer to engage with your business is in order to meet their goals. Your ad should make it clear to your customer how your products and your services will help them to meet those goals. Don’t just tell the customer what you provide, explain the benefits of the product, showcase your USP, and position yourself on your benefits. Knowing what you can do for them means the viewer is more likely to pay attention to your offer.

4. Address concerns up front

As I said above, your customers will only come to you if they have a problem, and nobody expects solving a problem to be easy. Your customers will almost certainly have some pre-existing concerns about using your service. They might worry about cost, how easy it is to get to you, the steps involved in the process, their own level of experience with what you offer… whatever their concerns may be, your ad gives you an opportunity to address them. Letting customers know what costs to expect, that they can get full service and support, or whatever you need to ward off their concerns up-front will help overcome their resistance and encourage them to click through.

5. Track everything

Like any other part of business, in order to manage something, you have to measure it. You might have the best ad you’ve ever run, or you might have created a total clunker… but unless you measure performance, you’ll never know.

Ad platforms give you a wide array of methods to track and check the performance of your ads; A/B testing, views, click-throughs, conversion tracking… and you should be using all of them. No matter how experienced you are in creating ads, nobody can predict what their audience will do with 100% accuracy. The only way to know is to test, so test everything, adjust your ads, and then test again.

 Like everything else in marketing, building winning ads is a process, not an end point. Over time, you’ll get a clearer idea of what works for your customers and which ads capture their attention, leading to better performance and improved results.

If you want to build ads that engage your customers, John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help. To find out more, visit jrdm.com.au and get in touch with us today.

Make the best use of Analytics

The job of marketing doesn’t stop once your campaigns are out in the world. In order to make sure that your campaigns are performing you need to monitor their success and measure the impact that they have had on your business. In this article, I look at five ways you can use analytics to improve your campaigns.

1. Website Analytics

Website analytics show you the number of visitors your website is attracting, and what those visitors are doing on your site. Site analytics will show you the source of your leads, the paths that your users take through your site, how long they spend on each page, and which pages are causing customers to leave before they have completed a transaction. Analysing these results will let help you identify your greatest online lead sources and optimise the customer journey on your site.

2. Conversion Tracking

Most digital ad platforms allow you to track conversions, letting you the results that you are hoping to achieve and monitor your campaign’s effect on those results. Since conversion tracking is customisable, it means you can identify the results that are most impactful to your business, giving you insights that will help refine your campaigns whatever their goals may be.

3. Customer Relationship Management

If you have an active sales team, then the chances are that you are using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. CRM software lets you track and monitor your sales, and your lead generation and nurturing. Since CRM software can be used to record the complete journey of a customer, from initial lead to closed sale, it is a great tool to use to track the results of your campaigns, tracking lead sources, campaign metrics, and the activity your leads have taken, not just on your website or through your campaigns, but also on an ongoing basis as they interact with your business.

4. Return On Investment

No matter what your goals are for your business, monitoring your Return On Investment (ROI) is essential. Tracking your ROI will let you know if the campaigns are cost effective by letting you know the costs to acquire a customer through each of your campaigns.

Accurately calculating your ROI means keeping a close eye on each campaign and thoroughly tracking not just the cost of ad placement, but also of the development of advertising material, sales support, the technology used, etc.

By using the systems described above, especially via your CRM, you can more easily track the customer’s journey from lead to sale, the steps involved, and the costs they incur.

5. Refine and Improve

Once you have a clear idea of the effect of your marketing campaigns you can review, considering your goals and the effects of the campaign, and use what you have learned to identify ways that you can improve. Over time, this will help you build better, more effective campaigns and focus your time, effort and resources on marketing that delivers the results you want.

John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can take care of every step of developing your campaigns, from development to campaign maintenance. If you would like to discuss what we can do for your company, visit jrdm.com.au and book an appointment today.

Five ways to use analytics to boost your site

Analytics are a goldmine of useful information that can take your website to the next level and make sure that it’s achieving your goals, but to get the best results, you need to approach that data in the right way. In todays article, I look at five tips that can help you make the most of your analytics and turn raw data into results.

1. Know what you want from your page

This is one of those things that I can’t say enough times; always focus on the goals and outcomes that mean the most to your business, rather than getting distracted by vanity metrics. This is especially important when looking at analytics. If your site has increased it’s traffic by 200%, that’s great! But if none of those new users are converting – buying your product, signing up to your mailing list, or meeting whatever other goal you have for your website – then you’re not really seeing meaningful results. Having a clear goal for your site means you will be able to track the results that make a difference to your bottom line and ignore the ones that don’t.

2. Identify poor performers

Pay attention to how your users interact with your website. In an ideal world, a user will enter your site, move along a set of pages that are designed to lead them towards your desired outcome, and then take the action you’re looking for. Three things will stop that from happening; poor traffic, high bounce rates, and high exit rates.

Poor traffic is self-explanatory. Bounce rates refers to pages that your users come to… and leave after a few seconds, meaning that the content on that page didn’t engage them. Exit rates refers to the number of users that abandon your site on a specific page; if one page is causing a lot of users to leave your site, then the content and message of that page will need to be made more compelling. Investigating the issues that lead to these problems and working on solutions will help move more users to your intended goals.

3. See where your users are coming from

Look at the top sources for incoming links to your page and look at the pages that are referring users to you. Especially, look at the types of content and messaging that those sites are using and the tone of voice they use. These sites are resonating with a significant portion of your user base, so don’t be afraid to borrow some ideas from them!

4. Understand your audience

Identifying the types of users that are visiting your site will help you to optimise their experience. If a significant portion of your audience is connecting to your site through mobile devices, then you will need to make sure that your sites design is responsive and is easily navigable on a mobile browser.

5. Don’t get obsessed

It’s very easy to check in on your analytics every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Try to only check in on the data every few weeks. This is a long enough period to allow for trends to appear, meaning you can make decisions based on what a significant portion of your users are doing, not just a handful.

Correctly using analytics will help you to identify what is and isn’t working in your site and make the right changes to improve performance. If you want to take your website further, John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help. To get started, visit jrdm.com.au and arrange an appointment.

Five SEO quick wins

Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to a business. Good SEO means that it’s easier for customers to find your site online, leading to more inbound clicks, more leads, and more new customers or sales. All this, without costing you anything other than time. Getting SEO right, however, can be a tricky task. There are a lot of factors that go into how a search engine ranks your page. In this article, I look at five quick tips that you can use to step up your SEO game and increase your website’s visibility.

1. Increase your speed

Page speed is one of the largest factors determining how Google rates your page, meaning that slow pages won’t just frustrate your users, they’ll also stop your page from ranking as high as it should. It is well worth using a tool such as Pingdom to analyse your site’s performance and identify problems areas that can be improved.

Be sure to always follow good practice in terms of your page load. Avoid unnecessarily large images, video files and plugins that can slow down the responsiveness of your site and lead to sluggish performance for your users.

2. Check your analytics

Services such as Google Analytics are invaluable for identifying user behaviour on your site, and for helping you to determine which content is driving the most traffic to you. This is data that is valuable in helping you create the right kind of content to resonate with your audience, driver user engagement, and improve your page ranking. As with everything in marketing, never assume that something is working – test, test and test again!

3. Take advantage of meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are still an important part of your search engine performance. A page’s meta description is what a search engine will provide as your page’s description in the search engine results. If the meta description doesn’t accurately describe the content of the page, both your users and the search engine’s algorithms will be confused, and your page’s rank will suffer. Ensure that the meta description for each page is unique, and that it is accurate.

4. Use the right keywords

Keywords are the core of how search engines operate. If your potential customers are carrying out a search for “Tyre Store Janalli”, then you want to be certain that your page will show up when they do. Identifying the right keywords and using those words within your site will make sure that you show up in the searches that you need to. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you identify the right keywords to use for your site. Once you know the terms you should be using, make sure that you include them in the correct places, including within your page’s title and within its meta description, to help make sure that your customers can find you.

5. Make the most of links

Technically, this isn’t a quick win – but it remains one of the most important aspects to improving your page rank. Google put a lot of weight behind the number and quality of external links that your page generates. The more sources that link to you, and the more trusted by Google those sources are, the higher your page will rank. This is the digital equivalent of word of mouth; if a lot of people are willing to vouch for your website, then Google will assume that its content is valuable. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people running other sites. If your site is good and its content relevant, then people will be willing to link to your pages.

Effective SEO is a never ending, and often changing process, but the advice above will help you get started the right way and begin building up your online reputation. If you would like to take your SEO efforts further, john Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help. To find out more, get in touch with us at jrdm.com.au.

Five ways to fight shopping cart abandonment

If you have managed to successfully get a customer to make the journey from a curious prospect to filling in your shopping cart, the last thing you want is for them to abandon their purchase. But over 80% of potential customers that make it to your shopping cart will abandon the cart before finishing the transaction. In today’s post, I look at five techniques you can use to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase sales.

1. Use a progress indicator

Nobody likes to spend a lot of time at the checkout, whether it’s in the real world or online. A progress bar offers a quick visual indicator of where a customer is in the checkout process, and how much work they have ahead of them to complete the sale.

When putting a progress indicator together, remember that the key is to make the process look as simple as possible. Try to keep the number of steps in the indicator to a minimum. Nobody wants to see that they’re at step two of an eight-step process.

2. Keep it simple

I’ve said the same thing again and again about forms, but I’ll say it again here. The more fields you add to a form, the fewer people will complete it. That’s as true for a checkout process as it is for anything else. Avoid asking for any information that you do not need to complete the sale. If you can get away with only asking for the customer’s name, address, email and credit card information, resist the urge to ask for anything else. At this stage, it’s more important to make the sale than it is to gather unnecessary data.

3. Allow guest purchases

Like my last point, nobody wants to fill in a form that they don’t have to. If a customer has to register an account with you before making a purchase, that means filling in another form. That means taking more time and giving over more data to you before they can make their purchase. Offering ‘guest purchases’ without the need to make an account with you will make it quicker and easier for customers to make their transaction.

4. Remove surprises

One of the biggest reasons that customers will click away from a sale is encountering an unexpected cost. Sales taxes, shipping and other fees can all add onto the cost of an item, and nobody likes to see their purchase suddenly jump up in price at the last minute. Try to make all costs associated with a product clear before the item is added to the cart. Consider offering free shipping, or if that isn’t possible, offer a shipping calculator on the product listing so that customers can check costs themselves before proceeding with the purchase.

5. Speed up your site

The other big time sink for customers, aside from long forms, is the speed and responsiveness of your site. If customers have to sit looking at a blank screen or a spinning progress icon for more than a moment, they will be tempted to click away. It is well worth looking at methods of optimising your website, reducing the size of images, ensuring that data is correctly cached, and making sure that your site’s backend is working efficiently.

Some shopping cart abandonment is inevitable, but the tips above will help your business to avoid as much as possible. If you want to start building a sales process that will work for you, John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help. Get in touch to find out what we can do for your business.

Collecting better customer feedback

To create better marketing campaigns, to improve customer service, and to grow your business, you need to understand your customers. Customer feedback is the best way to learn about what they want, but getting good quality information can often be tricky. In this article, I look at five methods you can use to get quality feedback from your customers.

1. Surveys

Surveys allow you to get in-depth information about a customer’s experience, potentially getting you a lot of useful data. Tools like SurveyMonkey and GetFeedback make setting up and directing users to your surveys simple. As with anything that involves a customer filling out a form, be cautious about the length of any surveys you set up. Like all forms, every additional step means that fewer people will complete the survey, so it’s best to make sure you are limiting your questions to the ones you need the most.

2. Online feedback

Online feedback options make it easy for your customer to come to you with any thoughts or suggestions that they might have. This type of feedback is ideal for catching any issues that a customer is experiencing that aren’t serious enough for them to make a formal complaint. Having a customer feedback option on your page that is easily accessible (without being obtrusive) will let you capture useful information on your sites UX, your sales processes and the general customer experience that can help you pinpoint ways to improve and streamline your operations.

3. Live chat

Live chat is a one-on-one conversation with a customer that has a problem they need to be solved, and so is a great resource to mine to discover more about the needs of your customers. Be especially aware of trends over time; if several customers using your live chat have the same issue, you can be sure that your wider customer base does too.

4. User activity

There are some issues that most customers won’t report – things like site navigation, page content and poorly optimised checkout systems. Rather than complain, most customers will simply click away, leaving you with problems you know nothing about. This is where analytics come into play, letting you look at the ways your customers behave on your site. Analytics tools such as KISSMetrics or Google Analytics will reveal the ways your customers use your site, letting you know when people bounce from a page after a few seconds, or when people abandon your checkout process, letting you focus on improving problem areas of your site.

5. Social media

Monitoring social media – both on and off your official pages – will help you to understand the wider conversation around your business. Tools such as Hootsuite or Google Alerts can be used to alert you whenever someone mentions your business online, so that you can keep an eye on what is being said about you.

One advantage to social media is that opinions will be candid, especially when people post on platforms other than your official page. The raw feedback can be valuable, but bear in mind that any major complaints will need to be addressed to prevent any possible damage to your reputation.

Regularly gathering information is the best way to keep on top of your business and to continuously develop it to better serve the needs of your customers. John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help you gather the feedback you need to capitalise on your opportunities. To get started, book an appointment at jrdm.com.au.

Five essential elements of great landing pages

The more I discuss the tactics that small businesses can use to build great marketing campaigns, the more I find myself talking about landing pages. That’s hardly surprising – a great landing page is the key to helping you build better mailing lists, grow your leads and drive sales. In this article, I share five tips to help you create landing pages that will help drive your campaign’s success.

1. Keep it simple

The most essential part of a landing page is that it is simple. A good landing page lets the user take one action – to sign up to a newsletter, or to book an appointment, or to register their interest in a product. Everything on the page should be in support of that one action, and anything that doesn’t support it should be left out.

Try to keep yourself to the minimum of information you need to sell your offer; a strong headline, a short description of the product or service and its benefits, an appropriate image, and a customer testimonial or positive review.

2. Create a strong headline

The headline is one of the first things that a visitor to your landing page will see, and it has just a few seconds to grab their attention. A short, compelling message will help to keep users on the page and encourage them to find out more about your offer. A short, punchy headline that summarises the message of the page is best. Try to keep the length to around 10 to 15 words, and make sure that it supports the offer you are providing.

3. Provide the right offer

The best landing page in the world won’t gather any leads if it offering the wrong product to the wrong people. Landing pages need to be specific – specific to the campaign that you are running, and to the audience that you are marketing to. Make it clear what your customers will get from your offer and how that will help them to solve the problem they are facing.

4. Use a bold call to action

The call to action is what will drive your visitors to convert into leads. Make sure that it is big, colourful and eye catching, and obviously something the user can click. Active language such as “Get a quote” or “Download your eBook” helps drive user engagement.

5. Optimise your forms

Every extra step in completing a form means less users will convert. Keep your forms as simple and streamlined as possible – that means only ask for as much information as you need to move a lead into the next stage of the sales and marketing process.

The best landing pages are the ones that make it as simple as possible for the user to convert to a lead. If you’re ready to start building pages and campaigns that will help grow your business, John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help. Visit us online at jrdm.com.au find out more.  

Five optimisation tips to upgrade your campaigns

Marketing can be expensive, and the results it drives are vital to growing your business. You want to make sure that your campaigns are working as had for you as they possibly can, every time, so that every penny you spend goes to bringing in new business. In this post, I cover five marketing optimisation techniques that help to ensure your marketing is performing as well as it possibly can.

1. Consider your overall strategy

No part of your marketing works in isolation from the others. Each part of your marketing mix should be built to support the other sections, continue the message of your campaign and guide your customer to your intended destination. Before you start a campaign, consider the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and determine what marketing mix will best serve this campaign. Make sure that your message of your campaign is consistent, but tailor the content and the format to best fit each platform and the part of your customer base you are trying to reach. Minimising or skipping platforms that are less relevant to your target demographic is one of the easiest ways to ensure your marketing spend is being put to best use.

2. Track real results

With the wealth of data now available to marketers on the performance of their campaigns, it is tempting to emphasise metrics that make you feel good about your campaigns’ performance, but which don’t indicate any genuine success. These vanity metrics – your ads reach, views, and clicks – are meaningless if they are not translating into the results that matter to your business. Instead, track the metrics that matter; how many leads has this campaign generated, how many sales have come from those leads, and what has the ROI been on the campaign? Be brutally honest with yourself. If something isn’t generating those results, then it’s time to change your creative, no matter how many clicks or views it may be getting.

3. Track demographics

No matter how carefully an audience profile has been built at the start of a campaign, there is no guarantee that it will be 100% correct. As your campaign progresses and new leads and customers come to your business, you will be able to continue building your audience profiles. Who have your ads most resonated with? Do they match the initial customer profiles? Which parts of your customer base are the biggest spenders, and which parts need the most contact in order to keep as customers? All this data is important and should be used to keep your campaigns continually updated, and to ensure that they are reaching the customers and leads that they need to.

4. Test everything

As with demographic data, the only way to be sure that your campaign’s creative is working as you intend it to is to test it. A/B testing tools are available for most platforms, from Facebook and Google Ads to your website and landing pages, and you should take advantage of them. Don’t stop at just one test, run multiple trials for each platform, until you are certain that your ads and your content are as optimised as you can make them… then carry that knowledge forwards into the next campaign and the next round of optimisation.

5. Follow your customer journey

The path that a customer will take through your marketing is an important, but often invisible part of the campaign. Consider a potential customer’s journey in the same way that you would consider any individual part of the campaign. How do your customers first find you, what potential paths can each customer take from first contact to becoming a lead? How many steps do they need to take, and what issues can arise for them at each step that might make them stop progressing? Does a customer need more information to help them convert, or do they need less steps in the process to avoid losing their interest? Making sure this part of your campaign is optimised will keep your customers engaged and maximise the leads that come to your business.

Optimisation is a never-ending process, a continual process of refinement that will help to maximise the potential of your campaigns. John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help you to make the most of all your marketing activity – if you would like to start a conversation, get in touch at jrdm.com.au today.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash