The start of the year is always a great time to refocus your energies on your business and prepare to ramp things up for the year.
In this article we have taken what we have learned from 2016 and give you our tried and tested methods for getting traction with your online marketing to take your business to the next level without blowing your marketing budget (no matter how small it is)...
Identify your niche
The first thing you need to do is identify your niche. When you target specific niche markets then you are able to reduce the cost of your marketing and often tap into markets that are not flooded with competitors.
Let’s say you have a bookshop that sells a wide variety of books on a number of different subjects. Your first thought may be to promote that you have a bookshop and target people searching for books for sale but the reality is that market is already dominated by very large companies such as Amazon. In fact, most people will just go straight to Amazon to find a book (or to their local bookshop). In order to get some traction, you need to identify and target niche markets rather than going head to head with Amazon for the generic market (hint: you will run out of money before you make a dent in their market).
The first thing you should do is identify a few products you want to target first. Usually the best bet is to identify products that have a decent profit margin (so they can absorb some of the marketing costs) and are highly available (you don’t want to run into supply problems if the products start selling out)
For example, say you have a book to sell that relates to growing tomatoes. Your niche markets may be people like Men and Women aged 18 – 65 who are interested in gardening, cooking, self sufficiency or organic food.
This niche market can then be targeted on Facebook to advertise the book to these specific people who you know will have an interest in growing tomatoes. This will give you a much higher success rate and value for money than advertising a bookshop that sells ‘a wide range of books’
Social Media Advertising
Let me start by saying this.. Facebook has come leaps and bounds over the past few years with their advertising platform. There are now many options to advertise on Facebook through their advert manager system and I’ll highlight a few that have worked well for me here.
The first is also the newest and this is the ‘lead generation’ option. This option allows you to create an advert and then have a form that people in Facebook fill out to get an offer, submit an enquiry or whatever you want. The great thing about this option is that it keeps people in the ‘Facebook dance’. Many years ago we did some research and found that when people left Facebook to go to a 3rd party site, the conversion rate would drop considerably. This is because people don’t want to leave Facebook when they are on there. The lead generation form solves this issue by popping up a form directly in Facebook, populated automatically with their contact details so they simply need to click ‘submit’ to submit their enquiry to you. They stay in Facebook and you get the lead and it’s all very easy for everyone involved.
Another great option in Facebook is to do a video ad. Video ads generally work best when they are about 30 seconds to 1 minute long and can then display a lead generation form at the end automatically (or they can take the viewer to your website if you prefer). We have experimented quite a lot with video ads and we have found the very best videos are testimonials from your customers/clients. These types of videos instantly create trust and buzz around your product or service and the viewer does not feel like they are being ‘sold’ to. It’s also important to ensure that your video is professional as the quality of your video will reflect the professionalism of your business. People will usually be turned off if the video is an amateur one shot on a shaky iphone.
Finally, one of my other favourite options with Facebook advertising is the carousel advert. This lets you create a number of panels (usually between 3 to 5) each with it’s own image and message/link. These are great for advertising different aspects of your business or a number of different products. For example, if you had a bookshop and you were targeting the niche market of people interesting in cooking organically then you could showcase 5 different books you sell relating to this niche.
Once you have set up your advert, you can then choose who to target. I have personally experimented with broad markets (eg. All men and women of any age living in all capital cities of Australia) and niche markets (eg. Men aged between 18 and 40 interested in adventure sports, fitness, gyms, personal training, etc.). I have found that the more specific you get with age, gender, location and interests, the better your advert will do. It’s always great to experiment with a few different niche markets until you find one that is converting well. A decent conversion rate is usually anything over 2% but if you want to work out what it should be for your business, you need to run a campaign then look at the cost of acquisition (how much did you spend to get a sale) to work out if you are making a profit or loss on the advertising.
In my experience, Adwords is a lot harder to get working well for two reasons. First you can’t target a niche as specifically as you can on Facebook and secondly, Adwords generally costs a LOT more per click. For example, an advert on Facebook might work out to be around 50 cents per click and the equivalent on Adwords may be $5 or $6 per click.
Statistics show that Adwords can give a higher conversion rate as people are actively searching for something to buy as opposed to Facebook where they are being targeted when they might not yet be ready to buy.
Like Facebook, it’s best to experiment with this but just be aware than is come cases, Adwords cost per aquistion can be too high to be worth it. If you really want to try out Adwords, then it’s best to speak to Google directly as they provide free assistance in setting up your campaign to ensure you start off on the best foot.
In my opinion, retargeting is an absolute necessity for ALL websites!
Have you ever noticed that after visiting a website, you start to see their site (or even the specific product you were looking at) showing up as an advert on Facebook, You Tube or other popular websites? This is exactly what retargeting does.
Retargeting converts window-shoppers into buyers.
Generally 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online
Retargeting is also extremely cheap! Retargeting cost per click can often be a lot lower than other advertising, especially when using a platform such as www.adroll.com who use their ad buying power to drive down the pricing of the advertising for you.
Out of all the tips we have given our clients, we have found that Live Chat by far has given the best success rate on increasing conversions on a website.
Live chat is a feature that can be installed on any website to allow visitors to 'chat' with you via a chat window that pops up on your website. This allows you to engage your potential customers and assist them with any questions they have regarding your products and services.
It also allows you to watch what people are doing on your website, where they are going, where they are coming from and where on the site they leave. This gives you valuable insight into how people are using your website and areas that may need improving or changing.
The results we found from our experiments where quite impressive. On all the websites we installed the live chat on, we found that they all increased their conversion rates quite dramatically.
For more information on live chat and how to use it with your website, click here
One of the biggest things Google looks for in their ranking algorithm is how ‘fresh’ and ‘relevant’ the content on your website is. Blogging is a fantastic way to add fresh new content to your website.
When blogging, I recommend the following:
1) Ensure the blog is part of your actual website architecture (not a separate site running on a separate domain). By doing this, Google sees this as content on your actual site and you also have ways of exposing other areas of your website to people that find you through your blog entries
2) Blog about subjects that relate to your products and services but are also subjects that people are currently searching on. For example, you could use Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) to search for subjects that are currently trending and then write an article on that subject. For example, at the start of summer, people may be searching for ‘how to lose weight’. If you sell a product or service that can help with that then you could create an article called ‘how to lose weight’ and give some tips then explain how your product or service could benefit
3) Always have a call to action. Every blog article you do should finish with a call to action such as a link to buy a product, enquire about a service, etc. There is no point getting someone inspired by your blog post and then not tapping into the potential to convert them into a customer
Although Email Marketing is one of the oldest online marketing tools, it is still one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to drum up sales and enquires.
As a bare minimum you should be collecting email addresses of all your existing customers and then sending them special offers, promos and/or newsletters each month. Traditional marketing research shows that it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one so emailing your existing customers with info, tips, new product details, etc. will often generate easy income for you.
It is important that your email marketing is short, to the point and of value.
We have our own email marketing platform that has a very easy to use editor, free access to an extensive image library and a number of great features to make it easy to put together attractive and effective newsletters and promotions and then track the success of them. For more information, check out www.mantismail.com.au
Hopefully this all helps. By trying out the above recommendations, it can help create some traction for your website and boost traffic, conversion rates and sales.