Author Archives: user

A view from PressPoint - Finding your voice
Feb
06

A view from PressPoint – Finding your voice

In business, the companies that shout the most, get noticed. They always seem to have something to say about their own products, sharing testimonials or simply interacting with their customer base. Most of the time, this converts nicely into sales.

The key to getting a message across while not alienating or annoying the audience, comes down to an engaging tone of voice. Company voice now goes beyond the traditional customer-facing aspects such as reception or face to face in shops, showrooms or at exhibitions. It applies to all platforms where a business is active, be that on the website, social media or in person. Company voice should be used to promote values, ideas and help a business or product stand out.

The wording on a website says a lot about the company it represents – it should be concise and informative, and explain exactly what a customer will get from the company.

Take lasagne sheets for instance. Tesco describes its product as “Dried lasagne pasta made from Durum wheat semolina” – simple, to the point, and the end user knows exactly what they are getting. However, the way in which Waitrose describes its version of the humble lasagne sheet, elevates the product and captivates the imagination of the buyer: “Our pasta is made in the village of Fara San Martino, in the Abruzzo region of Italy, from 100% Italian Durum wheat and water from the local mountain spring.” Both ways are describing the pasta are correct and can be instantly associated with the two organisations. Tesco is accurate, with a no nonsense description, while Waitrose is more detailed, including sophisticated messaging. The key is consistency of message. A consistent voice helps build trust and leaves a lasting impression on clients.

Nowadays, brand voice is most noticeable and, in many cases, damaging across online platforms. The way in which a business presents itself on social media via Facebook and Twitter is vital. Inactivity on official pages and lengthy response times set off alarm bells for customers. As do politically minded posts – social media makes the sharing of information incredibly easy, so keep personal opinions for your personal account.

Some companies opt to be loud and proud – shouting that their products or services are the best (Cillit Bang anyone?). If this is backed up with a good amount of testimonials, it gets the company noticed; it piques the interest of potential customers. From here, brand voice comes into its own – it is often the make or break of a transaction. If the voice doesn’t engage or jars with the customer, they’re only three clicks away from another supplier. However, if the voice is friendly and understanding, there is a far better chance a sale will be made.

House style has to come into the mix somewhere – such as how you greet or sign off messages – but content is far more persuasive if it has a human touch. No one wants a robotic, automated message – they want to feel that their question or problems has been taken on board and treated with individual attention. Humanising responses is important, be that using their name or repeating information they have sent to you – if they tell you their horse ‘Bert’ has an issue, include Bert’s name in the response.

For some, this may all sound like hard work. It takes time to personalise responses to each individual, but it is worth it! Just as a friendly face is important inside a store, a friendly, personal and human voice is important online.

Remind yourself, all is not lost if one exchange goes south. You can change your voice or rectify situations with honesty. Not notice a Facebook message? Explain this to the customer and maybe offer something in the way of a discount – do not just hope the problem goes away. The sender will take offence and will certainly not recommend the company to friends.

Going back to lasagne sheets – it is worth bearing in mind that the price differential between the two is quite large. While they are basically the same product, the reworked wording gives customers a reason to spend more, and many will do just that. Going that little bit further with developing your own voice may result in increased sales.


BETA International – Make 2017 Your Best Event Yet
Jan
20

BETA International – Make 2017 Your Best Event Yet

BETA International serves as the UK’s flagship event for any business in the equine industry – whether launching a new product or marketing your existing business. For more than three decades, this exhibition has helped equestrian, country clothing retailers, outdoor and pet product manufacturers gain business traction. 

With the 2017 event rapidly approaching, now is the time to prepare. This pivotal event in the equine industry provides for a wealth of opportunities when it comes to networking, establishing new contacts and winning new clients. Yet hosting your own exhibition stand isn’t nearly enough – to truly make the most out of your investment (which could well have demanded a significant figure for an exhibition stand), you need some industry-insider marketing tips. Which is exactly what we present here.

Four essential ideas for attracting attendees to your stall

Make your stand interactive

BETA International is a hustling, bustling environment with thousands in attendance over a three-day period. There’s also more than two hundred fellow equine businesses each vying for the attention of footfall. Ensuring that your exhibition is somehow interactive can be key to attracting attendees over your threshold. Just how you do this will depend on your product – however consider how you could demo your items, and think about technology – could you have tablets that provide for product information, videos or customer testimonials?

Give away freebies

Everyone loves a freebie – it’s simply human nature in the age of consumerism to enjoy receiving a free lunch. If you have a product that could be suitable for gifting for free, then be sure to seriously consider this tactic. You do, however, need to consider how you’ll gain any contact details from those taking you up on your offer (this should be an investment, not a flat-out cost!).

Whether you choose to use this approach will depend upon your exact line of business – if you sell expensive horse riding equipment, this is obviously not such a commercially viable idea. In which case, why not choose to run a giveaway for one or two lucky winners whereby attendees leave their business cards in a bowl to be in with a chance of winning.

Another way in which you can tap into the free feel good factor is by having a few sweet treats or hot drinks available – when attendees stop for a moment you have a prime opportunity to have an informal chat about your business.

Stand out from the crowd with vivid graphic backdrops

Your exhibition background should be eye-catching – instantly grabbing attention and clearly defining your line of business. The graphics that form the backdrop to your stand should be clearly visible from a good few feet away – and if you haven’t already arranged an order from your printers, now is the time (printers can generally demand a week or more lead time for large print orders).

If you can’t tempt them in – be sure that they can quickly grab and go

With all the tips in the world, you’ll still be unable to ensure every attendee makes it onto your exhibition floor. So, make it easy for passing footfall to grab vital company info by putting together a brochure or goodie bag that they can take as they pass by.

Two top tips for exceptional networking

Be tactful and non-aggressive

Both attendees and fellow exhibitors will have plenty of aggressive sales pitches forwarded their way. Rather than approaching those around your stall, or those on other stalls, by launching full steam ahead into your 30 second elevator pitch, re-think your approach. Ask them whether they’re enjoying the show and what their line of business is – then grab their business card and follow up with the pitch later. That said, such conversations tend to naturally lead to speaking of your own business (and you’ll be more memorable for having taken a softer approach).

Review the exhibitor list and make a note of those you should visit

Don’t overlook the hundreds of fellow exhibitors in attendance – these businesses are often the most influential, largest and successful (after all, their company deems the investment in an exhibition valuable). Do your homework, find out about their products, services and company background – then follow the approach we’ve just spoken of.

By following these simple but effective tips for making the most of BETA International, you can ensure that your investment pays dividends – with new contacts made, a potential customer list created and a few firm fans now won over by having experienced your products first hand.

PressPoint-Logo-FINAL-for-web+email

If you need expert help to ensure that you make the most out of the event, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help.

 Web: www.presspoint.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1953 851513 or email:equestrian@presspoint.co.uk


A View From PressPoint - 2017 Predictions Anyone?
Jan
11

A View From PressPoint – 2017 Predictions Anyone?

Who raised a glass to Auld Lang Syne to welcome in 2016, and foresaw the seismic events that would come to pass during the year?

The early polls for the forthcoming European Referendum showed a healthy lead for ‘Remain’.

In the U.S., the competition to become the Republican Party candidate for the Presidential election was hotting up, and although Donald Trump gained momentum following November’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, surely he couldn’t become President? Well, not according to the polls.

Who would have thought we would be entering 2017 without Terry Wogan, David Bowie and Victoria Wood.

And who, hand on heart, believed Leicester City would be crowned Premier League champions or that a 58-year-old Nick Skelton would bring home an individual Gold Medal for Team GB on Big Star. Certainly not the bookies.

Further down the equestrian ladder, Dandy Flame made a mockery of the form book, when he won over five furlongs at Wolverhampton at staggering odds of 200/1. For context, that’s the same odds as Simon Cowell or Wayne Rooney to be the next Prime Minister.

So in a world where the pollsters and bookmakers can get big calls so wrong, so often; how can the humble retailer spot trends and stay ahead of the competition?

The temptation, in such a topsy-turvy world, would be to avoid risk wherever you can sense it. Stick to the big-name brands, steer clear of new product launches until you can see the demand is there, postpone capital expenditure and put off investment in existing or new staff until calmer waters are reached.

With the political and economic ramifications of Brexit and the implications for the wider world of the Presidency of Mr Trump still cloaked in uncertainty, it’s a brave business which takes risks in such a climate.

However, we know that you retailers are made of stern stuff, and we all know that with great risk comes great reward. So here are some pointers for 2017, which might offer some help:

  1. Mobile internet usage is already higher than desktop usage and will only continue to grow.

At the very least you need to ensure that your website is mobile responsive, which ensures that your website views correctly on smartphones and tablets. If it’s not mobile responsive, make this your number one priority for 2017. When you’ve done the hardest work in getting someone to view your website, it would be criminal for them to leave your site because your website is too difficult to read, or the images are not showing correctly on their tablet or mobile.

  1. Data is king

Many large businesses talk grandly about the power of their data, their big data, their massive data. Small businesses have data too, and your data is bigger than their data, and it’s better data because it’s your data. It’s information about your customers, what they’ve bought, how often and when they’ve bought it. You’ll probably have data from potential customers too: information from shows and events you’ve been to, where people have filled in forms with their email addresses and you’ve put them to one side, to sort out later. Trouble is, there’s no later with data. Capture it now and use it now, before it’s all out of date, then use a free service like MailChimp to email your existing and potential customers with regular offers and updates.

  1. Social Media will always be there

A few years ago, everyone was buzzing about the commercial possibilities of the free marketing opportunities available via social media. Here’s the thing: it was never free and never will be. It either costs you your time for you to write and manage your output, or as more and more companies are doing; you pay someone to do it for you. Nevertheless, social media still represents a mightily important opportunity for you to connect directly with your audience. Make 2017 your year to fully exploit this. If you’re nervous about using social media, feel that you lack the necessary skills, or just don’t have the time to devote to do it properly, engage with a company which does understand it and pay them to write and manage your social media content for you.

  1. Customer Service

This will never go out of fashion or drop in popularity, no matter who is in the White House or whether we’ve got the trade deal we wanted with the EU. And it’s the single most important weapon small businesses can use to gain loyalty and build sales. Never be afraid to ask your customers for their thoughts on your levels of service, even the ‘difficult’ ones – and having asked for it – act on it! On–line, Google’s search algorithms are starting to account of feedback when they present search results, so investigate if your website can have a feedback plug–in or module easily added to it?

And as for 2017 predictions, if you still fancy a risk – you could do worse than having a flutter on Aidan O’Brien’s Capri for the Derby in June, you can still get 20/1 if you’re quick. Or remember it’s 200/1 for Simon Cowell to be the next Prime Minister. After all the shocks in 2016, it might not be such a long shot after all.

Happy New Year from all at PressPoint.

Whatever your place is in the equine world, we’d hedge our bets to say that you’ve likely heard of just how effective the results can be when using Google AdWords.

Tel: 01953 851513 | Email: mail@presspoint.co.uk


The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign
Dec
20

The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign

Whatever your place is in the equine world, we’d hedge our bets to say that you’ve likely heard of just how effective the results can be when using Google AdWords.

You’ve perhaps been drawn by the promise of its affordability, that it could drive your potential customers to the phone, or to your website, and that, given the niche market that is equine, you could target the right people at the right time.

Some months into your AdWords campaign however, and things may feel that little bit different. If you’ve discovered AdWords to be expensive, disappointing in terms of traffic, calls or leads, or simply far too confusing to be useful, then be safe in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Here we walk you, step by step, through the process of improving your AdWords campaign.

Before we begin…

Before we take a walk through, it’s important to ensure that your website has Google Analytics installed. This will be critical when it comes to the last step (and as you may digest this guide in bite size chunks, we thought that it would be useful to mention now, rather than later).

The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign

Step One: Make sure your keyword research is on point

Even if you can’t afford, or at least don’t see the value, in entrusting an agency to handle your AdWords campaign, then it’s almost always important to have a professional undertake keyword research on your behalf. Why? Because keywords are misleadingly complex.

Common mistakes to avoid include:

  • Choosing the most popular (and expensive) keywords
  • Not appreciating the very specific terms your target market may be using
  • Choosing keywords that are out of context (that are technically correct, but aren’t the natural language used when your ideal target visitor searches Google)

The mistakes above are just the beginning. The truth is that choosing AdWords keywords is a complex task – our best tip in this instance is to undertake as must reading-up as you can to ensure that you’re targeting the right terms (and therefore, the right people).

 Step Two: Tackle any apparent issues

Here are some common problems you may notice (and how to fix them):

Low CTR – People aren’t clicking on your ads.

This may be a problem with the copy of the ad, or it may be that the ad is being served up to the wrong people.

Fix: Re-work your advert’s copy, and add negative keywords to put a halt to showing up in irrelevant searches.

Low Impressions – Your adverts are running infrequently

This issue can be related to either low search volume (e.g. not many people are searching for the terms that you’re targeting) or it may be related to your quality score being too low.

Fix: First try raising your advert bid amount, then focus on making your adverts more relevant to work on your quality score.

High Cost/Conversion – The cost of your campaign is too high compared to the conversions you’re securing

This issue is typically related to your bids being too high, and/or the visitors who are arriving are, by and large, failing to convert.

Fix: First, lower your bids to analyse what impact it may have on your campaign’s effectiveness versus results. Then attempt to create new, improved ads that better communicate your USP.

Step Three: Organise your keywords

Don’t be tempted to add your keywords to AdWords in just any old way. Take some time to group similar key terms into campaigns (this will make later analysis a whole lot easier). For example, for an equine wholesaler, the terms Equine Wholesale, Equine Wholesaler and Equine Wholesale businesses are natural terms to group together.

Step Four: Analyse Ad Performance

Ads define what the searcher will see, and also define where a visitor will go once an advert is clicked on. Ultimately your goal should be to create an advert that converts – and so keeping on top of those that don’t is paramount (running an advert for a month provides enough time to understand whether the ad is effective, after which you should choose to continue or pause each advert).

Here are the core metrics you should be considering when weighing up the effectiveness of your adverts:

  • Cost/Conversion – This shows how much each clicked advert is costing you (averaged out)
  • Conversions – This demonstrates how many conversions in total the advert has achieved
  • Cost – The total money spent on the ad
  • CTR – This shows you how often the advert has been clicked on
  • Conversion Rate – This shows how many conversions, on average, the adverts achieved
  • Impressions – How many times, in total, the advert has been shown
Step Five: Analyse Campaign Performance

Now for the important part – analysing the effectiveness of your campaign. This stage is critical, as without it you won’t ever move forward and progress (and drive down the amount that you spend). When looking at your campaigns, you should aim to eradicate those that are demonstrating the least effectiveness when it comes to conversions. To do this, simply rank your campaign table by cost/conversion (the lower, the better). For your best campaigns, you need to ensure that your daily budgets are more than the average daily cost. Continue tweaking each campaign with this step until your daily total budget is spread out, whilst your least effective campaigns are deleted.

Step Six: Tap into Google Analytics and Google AdWords

Google Analytics is a programme that provides impressive insight into what, exactly, your visitors are doing on your website once there. This programme is useful not only for those who use AdWords, but also for anyone who even owns a website.

This section describes the basics of Google Analytics, and doesn’t go into just how Google Analytics provides for advanced tools when it comes to AdWords (which rightly commands an entire eBook to even cover the subject briefly).

If you’re not accustomed to Google Analytics, then there are plenty of great videos online and you can access a training centre from Google. With some basic working knowledge, you can then identify and assess the following Google Analytics metrics (which are critical to ensuring that your AdWords conversions don’t go wasted).

Acquisition overview

This shows you how your visitors are being acquired, breaking it down into the following groups:

  • Search Traffic: Visitors who organically found your website through non-paid Google Results
  • Referral Traffic: Visitors who have landed on your website after following a link from another website
  • Direct Traffic: Visitors who have typed your website address directly
  • Campaigns: Visitors who have clicked through from an AdWords Ad

Keeping an eye on this breakdown can ensure that AdWords continues to be useful in your marketing strategy. If the number of visitors from AdWords is being overwhelmed by other groups, then you should take a step back and ask why.

The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign

Discover Bad Landing Pages

On the main dashboard of Google Analytics will be a list of your pages, along with various metrics. You can sort this list by clicking on any column. To discover the pages that are letting you down, sort this list by ‘Bounce Rate’ (the number of visitors who exit your website after viewing a single page) and then ‘Exit Rate’ (the percentage of visitors who land on a page and then exit). Any such pages should demand your attention, however those that are involved in your AdWords campaigns should be a clear warning sign that you may be spending money on advertising, and ultimately directing the visitor to a page that is, for whatever reason, ineffective. The question as to what may be wrong with these pages is a complex one – however you, yourself, can undertake a little investigative work by looking at your top landing pages, which we describe next.

The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign

Top landing pages

You can view your top landing pages by following Behaviour -> Site Content -> Landing Pages. Those at the top are the most viewed, and paying attention to the pages that boast the smallest bounce and exit rates, and the longest average visit duration, are the ones that you should learn from.

Couple this with then following Audience -> Users Flow. This visual overview shows you which pages are working well in terms of leading visitors onwards to other pages. Simply hover over each green section to view how many visitors move onwards, and how many exit. Those with the highest percentages in either camp should be studied meticulously for clues as to why they are either working well, or not working at all.

The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign

Need even more guidance?

The Google AdWords’ website is incredibly helpful in terms of the information and guidance that it provides. If you’re struggling with a set issue, the chances are that you’ll find your answer there.

Whatever your place is in the equine world, we’d hedge our bets to say that you’ve likely heard of just how effective the results can be when using Google AdWords.

Or, if you need expert help to ensure that you truly make effective use of Google AdWords, then we’re here for you. We can provide guidance that is completely free from pressure and obligation, or we can take your campaign goals, and run with them.

Tel: 01953 851513 | Email: mail@presspoint.co.uk


Dec
05

A View From Presspoint – So The Sales Begin

A View From Presspoint - So The Sales Begin

The traditional January or Summer Sales were a way of clearing old stock before restocking shelves and warehouses with the new season’s products.

However, it seems retailers are now using any and every opportunity to offer their customers discounted products, in the hope of boosting sales temporarily and moving mass volumes of stock.

In the equestrian market, more and more retailers are feeling the pressure imposed by trends in the wider retail world, leading to many following Black Friday, Cyber Monday as well as January Sales. While it is ultimately the retailer’s choice whether or not to participate, there is almost an expectation from customers that discounts will be available. This may even damage sales in the run up to one of these retails events. Who is going to be purchasing anything on the day before Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Sales, or the absence of them, are a great test of customer loyalty. While it is harder to shop around equestrian shops physically (many of which are few and far between in parts of the country), the ease provided by online shopping outlets means customers can easily find the same product at a number of different price points. This leads to people discounting their brand in order to be able to compete with one another, and ultimately devaluing their brand.

Sales only works if you get the volume. Cutting your profit margins and putting more work into achieving a higher number of discounted sales (rather then a small number at full price) is quite frankly, unsustainable for most smaller businesses. While you may want to wow customers with huge savings and prices that can’t be beaten, this must be done appropriately for each individual business. Consider what was paid, how many products are predicted to sell and how large a price drop you can sensibly offer. These considerations come hand in hand with more pressing matters – what will happen in the long run if you don’t manage the predicted sales and will the business be able to recuperate any losses incurred.

While it may seem ‘the thing to do’, do all these discounting opportunities throughout the year actually benefit a business? Rather than steady and sustained profit making, is it not just causing margins to fluctuate?

This brings us onto the topic of discounts. When used effectively, discounts can boost the footfall of buyers tremendously, but on the other hand, they can actually destroy price integrity. Offer a product in a Sale and people think they’ve found a bargain, however offer the same product with a general discount, the buyer may question the quality and believe it to be old stock or inferior in some way.

Discounts may ultimately damage your customer loyalty too. Having paid a set price for an item, then to find it discounted for no apparent reason, the customer may infer that they had been overpaying previously – not an effective way to maintain client relationships.

Customers might mock the likes of DFS, for always having a sale on. However, it is those self-same customers, who will vote with their feet when the chance comes along to buy a product cheaper, or will leap at the chance to inform you that it’s 99p cheaper at someone else’s store.

In the end, the answer to some of these modern shopping phenomenon’s might just be good old fashioned customer service. And yes you can offer excellent on-line customer service – take a look at that retail paragon John Lewis. If you offer fantastic customer service, you might just find that customers don’t begrudge that extra few pounds come next Christmas.

Who’d be a retailer? Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.


Five innovative ideas for Facebook lead generation
Nov
04

5 innovative ideas for Facebook lead generation

If you’ve been attempting to catch attention for your  business on Facebook but not making any headway, read our piece on Facebook lead generation, below.

You may feel as though you’re fighting a losing battle; you may be wondering why, when your fans have expressed an interest by liking your page that your posts appear to have little impact. This hasn’t been helped by Facebook increasingly restricting the posts that are (or rather are not) seen by your fans, despite you having worked so hard to win them over.

Facebook can feel an imposing medium to grasp – and whilst it’s true that this platform boasts of more users than any other social media network, it’s also equally as true that it’s a network that requires a little innovative thinking. Here we take a look at the ways in which you can secure leads from Facebook, despite the roadblocks in your way.

1. Create an irresistible landing page content offer

There are two elements to this idea: first – a content offer that will grab your target market’s attention (and their email address) and second – a landing page – which will help to turn slight interest, into someone who is ready to input their email and download your content.

A landing page is a single web page designed for nurturing one action from the visitor. In this case, it would be for them to leave their email in return for your content offer. This piece of content could be an eBook, video or other digital asset. The only question is what your content should be. In short, it should directly solve some of your customers’ pain points through valuable guidance. Wholesalers may create a guide to boosting business for the average retailer; a manufacturer may make a video that demonstrates how their product can be displayed to capture footfall at an exhibition.

This tactic is perfect for gathering emails, building trust and demonstrating your knowledge as an expert in your field. Just don’t forget to create a post including clear wording, such as “Download your eBook” and include a compelling, eye catching image.

 

Five innovative ideas for Facebook lead generation

 

2. Invest (some time and effort) in video

Social media users love visuals – and going beyond mere images, video can be incredibly powerful. Given that Facebook feeds now also automatically play videos on silent, you don’t even have to tempt the user into clicking on the play button.

The question as to what video content you should create will, again, depend on your audience. Whilst the same advice as to providing value to your readers applies, you could also consider creating videos that cover industry news, views, quick tips and your own business news. If you’re looking for quick hit lead generation, then your content will of course need to be focused around this – and should ideally lead from the video, to your website, product or landing page by way of a link.

Videos needn’t cost the earth either, simply plan what you’re going to cover, choose a professional place to shoot from (ideally featuring your business in a great light) and grab your smartphone. There are plenty of free, easy to use, video editors out there (such as Windows Movie Maker).

3. Video (again) – but this time, in real time

If you’re soon to be visiting an event or exhibition (or, better still, having a stand) then you may want to consider Facebook Live. This is video, only live streamed in real time. This can help you interact with live leads on Facebook there and then, as well as drawing invaluable footfall actually at the event over to your stand. An idea for this could include an industry guest speaker for a Q & A (which can help attract delegate attention, if they’re just passing by your stall).

 

4. Create a captivating profile cover image and use your Facebook CTA button wisely

Your Facebook cover provides an opportunity to display your company USP, or current offer, brightly and boldly. Coupled with the Facebook button CTA (pointed out with the red arrow below) and it should help you gain some leads from the moment a user lands on your page. Options for your Facebook CTA button include: ‘Shop Now’, ‘Contact Us’, ‘Use App’, ‘Sign Up’ and ‘Watch Video’ – the latter of which may well be ideal for the videos that you’re yet to create.
Five innovative ideas for Facebook lead generation

 

5. Run a contest or giveaway

FREE. It’s a word that everybody loves, no matter the industry. What your ‘prize’ may be will, of course, differ as according to your business. All this requires is a well-worded post (with an eye-catching image) and a link to your contest’s landing page. Entrants can then leave their email to be in with a chance of winning. Then, with the competition over, you can use the collected emails for email marketing.

Essential tip

Before you get started on your contest you may want to read through Facebook’s rules on contests.

 


Five innovative ideas for Facebook lead generation

These innovative ideas have hopefully provided you with a little inspiration – and if you need tailored, one-to-one guidance, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help. Tel: 01953 851513. Email: mail@presspoint.co.uk

 


Oct
11

Your sales funnel: the key to creating consistent business

Your sales funnel: the key to creating consistent business

A sales funnel is a strategic process that, in essence, creates customers. It’s a literal step-by-step process that transitions potential customers or clients, into purchasers and repeat purchasers.

The ‘sales journey’ is broken down into stages – with tools such as emails, blogs, videos and eBooks aiding your potential client in moving along in their decision making process.

There is a compelling argument for rural businesses (which form a huge part of the equestrian industry), having a set strategy in place to harness digital marketing in this way. Namely that they need to make the most of online marketing, as they lack the footfall and on-street exposure that inner town/city and urban businesses benefit from. What’s more, for those in the business-to-business realm, it’s also worth considering that your competitors may already have this form of strategy in place.

If you don’t have a sales funnel already set up, then it’s certainly an element of your marketing that you should consider. Here we take a look at how a sales funnel can achieve the goal that every business aims for – a non-stop flow of consistent business.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is a journey where businesses will move through three groups:

Leads > Prospects > Customers

Let’s expand on these terms (which may at first appear to be merely marketing jargon).

Leads

Leads are the businesses in your target market who are yet to know anything about your brand, product or service.

You need to make leads AWARE that you exist.

Prospects

Prospects are those businesses in your target market who, after some marketing steps (such as you publishing a blog post or sending an email to a buyer), have discovered your company.

Your need to make your prospects INTERESTED in your offering.

Customers

Customers are the straight forward group – those businesses who then make a purchase. However, even at this stage, whilst they may have decided to purchase, they may still be considering what package, product or service they want from you.

You need to help your customers make the right DECISION

Moving your target consumer through the sales funnel

AwarenessWhen a prospect gains awareness of your brand, they have realised that they have a problem that needs solving. The first point of contact may be a blog post, paid advert or social media post.

InterestInterest is shown when the prospect begins to seek out a solution to his/her issue. Frequently this could be through a problem (rather than product or service) focused search.

For example, an equestrian retailer with a desire to boost their profit margins, may type in “equestrian retail how to boost profit”; however, they wouldn’t type in “equestrian wholesaler” or “horse rug manufacturer”. This is where content creation is critical. Your content strategy should be based solely around providing advice that helps your target market address their problem. Through your content you should subtly suggest that your product or service solves their problem. If you successfully create content of value (e.g. that understands your audience) then this suggestion will be taken care of.

Taking the same example from above, an equestrian wholesaler may create a blog post on the products with the largest margin – and go on to explain how to boost sales of said product. Meanwhile, a horse rug manufacturer may focus solely on educating businesses as to how they can make more sales, or more margin, through promotions of their product.

DecisionWhen a buyer reaches the decision stage the individual is ready to commit to your solution. Through the various points of contact (such as email, blogs etc.) they will have reached a stage where they trust your business. However they’re still exploring – considering various packages, options, products and mulling over available information to inform this purchase. Common tools to convert at this stage include sales pages, direct calls and brochures (although again, this all depends on your business).

If we continue with the examples we’ve already spoken of, then wholesalers or manufacturers may well send brochures to help the buyer in deciding which products are right for them; if the product in question is complex, then video content (such as an explainer video) may help the buyer in better understanding their needs, and how a product may fit within their range.

Beyond the three stages…

When a business makes a purchase the funnel has achieved its aim. However beyond this stage, for some, there are further stages that create a loop. This doesn’t apply to all forms of companies, however given that you’re in the business-to-business realm, it’s likely that your target market does have repeat needs for your product or service. If they do, then further marketing may ensure that continual communication secures ongoing business (which can be achieved through email marketing, blogging, direct mail and phone calls).

 

The sales funnel – Essential tools for each stage

Social networks (Awareness)

Social networks are intertwined with every aspect of personal and business life – you simply can’t afford to ignore them. First, begin by understanding your target market’s social media habits – find out where they’re spending their time, and focus your efforts on those platforms. Look for networking groups for the equestrian community and pages that focus on industry news. Get involved in conversations and contribute your knowledge.

Consider whether there are niche social platforms built for your exact area of business. For those who work in the niche equestrian creative realm.

Comment on other pages and profiles with valuable insight (note here that the operative word is valuable – don’t simply spam your link wherever you’re able).

You may also want to explore social media paid adverts – to serve up your content in front of people who’ve already shown interest in similar companies.

Cold calling and direct mail (Awareness)

Whilst we have focused so far solely on digital means of discovering leads, that’s not to say that traditional methods don’t hold value – indeed, for some businesses they may well be the most effective of all (particularly where the target markets don’t live their lives online).

Cold calling when undertaken by professionals can be incredibly effective. Despite what you may have heard, this medium results in companies securing 50% of sales when they’re the first business to contact the buyer in question.

Equally, if you’re dead set on a less aggressive tact, then direct mail may well be the way forward. This too, has garnered somewhat of an unsavoury reputation – when in fact the stats behind this form of marketing are illuminating.

“Direct mail outperforms all digital channels by nearly 700% in terms of response rates” (DMA)

Networking events (Awareness)

Putting a human face to a brand name and meeting people in person can pay literal dividends. Interactions at networking events can also help your discover new ways in which you can solve the problems that your customers face. This form of building a customer base is often essential if you’re a business-to-business company. These events may also have speaking opportunities – which are a great way of demonstrating your knowledge.

Blogs (Awareness and interest)

Blogging is so powerful for capturing the interest of leads and educating them onwards to becoming a customer. When creating content for your blog, consider using the 80/20 rule – 80% content that’s useful and user focused, 20% content that’s promotional and product or service focused.

Downloadable content/course (Interest)

Known as lead magnets, free content is ideal for harvesting those emails that could then be harnessed for one-to-one communications. Couple an informative eBook or video course that helps your target business in understanding their problem, and you’ll also be building trust and a brand image that shouts ‘go-to expert/supplier or manufacturer’.

Webinars (Decision and action)

Webinars provide a great way of opening up communication – when people view webinars (at least when done correctly) they feel connected to a business. What’s more, having invested some of their precious time, they’re already half committed to a purchase.

Video (All stages)

Video explainers are engaging, bite-size consumable and social media friendly. If you can create video content that addresses your target market’s current problem, or explores their concerns just before they’re ready to commit, then you have a tool that will seamlessly move an individual from one stage of the funnel, to the next.

Ultimately perfecting your sales funnel can be a long and demanding process, however the results achieved with an effective sales funnel in place can be practically unparalleled.

pplogo

If you need even further guidance as to how you can get to grips with content marketing, feel free to contact us.

Tel: 01953 851513. Email: mail@presspoint.co.uk


Sep
11

Building and targeting a successful e-shot campaign

building-and-targeting-a-succesful-e-shot-campaign

Email marketing presents an attractive option for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries; not only providing an incredible ROI of 3800% (representing a £38 return for every £1 spent according to Campaign Monitor, but also providing a tool that naturally lends itself to the building of firm fans and the creation of brand affinity, whilst offering solid powers of analysis for always improving campaigns. However, this medium is not one without its issues – the main one of which is that a successful Email marketing campaign commands a carefully constructed strategy – which is exactly what we look at here.

Building your email list

Building an email recipient list isn’t easy – and many businesses take the ineffective sort cut of scraping and spamming their target market. This tactic, whereby emails are effectively researched online, and copied and pasted into an email list, is not only a fast track route to becoming considered a Spammer (and potentially becoming blacklisted by your email platform), but moreover is guaranteed to result in nothing other than frustrated recipients and a tarnished brand name.

Sending your emails to those who have actively signed up to them is the only way forward; and ideas for gaining self-submitted names and email addresses include:

– Providing some form of useful free content in return;

– Creating a blog that offers amazing content – if you impress here, your readers will be only too happy to sign up for direct to their inbox updates;

– Running an online contest where entrants need to leave an email address to enter;

– Hosting an online webinar for which viewers must leave their email in order to register;

– Creating a paid search advert that leads to a squeeze page where the goal is to gather emails.

Know your target market (and their issues)

First things first: in order to create a successful email marketing campaign you need to fully understand your target market, and their problems. Most specifically you need to break down the reason why they would use a service or product such as yours – which ultimately can help lead you to crafting a succession of emails that are both of interest to your target market, whilst naturally linking back to your product or service.

Step-by-step: Trust, persuasion and your sales funnel

Email marketing aims to build trust, persuade and, ultimately, nurture a sale. A sales funnel is the buying journey that your target market undergoes from the moment a potential customer discovers your product, to the moment they purchase.

The most successful of email marketing campaigns will include a series of emails that correspond to each step – educating, informing and persuading the reader over the course of the campaign.

This runs contrary to purely promotional emails that may inform readers of an immediate sale – and should potentially be integrated with other channels (such as social media) which can present opportunities for contact and interaction for questions and queries that may arise before a customer is ready to commit.

 Tips for an email shot that converts

  1. Understand the craft of the email headline

There are tried and tested tactics for email headlines that foster solid open rates, namely:

– Opting for a clear subject line that informs, rather than a clever line that confuses;

– Keeping to 50 characters or fewer (anymore and the full line won’t be displayed);

– Personalising the subject line by including the person’s name;

– Avoiding words that email clients pick up upon that will immediately land your email in the SPAM folder, such as:

Percent off, Reminder, Help, Buy, Clearance, Earn £, Make £, Earn, From home, Biz, Cash, Claim, Collect, Income, Get out of, Increase your, Prescriptions, Free, Millions, Urgent, Dear.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of media

Enrich your email through using images and videos; linking this to the pointer above – including the word VIDEO in your email’s subject line has been shown to increase conversions by between 7% and 13%.

  1. Appreciate the power of impactful copy

The copy within your email should be short, concise and engaging, as well as tailored to reflect both your brand voice, and the language and tone that literally ‘speaks’ your target consumer’s language. All too many businesses underestimate this task, and even fewer don’t appreciate the value of a copywriter’s service in this respect. If you do choose to go it alone and write emails yourself, then research how to write compelling copy before you start.

  1. Include strong calls to action throughout

With every email sent you want to focus on your user taking some form of action, whether this be reading a blog, viewing a video, or buying your service or product.

Your calls to action should reflect this – and they should be short, sharp and highlighted by banners or buttons.

  1. Make it personal

Beyond personalising your subject line, you should also personalise your emails. Write in ‘second person’, and address the recipient as ‘you’ and your business as ‘us’.

Before you press ahead and hit send: Consider the power of A/B testing

A/B testing is where an email recipient list is split into two in order to trial various variables that may impact upon your conversion rates.

This is useful as it can lead to insightful choices and, ultimately, more conversions.

Some key variables to consider testing include:

– The email subject line

– The calls to action (such as ‘Buy now’ versus ‘View our pricing’)

– Which customer testimonials to include

– How the email closes

– Which images you include

– How you personalise the email

– The headlines used throughout your email

Email marketing is a medium that certainly pays dividends when you get it right – however, as with many business building tactics, the importance of testing, tweaking and always improving is essential if it’s to deliver upon all that it promises (particularly that alluring 3800% ROI!).

PressPoint

If you need some help with getting your blogs up and running, Presspoint is only a call or an email away. Tel: 01953 851513. Email: mail@presspoint.co.uk


Jul
11

Feeding the beast: Content Generation and Social Media Marketing

Feeding the beast: Content Generation and Social Media Marketing

Content was, is and always will be king. For anyone within the marketing realm, this may well be the widest and most well-known online marketing saying of all. However, we now live in the age of social media where ‘content’ is simply swallowed at an alarming rate. How does a developing business keep up?

Blogs, videos, infographics and podcasts all serve to drive traffic from the richly diverse collection of social media platforms, over to your website. Content also has the ability to build firm fan bases, as well as secure affinity with your brand.

Your sales funnel serves as your company’s lifeblood: think of it as a continual content creation and social media marketing process – where leads are nurtured from cold to super-hot, where individuals begin as unknowns and end up as repeat purchasers: think of it, as feeding the beast that is your business.

Time and resource rich? We thought not.

A content strategy is as far removed from writing about your products and services as it possibly could be. It takes considerable time to craft a message that consumers care about – and even longer to affect a strategy that will see your content featured in the right places, in front of the right eyes.

According to the LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 51% of companies lack the time to create content. Unfortunately, all too many equestrian related businesses lack the time, resources, or both, to create content that matters and put in place a social media strategy that pays any form of dividends; and the result? A lacklustre performance where your time, effort and marketing budget is often wasted.

So, just how much time and resources do you need?

Let’s get to grips with exactly how much time and resources content creation and social media marketing commands – at least when it’s done in an effective way.

Research from the Social Media Examiner has recently found that 81% of marketers could achieve increased traffic with 6+ hours per week spent on social media marketing. Yet this is for the social media side alone – the actual creation of content commands a whole new level of resources which must be managed, potentially including a mix of experts, such as a copywriter, a social media marketer, an SEO expert and a content specialist for media focussed pieces (such as a graphic designer for an infographic or a videographer for video content).

Quick tips on satisfying the appetite

Content: It’s (mostly) about getting into the mind of your target consumer

Now you may be thinking that, as a PR company, we would say that content creation and social media is time-consuming – after all, wouldn’t we prefer that we win your business?

However, there are ways in which businesses can, at the least, begin to feed the appetite of the beast; and here are three tips that represent the most fundamental of all content creation concepts.

1. Content creation: it’s not about you – it’s about them

Further research by LinkedIn Technology Marketing has found that the top three elements of effective content are: Audience Relevance (58%); Engaging and Compelling Storytelling (57%); Triggers a Response/Action (54%). This order creates some semblance of focus for your content creation efforts and underlines that, first and foremost, your content must be relevant to your audience.

Content that helps address your target market’s pain points is the most valuable of all – yet in order to do this you need to understand who your target customer is, and what issue, or issues, it is that they face and you solve. Content that sits neatly between your product or service, and their pain point, is exactly where you need to be.

You should also consider how your competitors are mastering the art of valuable content – do they give away guides or exclusive access to certain blogs in exchange for an email address? Are they experiencing much engagement on their social pages from followers who can’t help but ask for more information?

This must run alongside promotional content – such as press releases and news features, which serve to attract both attention and build knowledge around your commercial activities.

2. Be a clever curator

Original content is a must in this day and age. Not only does it signal to the mighty search engines that yours is a website worthy of a respectable position, but it also illustrates you as a thought leader, industry expert and a brand with a voice worth listening to.

That all said, the most effective of content strategies will have an element of content curation, which is harnessing the works of others to add value to your message. This could be as simple as re-publishing another company’s infographic, or re-blogging an expert’s recent post. When doing this you must ensure that the source you seek from isn’t in direct completion with you (and don’t forget to request permission and credit the original author!).

3. Content quality control

Last but not least you must create quality content – and this goes beyond merely ensuring your copy is free from spelling errors.

When we talk of quality, we mean elements such as tone and language – both essential for connecting with your audience. Too informal and your brand may come across as far too relaxed to be entrusted, too formal and you may appear wooden, stiff and insincere – neither of which will do much for your business.

Your copy must also be easy to scan, with an engaging first summary paragraph; short, snappy sentences and concise yet engaging subheadings. This is all completed by there being some form of call-to-action – be it influencing the reader to leave an email address for further updates, or encouraging the reader to place an order there and then.

Social Media

Social media is the Ying to content’s Yang – without each you simply can’t strike the balance that attracts eyes and wins hearts

Your target market – where in the world are they?

Think that you need to be on every social media network going in order to reap the full results from all of your hard work? Think again. Not only can this be time-consuming, it can also be damaging to your follower numbers, as those who take the time to follow on more than one platform are served up with the same messages on both. When you do this – you’re considered only as a business who clogs their feed – a spammer. Ultimately – this can lead to unfollows and unlikes unilaterally.

To this end, you first need to know where your target market are and then you need to know what content should go where in order to nurture those clicks over and away from their original, social media source.

Don’t neglect the message that accompanies your content links – nor the images that are displayed alongside them

Once you’ve given blood, sweat and tears to your latest piece of content, you shouldn’t do away with all of your hard work by posting in haste. Take time to craft the status update that is responsible for grabbing your users’ attention, and carefully select an eye-catching (and relevant) image that could contend against the best of cat memes any day of the week.

Track, track, track

Above all else it’s vital that you track your social media efforts and the successes (and fails) that you’ve achieved. This is the only way in which you can improve what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.

Key metrics to track may include: shares, likes, re-tweets, follower numbers and comments; whilst off-site metrics include: average page visit duration, blog comments and search engine position.

We speak your language, we know your customer

The world of equestrian and countryside focussed businesses are often faced with one rather mammoth problem when it comes to PR services: the many glittering PR and marketing firms out there simply don’t ‘get’ you.

We speak your language, and we know your target customer – inside out, and back to front. For 30 years we’ve been working alongside companies such as yours in crafting strategies that make people care – with content that compels and social media plans that boost bottom lines.

Unless you find yourself in the enviable position of being both time rich and resource rich – there are our services; and it is these services that free businesses such as yours from the demanding requirements of feeding the beast, day in, day out. It’s also what allows companies exactly like yours to focus on the stuff that they’re really good at: such as running their business, and delivering products or services that delight.

Feeding the beast: Content Generation and Social Media Marketing

If you need some help with Content Generation and Social Media Marketing, Presspoint is only a call or an email away. Tel: 01953 851513. Email: mail@presspoint.co.uk