Weekly Marketing Tips and Tricks

Best Digital Marketing Tips

We’re here to help demystify marketing.

For small business owners, it can be very lonely at the top. While you know marketing is critical, you might be unsure where to start. Perhaps you are embarrassed that marketing is not something you know. Maybe you don’t like the mere mention of “digital marketing.” How do you decide what to invest in people, time, and money? Can you expect a return on your marketing investment?

Every Monday, we share tips to help grow your marketing skills and get results in your business.

 Latest Weekly Marketing Tip

Avoid The Most Common Marketing Mistakes:

We succumb to the “sparkle pony” effect: a cool metric, new martech tool, or pretty dashboard.

Many marketing technology tools are usually invisible to the customer. They don’t care and it doesn’t matter to them! The rapid proliferation of marketing technology is quite astonishing. From 150 products in 2011, the martech market is over 8,000 solutions today! For marketers, this resource investment comes with significant performance expectations. Marketing must not only test, integrate, and train on these technologies, but also become power users, while connecting results to sales. Choose your martech tools carefully! There are many highly effective tech tools available. The key is to show value and justify the effort to the customer journey.

Week 48

Recent Marketing Tips and Tricks

Avoid The Most Common Marketing Mistakes:

We don’t look to the left and right and left of customer journey data and lose their connections in the sales funnel.

We must devote resources to both client acquisition and customer retention. Businesses can’t ignore one and expect to have consistent and sustained growth. Sometimes you will have too much data in one place and not enough in another. There will be good and bad data. Or you will have no data. This marketing mistake can occur when teams don’t talk to each other and share “data” in their heads. Marketing and Sales are like cats and dogs with friction between them. Marketing can get stuck in their corporate ivory towers and think they know what prospects want, but don’t engage with customers because that’s “sales responsibility.” The magic happens when we can talk directly with customers!

Week 47

Avoid The Most Common Marketing Mistakes:

We collect lots of data in one place on the customer journey and nothing in other places.

Companies know who is on their website at any given time on Google Analytics, heatmaps, mouse hovers, and video snippets of users, yet many haven’t measured customer satisfaction, or spent time uncovering why the company lost clients. This is hard to do, as there are always other pressing issues. It’s also easy to ignore, especially if there are departmental silos between sales, marketing, and account management. This is an unbalanced diet. Marketing spends too much time on the left side of the sales funnel and not enough on the right side of the funnel to keep customers happy and satisfied.

Week 46

Avoid The Most Common Marketing Mistakes:

We ignore the source of customer journey data or the method to gather it.

SMB cannot rely solely on digital marketing data to fully understand the customer journey and address their needs. There is no substitute for engaging with customers and prospects and hearing what they have to say about you! It is also important to examine customer data and research that marketing typically doesn’t have access to. These include satisfaction survey comments, customer service emails, tech support phone and chat logs, and even meeting minutes from sales calls. Talk to all customer-facing teams – sales, account management, customer service, and anyone else who answers the phone. Working remotely for so many months, we may have overlooked key customer insights, opportunities, or concerns. Make sure to look at past customer satisfaction surveys, such as NPS (Net Promoter Score). Do everything you can to protect your Promotors and address the issues with your Detractors.

Week 45

Avoid The Most Common Marketing Mistakes:

We focus on the data that is easiest to get, not the data that tells the full story.

We have access to a lot of data – Google Analytics, Search Console, Google My Business – plus all the social platforms’ info. It is overwhelming, and most of the data are vanity metrics (web visits, time on pages, social media likes, and followers). Simply regurgitating numbers without interpretation is meaningless. Monitoring data is not a substitute for reporting on results that matter to a business! Of course, uncovering your story can be fuzzy and downright challenging. To start, concentrate on numbers that tie into your bottom line: #1) organic traffic and #2) leads, and how these improve over time.

Week 44

Words matter. Do your keyword homework.

When was the last time you did keyword research? Last month? Last year? Never?! Keyword research is the foundation of digital marketing strategies. How do you expect to create high-value content, drive traffic, sales, ROI, and keep a pulse on the competition if you don’t know the relevant keywords for your website?

How do you begin? Just start googling terms, reviewing the page from top to bottom. Google displays a lot of information including the top advertisements, “People also search for,” other website links, and ‘Related Searches.” Heck, even explore the thesaurus for other keyword variants. Then use “Google Trends” to identify potential geographical differences.

You should also take advantage of free trials from SEO juggernaut companies like Moz, Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, ahrefs, and SEMrush. In minutes, you’ll get a jump start on your keyword research. It will provide powerful insights such as a technical site audit, your current Google rankings, keyword opportunities, backlink opportunities, and competitive analysis.

Yes, this is hard work and must be done repeatedly. Keywords are a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. They are the link between what people search for and the content you provide to satisfy that need. This could lead to increased sales! Good luck!

Week 43

Your website must be ADA compliant. Really!

Websites are considered “public spaces” and need to be accessible to all. Not only is having an ADA compliant website legally required, but there are bad apples trolling websites and slapping businesses with lawsuits. If your site doesn’t meet accessibility standards, you could be fined up to $75,000 for a first violation. Although extreme and unlikely to happen, the courts have ruled against businesses to ensure disabled people have the same digital access as able-bodied folks. Small businesses simply can’t afford the expense or hassle to fight lawsuits. Most importantly, an accessible site could help your business reputation by making it easier for everybody to use your website.

Help is available! We’ve worked with an amazing partner – https://zurl.co/9m2j – that can help you get ADA compliant in 48 hours for as little as $3 a day. Don’t take our word for it; please check out their blog: Are websites required to be ADA compliant? If this is intimidating, try this online checker to see where your website scores (red errors are bad).

Week 42

What is your customer’s repeat purchase behavior?

It’s no surprise that most organizational profit comes from existing customers. A vital assessment of your customer base is to identify repeat purchase opportunities. This includes analyzing purchase frequency for every customer – is it up or down – and are there additional products/services from which they could benefit from? Then, most critically, evaluate their attitudes towards you. Shockingly, you may uncover multiple customers at flight risk and your highest revenue generators disengaged from you. The pandemic has upended businesses, necessitating double-duty protecting satisfied customers and safeguarding those on the bubble.

Week 41

Recognize and reward referrals.

Referrals are the backbone for small businesses. Without them, growing the pipeline would be doubly hard. So consider:

  • When was the last time you analyzed your referral process?
  • Do you know off the top of your head how much revenue comes from referrals?
  • Have you taken the time to tell referrals how much you appreciate their trust?

No?

Then it’s time to get to work. Immediately reach out – whether by phone, text, email, mail, in-person – and tell them how much they matter to you. Not only is it a chance to stay connected with referrals, it informs them how you are doing, which in turn reinforces why they referred you in the first place! Next, formalize a referral process for your entire team, so you can grow your referral base. Big retail brands are masters at referral programs. It’s also how companies find new staff, which is especially critical today with the acute labor shortages. How do they do it? They dangle cash as an incentive. Even if cash gifts aren’t allowed in your industry, consider adding a line item in your budget for referrals. Ask your team because they may have ideas as well!

Week 40

Construct a $ and time budget aligned to your customer journey.

How much money and staff time are you spending on customer acquisition and retention? Most companies don’t know! First, you must understand how you’re spending your money today. It’s an elbow grease exercise, analyzing all dollars and activities spent on the customer journey. Include anyone that spends time and money on prospects and customers. Look closely at sales, marketing, customer service, executives, and even the technical team. Armed with this data, you can construct a zero-based budget to prioritize what you should be spending along the customer journey. Instead of simply begging for more money, you can make more informed budgeting decisions, get a better ROI for your efforts – and more attention spent on customers.

Ask us about our magic spreadsheet to create a customer journey budget aligned to your business goals. Your CFO will love this!

Week 39

Being a brand advocate is everyone’s job.

Marketing goes well beyond cool campaigns, pretty brochures, and using the correct fonts, colors and imagery. It is a responsibility that must be shared across the entire organization. 👇

We all are brand ambassadors, even if we’re not in the marketing department. In today’s digital world, everything that we do can have an impact on brands – either positive or negative.

Ask yourself two questions before going public with anything:

  1. Would you still do X if it was splashed on the front page of a media outlet?
  2. Would you say it out loud to your grandma? If not, then don’t say it at all.

Mistakes happen, whether we are decades into our careers or just starting out. That’s how we learn and continuously improve. Hopefully, you work for an organization that embraces learning from failures. We want customers to have real, authentic experiences with our brands on social media, but not at the expense of brand denigration.

Week 38

Create your own simple sales funnel.

This marketing tip is ideal for solopreneurs and a major framework for Unified Funnel Metrics. Don’t bother with a software-based CRM system. You can create your own with just post-it notes, a sharpie, and pencil. First, find a patch of wall space that you can dedicate your CRM to – hopefully you have some real estate leftover from the pandemic WFH. Next, choose four different colored post-it notes (it’s ok to use small ones if you don’t have a ton of room).

  1. Pick one color for customers you have and desire to attain
  2. Color two is for submitted proposals
  3. Color three is your referral network, and
  4. Color four is your total conversations aka leads.

Remember the marketing math we’ve been talking about? Now’s the time to make your sticky-note sales system come alive. Let’s use the 1:10:10:100 calculation. For every 1 customer you need, you would submit 10 proposals, and to get there you need 10 referrals, and 10 leads for every proposal.

1 new customer = 10 proposals = 100 leads (10 from your referral network)

Why this simple system works:

  • You can construct your own CRM in minutes and is a breeze to maintain
  • Your sales funnel is always visible
  • You constantly know when your funnel is anemic or overflowing

 

Here’s an example of a filled-out sticky-note CRM.

Create your own simple CRM with post-in notes | HPZ marketing

Sticky note sales CRM - Marvel example | HPZ marketing

Start posting away to keep track of your potential customers.

(If you’re contemplating starting your own business, join the Voyaguer U community today. In 90 days or less, you can be up and running in business for yourself! Voyaguer U provides the tools, resources, networking support, and the confidence to pursue the independent career of your dreams. There simply is nothing out there that gives you all those support tools in one place. Tell them we sent you!)

Week 37

Be an ally for sales.

Sales and marketing squabbling is common in companies. Indeed, sales rarely holds back their feelings about marketing:

“What does marketing do? I have no clue.”

“Marketing never listens to sales.”

“They give me $#*% stuff.”

In reality, the lights are on because of the sales team. Marketing must support sales and do what they need to grow the business. (Disclaimer – it doesn’t give sales license to be jerks and run roughshod over marketing!)

We have been fortunate to work with brilliantly talented sales teams. Reaching across the table, working hand in hand, nothing is more rewarding than securing wins as a team TOGETHER. It is not always a walk in the park, nor does sales unequivocally accept our work. Sales reps are demanding, impatient, and yes, difficult at times. Why? They don’t care about following brand guidelines, or award-winning digital ads, or Google Ad conversion rates. All they want is to get and keep customers.

So double down on your efforts to be a champion for sales.  If you just really, truly listen to what sales is asking for, you help your company and do right by your customers. Plus, the end result is a much better partnership between sales and marketing.

You’ll be glad you did – and your sales team will thank you for it!

Week 36

Analyze won and lost deals.

Complete an analysis of every deal you won or lost. Small companies rarely do this, so don’t lament it. This is difficult to make time for because, well, there’s a million other details to attend to. Plus, it’s nerve wracking and exposes vulnerability to ask prospects why they didn’t choose your business. Was it due to people? Products? Reputation? Nonetheless, this exercise can be an eye-opening opportunity to become a better vendor and a chance to compare your company’s performance pre- and post-pandemic.

Week 35

Ask for Google reviews.

Be sure you are diligent in asking customers for reviews. Reviews matter in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), both in quantity and quality of reviews – even for B2B industries. It is also critical to build your reputation in multiple platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, Alignable, and Nextdoor. This was painfully evident when Google suspended their review functionality for months early in the pandemic. You can make it easy and convenient for customers to complete a Google review with a custom QR code.

This step-by-step blog article is super helpful in learning how to create a QR code for your business. https://businesswebsiteleader.com/blog/creating-a-qr-code-for-google-business-reviews/

Week 34

Strive for 10X ROI on marketing.

Ask yourself this question each time you consider investing in a marketing initiative: If I spend X, can I get 10X back in revenue?

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Will sponsoring a golf hole for $250 net $2,500 in sales?
  • Should we participate in a hybrid tradeshow for $3,500? Is $35,000 in pipeline opportunities realistic?
  • Google Ads is offering a $1,000 credit if we spend $2,000 in advertising over six months. Could we procure enough leads to generate $20,000 in revenue?

Of course, you should put a lot of elbow grease in planning, budgeting, and attribution analysis. But this exercise spurs rapid conversation and decision-making about a particular marketing activity. If there’s little hope of success, don’t waste your time and resources on it!

Stay tuned for a future tip on developing a marketing budget your CFO will love.

Week 33

Target 10x leads for every new customer.

We must admit, generating interest is one of the hardest marketing responsibilities to successfully master. This is commonly where massive friction occurs in organizations. Does this sound familiar? “We need more leads!”

This typically is what happens:

“We must beef up our sales funnel!”

“We need definitions to explain all the lead phases – hot, warm, cold, qualified, unqualified, no budget, and decision maker.”

“Now we must score it to determine a lead’s worth.”

Then marketing hands the leads over to sales.

But marketing complains that sales does nothing with the leads.

  • No conversions.
  • No increased pipeline.
  • Stagnate revenue.
  • Sales is mad that marketing gives them crap leads and crap content too.

This conflict certainly doesn’t bring everybody together as a team.

 

What to do? Keep it simple!

If a lead is worth pursuing, give it to sales, otherwise marketing keeps nurturing the lead or mark as unqualified. Next, put your marketing math to work because leads don’t just automatically turn to sales. You must strive for 10x leads for every new customer. If your revenue target is 50 new customers this year, then you’ll need to generate 500 leads.

Week 32

Build brand awareness with impressions.

How many people know about your business? You can’t sell something to someone who just met you. To buy from you, people need to trust you. To trust you, they need to know you first. It’s the first step. A good rule of thumb is to target achieving 7x impressions of your total addressable market* during a sales cycle. AKA “imps”, this is the number of “eyeballs” seeing your brand, both organically and paid. It may take at least 7 times for your brand to stick with your target audience. An easy method to monitor your imps is through Google Search Console. Sure, you might have internal tools and staff to compile all your impressions (from social media, advertising, GMB, etc.), but this is the fastest way to check how you’re tracking on your 7x target.

*See last week’s tip below on the importance of determining your total addressable market (TAM). That is your denominator for calculating your 7x impressions.

Week 31

Calculate your market demand.

How many potential prospects are in your target market(s)? Do you really know how many customers are out there – and that you can realistically capture? If you don’t, you have no way of knowing if your sales and marketing efforts are successful. Determining this number is the critical first step of identifying what you should invest in customer acquisition and retention. Want to learn how to research and calculate your market demand? Connect with us! Hint: it’s NOT the total market size.

Week 30

Don’t get hacked. Be security savvy.

You may be thinking – hey, this isn’t a marketing tip! But it is. Small and mid-size businesses are hacked too. You don’t hear about it because they aren’t considered newsworthy, unlike recent hacks to meat producer JBS and Colonial Pipeline. But the largest global attack on record over the July 4th holiday has proven that no business is immune. Manufacturing, physician-owned clinics, grocery stores, gyms, and even churches are targets. Just imagine if your website, social media accounts, or internal systems were shut down and data was stolen. What is the potential negative impact to your client relationships, or irreparable brand damage and PR nightmare if this happened? How many people have access to your accounts and networks, whether they are staff, volunteers, contractors, or vendors?

Start this today:

  • Update passwords, the longer the better (we use 31 characters!)
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Generate a tech inventory worksheet documenting digital accounts, devices, and authorized users

Here are some of our go-to resources:

  1. LastPass for managing all personal and professional passwords
  2. Sovran, a women-owned IT solutions provider including disaster recovery services
  3. LegalShield, offering cost-effective cybersecurity plans

Be safe out there!

Week 29

Double down on customer satisfaction.

Don’t give customers a reason to choose a competitor. Of course, duh, we all know we need to stay close to customers. But we’re in a weird “three little bears time.” Are we reaching out too much? Too little? How do we figure out what is “just right?”

If you had Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) measures prior to the pandemic, but stopped, take steps to get back on track.

We recommend implementing a loyalty survey called Net Promoter Score (NPS), asking three simple questions:

1. How likely are you to recommend us?
2. What can we do better?
3. What do we do well?

Do this immediately with new customers, when you are most at risk of losing them due to “buyer’s remorse”, and at least once a year. Then before you know it, you’ll have quantitative data on how you’re performing over time versus “gee, I think we’re doing ok.” (FYI, NPS, is a proven research method that predicts customer loyalty and future buying behavior)

Week 28

Create a free Google My Business profile.

Do you want to boost your organic Google search results? Drop everything right now and claim your Google My Business listing! AKA as GMB, it is a powerful (and free) tool for prospects to find you on Google Search and Maps. You must have a legitimate physical address, even if it’s a home-based business. Once Google verifies your biz, populate all possible attributes which will be dependent on your industry. You can add photos, videos, events, promotions, pricing, plus detailed product and services information. When choosing your business categories, the primary service should be first. Best of all, you can “post” updates to promote your business. If you’re already doing regular social media posts, do the same on GMB. The posts remain live on Google Search for seven days, but prospects can view all past posts too by scrolling your updates.

So get busy and make Google work for you!

Week 27

Digital Audit Part 2.

Update your meta descriptions and title tags.

Last week’s tip was about technical website audits. After you fix broken links and 404 page errors, what should you do next? Invest in a ‘magic pen’ copywriter to update your website meta descriptions, page titles and H1, H2 header tags. Moz, a SEO juggernaut has stated that improved page titles can generate a 15% lift in traffic. Who wouldn’t want that?

It’s important to craft enticing and distinctive copy. After all, the ultimate goal is to get users to click your page! Be sure to maximize the character counts, but not so long that Google truncates the descriptions (and potentially annoy prospects by pushing them to other sites).

P.S. Use the Screaming Frog SEO audit tool to check out your competition. Are they lazy in their SEO (i.e. copying and pasting the same title tags on each page) or are they pretty darn good? Use this as an opportunity to hone your online differentiation.

Week 26

Complete a technical audit of your website.

You don’t need to be a web tech expert or pay for SEO software to do this step. It is a “health” check-up of your website to uncover common SEO issues. It is critical your website is optimized to ensure Search Engines (aka Google) can find you. Are your website meta descriptions, page titles and header tags (H1, H2) missing, duplicates or up-to-date? Any broken links or 404 page errors? Are your image sizes slowing your site speed? Download the Screaming Frog app, an SEO audit tool, and scan the first 500 pages of your website for free. It’s kinda techy looking, and the interface is not sleek, but it’s an amazing tool. You gotta love the name, right?! Export multiple CVS files and start digging in!

Also check your site Content Management System, such as WordPress and Hubspot for additional SEO fixes and improvements.

Week 25

It’s time for “marketing” cleaning!

As you near the end of Q2, take the time to critically assess your marketing. Just like spring-cleaning! Where have you spent your time and money YTD? Did you get the results you expected? Have you forgotten or neglected any online or offline marketing activities? Here’s a couple suggestions to get you started:

 

  1. Refresh your digital technical audit (no 404 errors!)
  2. Optimize your Google Ads (they get paid, even with lousy ads)
  3. Keep a pulse on customer satisfaction (do they know you care?)
Week 24

Build your marketing muscles.

Aspiring to get healthier requires intentional diet and exercise over time. The same applies to marketing – you need to commit to building your marketing muscles. You won’t lose your pandemic pudge or become a marketing expert overnight, but just like a habit, it becomes commonplace, and you’ll begin to see results over time.

Start today. Put it in your calendar and plan for devoting resources to it.

You’ve just taken the first step towards building your marketing moxie. Well done! Stay tuned for more tips next week…

For further tips, check out our blog on Essential marketing practices for small businesses.

Week 23

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