Email marketing: refining your campaign

 admin  15/Sep/17  no responses.

PressPoint goes in-depth with ideas that will drag your email marketing into 2017, looking into the platforms you may want to consider as you progress further as well as winning email templates that will boost your current click-through rates.

 

Email marketing is dead, they said. No one likes to receive SPAM, others say. Whilst it’s true that few relish receiving unsolicited emails of no value, email marketing is just about the most effective form of marketing going.

 

Consider these statistics:

– “Automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than ‘business as usual’ marketing messages” – Epsilon Email Institute

– “Email marketing has an ROI of 3800%” – DMA

– “The average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media” – McKinsey

 

 

2017: the up-to-date dos and don’ts

 

The dos . . .

 

1. Create eBooks for each of your long-form blogs

 

Long-form blog articles are those that run for longer than 1000 words – they’re in-depth, useful and they provide value; they may also include plenty of media, such as images and videos (this blog right here is a long-form article – and if you arrived via Google, it’s clear that this approach really works).

 

Alongside valuable free content, the most effective way to grab emails is to offer the individual something in return – such as an eBook or guide that will help make your prospect’s life easier.

 

The most powerful and still overlooked way of making the most of an eBook is to create long form content that has a very specific eBook created for it to extend the readers’ knowledge (if you’ve kept their attention for 1500 words, why wouldn’t they want to know the next steps?).

 

2. Segment your audience

 

Segmenting your audience can boost your conversion rates as the messages you send can be based around the products that the receiver purchases, as well as their interests and concerns. Putting this into an example, say that you’re an equine wholesaler – your customer base primarily covers two core customers, equine stable owners and equine trainers.

 

While you could tempt a stable owner with a guide as to how they could double their revenue (with tips including minimising empty stable time and offering add-on services) this wouldn’t be suitable for trainers, who you could instead provide a guide for finding higher paying clients.

 

3. Have a pre-defined goal in mind prior to hitting the send button

 

If you lack a clear vision as to what your latest email is trying to achieve, then don’t expect your recipients to know what they should do either. Goals can help focus your content and sharpen your approach, and could include:

– The completion of a contact form

– Contacting you for more information

– The redemption of a coupon or purchase of an offer

– Partaking in a competition

 

It’s also ok to have multiple calls-to-action and links – but they should all ultimately serve your final goal.

 

The don’ts . . .

 

1. Don’t overlook mobile

 

Emails are opened via mobile 54% of the time, so it’s essential that your email template is responsive (e.g. it fits to suit whatever device it’s displayed on – whether on the traditional PC or on your customer’s smartphone). An email platform can help here – which we cover in a little while.

 

2. Don’t break SPAM laws

 

Let us stress again – you need to collect email addresses that are voluntarily provided to you (don’t ever be tempted to send emails without permission – asides from annoying your target market and tarnishing your brand, you may also ensure that your sender address gets blacklisted).

 

This also means that you should never ever buy lists – this cheap and dirty trick is exactly that, and will serve only to impact the deliverability of your emails, mark your reputation and downgrade your domain.

 

3. Don’t send your emails without testing first

 

How do your emails appear when your recipients view them? Is the design responsive so that it appears nicely on all devices? Are there any typos? Do the links all work? What about images? Over-zealous email programmes that wipe out images can make your once beautiful email rather ugly. Moral of the story? Proof read and test your email before unleashing it to the world (which any good email platform can help with – and helpfully this is what we move on to next…)

 

What’s your email platform?

 

In our last focus on email marketing, we avoided talking about email platforms as they could really demand an entire feature of their own. However, as you invest more time and money into your email marketing (and become more advanced at it) you’ll certainly benefit from choosing and using an email platform that’s right for your needs.

 

For those with no budget at all, MailChimp makes for an obvious choice – providing plenty of features and offering the service for free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.

 

If you have a slight budget to work with, Constant Contact may be one to consider, starting at £15 per month. It is user-friendly, provides insightful tracking and reporting, has ready-to-go social media features and offers exceptional support should you need any help. You can also try it out for free for an entire 60 days without committing financially (no credit-card required).

 

Is an investment in a marketing automation platform worthwhile?

 

The most sophisticated of email platforms extend their features to all forms of marketing (to automate things such as emails, blogging, social media and additional website actions) and build in certain CRM features; these are known as marketing automation platforms. The widely considered top five of which are: HubSpot, Eloqua, Pardot, Act-On, and Marketo, each of which are undoubtedly feature-rich, however for many the price tags that accompany them rule them outside of a marketing budget. To provide an example, HubSpot starts from £165 per month, while Act-On begins at $900 per month. Whether this is the case very much comes down to the amount of time you can save by using such a platform and how valuable the insight could be. Here’s an overview of the features to help you make up your mind.

 

Winning resources for superior email templates

 

Perfecting the key elements required for an email that converts is an absolute art form – and a challenge that can feel impossible for those who aren’t marketing experts. With this in mind, here we’ve sought out the best and most promising resources for free email templates. Many of these platforms will help you choose the right layout for your needs. You simply download the template and then upload it to whatever email platform you’re using.

 

Antwort

 

Antwort keeps things simple – providing three templates that offer lots of room for your customisations – these templates are: one single-column, one two-column, and one three-column – each of which are mobile friendly.

 

For the desktop these will work in all mainstream email clients (such as Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, and AOL) while on mobile they’re also compatible for Mail on iOS and Email on Android.

 

Pricing: FREE

 

Litmus

 

Litmus provides a simple interface that helps you select a template as according to your goal – such as launching a product or managing accounts. All of these templates have been extensively tested to optimise them for readers who take action.

 

Pricing: FREE

 

ZURB Ink

 

ZURB Ink can be considered a platform more suited to those who are a little more advanced with their design abilities and with plenty of creative vision – as can be seen from the newsletter template above.

 

Pricing: FREE

 

99 Designs

 

This is less a template platform and more a pretty incredible resource – a collection of 45 free email templates that have been professionally designed. This collection spans newsletters, promotional messages, and personalised email responses. Each of the templates is mobile-friendly too. All you need to do to grab this collection is to leave your email.

Themeforest

 

Themeforest provides more than 500 email newsletter templates, and whilst this is the only addition to our list that costs money, it’s certainly worth considering as the difference in quality between these and freebie email templates is often very apparent.

 

Pricing: Between £5 and £25

 

 

Email marketing is capable of delivering impressive returns – however there’s no escaping the fact that it demands both time and on-going commitment. If you’d prefer to leave your email marketing to the experts, you may want to begin with our team. Contact PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian – call our experts on +44 (0)1953 851513 or email: equestrian@presspoint.co.uk.

 

 

The ultimate eCommerce SEO checklist

 admin  15/Jul/17  no responses.

Making a success of your eCommerce store is a challenge not to be taken lightly, especially since the average eCommerce conversion rate stands at a depressingly low 1.40%. On the flip side, even if you’ve been in the equine industry for decades, with a steady stream of ‘real-world’ customers and an enviable track record amongst your peers, growing your business ‘out there’ in the digital world (where a globe of customers await) is a tempting proposition. But reaching this world of customers? Well that can seem another matter entirely.

 

We regularly speak to frustrated equine business owners who become disillusioned with their online store simply due to the perceived difficulty of SEO. Yet SEO is worth persevering with, as the following statistics go to show…

– “No 1 position in Google receives a staggering 33% of search traffic”

– “30.5% of all eCommerce traffic comes from search engines”

– “Overall 94% of searches go to natural search in the UK, with only 6% of successful clicks going to paid search results”

 

So now that we’ve made the case as to why SEO for eCommerce matters, let’s dive into the details as to how to go about it, with 28 pointers for checking the health of your online store’s SEO (don’t worry – it’s all simple and straightforward stuff).

 

The complete SEO eCommerce checklist

 

Keywords and key phrases

 

1. Begin with professional keyword research – you may be able to look after some elements of your SEO efforts in-house, however keyword research really requires the help of a specialist (not least due to the ever changing search engine landscape and the art form of discovering long tail keywords and unexpected phrases that the Layman could never have uncovered).

2. Check that each of your website pages focuses on a primary keyword or phrase – if they don’t then you need to undertake an SEO audit to change your approach. This is an unavoidable cornerstone for a successful SEO strategy.

3. Ensure that your homepage is optimised for your business name – you need to be confident that if a customer searches for you by brand name, that they are easily directed to your website. Typically this happens organically, but not always – so undertake a quick Google search of your business name.

4. Gain an idea of what your competition are up to – use a tool such as SEMrush or Moz to get an idea as to where your competitors are with their backlink building efforts (backlinks are links that lead from other websites into yours).

 

The mobile experience

 

5. Make sure you consider those who search by voice – one in five searches on Android are voice searches. Your e-commerce SEO strategy must therefore account for the differences between typed searching and voice searching (such as the fact that those on voice tend to ask questions, such as “what’s the leading brand of horse food?” as opposed to typing “horse food supplies”).

6. Be confident that your website is mobile-friendly – there are today more browsing hours accounted for on mobile and tablet than by desktop, which means that your website must deliver a mobile experience that’s on point (and if you’re uncertain as to whether your website is even mobile-friendly, you should use Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool to check). Visit your website on mobile and by tablet to experience your website across different devices – and experiment by searching for a product and experiencing the checkout process.

 

Social media integration

 

7. Create a focused social campaign (and stick at it) – despite social media becoming ever more important for ranking, the average e-commerce site has fewer than 500 fans. So don’t give up (and consider investing in professional social promotion if you have the marketing budget to do so).

8. Choose your social profiles carefully – despite the likes of Google and other search engines not sharing exactly how much social media contributes to ranking, we do have concrete figures as to the value of various platforms for ecommerce. For example, the average value of a visit from Facebook is over four times more than a visit from Twitter.

9. Ensure that your social sharing buttons feature on all appropriate pages – trial whether social sharing buttons should be included in product pages and on the final ‘Thank You’ checkout page (some shoppers like to share their most recent purchase with their contacts – but this will largely depend on your exact line of business).

10. Create share friendly content – ensuring that your business always has a healthy supply of fresh, relevant content not only satisfies the likes of Google, but it also helps you maintain an active presence across your social profiles. Check out our blog on perfecting this process: Feeding the beast: Content Generation and Social Media Marketing.

 

Page titles

 

11. Make sure that your page titles are under 70 characters long

12. Include your primary keywords within the page title – But ensure that they appear naturally.

 

Page descriptions

 

13. Check that your page descriptions are between 100 and 150 characters – you should also ensure that they are written to tempt visitors over from the search results, into your website.

14. Include your primary and secondary keywords – but ensure that they appear naturally, rather than being shoehorned into any and every page description.

15. As with all of your content, ensure that your page descriptions are original – Google hands out serious penalties for copy-cat copy.

Page content

 

16. Ensure that your chosen keyword is included between two to five times on a page – this applies to all pages.

17. Enrich your content with media – such as infographics, images, videos, interviews, surveys and case studies. This not only improves the user experience but also helps to feed the search engines with a wide array of resources beyond simple text.

 

Page URLs

 

18. Ensure that every word in your URL is separated by a dash – this is less about SEO and more about assisting your visitor in being able to read your website URLs.

19. Switch out SEO unfriendly URL structures – for example, www.Equine-Supplies.com/ Equestrian-Clearance/Clearance-Rugs/General-Clearance/Triple-Layer-Wicking-Rug is far more search engine (and visitor friendly) than https://www.EquineSupplies.com /498/Sale/Cat04/TripleLayerWickingRug

 

Website errors

 

20. Stay on top of any website errors – Google and other search engines can downgrade websites that throw out errors, which may include broken links, 404 pages and outdated statistics. Here are the instructions from Google as to how you can set up Webmaster Tools.

21. Create and submit a sitemap to Webmaster tools – this helps the crawlers of search engines in finding their way around your website, it’s also suggested that it may help your website in being indexed more regularly when you add new pages. Here’s how to build and submit your sitemap.

 

Internal links

22. Create internal links (links between your pages) that aren’t keyword stuffed – your internal links should always be of genuine use to your visitor (rather than designed to create link juice and to fool the search engines).

23. Make sure the anchor text of your links isn’t an exact match to the page it links to – this can secure you an instant penalty as it can seem unnatural.

 

Page load times

 

24. Ensure that your website is loading within three seconds – the very last thing that you want to face after all of your hard work perfecting your SEO is to lose visitors before they’ve landed. Yet this is exactly what happens when a website takes too long to load. So, how long is too long? Ideally your website should load within two seconds – although this can often prove a challenge which is why many experts say that aiming for three seconds is more realistic. To provide you with some idea as to how these figures could impact your bottom line, the average website loses 25% of its visitors when it takes four seconds to load, while around 20% will be lost by the three second mark.

25. Reduce your load time quickly by ensuring your images aren’t over-sized – a good working rule is that images of 325×550 pixels are sufficient for most devices and purposes.

26. Keep an eye on the bells, whistles and plugins on your website – adding too many features or installing too many plugins can quickly slow your site down. It’s worth reviewing whether this has happened over your years of website ownership.

27. Use the ever-so-helpful Google PageSpeed Insights Tool – this will provide you with more ideas as to how you can improve your website speed.

 

Final essential SEO tips

 

28. Stay up-to-date with the latest expert opinion and news from Google HQ – climbing the slippery ladders of the search engines is a constant effort – no two months are the same and the algorithms that the search engines use to rank websites can change dramatically on the turn of a dime. Staying ahead of this change is key to protecting all of your hard work. Search Engine Land is an exceptional resource if you wish to be kept well and truly in the loop.

29. WordPress user? Make use of helpful SEO plugins that handle much of the hard work – such as WordPress SEO by Yoast or the All in One SEO Pack.

 

Your eCommerce store certainly demands plenty of attention – not only if it’s to rank in a respectable position on Google, but also if it’s to work as hard as possible to convert visitors into purchasing customers.

 

It’s nothing short of a fine art – one that really requires the helping hands of a team of digital experts. If you’re wondering what we could achieve for your online store and those tricky conversion rates, then we should have a no obligation, no pressure chat. Contact the PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian team – call our experts on +44 (0)1953 851513 or email: equestrian@presspoint.co.uk.

 

 

PPC – Making sense of your platform options

 admin  15/May/17  no responses.

Pay Per Click delivers commercial benefits unlike any other marketing medium, including almost instantaneous visitors direct to your digital door, to incredibly detailed data analysis to shape your strategy, and finishing upon an impressive Return On Investment. With such compelling strings to its bow, it’s little wonder that you’re considering this tact for your equine business.

 

However the promise of PPC, is equally matched by its vast array of platforms – there has never been a more wide, varied or bewildering number of choices; from social PPC to the display network and onto search PPC. If you need a helping hand in making sense of these platforms, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive into the pros, cons and details of the options before you.

 

Search PPC – no longer simply a matter of google

 

You may be used to hearing about Google PPC, and the fact that it’s the undisputed king of search engines. This has remained true for almost half a decade, and yet today, something interesting is happening – search traffic through Bing has grown by 43% in the last 12 months alone, and whilst Bing is growing, Google has shrunk (albeit only slightly). So what’s driving these patterns? In a phrase, Windows 10. This operating system features Bing as its search function for users of Alexa, its virtual assistant. So when users are searching by voice whilst sat at their desktop PC, it is through Bing that results are served up (it’s also worth noting that the Yahoo! search engine merged with Bing back in 2015, making it the Yahoo! bing network).

 

While Google does continues to hold onto the lion’s share of searches (with 63.8% of the market), Yahoo! bing is undoubtedly growing and you really should undertake at least a little research as to whether your target market are amongst the growing number of Alexa users.

 

Presuming that you know the basics of your target market, such as location, gender and age; the data that your Google Analytics holds can be invaluable, as you can see exactly how many have accessed your site with a Windows 10 device. To do this, log in to Analytics, then go to Technology > Browser and OS in the left hand menu; then, with the data brought up, look under the graph to click on ‘Operating System’. You’ll then see a list where Windows will be included – click on that to see how many people are using which version.

 

Getting to grips with display PPC

 

Alongside search PPC, Google also provides a ‘display network’ – you’ll notice these visual ads whenever you browse various websites, they’re typically animated, or they can also present video content. Despite the Cost Per Click of these ads being typically lower than search PPC, the display network is not for everyone. Specifically you should choose the Display network if:

– You want to help people become familiar with your brand: the visual focus of display advertising lends itself well to building a solid brand image around your business. Display PPC also offers plenty of targeting options, which include which forms of websites your ads are shown on, and audience demographics, interests and preferences.

– You sell products or services that have a long buyer journey: If your typical buyer goes through a relatively long decision making process, then the ability to re-market is critical (e.g. target users who’ve previously visited your website). This ‘drip drip’ effect helps progress your buyer onwards, and you can present the right information at the right time for them to take one step closer to conversion.

 

Feeling social? Social PPC is growing

 

Facebook

 

Facebook is home to more than one billion monthly active users, with more than half of these logging in on a daily basis; chances are your competitors are already making use of Facebook marketing and PPC (and competitor research as to what they’re up to and when, can and should be helping to shape your marketing strategy).

 

Facebook offers incredibly detailed targeting possibilities, so if you’re in the business of wholesaler equine supplies, you can hone in on an audience based on their other page likes. It’s also a cost effective platform, offering an average cost per click (CPC) of £0.51.

 

When planning to harness Facebook, it pays to know your advert types (which seemingly grow by the day!). Here’s a quick run through on Facebook ad basics.

– Traffic and conversions: Website traffic and website conversions (adverts that feature a Call to Action for clicking through to your website); carousel adverts (a scrolling advert of images where a call to action features in each image – these are ideal for businesses that can make use of imagery and those who sell products, rather than services). Mobile news feed ads and canvas ads (two forms of adverts that make use of canvas – a story telling, imagery focused advert that leads people away from Facebook); product scrollers (similar to the carousel advert, but rather than images, the photos show products with links directly through to the respective products on your website).

– Page focused: post engagement (to promote singular posts on your Facebook page); page likes (which grows the fan base of your page); and Facebook app ads (which encourages users to download your mobile/desktop app – this is likely unsuited for most of our readers).

– Leads: You can also promote events, create bricks and mortar offers with coupons and create content that builds brand awareness rather than focussed on converting the audience then and there.

 

Twitter

 

Twitter provides PPC for various business goals – which range from delivering website traffic, to growing your Twitter following, and onto maximising brand awareness. Advert types here include promoted profiles (placing your profile in the top results when a user searches for your competitors) and promoted tweets (which helps to drive engagement, re-tweets and follower growth).

 

Whilst Twitter advertising has struggled for uptake and failed to enjoy the predicted rush of businesses eager to get on board, in recent times this platform has provided for more advanced analysis and various improvements to the platform; today you can track impressions, results, cost-per-result and results of different campaigns side by side. These improvements have also meant that Twitter ads are today twice as likely as organic tweets to convert users, while paid Twitter ads are now priced at one-third of the cost of other marketing channels (including Facebook and Pinterest).

 

LinkedIn

 

Given that you’re in the B2B realm, LinkedIn is a platform that you should seriously consider, especially since the LinkedIn audience is there, ready, waiting and ripe for conversion (after all, they’re there for business purposes, such as networking, connecting with business contacts or discussing industry news, this compares to Twitter and Facebook where users are, by and large, there to socialise in a private sphere).

 

That said, LinkedIn is a unique PPC beast, with many idiosyncrasies that really demand an entire blog article of their own. Nevertheless, here are the basics:

– Targeting: you can target an audience by company size, title, industry and location.

– Ad types: There are two forms of ads on LinkedIn: A single type of ad displayed to the right of a user’s feed, which includes an image, a headline, a small amount of text and a URL. The second is known as “Lead Collection”, which makes it easy for a user who’s clicked on your ad to request further information. This provides you with a chance to get in touch immediately.

– Cost Per Click: Current thoughts from Kissmetrics shows that the Cost Per Click on LinkedIn ranges between £4 and £5 (and, unlike other mediums, this platform has a minimum CPC of £2).

 

PPC promises much, when you get your strategy right. The fundamental foundation of which is choosing the right PPC platforms for your business, and your audience.

 

If you need expert help to ensure that you make the most of your PPC budget, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help – we understand your market inside out, and we make it our business to stay consistently ahead of the pack when it comes to effective PPC strategies. Call our team on: +44 (0)1953 851513 or email us: equestrian@presspoint.co.uk and we’ll be back in touch within 24 hours.

 

 

Five fresh ideas for your marketing in 2017

 admin  15/Apr/17  no responses.

In the marketing world, no two years are even remotely similar. Every 12 months brings fresh opportunity and more than a fair share of challenge, as change takes place on epic scales in search engines, on social media and amongst your target market. This ever-shifting landscape can seem intimidating for anyone less than a marketing expert.

 

In a bid to cut through the noise and avoid the overwhelm, here are five ideas that will stand your reach, brand message and sales pipeline in good stead over the coming year.

 

Concentrate on content (of a different kind)

 

Content is king and its reign as marketing monarch doesn’t seem set to end anytime soon. Blogging is the cornerstone of digital marketing – it keeps search engines happy whilst building trust and establishing you as an expert.

 

However, the sheer weight that is given to blogging means that business owners often overlook the importance and power of alternative forms of content. And it’s worth noting, that investing in different forms of content can pay impressive dividends. Take an infographic, for example, which are ‘liked’ and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content, or video, which is reported by 76.5% of SME owners and marketers to have a positive impact on their business. You may also be interested to know that B2B buyers most request: whitepapers (78%), case studies (73%) and webinars (67%).

 

Go live and broadcast yourself with live streaming

 

Over the course of 2016, live video casts via social media became ever more popular, and little wonder, when this solution allows you to interact directly with your audience, and to demonstrate your expertise as well.

– Facebook live videos are watched three times longer than regular videos

– 80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog

– 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts

 

Nevertheless, despite these impressive statistics, we know that live streaming can be a tough ask of the average business. The prospect of standing in front of a camera is scary enough, but the chance of mixing up your words or forgetting what you’re talking about? Well that’s plain terrifying.

 

To overcome this, you can involve professionals – reaching out to those in the equestrian or business world relevant to your audience and undertaking either an interview style video, or content created and presented solely by them.

 

For example – if you sell directly to equestrian wholesalers, a live Q & A with a business expert on growing profit margins would work well (and could directly include some of your highest profit margin products).

 

If you’re a feed manufacturer, then a specialist nutritional expert could explain the most important considerations when choosing between feed brands – and how they could impact on the horses themselves.

 

Don’t forget

 

Be sure to make the most of your live video by recording it for use on your website or on YouTube. You can even build up a few blog pieces around the video (which can be particularly effective where you’ve used the Q & A approach, with each blog piece going into a detailed answer for an audience member’s question).

 

Create a lead magnet

 

Progressing onwards from the idea above, and with your audience’s pain points in mind, you could create an eBook that answers a very specific problem. This serves as a ‘lead magnet’, which is efficiently an ethical bribe presented to your audience in exchange for their contact details.

 

The primary aim of this tip is to gather emails, to which you can then market. And if you’re unsold on the idea of this advertising medium, consider these statistics:

– Email marketing has an ROI of 3800%.

– For every £1 invested, email marketing generates £38 in return.

– The average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media.

 

We’ll provide some 2017 up-to-date ideas for email marketing in the next section, but for now let’s provide some ideas for what your eBook could cover. If your target market is equestrian retailers, you could write an eBook on the current challenges in the industry, and how to turn them into opportunities. Or where your buyers may purchase horse supplies for their stables, you could put together an insightful guide to growing their business. Finally, if you sell trailers, you could offer an essential buyer’s guide – covering topics such as finding affordable finance, saving on servicing and ensuring proper maintenance for an investment that fairs well year after year.

 

Getting the topic right is critical to the success of your lead magnet – which should be promoted with a blog piece on a related subject, and feature a strong call to action on your website. Should you need a little guidance in this area, we’re here.

 

Invest in new ideas for email marketing

 

Email marketing can quickly fall flat if you don’t keep your approach fresh, diverse and up-to-date, here are seven ideas that you probably haven’t even considered for doing just that:

– Run a six day email course (using the same tips on your audience’s concerns that we’ve described above).

– Send holiday eShots with no promotional content – this can help ensure your audience feels valued.

– Create a monthly newsletter that features your most popular content.

– Run an ‘exclusive’ sale or offer – make your audience feel as though they’re amongst your VIP clientele, by positioning the sale as solely for subscribers.

– Write an industry news piece each month – allowing your audience to remain up-to-date with the news, views and events that matter to them.

– Incorporate video (which could be an excellent way of including that live streaming video mentioned in point one).

– Send a ‘What’s changed’ email to lost custom. Hopefully you have an email list of any lost customers who’ve stopped purchasing your products or using your services. If so, now is the time to send out a friendly invitation – updating them as to what’s changed recently and why using you again may be different.

 

2017 trend for email marketing – shrinkage

 

Never has it been more important to keep your email message short, sharp and succinct – according to emailmonday, the most effective length email in 2016 was between 50 – 125 words, with 170 words being about as long as our list of email ideas up there. This trend is being driven by the growth of emails being received and read on mobile (which now accounts for 52% of all emails.

Personalisation and segmentation

 

You should also personalise your emails. This begins with using your recipient’s name (which boosts conversion rates six times over, and extends to the types of emails you send. If you’re an equestrian wholesaler, for example, segments of your customer base will purchase certain products, including only these products in the promotional parts of your email is logical – presenting them with offers on products they don’t purchase is simply a wasted opportunity.

 

For more tips on a profitable email marketing strategy, read our previous guide: Building and targeting a successful e-shot campaign.

 

Connect – locally, online, at trade shows

 

The equestrian industry is undoubtedly a niche market, and some would say that it forms a small business world – in this environment, it is vital that you network. Here are some ideas for growing your connections – both in the real world, and in the digital realm:

– Put on a small industry event – this idea could command a relatively significant budget, but the PR it can provide and the network growth it could offer are practically unparalleled.

– Search out Facebook and LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry.

– Read trade magazines to discover lesser known events.

– Attend key equestrian trade shows, such as BETA, spoga and Your Horse Live (and if you’re attending an up-coming trade show, read our guide to standing out at BETA International, with four essential ideas that can attract attendees to your stand, – which features valuable advice, whatever the event).

– Enter an equestrian business competition – this can grow your reach and, whether you win or are merely a contender, you can gain credence as an expert in your field.

 

Effective digital marketing takes time, consideration and a continual learning curve, if you need expert help that removes the pressures and complexities of marketing, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help. Call our team to discover just what we could do for you – contact us on: +44 (0)1953 851513 or email us via: equestrian@presspoint.co.uk and we’ll be right back in touch.

 

 

After the event: maximising momentum after a trade fair

 admin  15/Feb/17  no responses.

So, you’ve exhibited at an influential equine trade show – you made the investment and now, post-event, it appears the buzz of potentially boosting business and growing sales is fast fading. Unfortunately, this post-event period can all too easily see those invaluable contacts fall by the wayside, whilst the pre-event frantic rush is replaced with business as usual.

 

If you’ve invested in an exhibition stand, don’t allow the momentum to simply fade away – make the most of your investment by following these tips for optimal return.

 

First things first – Be prompt

 

Time is of the essence – wait too long to make contact again with those you’ve spoken with and you run the risk of being completely forgotten. As soon as you return to your business, make sure that the first thing you do is craft a solid follow-up plan. You should wait no longer than a week to get in touch with your leads.

 

Equally however, many other businesses will be on their phones 9 am Monday morning – which can be nothing short of a nightmare for other companies that are trying to get back into the swing of the working week. For this reason, you may want to delay any calls or emails until the following day.

 

Be prepared

 

Research has shown that 50% of trade fair visitors are routinely disappointed with the follow-up service that they receive after the event (AUMA). This is most often attributable to a business struggling to fulfil orders in a timely and effective manner, as a rush of new business comes their way. Above all else, you and your team should be prepared for this – and any forthcoming orders should be treated to the same customer service and delivery timescales as your oldest of customers.

 

Hold a de-briefing session

 

Feeding back to your staff as to the success of the event is not only important for recognising their efforts in the lead up to the day or days, but it should also serve as an ideal moment to analyse how successful your attendance was.

 

Opening communication between the team as to what did and didn’t work can additionally help shape the next event – and can also ensure everyone is in the loop for the upcoming steps to make the most of the contacts gained.

 

Decide upon an offer (or range of offers)

 

Creating a little urgency for your potential customers can be an excellent way of ‘striking whilst the iron is hot’. To this end, you should think carefully about any offers you could put on in the two weeks immediately following the trade show. Should your product range be diverse, you may want to offer a blanket discount across all products.

 

Create an email marketing list

 

Hopefully you gathered plenty of business cards and contact details over the course of the exhibition. Now, it’s time to choose your method of contact and approach carefully.

 

Whilst you’ll likely have several warm to hot leads that warrant a follow up call, the clear majority may be cooler leads that will need further nurturing before they’re ready to become a fully paid up customer. For this reason, you should begin by segmenting your contacts.

 

This can be done in several ways – the first and simplest being by cool, warm and hot. Beyond this however, you may wish to consider what products or services of yours these leads may be interested in. If you can clearly separate them into groups in this sense, then all the better. The consequent email content that you create can then hone in on the potential interests and pain points of the company in question.

 

Decision makers, decision makers

 

If you can see a clear split in those you’ve spoken to from the perspective of who’s a decision maker, and who’s not, then it’s worthwhile segmenting these into their own category. Those who are acting on behalf of their company may well need something tangible to approach their manager with – such as a product sample, brochure or product information.

 

Before you send out emails on-mass, send a single email to each contact you remember

 

Personalisation is key when it comes to email marketing – so if you remember some contacts and the things that you discussed (no matter how trivial) be sure to include this in your email. This could be anything from a discussion over a speech, moment or product demonstration during the event, to something related to their business.

 

Create content that addresses each prospects’ pain points

 

Your prospects are ultimately trying to solve a pain point – whether extending their product range, choosing products that offer more margin or attracting their own new custom with innovative merchandise. Gaining a solid understanding of each segment and their problems can help you in creating on-going content that will engage your audience for the longer term. This is also worth bearing in mind for future conversations at trade shows – informal chats can often be an invaluable source of getting to know your target market on a whole new and more detailed a level.

 

Remind fellow businesses of how successful the event was

 

Like you, fellow attendees and exhibitors can soon forget about an event once the buzz has worn away – so remind them of how successful it was (and how well your stall was received) by writing a post-event wrap-up. This should include an event overview, details as to when and where the event took place, an approximate number of attendees and exhibitors; key interviews, product demonstrations or moments during the event. It should also feature a thank you to the event organisers.

 

Including videos, images and further reading sources can also help enrich your content, whilst gaining a quote from the organisers or someone influential at the event can provide for plenty of authority which looks great for your business.

 

You should complete this piece within 48 hours following the event – post it to your blog and link to it from your social pages. You could also visit the social page of the event itself or tag in any relevant accounts (this can be an effective way to get a few shares, re-tweets or plus ones that boost your following or fan count!).

 

Didn’t get around to visiting all the other exhibitors? Send a friendly email or letter

 

Exhibitions are typically home to 100+ other stands and even over the course of a few days, it can be impossible to get around to them all. Yet these fellow businesses could well be an invaluable source of untapped sales – so create a list of each company you didn’t speak with and send them a courtesy email or letter (you could even provide a link to your event wrap up blog post – even better if you include their company amongst the names of exhibitors).

 

Join the post-event chatter

 

Following an event, you will likely find plenty of post-show talk on the social pages of the event, as well as on equine industry forums. Involving yourself in these conversations is a great opportunity for reminding fellow attendees of your presence and catching any contacts that you didn’t get a chance to speak with on the day itself.

 

Get social

 

If you’ve chatted with other businesses but not agreed on any formal steps to follow up, be sure to follow them across social media sites – this is an unpressurised approach that can slowly foster a working relationship. As you do so, send them a quick, informal message. Something along the lines of “It was great meeting you at [EVENT NAME]. We wrote a piece on the event, do feel free to give it a read – there’s a section in there on the [INSERT KEY MOMENT THEY MAY BE INTERESTED IN].

 

Posting information? Show them you’ve taken the time to remember them

 

A simple and effective way to make any posted information work all the harder for you is to personalise the letter content – and to add in a hand-written note (on a compliment slip or post-it note perhaps).

 

Had a great conversation with a local business? Then pop by

 

If you’ve had a positive conversation with a company local to yours don’t be afraid to pop by to drop off information in person. This can really show a little extra effort – and the fact that you’re a local business could well mean that you gain an invitation to meet further down the line.

 

If you thought you were busy in the run up to the exhibition, you may well be all the busier post event if you commit to crafting (and sticking to) an effective post-trade fair strategy. Above all else, it’s vital that you make the most of the contact information that you’ve gained – not only in the immediate term, but for the far longer term – over months and years, if they’re not yet ready to become a valuable customer of yours today.

 

For more help maximising your experience, contact PressPoint today.

 

 

BETA International – Make 2017 your best event yet

 Vanessa B  15/Jan/17  no responses.

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.

 

 

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

 

 

The beginner’s guide to improving your AdWords campaign

 Vanessa B  20/Dec/16  no responses.

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

5 innovative ideas for Facebook lead generation

 Vanessa B  04/Nov/16  no responses.

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

 

Your sales funnel: the key to creating consistent business

 Vanessa B  11/Oct/16  no responses.

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.

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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

Building and targeting a successful e-shot campaign

 Vanessa B  11/Sep/16  no responses.

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

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