Monday, August 25, 2014

Is your business ready for take-off?

We have been inspired by the sudden appearance of bright canola fields out here in country NSW, and although we were prepared to see the beautiful yellow hues emerging from the fog and grey skies, it got us to thinking about businesses and sudden growth.

The big challenge for businesses is what is called the ‘take-off’ phase. Many people work so hard to grow their businesses, and when they finally take-off, a lot don’t have the plans in place to handle the sudden growth. It’s a great problem to have, but can be a problem if not properly dealt with.

Focus your growth on specific target markets
Everywhere you look, you see opportunities, however it is vitally important to focus on a specific target market rather than chasing every opportunity that presents itself. Try to do one thing really, really well as opposed to trying to do too many things.

Identify areas that will need changes to cope with growth
In order to cope with growth, there may be areas of your business that need changes, particularly with regard to resourcing. Aspects of your business like accounting, marketing and social media are common gripes of business owners. Diarise your day-to-day duties and keep track of everything that takes up time better utilised on other aspects of your business. Why not employ administrative support, or look to recruit external help for your marketing?

Take the time to re-visit your goals and objectives
Now that your business is growing, you should be achieving your goals and objectives. Right? Have a think about why you went into business and what gets you out of bed every morning. Now is the time to re-analyse your goals and objectives to ensure you are achieving what you set out to do. You may discover that you will have new goals based on opportunities that have presented themselves.

Adloyalty offer Business & Marketing Health Check that will assist your business through this growth period, give us a call today!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kick Start Your Financial Year

It’s that time again, and businesses should be thinking about ways they can boost their business. We have prepared some helpful tips and tricks you can begin actioning to kick start your business into the new financial year!!

1. Know your customers and tailor to them
Most businesses think they know their customers – but do we? When was the last time you sought feedback or sat down and had a 5-minute conversation with your customers?

Actively seeking information about customer needs and expectations is critical to your future success. Remember, they have the answers to what is holding your business back.

2. Provide value, don’t just sell
People love to buy, but they hate being sold to. Are you guilty of selling to your audience rather than creating an atmosphere conducive to buying?

Are you asking the right questions to be able to understand how you can add value? If you understand what your customers are looking for then you can present these key messages as a solution. The greater the value, the easier it will be to prompt your target market to take action.

3. No more than three clicks
If it takes more than three clicks to find out how to buy from you, you’ve lost potential customers. Whether it’s from an email campaign, your blog or even from the homepage on your website, people need to be able to purchase within three clicks.

How many clicks does it take from your homepage to your sales area? Is it clear and easy to get there? And during clicks one and two, are you giving people enough information to be able to make a decision? Go and check!

4. Stand out from the competition
Chances are I can buy what you offer from someone else. You need to have a clear reason why I should buy from you rather than your competitors.

What makes your business unique? List the ways you’re different from your competitors. Then, once you’ve got a full list, cross off all of the things that your competitors also say they do! It doesn’t matter whether they actually do it or not, if  they also say it, it’s not unique in the eyes of your target market. Whatever is left is your point of difference – that’s what you need to keep marketing! 

If you’re clear on what makes you different, ask yourself “Is this actually important to my target market?” If it isn’t, put some work into making yourself stand out. Remember, if you’re perceived to be different to your competitors, they’ll no longer be in competition!

5. Keep it consistent
Whatever you do, whether it be social media, newspaper advertising or radio, keep the message consistent. Consistency helps increase your brand preference which ultimately leads to more people knowing about who you are and what you do.

6. Measurement is the key to success
There is no point developing a fantastic marketing plan if you don't look at the results. Measurement is the key to determining whether something is working, or whether it isn't. In other words, measurement can ultimately save you time and money on something that isn't delivering results!!

Simple questions like "where did you hear about us" is an example of measurement.

Growing Your Business Online

These days, nothing is more important to businesses than a strong online presence. Social media presence, and more importantly, a website provides an additional selling platform for your business. The average Australian spends over 10 hours online each day. How many people do you know that spend this much time browsing through a store? If your business isn't online, you could be missing out on potential leads.

We aren't just talking about social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, we’re also talking about websites. A website is the most basic form of online presence your business should have. When people are looking for a business, what do they do?? They Google it! If you’re business isn't there, potential customers may walk through your competition’s door. 

If you want to grow your business online, having a website is the first and most important step you should take. Not only are websites cost effective advertising methods, it provides a greater return on investment over time.

1.       Market your website!!
The single most important step when establishing a website is marketing it! So many businesses establish an amazing website, and expect customers to be able to find it instantly. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Simple things like having your website on all of your stationary, signage, advertising and your email signature are easy ways to effortlessly market your website. It is also important to investigate search engine optimisation and other ways to market your website online through key search engines such as Google.

2.       Make sure you have an Analytics program
There is no point investing in a great website and not measuring the results. Programs such as Google Analytics is a free program that enables you to investigate how visitors locate your website, how long they stay on your website, which pages they are looking at and most importantly, the bounce rate. You can also find out where your visitors are located!!

3.       Provide key information at their fingertips
Now that you have people landing on your website, you need to remember, your customers are going to your website to find a solution. Whether that be to buy something they need, or just to find out more information about your business before they enquire. The first 7 seconds that a potential customer is on your website is crucial, so remember to provide everything they need on the homepage so they don’t have to go looking for it. This includes contact details, business hours, easy to read menus and a clear indication of where they can find further information on a particular product or service.

4.       Provide valuable, useful and UP TO DATE information
How many websites have to been to only to find they have “Merry Christmas 2011” or “Business Award Winner 2009”? Having an up to date website positions your business as a valued resource. It is essential that your website provides relevant content, sells your services and positions you as a subject matter expert. Think about your customers, and potential customers, and what they would want to know, after all they will be the one’s looking to your website for that solution.

5.       A picture speaks a thousand words
If you’re having trouble putting pen to paper, why not try images, an infographic, or even a video? Online tutorials are really popular, and provide value for your customers. Again, think about your customers and what they want to know and see.

6.       Make your website mobile friendly
I read a statistic the other day that said there are more than 6.8 billion people on the planet, 5.1 billion of them own a mobile phone, however only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.* Despite being quite a worrying statistic, it identifies the opportunity for mobile websites. Other less worrying statistics I found were 94% of people research a product or service on a smart phone, 67% of people say a mobile friendly sites makes them more likely to buy a product or use a service, and 48% say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that’s not mobile-friendly with 40% saying they turn to the competition.**

*Source: Mobile Marketing Association Asia.

**Source: Compuware 2011