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Rules to Better Marketing - 41 Rules

Marketing can be a very broad and complicated topic. Everyday technology is constantly changing the way we market businesses, with new vs. old advertising, automation tools, social media algorithms, how AI impacts social media networks, and much more. Marketing is an iterative process. After marketing became mainly digital, and the introduction of new terms like 'customer journey', 'ROI', and 'social media engagement', we understand that altogether, it can be hard to follow.

So much has changed over the last years; an online presence has become key to success; with a new focus on branding consistency and credibility. Due to this, the cost of marketing has increased a lot, on top of all of the knowledge you now need to have as a marketer.

With this set of rules, we aim to help you cut through the maze of marketing jargon and to help you reach your goals faster.

  1. Do you have a marketing plan?

    If you were going to build a house, you would hope that the architect and builders were working together using architectural plans and blueprints as their guide. So why would trying to build a solid customer base or market share be any different?

    At SSW we realize the monumental importance of a marketing plan. Although we recognize that in many cases marketing plans get filed away in the closet until it's time to get a business loan, they're most effective when they act as a blueprint for all the marketing activities a company undertakes.

    Here are some of the important points to consider in a marketing plan:

    • Set out your marketing goals and objectives then align them with your overall business goals and strategy
    • Set out a time frame for achieving those goals
    • Identify a target market and segmentation strategy
    • Define how you will position and differentiate your product
    • Use competitor and industry analysis
    • Identify current and proposed marketing methods
    • Include marketing reports (historical and forecasts)
    • Set the criteria against which the plan will be assessed for success or failure

    The most important thing to remember about a marketing plan is that it is a work in progress. Always needing to be reassessed and changed to adapt to the dynamic business environment.

  2. Do you have a consistent brand image?

    Once you have figured out your brand image we think that the most important thing is sticking to it and applying it to every little facet of your business. As you're surfing the SSW website you'll notice a very consistent approach to branding. Our fonts, tables and headings are in exactly the same format and we have applied this to our email signatures, product banners, newsletters and company brochures.

    It is very important to have a consistent brand image across all media, whether earned, paid or owned media.

    Know more on Rules To Better Branding.

  3. In marketing, good timing is the key to a successful campaign. As a smart marketer you need to remember that some campaigns can take weeks or even months to start heating up, whilst others can take just a few days.

    For example, SSW have found that when we plan to market our training events, the best time for an aggressive direct mail and telemarketing campaign is 4 weeks prior to the event. Any sooner than that and the prospects will often ask you to call again when it is closer to the date. If you start marketing your events too late, for example 5 days prior to the event, your chances of making a sale decrease significantly. Remember that people often need to gain management approval for leave and expenses. Only rarely will you find someone willing to book just a few days prior to an event.

    A good rule of thumb:

    Plan early, and aim to create campaigns that are advertised early. 

    Don't plan late.

  4. Do you identify your target market?

    It's important to identify the market which will gain you the maximum amount of benefit if captured. It should be the focal point of most of your marketing efforts. The target market needs to be clearly identified with a justification as to why they are your specified target market.

    At SSW our target market comprises of IT Managers and Developers who look for Microsoft backed solutions. They're the ones we focus our marketing energies on because we've found that they're the key decision makers when it comes to adopting new technologies and often act as the gate keepers to information being relayed to upper management. If we gain their approval, it's often much easier to secure a deal. Part of our penetration strategy towards this target market is to hold Tech Breakfasts and User Group meetings.

    For example:

    When Disney releases a new blockbuster cartoon like the Lion King or Aladdin who do you think the target market is?

    Many would say it's the young children that the movies are made for. But the truth is that Disney's target market often includes the decision makers - the parents who take the children to the movies and buy the merchandise.

    Disney knows that it's one thing to make a great movie that kids are excited about but the efforts often fall short if parents don't approve of it.

  5. In today’s overcrowded marketplace there are dozens of businesses offering the same goods and services with little to no variety, and for a consumer, this can result in it being hard to decide which one will provide the best value and service. Which is why Lead Magnets, if used correctly - can be a powerful addition to your overall Marketing Strategy.

    One way to gain a consumer's trust is to offer them something related to your service for free prior to them making a purchase .

    For example, you could use a marketing technique called a Lead Magnet.

    A Lead Magnet refers to any content piece; webinar, eBook, infographic, or initial consultation, you offer to your potential customers.

    Lead Magnets not only provide a starting place for consumers to solve their initial problem, but also build trust between the consumer and your brand, increasing the likelihood of a return customer, and increasing your potential revenue. Picture2 **Figure: Lead Magnet on the SSW site **

  6. Before you move onto this step, first have your target audience information right next to you. Understanding your prospects most pressing pain points should be huge priority.Start thinking - what do they want? What are their frustrations? What are their aspirations? And finally, what do they fear? Write down all the ideas you might come up with.

    Use the template below to brainstorm with your team or your client:

    Pain Point Pinpointer

    You have a few some ways of doing this, you can:

    • Brainstorm with your employees
    • Research online
    • Ask your clients directly in person, or to have an open conversation through social media (remember to reply and engage with them, though!)
  7. There is a great quote by Wyatt Wood small which says:

    “When you can articulate another person’s problem better than they can, they automatically and unconsciously credit you with knowing the solution.

    When you are promoting your services to a prospect, the worst thing you can do is to talk about your business or products and services promoting them and not listen to what they actually have to say. People don’t generally care about your business, they care about how you are able to solve their problems. If you can show your prospect how you can help make their lives a little easier, your services will thrive.

    If you can show them that you understand their problem, they will automatically assume you have the solution, or that you make your best to help them.

    Think about the last visit you made to your doctor. Why did you trust the doctor in the beginning? Why did you do what he/she recommended? Because he/she asked you a series of questions and described your problem. The more the doctor described your symptoms, the greater your trust in his/her knowledge and you believed he/she had the answer.

    The same is true for effective marketing. If your advertising describes your prospect’s pain points so well that they identify with your message, they will click the ad, join the webinar or buy your product – or do what your Call-To-Action (CTA) says. And that’s why they will be perfect for targeting your audience.

    Spend some time to understand your target’s pain points and use them in your advertising to get their attention and try to convert them with your CTA’s.

  8. Once you discover a pain point that resonates with your perfect prospect, you should use this pain point across all of your marketing campaigns.

    Here are some good ideas on how to use it:

    1. On your homepage header
    2. As a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn ad
    3. As an e-book, you can give away on your website
    4. As a video, you can put on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram
    5. As a blog post
    6. As a newsletter
    7. As a google ads headline
    8. As a topic for your next event e.g. webinar
    9. As a podcast topic
    10. As one email in an automated email marketing sequence
  9. Once you have documented your prospect’s pain points, choose the best ones . The greatest way to test if they are good enough is to run a social media ad campaign targeting your most engaged audience with your top 7 pain points. The pain point that gets the most engagement, is the one that people relate to the most. But keep in mind, this is just a indicator - sometimes customers have several pain-points that vary. 

    Facebook ads, for example, are a really cheap way to test quickly (you should run a quick campaign for 2 or 3 days) which headlines are the best performing within your target market.

    The winning ad is your hottest pain point for your target market.

    Take the winner and complete the marketing campaign and show this campaign to all your audiences. You can also use these headlines to create content for your target audience and get leads out of it when they download your content.

  10. Management seem to have a huge focus on facts and figures and much like most other things in the business arena, and it si clear in marketing you need to be able to put numbers to your results.

    You'll need to justify why you chose one option over another with a solid figure. Because there are a myriad of ways in which you can market your products/services there's a managerial expectation that you'll be able to reflect on its performance.

    For example if you're coordinating some outbound calling, you need to make sure that all of the calls that are made are logged and you can query for closing rates.

    See our outbound rules for more detail. In addition when you're measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns you need to know what marketing figures are considered a success for your different types of marketing campaigns. For example direct mail campaigns with a conversion rate of 2%-5% is considered a success due to the volume of people we contact.

  11. One of the most effective ways of launching an effective marketing campaign is to follow a checklist that includes company tried and tested strategies. This checklist should be filled out with the campaign details and then followed to execute the campaign.

    Pre-Campaign Stage

    1. Select a name for the campaign
    2. Define the goals of the marketing campaign
    3. Define who is your target audience
    4. Summarize buyer persona
    5. Identify the 10 industry leaders (people) with large following we will target for promotion

      1. Create emails to send to each as per the rule of
      2. Create social media updates to send to each as per the rule do you contact industry influences to promote your campaigns?
    6. Identify companies and website with large followings we will target for promotion (ie Microsoft divisions)

      1. Create emails to send to each
      2. Create social media updates to send to each

    Content Promotion

    Content promotion strategy

    1. Define type of campaign
    2. Define Go live Date
    3. Define the Call to action
    4. Create the page to promote the campaign
    5. Add the campaign (if applicable) to the SharePoint list
    6. Optimize the page for SEO
    7. Add promotional banner to the homepage
    8. Add promotion to the monthly newsletter
    9. Add to the company blog
    10. Schedule the social media updates in Buffer
    11. Promote event in LinkedIn groups and Google+
    12. Pay Per Click

      1. Facebook and Instagram post promotions
      2. Google AdWords
      3. LinkedIn ads
    13. Work with SSW developers and account managers to promote the webinar to 3 of their clients or network each via phone call and email.
    14. Have SSW employees promote event over social media twice leading up to the webinar

    Autoresponders

    1. Add relevant content to an auto-responder email campaign

    You can find a template to follow at SSW-Marketing-Campaign-Checklist-TEMPLATE_v1.docx

  12. Do you run events?

    Events are a fantastic marketing tool for increasing your brand recognition and awareness. However, running events takes a lot of time and organization to ensure the best outcome and smooth running on the day. If you use events to your advantage then: 

    See Rules to Better Event Managementfor the best standards on how to effectively and efficiently run your next event.

  13. Sponsoring an event can be a good way to get your company’s name and expertise out there to the people who attend, but you can also get extra value by telling people about it who aren’t going, especially if it is an event valued by your industry.

    Event Sponsorship should be treated as a shared value partnership.

    You should let the world know through the following channels:

    • Your website news page
    • Company Facebook groups or pages
    • Company LinkedIn pages
  14. A golden rule of marketing is:

    "People love gifts and surprises"

    Taking this into consideration: a great and effective way to promote your company is to give people free stuff. A very simple yet effective method. Each month at the Sydney .NET User Group, attendees receive SSW show bags filled with free software and company brochures.

    User group attendees are also encouraged to hand in their eval forms with a lucky dip prize.

    People love anything that is free so always bring more than enough. Just remember that when you're giving things away make sure you have something genuine to offer them aside from your sales/company brochures.

    Events are all about the experience, if you get the experience correct from an attendee and organiser point of view, door prizes and give-aways are the perfect way to symbolise their experience with your event and can lead to great things!

  15. Every target market is different, and each one will respond to different stimuli that tickle their particular fancy. It is a good idea to customize your marketing approach to consider the particular interests and needs of that group, both in terms of the substance of your pitch, and its style.

    For example, say you are trying to sell your car. It's a nice new Holden, with a V8 under the hood and shiny new mag's. If an elderly person comes to have a look at your car, how do you sell it to them? You need to emphasise the features that will appeal to them.

    At SSW, when a business owner walks in as opposed to a developer, we have to modify our pitch. While a business owner would probably be more interested in the general goals and how our solution is going to affect his business, a developer is more likely to want to know the technical details of the job and how it will be implemented.

    The same applies to the style in which you put your case forward. Everyone has different taste when it comes to the way that they respond to a marketing pitch. Some people like simplicity so it would be useful to use diagrams, examples, and to make it logically structured. Some people like detail so you should dot the i's and cross the t's. Some people want to make a decision immediately - be prepared to accommodate this. Finally, some people want to think about it - again, be prepared for this scenario.

    Following these simple rules will greatly enhance your chance of marketing success!

  16. It is important to frame a product presentation with solid introduction and closing statements. 

    Intro:  “Hi, I’m Steve here to show you what I just did” Closing:  “Thanks for watching”

    Figure: Bad example - This closing statement ends the video abruptly, and doesn’t leave the viewer satisfied

    Intro:  “Hi, I’m Steve from SSW and I’m going to show you how our latest feature – the project breakdown report – can give you an overview of where your employees are spending their time. Closing:  “I’ve just demonstrated the usefulness of a project breakdown report to understand what it is your employees are working on”

    Figure: Good example - The opening and closing statements back each other up, and give the demonstration a sense of purpose

  17. We believe in reinforcing your company profile at every appropriate opportunity.

    The appearance of your office is very important because it is often the first impression of your company to any new visitor or client. In this way, its appearance is as important to your company profile as your clothing is to your personal profile. Although it may appear odd to cover yourself with marketing paraphernalia as you walk down the street, it's good business sense to use your office as one of your marketing tools.

    For example, you can direct all of your visiting clients into your waiting area for a brief period, which contains useful information about your business, such as signs on the walls and/or a TV that scrolls through your most important features, like your team, current projects, upcoming events, the way you work, awards, and testimonials from your satisfied customers.

    syd office tv
    Good Example - Figure: Use your waiting area as an extension of your Marketing strategy

  18. Do you rotate your marketing communications?

    The way that marketing communications strategy is planned and measured is through the concepts of frequency and reach. Frequency being how often the message is broadcast, and reach being how many people receive it. We cover the frequency part of the equation by rotating our product advertising on a monthly basis and increasing our reach by applying this rotation to several different points of contact.

    At the end of the month we would check the click throughs that these links have generated which will allow us to compare one marketing point of contact against another. Then in the following month we would simply rotate the ad. Here's a scenario that depicts how we envisage our strategy to work.

    Joe is surfing on the Internet for an email management utility:

    1. He finds our website on the Internet (probably through Google) then sees on our homepage an ad about SSW Code Auditor
    2. If he downloads our software and receives it via email he's sees another SSW Code Auditor ad
    3. If he has any contact with our employees (mainly via email) he'll once again see an ad in the email footers
    4. Later on in the month Joe will receive the newsletter with SSW Code Auditor advertised.

    This means that Joe has had a chance to see the same ad at least four times by the end of the month. All this at a total cost of zero dollars!

    Note: If you've got scrolling links like we do on our home page it's a good idea to keep the information up to date. We say that these should be changed on a monthly basis.

  19. Do you sell the sizzle, not the steak?

    'Selling the sizzle, not the steak" - the benefits, not the features - is a basic selling principle that's been around for thousands of years. We all know that people buy a 1/4-inch drill so that they can make a 1/4-inch hole. But I'm always amazed at how many businesses, large and small, keep on plugging the features of their product or service, and omit the benefits to the user.

    • Engineers list the technical specs
    • Lawyers list all of the services they offer
    • Software houses plug the bells and whistles of version 6.3
    • Airlines describe their full destination lists
    • ...and so on. Look at any six adverts in a business magazine, and I'll bet that at least three fall into this trap

    A good example of a benefit is shown in this Colgate toothpaste slogan; "Your teeth will be whiter so you can smile with confidence."

    Of course, features do need to be described. That's one way of convincing prospects that you can deliver the benefits that prospective customers want. However, if you concentrate only on the features, the prospect may well yawn and say "So what?" Is your business guilty as charged? Here are 3 ways to check:

    • Look closely at your sales literature - including sales letters that you write. How many times are features described without stating the benefits of that feature?
    • Check your sales peoples' reports (verbal as well as written). How many times do they state what features the prospect wants rather than the real needs of the prospect, the benefits that s/he is looking for?
    • When you are in a sales situation, just listen to yourself. Are you so carried away with the excellent features of your product or service that you are not taking the trouble to find out what the prospect really wants?
  20. Spelling - Do you use US English?

    Did you know that all pilots around the world must speak English? Back then, the decision of what language to use was English, since the US invented the first plane. Like the sky, in the web world, it is better to use one version of English. Since the US invented the web, let's go with that.

    If you are an Australian or British this rule is controversial, but it is worth it for the following reasons:

    • Aim for the majority. Most web traffic is from American users and they expect American (most probably will assume anything different is an error)
    • SEO - On the practical side, more web searches are going to be returned for US spelling of words.

    SetLanguageUS
    Figure: Good example - the US English is the selected language

    Don't forget to check your pages for spelling errors after making edits.

  21. SEO - Do you track heatmaps of your website?

    The user experience on your site is crucial to ensuring that you are effectively converting your leads into clients, but what if this isn’t happening?

    How can you work out where your site is going wrong and why? One key way to track how users are viewing your site is heatmapping, which track the behaviour of your users on your site through mouse tracking and eye tracking techniques.

    At SSW we use HotJar to perform our heatmapping. This information then allows us to determine which areas of our site are performing efficiently, and areas we need to adjust for better performance.

    Picture3
    Figure: Heatmap from the SSW Consulting page

  22. Endomarketing (also known as Internal Marketing) is one of the most effective strategies to reduce your employee turnover rate and attract new highly qualified professionals to your company.

    This strategy is mainly directed at creating an image of a great workplace and making people feel like their current position is a dream job. The prefix ‘endo’ comes from the Greek meaning "inside," therefore Endomarketing in a business environment is targeted at your employees.

    You can also call this Internal Marketing, as it seeks to improve the image of the company among its employees, culminating in a motivated team and reduced turnover.

    Many companies invest a lot of time, resources and money to attract and retain customers, but sometimes they completely forget about their own workers . After implementing a new successful strategy for your internal marketing, you should see a lift in your team’s perception of the company and they will begin to see the company in a more human and charismatic way; often developing a feeling of "adoration" for the business.

    Richard Branson once said: " If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients," and this is another reason why you should start taking care of your team in a more hands-on way.

    The main benefits of this strategy are:

    It generates greater motivation for your employees and at the same time make your team to feel more connected with the business brand

    Your company will attract more qualified professionals.

    Your clients will be well assisted by your happy team.

    Rotation of workers will decrease as you increase their satisfaction and commitment to the organization will increase at the same rate

    It also improves workers’ mental health and quality of life which, in the long term, will reduce the number of casualties in the company

    bunny.jpg

    Good Example – Figure: Celebrate special dates with your team!

  23. Webinars involve a lot of preparation from all parties. In order for a webinar to be run as successfully as possible, there are some deadlines which should be met.

    After confirming with a presenter, an 'As per our conversation' email should be sent requesting the title and description of the webinar. These details should be provided no later than three weeks prior to the event so that landing pages can be created. This also allows for two weeks of promotion to be carried out, ensuring the best attendance rate is achieved.

    If you are part of an automated webinar using software like Easy Webinar the video files should be sent to the marketing team two weeks prior to the event. This allows for any editing that needs to be done and prevents stress before the webinar for the team.

  24. One of the best ways to attract and convert leads into clients is using webinars. This rule will show you how to setup a webinar using GoToWebinar.

  25. Using automated webinars allows users in different time zones to view the webinar at a time that is convenient for them.

    At SSW we run webinars in multiple time zones around the world. Our webinars are attended by people from Europe, US, Australia and Asia. Because we want people to see the webinar at time that is suitable for them, we have been running our webinars in three different time zones.

    This means that we have create three different pages on Eventbrite for signups. We also have to have a technical person wake up early in the morning on the day to run the first webinar for the US audience. They then run the webinar at 11:00am for the Australian and Asia attendees, and finally they stay back at work until 10pm that night to run the webinar for the European audience.

    Because of the different time zones and because we want to keep the quality of the video high so we can put the webinar recording on our website SSW TV we prerecord the webinars and then play them at the relevant times. You can see an example of a recorded webinar at http://tv.ssw.com/5682/how-to-make-web-applications-with-angularjs-and-asp-net-mvc-dev-superpowers-episode-7

    Creating the multiple Eventbrite pages for multiple time zones are prone to error and is very labour intensive to keep updated along with the landing pages. Also having a staff member come in early and work late is not sustainable.

    To overcome these issues started to automate our webinars. This means that the webinars will run without anyone from our company having to do anything. We record the webinar on a video, upload it to the software and then at the appropriate times the webinars automatically are played.

    What is even better is that each person can see the times we nominate in their time zone so the times are always during business hours. For example someone from the US will see the times at 11:00am in their time zone. Someone in Europe will see the time at 11:00am in their time zone and someone from Australia will see it at 11:00am in their time zone.

    When they get on the webinar at their time, the video starts playing for them.

    The has cut down time for us in creating multiple landing pages and the time to actually run the webinar.

  26. One of the best ways to generate new opportunities for your business is to hold a webinar. It is very important that you follow up with each attendee after each webinar otherwise you will waste the opportunities you have created. After each webinar you should complete the following:

    1. For all new prospects

    1. After each webinar someone must call each person who registers (based in your region), offer them the video and ask them the following questions:

      1. Did you attend the webinar?
      2. Why did you attend the webinar?
      3. What did you get out of the webinar?
      4. What is your biggest challenge you are currently facing?
      5. Is there any way SSW can help you with that challenge?
      6. What does your business do?
      7. What is your role in the business? (Responsibilities)
    2. Send an email to new prospects including the following:

      1. Video of the webinar
      2. Any related resource that they might need
      3. Introduce them to an Account Manager
    3. If they are taking the course from outside your region (and you cannot provide your service to them) then send them an email including the following:

      1. Video
      2. Ask them if your business can help them in any way 2. For Existing clients
      3. After each webinar you should organize an account manager to call the client; the account manager will ask the following questions:

        1. Did you attend the webinar?
        2. Why did you attend the webinar?
        3. What did you get out of the webinar?
        4. What is your biggest challenge you are currently facing?
        5. Is there any way our business can help you with that challenge?
      4. The account manager will send an email including the following (marketing should provide the account manager with the template for this email:

        1. Video of the webinar
        2. Any related resource that they might need
        3. Action step for the next contact 3. Add all people who register to the monthly newsletter list

    You can use icxlsx this template to track the calls and as an agenda got your phone call.

  27. Content marketing is a great way to increase interest in your business and helps to improve lead generation.

    The best way to achieve this is to use gated content, which requires potential leads to provide their details in order to access the content offered. There are a number of platforms which allow you to create these forms and embed them onto your site.

    At SSW we did some research, and after initially using LeadPages, we decided to swap to OptinMonster. This choice was made for a few reasons, OptinMonster is significantly cheaper than LeadPages, and provides all the features we required including; form builders, pop-up forms, mobile friendly, A/B testing and tracking. Picture1 **Figure: Example of OptinMonster pop-up form on SSWTV **

  28. When creating an image (banner, logo, etc) for a campaign, it's important to have consistent sizing and branding. This also allows for images to be created quicker and easier, and in the context of the larger campaign.

    Use the Photoshop Artboard to provide a visual guideline and allow for quick and consistent campaign creation.This way, you can see your new banner in the context of the other banners in the campaign, and check that your sizing and art style is consistent. Photoshop artboard Figure: Photoshop artboard

  29. Every point of contact that you have with your customers is a potential to sell them something, whether that be other products or services or even to sell the company as a whole by saying how great we are.

    Here are some examples of how we take advantage of every point of contact with our target market:

    • At SSW we send a tech breakfast flyer with the invoices that we send via snail mail
    • We give out SSW bags and flyers at our User Group
    • Have advertisements at the bottom of our email footers
    • All SSW staff wear SSW shirts when meeting with prospects/clients
    • When we present at other events our slides are branded with the SSW logo

    We think that it's the little things like this that may make the difference!

  30. Do you contact the media from time to time?

    It is important for us to contact the media from time to time as they are the people who can get our products and services out to the world easily. It is a good way to advertise products.

    When you find a media contact you think is appropriate to contact, add them to CRM then tag them as MEDIAJ - Media - Journalist.

    Then send an email like this:

    Hi XXX,

    My name is Adam Cogan and I just checked out your site www.theirsite.com

    I saw your column XXX and thought it wouldn't hurt to tell you more about SSW XXX product that does XXX.

    More than happy to give you a free copy and more information. Please reply to this email if you want one.

    Thanks, Adam Cogan http://www.ssw.com.au

  31. Do your evaluation forms identify prospects?

    An evaluation form can be a great method of collecting information both about your own performance and the needs and wants of your market. You should always have questions in your evaluation forms that will allow you to add elements to your database which can be queried against in the future.

    In the SSW Speakers and Presentation Evaluation Form we give people the chance to provide some feedback as well as ask some questions which will allow us to identify new prospects and their interests. This information is invaluable and your company database should be Configure to hold and query this information. But remember the golden rule of collecting information is to give people the chance to "opt out" of being contacted in the future. Failing to do this is in breach of  privacy laws.

  32. Do you utilize advertising mediums?

    Whether your business is big or small Advertising is an essential way of exposing customers to your brands. With the increasing competitiveness of business these days it is essential that your advertising has the greatest impact.

    As such, we feel it necessary to identify the different forms of advertising mediums.

    • Television
    • Radio
    • Newspaper
    • Outdoor (from billboards to pole posters)
    • Magazines
    • Internet (from banner ads to websites)
    • Direct Mail

    Now details of SSW previous experience with those advertising mediums we feel are more applicably to the I.T. industry:

    Magazines

    • BPR: very strong response
    • Smart Access: good
    • Advisor: good
    • SQL Server Magazine
    • Communique: absolutely hopeless - we have had 0 response from full page ads.

    Internet

    Banner ads - We have had the best responses with the following websites:

    • Google
    • SQL Server
  33. A lot of companies will struggle with one of the main strategies trending at the moment: Content Marketing! One way of delivering good content is through a blog. To convince you that a corporate blog is a must for your business, here are some reasons why you should do it:

    • Drive traffic to your website

    Your blog gives you the opportunity to create and share relevant content for your customers. You should use this as part of your marketing tactic to drive traffic to your website. You can make the blog on your website the main source for all of your social media platforms, as a way of sharing longer content. Your business might be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram or anywhere else. Post links from your blog with consistent visuals on your social media. Give your social followers a reason to access your website by sharing interesting content. Additionally, post inbound links directly in your blog articles, to drive traffic to specific landing pages of your website. It’ll also increase your traffic as you increase the number of backlinks. Backlinks or Inbound links (hyperlinks that go back to your site) are the lifeblood of any website. They’re the currency of the internet because high-quality backlinks, from a variety of sites, give your website a higher rank in search engine results. The more you blog great content, the higher the chances of you getting those inbound links around the web.

    • Increase your SEO

    New content is still a key to beat your competitors in the search engine results page, especially if they have relevant keywords. List out the keywords, topics, and categories you want your business to be found with. Use these words, and related expressions when writing your posts – don’t forget to add them to your SEO strategy. Of course, whether you are actively searching for these out or not, blogging regularly about your business, industry, service or product will naturally increase your search ranking for the keywords you are targeting. Being aware of your strategy and keywords will only increase results.

    • Blogging is an essential part of a successful social strategy

    Blogging and social media were once two totally different things. Blogging was where you had to post only well structured, serious content. Social media was where you were less serious. Two different types of content. Now your blog informs your social media posts, and vice-versa, enriching your followers experience with articles, e-books, videos, and other great content. Without a blog to promote excellent content on your social, you're missing a big opportunity to drive high-quality engagement with your audience.

    • Position your brand as an industry leader and increase brand awareness in the industry

    Interesting and relevant articles demonstrate your company as an industry leader. When choosing topics, try to think what resonates with your market and show your knowledge, you are marketing your skills for your business, service or product too. If you are a retailer, for example, write blog posts with reviews of your products, or with tips that correlate with them. Your customers will recognize you as a problem solver to their issues. If you are in B2B, you can write about a solution you have developed for a specific client or how your managers have overcome a challenge with their team. Become an expert in your industry by sharing your experience. The more you show the market what great stories you have to share, the more your client will trust you to supply them with what they need. Besides that, they will thank you for the learning experience.

    • Develop better customer relationships

    Blogs provide an extra source to deepen the conversation (and connection) with your customer. By connecting directly on your website, your clients are able to get to know your business, service or product whenever and wherever they are. Build trust by being a reliable source of information. Clients like to be informed and appreciate that you are the one teaching them. Additionally, just as on your other social websites, engage with your audience by responding to comments and interacting with your consumer. If they have questions about a product you are writing about, respond to them directly on your website – don’t leave them waiting. Unlike many social sites, a blog is generally searchable on your site for some time. Your website comments last longer than on a Twitter response or Facebook post. Other customers will see your interactions too, that’s why is important to show that you’re always replying and connecting with your clients as soon as possible.

  34. Try googling content marketing. You’ll find lots of articles about it, and maybe some reports saying how this has been one of the main marketing strategies in the last 3 years. Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, of course, to drive profitable customer action. That’s why this is so important to be a part of your strategy. In other words: in order to sell the big piece of the pie, you have to show your audience small samples first.

    We are in a new era of content. Not just any content, but a well-crafted and relevant content for your target audience. To be able to find the right content for your followers, you have to plan, not just create randomly without a focus and without documenting your research.

    When you follow a documented and organized content marketing strategy, you will:

    • Feel more effective in the use of all content marketing tactics and social media channels
    • Easily justify a higher budget to be spent on your content marketing (e.g. for recording a video or doing a partnership with an influencer )
    • Will be able to track results as soon as they have a clear goal and metric to follow, according to your strategy

    It should definitely include:

    • Your audience personas
    • A content planner that matches these personas, channels, deadline and budget
    • Goals
    • Metrics that will be followed

    contentmkt
    Figure: Marketing Content is valuable with the right approach! - Image source: Joe Lesina

  35. Do you let your clients know they are valued?

    Great working relationships are not built in a day. Do you use every opportunity to build relationship with your clients and their staff? Gifts are a great way of saying that you really appreciated a client’s business, or that he/she is valuable to your company.

    Don't wait only for a special occasion like Christmas to reward a great client. You could send a gift at the end of a project, or an important deployment, or if you know they have had a special occasion.

    For a gift to make an impact it needs to be personal. Don't waste an opportunity to get them something that they really want and therefore show that you care about them as a person. A bottle of alcohol is very cold and impersonal, unless it is something you know they love, like their favourite wine or whiskey.

    Things to consider:

    • If you know the customer well, customize the present (a tea gift package, a book they would like to read, a restaurant experience or even a plant) and they will feel important to you
    • Give it to the main contact of the company, as it’s more personal
    • If you don’t know a customer very well, you can give them something more generic like a foodie hamper, a wine or champagne, but try to make it something they can share around the office

    champagnes

    Figure - Bad example: A Bad Client Gift – Alcohol is easy, but very impersonal

    experiences.png

    Figure - Good Example: Give your clients a personalised Hot Ballooning experience that you know they’ve wanted to do for years!

  36. Do you manage your photos?

    Using Google Photos - The awesome way to find any image.

    Please watch the video to know more:

  37. Many website integrations will require an HTML tag in added to your website. This can be painful to manage when dealing with the code. To add those tags, we recommend using Google Tag Manager.

    Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) that allows you to quickly and easily update measurement codes and related code fragments collectively known as tags on your website or mobile app.

    tracking code bad
    Figure: Bad example – Vimeo tracking code added in the head of the source code

    tracking code reference google tag manager
    Figure: Good example – Reference to the Google Tag Manager

    tracking code good
    Figure: Good example – Vimeo tracking code added through Google Tag Manager

    Multiple marketing tools can be added in a website using Google Tag manager.

    trracking all tags
    Figure: All tags are added in new SSW.Website using GTM

    Data and analytics result has recorded by Google Analytics on new SSW.Website. Universal Analytics and GA4 are configured in Google Tag Manager.

    tracking universal analytics
    Figure: Universal Analytics is collecting data from the website

    tracking ga4
    Figure: GA4 is collecting data from the website

    Learn more on Google Tag Manager official site.

  38. Do you allow donations for your content?

    Digital marketing is becoming more popular every day and many people are making a living from creating content online on social media. Called content creators or digital influencers, they use platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter to expand their online presence. Some of these platforms are enabling features that allows them to make direct income from their content.

    Patreon

    Patreon is an American membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service. It helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers like exclusive and premium content.

    This video shows you how to launch a Patreon page:

    Super Thanks $

    YouTube Super Thanks $ is a new feature that enables users to support their favourite channels on YouTube to keep creating content while giving creators access to a new source of revenue. This feature is called Super Thanks, and the support $ ranges from $2 to $50.

    Check out this video showing you what is and how to use Super Thanks:

  39. Google My Business is a business listing platform provided by Google. Business owners can create or claim a previously created listing of their business.The goal of a Google My Business (GMB) profile is to have your business known by local users (caused by brand awareness), and ultimately, increase your sales.

    By adding your business information to Google, you will:

    • Have your business show up on Google Maps;
    • Provide important information to searchers (aka potential customers);
    • Receive business reviews and build trust with your clientele.

    If don’t have a Google My Business (GMB) profile yet, it’s unlikely your business will show up on Google Maps and be searchable by Google users. A GMB helps ensure that people find your business when looking for products and services like yours in their local area.

    Let’s imagine a customer is trying to find your business specifically, or a similar business around their location. The customer may not be able to find you without a Google profile/listing.

    Now, let’s think of a scenario where a listing for your business already exists, but you don’t have a profile and therefore, have no control over the information in the existent profile for your business; or worse, the information is wrong, but you can’t fix it.This is why it’s important to have a profile on GMB, or for you to claim your GMB profile and manage it yourself.

  40. It’s important to keep all information about your business online up to date. The easiest way is to review your current Google My Business listing and optimize the data to ensure your clients (or potential clients) can still find you - even if you need to change your phone number or move to a new address.

    Here are a few ways you can keep your listing updated and optimized:

    1. Review your business name – is the name listed correctly? Is it consistent with social media or your website for example?
    2. Review your address – double-check if it includes a suite, or the correct number.
    3. Review your phone number – is the phone number the same one you have on your website? Or social media too? If not, get it fixed.
    4. Business description and category – ensure you have this information listed to help attract potential customers.
    5. Respond to customer reviews – either you get good or bad reviews, make sure you engage with your client. If there was a problem, try to understand the situation and help them. If you received a glowing review, don’t forget to say thanks too!
    6. Add your products and services – depending on your product or service, you will have access to one of these tabs in Google My Business. Here, a pro tip is to make the best of your SEO and use keywords that people usually use to look for the product/service.
    7. Upload cool and real photos of your business – You can have cover and logo images, or update relevant photos of your business or product. Good examples here are front and inside of your business, your team, events, or specific shots e.g. your menu if you own a restaurant.
    8. Update hours for public holidays or COVID-19-like scenarios – If there is a public holiday coming up, it’s likely Google will send you an email with a reminder to do an update – however, we recommend you check them at the beginning of every year, so you don’t miss out an update. Can you imagine a client showing up to a closed business?
    9. Posting feature – Finally, you can use the posting feature. If you want to share a new service you are offering or hosting an event, you can use this feature to communicate it to your customers.
    10. SEO – Make sure you mention the relevant keywords users might be looking for in your industry. This will make your profile more ‘Googable’.
  41. Many people use Google My Business to find reviews of potential businesses they could be going to to find out what other clients think about their service, products, or customer service before making a purchase decision.

    Through these reviews, you can find out what customers think. Some people will have good or bad experiences and leave a review; some will not make an effort. However, a couple of these reviews could be faked, for the good or the bad (by competitors). You can get a good feeling of the business when they respond to their customers.

    By responding to your customers, being it either related to a good or bad experience, you have an extra chance of making a connection with another customer and are also seen as more trustworthy (see below).

    According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are seen as 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses who don't (76% vs. 46%). Not only does responding to reviews support trust-building, it also gives you an opportunity to humanize your business, show customers you care, and demonstrates professionalism.
    Source: Google

    So here are a few tips for responding to your customer reviews on Google:

    1. Follow your tone of voice if you have one. If you don’t, just be friendly/cordial and professional. This should be like the experience customers have with your business, be it in-person, over the phone or on social media messaging. Whatever channel they are talking to you, the communication experience should be consistent – this is why a tone of voice is important.
    2. Check your CRM to understand what happened before responding. This will help you shape your answer. Being honest is the best way. Show what you have done to fix the situation.
    3. Never leave a bad review without an answer! If you can’t give it a straight answer, offer to call or email by asking them to contact you through your channels or by sharing a contact number/email. Clear communication will be your best tool for understanding what went wrong and how to solve the problem. Even if they don’t contact you, other clients will see you are open to solving the situation.
    4. Don’t take bad reviews personally – a good tip is to always ask for someone else to check to make sure it doesn’t sound angry.
    5. Always start by addressing the problem or compliment.
    6. Be personal, use names and sign using your name when replying. This will show a real person is listening and taking care of the problem.
    7. Be quick to answer bad reviews. The client is already angry, so when they get to the point of leaving a bad review, give it a prompt answer.
    8. Be accountable and apologetic, especially if you were the one who caused the bad experience. If you didn’t, apologize if appropriate but don’t take responsibility. Showing that you care about their experience is the most important.
    9. Good reviews don’t always need an answer, but your clients will appreciate it if you do. A simple “thank you for your review!” says it all, but feel free to go the extra mile and make specific comments about their review.

    Remember that your answer is public to all your customers (and potential clients) and that you are always trying to improve your customer experience.

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