Cut down on your waste

  • Cut down on your waste - part 1

    So why in the world is a marketing company offering helpful tips on how to lower a client's marketing budget?  On the surface, it wouldn't seem to be in our best interests.
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    Well, first things first - what's best for our clients is always in our best interests, but there's another compelling reason why "less is sometimes better".  The lower the marketing spend, the greater the potential for a measurable and higher return on marketing investment: it's to the marketer's benefit to spend wisely on both short and long-term value-adding initiatives, and cut out the activities that are the equivalent of throwing hard earned money in the bin.

    Lower Your Marketing Waste by Stopping These Activities Now!

    Ego Ads

    If you are bestowed the honour of being named best lawyer, best accountant or most innovative finance provider, don't take out overpriced, one-time advertisements that only serve the purpose of making you and your colleagues feel proud. You deserve to celebrate your achievement, but don't use your marketing budget!  Your ad will be mixed in with a sea of other similar chest-thumping promotions and there will be no return on investment.

    Here are steps for a much more cost-effective promotion strategy:

    • Write a news release for your website and distribute it on your social networks.
    • Include the Award as a news item in your next e-shot to clients and targeted prospects.
    • Add it into your email auto-signatures
    • Update your professional bios on the website, in print and on LinkedIn (which is often overlooked).

    Directories

    Online directories promise to help you "get found" for your particular area of specialty, which may have been valuable 5-10 years ago.  Here's the thing:  People trust Google's algorithm over online directories.  If you Google "contract manufacturer, South East" - and it returns a website, a relevant article posted on a blog and Google+, and a link to another directory - which are you more likely to click on?

    And don't believe the claim that appearing in the directory will help your SEO.  Again, this may have been the case a few year's ago, but Google got wise to what was going on and now discounts, and even penalises, purchased inbound links.

    Google's secret formula keeps getting better and now has the capability to return "conversational search" through its fairly recent update called Hummingbird.  Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. Check out FAQ: All About The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm for more details on this exciting update.

    While we're on directories, let's also put the final nail in the coffin of printed directories - and for most clients, we'd include Yellow Pages within that.  Come on, who's really going to reach for a printed directory, when they've got their computer or mobile device to hand?

    Here's a better way:

    • Develop a regular flow of quality, unique content - articles don't have to be long, but they do need to be relevant to what your target audience is searching for 
    • Put time and effort into building a quality Google+ profile and ensure you have it linked to  your author's bio on your company's blog.  This is known as Google Authorship and has become vitally important to the way Google ranks content. 
    • Distribute both original and curated, relevant content on your Google+ profile on a regular  basis.

    Off-Page SEO

    Do you purchase off-page or "link-building" SEO from a provider and really have no idea what you're buying or what to expect, but feel you need to do it to keep up with the competition?  Here's the thing - there is very little way to "game the system" and if you dare to try, you may be slapped with a Google penalty that will ensure your website will never rank.  Read A New Direction for SEO in 2014 - The Secure Search Manifesto for more information.

    Instead, here's how you should spend your time and save money:

    • Write two blog posts per month on topics that your ideal client and buyer will find relevant and genuinely helpful. 
    • Distribute those posts by social media and email. 
    • If you find a topic that is particularly well-received, pitch it to a trade publication to see if they have an interest in you writing an article for their digital version. An inbound link from a  quality and highly relevant publication will be far more effective than hundreds of links from low-quality, disconnected sources.

    Printed Brochures

    When's the last time that you read a big, printed brochure and it actually influenced your purchase decision?  Compare that to the last time you did a Google search and visited a website for information.  Businesses sometimes still feel the need to deliver something in paper when visiting a prospect.  Unless you are visiting a very traditional buyer and are convinced they will expect a paper brochure, it often isn't necessary.  Most prospects will have already visited your website and LinkedIn page prior to your visit, and will be ready to have an engaging conversation - no paper necessary!

    Here's a recommended strategy:

    • Update your bio on your firm's website and LinkedIn.  Pay attention to how many times you  see the word "I."  If you see it a lot, keep in mind that your prospective clients care about  themselves and their needs, and not you
    • Update your profiles to be more client-centric.  Share how you help your clients and be sure to touch on items that are really important to them, like sector expertise and great client service.
    • If you do feel the need to produce something in print - for a trade show, for example - make sure it is value adding, with lots of tips and advice rather than self-aggrandising rhetoric. 

    Just because you've done things one way in the past, or feel that your competition is doing something so you must also, these are not good reasons to continue.  This list of non-value adding marketing activities could be so much longer; if you found this advice helpful, leave us a comment. You can catch Part 2 here.

    This article is based on an original post by Debra Andrews of Marketri, our strategic business partners for clients wanting to do business in the USA.  The article first appeared in the Marketri blog on 1 April 2014

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