Building an online presence for your business should be a no-brainer, because it brings so many pros and so little cons that there is no reason why you should still hesitate. However, if you are reading this post, you probably are, because going online actually requires a certain level of organisation and an adequate budget, and we know for many business owners, this is enough to think about it way more than twice. So, when it comes to start your business online, all the cons seem to weigh more than they actually do, and you start seeing them like an insurmountable obstacle. However, many of them are just false myths spread by word of mouth by those who tried to build a homemade online presence without succeeding, because they obviously lack in experience.
Let’s see what are the most common and debunk them.
1. It is an extra cost for my business
Totally wrong: it is not a cost, but an investment. Visitors can be converted into leads, and leads into sales. There are many ways that guarantee a return on your investment: for instance, you can open an e-commerce and sell your products, or you can make videos and sell online courses, and so on. It is really up to you. Simply taking care of your social media channels means creating some awareness around your brand, which soon turns into more people interested in what you do and how you can help them. All you have to do, is making this clear online: intercept your target’s problems, and propose a solution using your social media channels and your blog. In other words, make yourself what you are: a reference for your business.
Talking about target, on the internet there is enough technology to deliver your message only to people who could really be interested in what you offer, excluding all those who don’t, which allows you to save a lot of money. If you take a deep look at the costs, you may find out that advertising on the internet is cheaper than traditional media.
2. I can get bad reviews
Only if you deserve them! However, whether you like it or not, people will talk about your brand on the internet even if you are not present. Think about all those restaurants and hotels who don’t even have a website, but still get reviews on TripAdvisor. The only difference is that if you are not present online, you don’t know, but if you are there, you can reply to a bad review, acknowledge that something went wrong and propose a compensation, turning an angry customer into a happy (and returning) one.
Bad reviews are part of the game, but they happen, anyway. However, a good presence online can also trigger good ones.
3. Web marketing is ineffective
Really? If it was ineffective, how come marketing directors make £80,000 a year on average? As I said a couple of paragraph above, a digital strategy for your online presence can serve various purposes, from brand awareness to actual sales. Most of those who say web marketing is ineffective, often have only tried to advertise their business on Facebook with 20 quids or less. In other cases, they just use the wrong tools, like those who turn their personal Facebook profile in an online shop window. Social networks are meant to socialise with people, not to sell goods!
If you contact a digital strategy specialist, they will help you choose the right platforms and tools for your business and you will finally see some results in terms of revenues.
4. It is time-consuming
This is partly true: managing your online presence involves monitoring and adjusting many things on a lot of different platforms, from social media to SEO. There are many irons in the fire, and you have to keep an eye on everything.
I am pretty sure there is plenty of local digital agencies in your area who can help you with everything that involves your online presence. If they manage your social media channels, your blog, your website, your funnels, and your advertising, what are you worrying about? All you have to do is taking care of your company.
5. I don’t need it
This feels so wrong! Almost every business has got a website, including some of your competitors, who are probably already generating revenues and getting more customers. It is not about keeping up with the Joneses, but it is a real fact: while you are still deciding, your competitors might be gathering new customers and taking a big advantage on you. If you think your business is successful just because you can still take a good income home, it is just because you did not realise it could be even better, if you launched your business online.
Before buying anything, customers look for information, and the place where they do so is the internet, so you need to have a website where you can supply all the necessary information. Also, offering support and answering questions on social networks, gives more value to your products, and people will feel more confident when making a purchase.
So, you didn’t want to build an online presence for your business because it costs a lot, but it is actually cheaper than traditional media. Have a look at our Popup program. Also, you were scared of bad reviews, but then you realised they could come anytime, even though you are not online, and then you said it is ineffective and time-consuming, but all you need to make it work is a team of professionals, and now you know you need it, because your competitors are already online.
Don’t think about the cost of having a digital strategy, think about the cost of not having one.
Selling products or services on the internet seems very difficult: you have to do SEO to get some visibility on Google, Bing, and other search engines, then you have to publish blog posts, interact with people on social media, and of course there is advertising.
However, web marketing costs are lower than traditional marketing costs, with the added value that everything can be automated with a funnel, which is the journey users make from the moment they click on your advertisements until the final purchase. If you optimise your funnel, your sales are highly likely to increase.
I will give you some ideas, with landing page examples and copy advices.
In particular, I identified five elements, often overlooked, that can determine the failure or the success of your funnel.
Copy on ads
What is the most important part of an advertisement?
Many would say it is catchy images, because a picture is worth a thousand words. The thing is you need more than that to convince someone to click on your ads, so the copy is important, too.
No strategic approach, no claim, a bland call to action: if there is no reason for a user to take action, they simply won’t. Writing something like “word’s biggest company” does not communicate your USP is valuable. Try underlining to the user what are the benefits they will get by clicking on your ad. For example, you might offer a free content or a discounted service.
The landing page is the first real step a user takes in your funnel, it is the page where you generate leads, and its structure should follow an accurate standard.
I said I would give you landing page examples, so allow me to play at home and let’s examine our own Popup by Wiredmark page which is, to all intents and purposes, a landing page.
In this specific case, we opted for a header that takes the whole screen space, so the attention is fully caught on the payoff and it is immediately clear who is the target of the service and what benefits they get.
The call to action stands out thanks to the particular font we used in the button, which is the same as the logo. Those who land on this page immediately know we are promoting a service for startups and they will get an all-inclusive bundle with website, SEO, and advertising.
Let’s keep going. What do they find when they scroll down?
A more descriptive paragraph on the benefits they get if they choose to adhere to the program, which also triggers a sense of urgency.
This is important: it gives users a reason to either continue reading or taking immediate action.
We also keep SEO into account, placing some keywords in the content.
Testimonials, also called social proof, is a precious element, especially from a psychological point of view: have you ever heard the expression keeping up with the Joneses? I don’t want to bore you with the whole story, you can easily find it on Google. All you need to know is that people tend to take decisions and actions based on what others do, and they are more likely to buy things that define their social status, and that is called Jones’ effect.
In the end, the call to action:
A detailed description of the benefits above the call to action is a good chance for some upselling and it is designed to trigger greed in the potential buyer: they will either want to save money or spend more to save more. Whether the case, we are achieving a goal.
No matter how you generate leads, most of them won’t be ready to buy immediately. Unless you are Amazon, people don’t trust you, so you have to build a relationship with your leads first.
Nurturing your leads, perhaps offering a freebie or starting a follow-up series, will make them ready to buy. It is essential you intercept their needs and anticipate them. Try creating a series of e-mails in which you offer a solution to their problem, for example, and they will be motivated to make the final purchase.
A UX designer will make actions on your website easier to take, by cutting useless steps from the purchase procedure or leaving just the essential input fields on a form. Pay attention to responsiveness as well, because not everyone uses a desktop or laptop PC.
Social channels and post-purchase
Taking care of your social channels by publishing fresh content regularly helps building trust: people will search for your social profiles to get support after the purchase, to get more offers, or just to stay in touch with you. None of these is a negative thing, but people may visit your Facebook page after they saw your website (by the way, make sure you monitor this with a Facebook Pixel), and you don’t want them to land on a desolate page.
Your successful funnel
At Wiredmark, funnel marketing and landing pages are two of our specialities (you can tell from the landing page examples I posted above): it is such an effective technique that a lot of businesses, from small local enterpreneurs in Birmingham to big nationwide companies are using funnels to increase their sales online.
Are you interested in being the next? Contact us and we will do our best to exceed your expectations.
There is no need to quote recent surveys or researches to realise that a lot of brands use influencers in their marketing campaigns, and a quick scroll on your Instagram feed will confirm this impression. The reason is very simple: influencer marketing works, and works well, and this trend is doomed to grow to the point that it becomes an established marketing practice.
Why influencer marketing works
Needless to say, when we talk about influencers, our mind immediately goes on Instagram, but that is not the only source: there is influencer marketing also on Facebook, Youtube, blogs, and so on. Whether the social media chosen, people usually trust celebrities rather than traditional advertising, because the way this form of marketing works is completely different: you have to give something if you want to get something. Let me give you an example:
In this post, Kim Kardashian is sponsoring a product by giving a limited promotion to her loyal followers, but it will also benefit the brand itself, because those people will be more incetivated to buy the product. It’s a win-win.
Now, how do you exploit the power of the influencers in your niche? Here are a few ideas.
A collaboration based on blog posts can develop in two ways: the blogger can either dedicate a whole post to your product or they can show one of the possible uses. For example, if you want to promote some kind of food, you can either ask a food blogger to review it or use it in a recipe. The choice depends on your strategy: if you aim to solve a problem that is very common among your audience, perhaps a review is not enough.
Important fact: make sure the blogger you choose embraces your core values and can effectively represent you and your product, otherwise the risk is that the whole campaign won’t be credible.
Once you are sure about your collaborator, give them enough time and high quality photos of your product to make them in condition to do a good job. Usually bloggers receive their traffic through SEO (Google and other search engines optimisation) and Social Networks, so you’re much likely to benefit from these sources.
It is like moving to a higher level: you can turn an influencer in a brand ambassador, which means agreeing on a long term partnership. As your ambassador, the person you hire will regularly post contents about your brand, and if you organise important events, they could follow you and present your company and products.
Obviously, just like I said in the previous paragraph, it is important that the influencer you hire complies with your values and the mission of your company, otherwise you risk to spread the wrong message.
Be careful with surprise presents
Another common way to start a collaboration is sending an unexpected present, which will consist in the product you want to advertise, and then you can hope in a review on their social profiles.
However, there are some cons you should take into account: first of all, there is no agreement and no payment: this means the influencer is not obliged to give you the visibility you are looking for. Besides, some of them usually reply with a request of payment for their services.
And what if they don’t like your present? You may even get a negative review!
So, if you want to opt for this method, make sure you are proposing yourself to the right person.
Do you use influencer marketing?
There were a few suggestions on how to exploit influencer marketing in your digital strategy. Have you ever dealt with influencers? How did you use their power? Tell us in a comment!
Every business needs to communicate on digital media: traditional advertising is slowly dying, and people spend most of their time on the internet and social networks. Everybody knows a good brand reputation online is essential, so they hire professionals who take care of this aspect of their business for them. This is valid for both large and small local businesses.
We are a digital agency in Birmingham, so we do know how important it is for small businesses to have a trusted person to whom they can refer when it comes to digital marketing and communication. We also know that there is a fundamental difference between national and local businesses: while the former can usually count on a consistent budget, the latter must be more careful in investing their money, so they need to maximise the results, and cannot afford to hire the wrong person.
For this reason, if your business is based in this city, we want to give you a brief list of questions you should ask to a representative of a digital agency in Birmingham when they come to your door.
1. Can you improve the SEO of my website?
Altough guaranteed SEO is not possible, there is always something to improve. The first thing a good Search Engine Optimisation company would do is proposing you an SEO audit to do a deep analysis and give you a complete report of all the issues encountered. Without a clear assessment of the situation, their actions will be haphazard and there will be no improvement.
Considering your target is people who live in the area, you will probably have a lot of competitors who also try to optimise their website to appear on the top of the SERP, so it is critical that, if you choose a digital agency in Birmingham, they also offer SEO services.
2. To whom should I refer for any issues?
I will give you our example, as we actually are a digital agency in Birmingham: at Wiredmark, we believe in a customer-oriented approach. We are not like many other IT professionals who treat their clients like strangers who speak a different language, but we put a lot of emphasis on transparent communication and getting things done exactly how they want.
A key-factor in a customer-oriented strategy is building a solid relationship between the client and the agency. If I approach a client for the first time, we will make sure this person always speaks to me first, because I am the one who knows their needs and their business best among my team, while my client will feel more comfortable if they always speak with the same person and not with a new guy every time.
3. What if I do not like something?
Sometimes you imagine something in a certain way and rely on the professionals you hired to make it happen exactly how you want it. However, each one of us can give a different interpretation to the instructions received, so sometimes happens that we create something very nice, but that does not meet client’s expectations.
This is the reason why we always offer a post-delivery support period on any project, so if you do not like something, it will be changed as you wish (unless it would damage your business) until you get exactly what you want.
Feedbacks, in fact, are another key-point of a customer-oriented approach. We are proud to implement it in Wiredmark.
4. How will you deal with content?
Unless you require a simple web development job, there will be some textual or visual content to deal with. As I said on our copywriting services page, content is king, and copywriters make kings. In case you want to improve your SEO optimisation or you just want to make your website or landing pages more persuasive, make sure this job is done by a professional copywriter, and if you are dealing with a digital agency in Birmingham, or wherever your business resides, try to meet this person physically, in order to give them a complete brief and an overview of your activity, so they have more information to craft good content.
5. Can I see your portfolio?
Did your digital agency work with other local businesses (it is not a minus or plus, it is just to check if they had successful cases in the same area as yours)? How did they do? Their portfolio will speak for them and tell you a lot about their attitude and the results they can achieve. No matter if they never worked on a project in the same business sector as yours, you only need to assess their skills.
What questions do you ask?
We only gave you a few advices, but we know you would like to ask tons of questions when you hire a team of professionals of a digital agency! What are your key-questions? Tell us in a comment!
We all have goals in our life, in every background since we were born: good marks at school, being strong like dad, hang out with the most beautiful girl at school, graduate, get a driving licence, a car, a family, and so on.
Just like people, companies have different goals in different departments: accounting department strives to pay less taxes, HR look for the best professionals to undertake a certain role, while sales deparment, well, wants to increase sales.
What about marketing department? They have goals, too. Of course.
Why you should have web marketing goals
Many companies think having web marketing goals is superfluous, because the internet looks like a place where you just need to be because everyone else is there, but it has no potential.
However, if you are reading this post, it means you know that it is not true and being online is not just a cost for your company, but it is an investment with a potential return.
Having a website and a fanpage on Facebook just for the sake of it makes no sense, but if you have a marketing plan with fixed goals to achieve, well, that is totally different. Having goals means having a direction, a path to follow.
Now, what goals should you set? Not all goals are the same, and you want your experience on the web to be satisfactory, not frustrating.
Marketers usually say that the goals you set should be S.M.A.R.T., but what does it mean?
Obviously, each letter is the initial for some adjective. Let’s figure out what they mean.
You cannot set a general goal and think it is enough: let’s say you want to increase the visits on your website. This is a goal, but still too generic.
When you decide the goals you want to achieve with your digital strategy, keep in mind they must be specific: you want to increase the visits on your website? Good. Which page? Who is the target for that page, i.e. who would you like to take on your website?
Not all the visitors are the same, and you should change your strategy accordingly.
Another example: let’s say you want to increase your newsletter subscribers, but to what extent?
You cannot just decide a random number, but you should obviously expect an increase proportioned to your marketing budget (and, at the same time, invest a figure that is proportioned to your expectations). So, 30%? 50%? 500 users? It does not really matter, as long as your web marketing goals are measurable. Marketing is a science, even though it is not 100% accurate. Measurable goals allow you to adjust your strategy if the outcome is not proportioned to the investment or raise your budget if it is too low. Whatever the case, measuring will prevent you from squandering your money.
Be honest: are your web marketing goals really achievable? Aren’t they out of your reach? If the answer is no, then go on. If your answer is yes, unachievable goals can lead to frustration and make you do strategically wrong choices.
Setting unachievable goals often happens when you compare yourself to your competitors without taking into account some important factors and differences. For example, your competitors may have been on the business longer than you, or they invest more money on marketing.
Just do not confuse an achievable goal with a realistic one.
A relevant goal is different from an achievable one. Let’s explain this with an example. A real one.
A few months ago, at the beginning of this year, we had a client who asked us to promote his brand on Facebook, and told us what kind of people would be interested in his brand, and fixed a number of people to reach, and a budget that was way higher than he really needed. However, the target was so narrow that there was no way he could reach that number of people, simply because there were not enough people interested in that niche. This made his goal unrelevant.
Now, he is currently opening his brand to new niches.
Web marketing goals should be framed in a certain time range. Speaking of the previous example, it does not make sense to increase your newsletter subscribers by 500 users if it happens in ten years.
Web marketing goals lose their soundness if they are not time-ranged, even though they are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic, because without a time-range you can’t know if your strategy is actually working or not.
How do you decide your goals?
Web marketing goals make your online presence more profitable. How do you decide your goals? We can help you with that.