Do traditional advertising methods still work? The old marketing methods like cold calling, direct mail, magazine advertising, flyer hand outs, email blasts and pop up ads, have been affected with caller ID, clever junk mail filters and pop up ad blockers. These ways of marketing can annoy people and interrupt them. They distract and can overwhelm people, not to mention that you compete with many other companies demanding their attention. These old ways can work but are expensive and also could lose you leads that may well have bought if you’d approached them another way.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that brings qualified visitors to your site and to you because they want to, which then leads them through the process of buying from you (and again in the future!)
Because of the way people now make purchase decisions, marketing no longer means paying out a small fortune. The cost of inbound marketing has reduced by up to 60%.
So here are 5 ways to attract potential customers in 2014 with no cost.
1. Have a bloody good website
Have a good look at your website and check if it has these features:
- Immediately tells a new visitor exactly what you can do for them
- Guides the visitor to do what you want them to do
Your website needs a goal (or goals), whether it is to make a purchase, give you a call, sign up for your newsletter or fill in a form. The site needs to make it very easy and likely for the visitor to reach your goal.
- Clear, straightforward and easy to navigate
- Shows off your products/services
- Offers something unique
Your USP displayed clearly on the homepage
- A homepage that gets them hooked within 3 seconds
- A blog (or links to it)
THE NO COST WAY:
Do it yourself! Go to WordPress.com, set up a free account using one of their free templates and you can get a website, with integrated blog done within a week. There are a huge amount of resources on how to set it up.
2. Start a blog and add posts regularly
A blog will build up your credibility in your field, as well as boost your Google ranking. There are many tools online to help you easily put a blog on your website or link to it. I personally like WordPress as there are so many great features available with it and it’s straightforward and simple to set up and use. If you don’t have time to set one up, get someone to do it for you asap. Your website is competing with others and if you want to build a good reputation, you need to start being the expert in your field. The other good reason is that Google loves blogs that are regularly updated because they include fresh and relevant content. This means your site will move up search engine results based on keywords in your blog.
- Include keywords
Make sure your blog includes keywords that your potential customers use when they search for information or advice.
- Have ‘Like’ and Share’ buttons
This is so that readers can market your blog for you to their friends and acquaintances.
- Have a call to action
Your blog posts must always have a call to action – something to encourage them to move onto the next step in your sales process. This could be a ‘sign up to our e-newsletter for more expert advice’ link, which will immediately get their email address to add to your database.
- Use social media to spread the word
Post to your social media pages with content, images, blog posts, videos and funny random stuff.
THE NO COST WAY:
As before, use WordPress or one of the other free blog builder systems.
3. Get a database
You need a system up and running to keep track of all your leads and customers. There are many options to use out there, from simple emailers like MailChimp, to online CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems like Act! or SalesForce. Keeping track of what your prospects and customers do means you can change your marketing approaches to ways that actually work and that bring in the highest return.
Once you have a database, you can start using it to contact your prospects with advice, offers, gifts and calls to action to move them along to the next goal in your sales process.
You can keep in touch with your existing customers to encourage them to purchase from you again, recommend you to other people, fill in a survey, ask them for feedback and testimonials or reward them with a gift.
Use our simple Leads Template to enter your leads, customers and information.
ALWAYS include the source (where they heard about you) so you can see what marketing approaches are working. Also categorise your prospects and customers into groups by having columns e.g. industry, location, products/services bought, and so on. Use your email system to send out emails to these different groups so that they are getting emails that are relevant to them. The Leads Template includes all the columns you need to get started.
4. Get testimonials/reviews/referrals
One of the easiest ways to get new customers is by your current happy customers recommending you and giving your business great reviews. People no longer fall for the hard sales patter and it’s getting more and more essential for businesses to have good reviews. People listen to what other people say more now than in the past; via social media, review websites and word of mouth. Social media in particular, has made it easy for word to spread between people making purchases, by sharing information with their contacts.
Your reputation can easily go up or down with a simple post on someone’s social media page so make sure you’re encouraging (and making it very easy for) your happy customers to share what you have done for them.
Offer them something in return and also go the extra mile whenever you can to make what you do for your customers more memorable.
THE NO COST WAY:
How do you get testimonials and reviews from your customers? Ask them! You also don’t have to purchase tangible gifts for customers. You can offer something that costs nothing like a downloadable PDF with advice your customers will value. For example, if your business is plumbing, provide your customers with a list of ways to decrease their heating bills. If you’re a florist, create a list of useful links to reminder systems or apps that notify them in advance of upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and other dates that they may need to buy flowers. It could include a list of flowers and what they mean.
Whatever business you’re in, use Google to find ideas for your downloadable advice that is relevant to your customers.
5. Keep everything clear, concise and without nonsense, jargon or drivel
People are being bombarded with information from everywhere – through websites, social media, TV and via their phones. They don’t have time to read through heavy and complicated text. If they are looking for a solution to a problem (that you could solve), make sure when they find you, it is easy for them to see what you do that can solve their issue, make them happier, or save them time/money.
Whether it’s on your website, social media, a blog or in printed media, keep your messages simple and clear so that your potential customers will move onto the next step in your sales process quickly and easily.
THE NO COST WAY:
We offer a free basic analysis of your marketing approaches. You don’t have to buy anything, just contact us and we’ll reply with a link to a short form for you to fill in. There’s no catch and we won’t be bombarding you with emails trying to get you to buy something! We will simply send you a report of your marketing approaches with basic advice on how to improve it. We’ll be brutally honest so if you’re the sensitive type, take a deep breath before you read our analysis report! With the report we’ll include a proposal of recommendations of how we can to help you. All we require in return is for you to write a brief review telling us what you thought of our analysis and for you to take a look at our proposal. If you’d like our premium, detailed analysis report, see our offer here. This one is much more in-depth than the free basic one and has step-by-step actions to take in order to vastly improve your marketing.