Getting customers to sell your products/services for you

Once you’ve built a large base of loyal customers for your business, you can start to branch into looking at strategies to get your customers to sell for you. A customer who is a big fan of your product will most likely recommend that product and talk more about the positives.

The strategies we’ll focus on here are: referrals and recommendations, having a good understanding of the customers in your business, and retaining customers.

Referrals, reviews and recommendations

Customer referrals and recommendations can be hugely helpful for marketing your business. Any potential customers get to see the optimistic reviews of your products and services from previous customers which will get them interested in finding out more. Provide an incentive for your customers to leave a review, such as a discount code, promotional offer or an entry into a giveaway.

Also after every sale, follow up with your customer and ask for their recommendation – just make this process as easy as possible for them.

Having a good understanding of the customers in your business

The customers that are likely to buy from your business will all have a shared interest of the product/service you are selling. Creating a better understanding of your customers will help with any incentives you want to bring out to generate more reviews and recommendations. Keeping track of the analytics from your website and where the customer purchases the product/service from will also allow you to measure any changes and updates from customer interests within your business.

Retaining customers

Once you have an existing customer base, it’s easier to sell to those customers. Look at ways to retain. One of the ways could be by asking for their input on any improvements that could be made to an existing product/service. Also create loyal customer discounts or ‘loyalty cards’.

Social media makes it easier than ever to generate customer recommendations, reviews and to build up an existing base of customers whom can discuss products in your business that they benefit from. Robin Daniels from the company Sales Force says: “by delighting your customers, you can turn them into effective sales people who persuade friends, family and colleagues to use your products and services”. The importance of having a loyal customer base for your business is clear especially with the priority of generating positive recommendations, referrals and reviews.

Another helpful tip to get customers to sell your product for you is to ‘encourage content that is customer-created’. This can include asking customers to engage in taking photos of your products and writing blog-related content about them. This can be more effective to see online than content published by your business because search engines thrive on customer-created content. Also the content created by customers is of course more trusted than the content created by the brand itself.

There are many effective strategies to help get your customers to sell your product or service for you. See from this list which one you can implement into your marketing plan.

Must-read marketing books

Investing in some good books to boost your marketing skills within your business is a great way to keep up with all the latest trends and new skills that you can benefit from. With the digital age booming, it’s so important now to know the best ways to be successful and have the best marketing strategies.

According to marketer Neil Patel, here are a selection of books he recommends to help give you insight into the best routes and strategies within the marketing sector.

  1. ‘Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers’ by Seth Godin. In this book, Seth talks about the concept of permission marketing and the importance of building relationships.
  2. ‘This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See’ by Seth Godin. This book is designed for all marketers at various levels and Seth speaks about his own approach to marketing. He shares tricks, tips, success stories and much more.
  3. ‘They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer’ by Marcus Sheridan. Marcus speaks about his experiences within the marketing world and offers many perspectives and tips.
  4. ‘Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant’ by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. This book explores the idea of success coming from identifying new market spaces that are ready for growth. It also looks at businesses not being in large competition with other competitors.
  5. ‘The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd’ by Allan Dib. Allan looks at ways to shape your own marketing plan for your small business, rather than going straight in with a big business marketing strategy.
  6. ‘Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content’ by Ann Hadley. This book explains that every marketer should also be a good, helping you learn strategies for writing in the digital age.
  7. ‘Digital Marketing for Dummies. 2nd Edition’ by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry. The CEO of ‘Digital Marketer’ writes this book to help share tricks and tips for all levels of digital marketers. It especially looks at engaging and growing your audience online.
  8. ‘Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade’ by Robert Cialdini. In this book, Robert explores strategies for effective digital messaging and breaking down the steps on preparing audiences for ‘a particular message prior to reception’.
  9. ‘The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand’ by Neal Schaffer. Influencers are more at a forefront now when it comes to advertising brands. This book explores where to find the right influencers and also looking at ways on positioning your brand as the ‘ultimate influencer in your field’.
  10. ‘Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die’ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This is a great tool for any marketer in the business. The authors share traits from all powerful messages and also explore why some ideas have more power than others.

6 major SEO trends for 2021

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a great way of attracting people to your online platforms – if you use it right. It’s constantly evolving, and it can be a challenge to stay on top of all the changes. But it’s really worth the effort. 70-80% of Google users focus exclusively on organic results and ignore paid listings.

Top SEO performance requires attention to a variety of metrics, including traffic, social shares and backlinks. This article gives you insights into some of the most relevant SEO trends to watch for in 2021, allowing you to prepare your SEO strategy accordingly.

1. Voice search will impact search queries

Thanks to innovations like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, voice search technology has rapidly evolved and grown in popularity. The percentage of households predicted to own a smart speaker by 2022 is 55%.

Consider your keywords when optimising for voice search. Think about phrases that people use in conversation. Voice searches tend to do better with longer, more natural phrasing. Whereas when people type, then tend to abbreviate. For example, a person might voice search “What are the new SEO trends for 2021?” but type the words “new SEO trends 2021”.

2. Local search listings will play a larger role in SEO strategies

When people think of the internet, they often think of its worldwide nature. But most people use Google to find localised goods and services, such as a local restaurant. Local SEO is important, and it’s evolving. This is in part because of the rise of zero-click searches, where the user’s query is answered via the search engine results. They therefore don’t click on any of the ranking results.

One reason for the rise in zero-click searches is the increase of featured snippets, and many zero-click searches are local searches that show the answers on the results page. So how do you get your business involved in this? Start by creating a Google My Business page if you haven’t already.

3. Content that fulfils the Google EAT principle will rank higher

The EAT principle stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These factors help determine if a webpage has useful quality content, which Google has reiterated is critical for ranking success.

There are a few ways you can ensure quality content. Firstly, create buyer personas, to understand what kind of content your clients value. Second, conduct search intent research to map out the consumer journey. Then use this information to create content that fits the format your users prefer. For example, if you’re catering to teenagers, video is probably preferable. But video may be less appealing to an older audience.

Keep EAT in mind as you craft your content. Back up claims with facts and statistics, and link to reputable such as those with “.gov” URLs. Having authoritative sites link back to you is another way of proving you fulfil the EAT criteria.

4. Featured snippets will be more prominent

Featured snippets, which were rolled out in 2017, are a shortcut to gaining prominence in Google. You may notice when you sometimes type something into Google that a box similar to the image below appears above the actual results. That’s a snippet.

Having one of these is a great way to get on that coveted first page of results. They also steal a significant amount of traffic from competitors. To create snippets, focus on question-based queries and relevant keywords. You can use the Google search function “people also ask” for inspiration.

5. Mobile-friendliness will impact search rankings

In 2019, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, meaning it looks primarily at the mobile version of a website. It’s predicted that 73% of internet users will access the internet solely via mobile devices by 2025, so check how effective your mobile site is with Google’s free mobile-friendly test.

6. Image optimisation will play a larger role in search

Visual image search has drastically evolved. It used to be that people could just look at images. Soon, people will be able to use images to obtain information, buy products and more. Google has insisted on strong optimisation of images. If the images on your website aren’t optimised, take care of it now.

Use high-quality, relevant images and ensure you customise the file name, labelling the photo file so it is relevant to the content on the corresponding page. Include alt tags, which crawlers use to classify images.

10 free or low-cost business tools and services I seriously can’t live without

I use a lot of apps, online services and software every day in my work, so I’ve listed some here that I wouldn’t manage without. They’re free or low enough cost to easily justify the investment.

1. Fiverr – freelancers directory

Fiverr

Fiverr is an online marketplace that connects businesses with on-demand freelancers offering services in over 400 categories, including graphic design, programming, animation and more. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences using Fiverr, and you can find a freelancer for as little as £5 (of course!).

They have a massive pool of talent from all over the world. Their review system also helps to remove any doubts about the freelancers’ ability to perform.

2. Canva – online design software

Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, documents, cover images and other visual marketing content. It’s great for those that aren’t great at design or at using design software. The platform is very easy to navigate around and play with, and they provide design templates as well as a huge library of stock-free images (with the pro version).

Canva offers paid subscriptions which have additional features, but the free account has plenty of functionality.

3. Unsplash/Pixabay – free photos and graphics

Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days, so there are endless photos of all sorts, but mainly breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Just scroll through the homepage to see gorgeous mountain ranges, colourful sunsets or nature – all in their very high-resolution glory. They’re great to use in social media marketing, newsletters, or on your website. I use their search facility mostly, but sometimes I just browse through the photos to get inspiration and ideas for content.

Another site I use frequently – Pixabay features photos, illustrations and vectors. The images are brilliant, and most of them don’t require any attribution at all. Plus the site’s easy to use – it’s a web designer’s dream!

4. WhatsApp for Desktop

The WhatsApp desktop app is an extension of the app on your smartphone. It mirrors all the conversations and messages you have on WhatsApp on your phone, and allows you to see and reply to them on your PC or Mac using your computer’s keyboard instead.

Why use WhatsApp for Desktop? It’s much faster to type and easier to save images which you might need on your desktop. Also more businesses are communicating with WhatsApp instead of email. I’m in a number of WhatsApp groups now for clients’ projects.

5. ColorSlurp or Eye Dropper – free colour picker tool

Colorslurp

With both ColorSlurp and Eye Dropper, you can pick any colours on your screen and receive the hex numbers with the ultra-accurate magnifier. ColorSlurp is more advanced, but it can only be used on a Mac, whereas Eye Dropper can be used on both a Mac and PC.

6. QuickTime video recorder

QuickTime

QuickTime is a multimedia framework for both Mac and PC, which handles various formats of digital video, picture, sound and panoramic images. The best thing about it is that you can very easily record your whole screen (and sound if needed) – for example if you’d like to demonstrate something on your computer and send it to somebody, rather than type out the instructions in an email! The recipient can then watch it at their own pace and however many times they need to.

7. Zoho CRM – free or paid for online CRM system

Zoho

Zoho is a web-based online productivity tool, which contains spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, word processing, CRM, project management, invoicing, and more – you can practically run your entire business through it!

This breezy software solution looks and feels like a lightweight cloud project, but it packs in a big number of high-end features and customisation options for business users on a budget.

8. Buffer – social media creation and scheduling

Buffer

Buffer is a web and mobile software application, used to create, schedule and manage social media platforms which include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. It saves users from going on each social media platform individually to share posts and track performance.

With a free account you can add up to 3 social media platforms and schedule 10 posts in advance.

9. Office Serv – virtual registered office address

OfficeServ

Office Serv is a business centre and virtual office service that provides a registered address service. It’s ideal for both start-up enterprises needing a registered address, as well as companies needing a more established look.

It’s low cost and has lots of different additions to choose from, including call answering and forwarding, and mail forwarding.

10. Udemy – low cost online courses

Udemy

Udeumy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 130,000 courses – the world’s largest selection. Their courses cover a massive range of categories, including software, design, marketing, business, photography and personal development. Prices start at just £9.99 per course, with many having thousands of reviews to browse through.

9 persuasive copywriting techniques that’ll boost conversions

49% of marketers report that increasing customer acquisition is their top priority. Therefore, you need a competitive advantage. In this article, we list 9 persuasive copywriting techniques that engage leads and convert them.

  1. Write conversationally

When you write conversationally, you’re talking to your prospect, giving a more personable touch. Use words like “I” and “you”, as well as simple words and sentences to create a light atmosphere. Always make your copy easy to read.

  1. “What’s in it for me?”

It’s an undeniable fact: readers don’t particularly care about you or your company. They care about what you can do for them. Show your readers how you meet their needs and the benefits they get by purchasing from you.

  1. Highlight a unique selling point (USP)

Your USPs are what you have to offer above your competitors. They are your edge. If your offer is unique, it stands out. It should be highlighted and promoted in your marketing to boost conversion.

  1. Provide social proof

People care about other’s opinions, which is why testimonials are so persuasive. The more you can cite customers and anybody else who uses your business, the more compelling your copy will be. Words from a customer’s mouth are much more trustworthy.

  1. Identify with the reader and target emotions

When it comes to making a purchase, people are heavily influenced by their emotions. Speak directly with the reader’s problem, struggle, or pushback. Show you understand their hurt, apathy, confusion, or other emotion. The more rapport you build with the reader, and the more you explain the emotional appeal of your product, the more desirable and persuasive you’ll be – they’ll think “They get me!”

  1. Raise objections

Readers are looking for an excuse to click off your page or move your email into their spam. Raise their objections before they do. Show readers both sides of the coin: the handful of weaknesses to your argument and how you address them. Studies show that two-sided arguments are more persuasive to readers than one-sided.

  1. Be as specific as possible

It’s easy to make general claims about your business, but specific proof is much more effective. General numbers and claims are too perfect to be believable – “double or triple” is an estimate that’s easy to make up. Be as specific as possible, by telling people that your service has increased conversion rates for a customer by 67%, or saves your customers an average of £492 per year. Those numbers are way more effective than making general claims.

  1. Create a feeling of exclusivity

The goal is to make prospects feel special by being a part of something exclusive. This is one reason why words like “secrets” work well. We’re sucked in because we like to feel like we’re on the inside, getting offers and information that others aren’t.

  1. Offer a guarantee

By offering a guarantee, you convince the reader to step across the line and use their hard-earned money to buy your product or service. A guarantee can be one of the most powerful tools in your copywriting arsenal.

(SEE MORE: Build brand awareness with these clever tips and tricks)

6 free marketing tools every new business owner should know about

All business owners understand the importance of saving money on expenses, especially start-ups. It’s crucial to effectively market your business. But fortunately there are tonnes of free digital marketing tools that can really have an impact. Listed below are some of our favourites:

  1. Use Buffer for social media management

Buffer is an online social media management tool that will enable you to schedule social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Buffer will help you increase your following, engage your audience and build your brand, saving you a lot of time.

The best thing about this tool is that it allows you to connect multiple accounts to one dashboard. You can schedule posts, create campaigns and analyse the outcome of your posts. Buffer’s free plan is great for new businesses who want to grow their social media presence.

  1. Use WordPress for blogging

Blogging is a great way of driving traffic to your website and boosting your credentials. WordPress is a straightforward tool used by millions, with plenty of themes and plugins to choose from to make your Blog unique.

(MORE: 5 benefits of blogging)

  1. Use Canva for easy designing

Having visual content on social media is becoming an increasingly popular form of marketing. From infographics to custom illustrations, visual content is a brilliant way for entrepreneurs to build a professional appearance and gain credibility.

Luckily for most business owners, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to use this simple tool. You can create almost anything visual on Canva, from social media images and infographics to flyers and brochures. Its free library of illustrations, templates, fonts and images give you plenty of graphics that you can easily play about with.

  1. Use MailChimp for email marketing

While building your brand on social media platforms is effective, email marketing is vital to the success of most businesses. It allows for a more intimate interaction between you and the consumer by offering you the tools you need to nurture leads. MailChimp is a fantastic free email marketing tool and one of the easiest for new businesses owners to learn.

  1. Use SurveyMonkey for customer feedback

Surveys are a great way to collect consumer information, uncover trends, engage customers and gain tangible insights on your business. SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular free online survey tools, and is incredibly simple. Within just a few minutes, you can create, design and publish your own business survey. Plus you’ll be able to analyse the results.

  1. Use Evernote for organisation

Organisation is crucial when it comes to marketing your business; if you’re able to prioritise and organise your notes, you might not be able to act on opportunities.

Evernote is a tool where you can capture inspiration, ideas and trends, and store them all in one easily accessible place. It can be accessed on your laptop, mobile or tablet, making it the ideal tool for finding and storing content ideas, brainstorming, market research and competitor analyses.

Bonus tip: free stock photo websites

As we previously said, having visual content on social media is becoming an increasingly popular form of marketing. New business owners often get into trouble by using online images that aren’t royalty-free; the use of these can result in a fine. So in a previous article, we created a list of brilliantly free stock photo websites.


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