Are You Marketing Like My Dog?

Are You Marketing Like My Dog?

Most mornings you’ll find me being dragged through wet grass by a small, noisy, hairy thing that occasionally stops to poop. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day!

I love it because it gives me time to chill after a (usually) frantic school morning. Meggy and I wait with Chloe at the bus stop, wave her off and then we head for the river.

This morning I was laughing at my crazy little puppy.

She LOVES the long grass so instead of sticking to the path, I always head for the ‘ruff’ off to the side (did you see what I did there?).

Meggy’s favourite thing is to run off to one side, chasing butterflies, birds, imaginary rabbits until she runs out of lead, then turn around and run and jump through the grass until she reaches her limit at the other side.

This goes on for an hour! She’s a happy puppy and travels about four times the distance I do, so she’s good and worn out by the time we get home.

This morning, watching her chasing through the grass, it reminded me of you!

Every week on my Facebook page, on Twitter and on my website I get questions from ladies who are struggling with their business. They tell me what they do and guess what? It’s not too much different from my puppy.

They Chase Any Opportunity, Willy Nilly

They chase around after opportunities, never really stopping to think if it’s a GOOD, RELEVANT opportunity that will help them build their business.

They aren’t picky, just like Meggy they get distracted by something flying by and they feel compelled to chase it.

Then they run of out steam, stop for a little while and then get distracted by something flying past in the opposite direction, so off they run again.

No wonder they are tired out!

[Tweet “Be picky about which opportunities to chase, or you’ll wind up exhausted and empty-handed!”]

They Have No Focus

Now I’m not sure Meggy would know what to do with a bird or a butterfly if she caught it but rest assured, she never will.

She has no focus.

She wouldn’t spend time trying to catch any one thing, she just runs after the latest thing to catch her attention.

Does this sound familiar?

How often have you sat down to get something done and been distracted by social media, texts, emails, a neighbour, in fact anything that is going on around you when what you NEED to do is focus on one thing and get it finished.

[Tweet “Distractions will wreck your business – you can’t build a business if you never finish anything”]

They Go The Long Way Round

I told you that Meggy probably walks 4 times as far as me, by the time she’s run backwards and forwards and out to the side, criss-crossing my path 100 times at least during the walk.

Talk about the long way round!

How many times have you gone the long way round in your business?

How many times have you had to re-learn something because you didn’t write it down the first time?

How often have you redone something several times because you didn’t plan it out before you started?

How much time have you wasted overthinking when you just need a clear vision and targets, and it would be obvious what you need to do?

[Tweet “Are you going the long way round in your business? Time to get clear on your goals!”]

So, my puppy and your business might have more in common than you think.

In Meggy’s case it’s a great thing that she tires herself out during our morning walk but for you, not so good!

You need to put your energy and attention into the thing that will make a difference in your business – the things that will take your business forward.

You don’t have surplus resources to waste chasing after ill-thought-through opportunities, being sidetracked by distractions or taking the long way round.

My challenge to you today is to learn from my puppy and do the OPPOSITE – leave the puppy approach to marketing to others who don’t know better!

If you loved this blog, I’d love to hear from you. Are YOU guilty of the puppy approach? Do you see other people doing it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Love, Claire xx

Have You Got ‘Wobbly Bits’?

Have You Got ‘Wobbly Bits’?

Isn’t it funny how these things creep up on you? One day you’re bobbing happily along, minding your own business, growing your business and doing your thing. Then you have a bit of a binge and suddenly, you’ve got wobbly bits you’ve never had before!

In my case, I’m not talking about my body although I’ve got quite a few wobbly bits there. I’m actually talking about my CONFIDENCE.

I used to be an avid reader.

Every spare minute would find me, book or Kindle in hand, curled up in a chair reading. Business books were my favourite. Then my business got busy and Chloe’s social life got busier, and I fell out of the habit until, that is, I won a Leonie Dawson challenge and my prize included her 10 favourite business books. So I started reading again.

And once I started, I couldn’t stop. It was a fantastic prize because her favourite business books were totally different to anything I would ever have chosen. And I LOVED them. I got through them all in a couple of weeks.

And then I needed more.

So I bought the books recommended by the authors of the books I’d just read, I looked at their research notes and bought what they had been reading. Any book recommended in my client Facebook groups would be ordered the same day. At one point I was getting an Amazon delivery every other day and the books were piling up, so I kept ploughing through them.

Despite occasionally feeling that my brain would pop, I felt my horizons expanding and my creative juices starting to flow. I got amazing business ideas, topics for podcasts and blogs, I started to look at my own topic of marketing in different ways. It was amazing.

But there was an unexpected side effect.

Really unexpected. And I was quite shocked when it happened.

With all of this reading and brain expansion, all of these new perspectives, all of this WISDOM, I suddenly woke up one morning with new wobbly bits. In my brain. I got seriously BIG wobbles.

Wobbles like:

  • OMG, I didn’t realise I still had so much to learn
  • I will NEVER be as clever as them
  • How can I teach business owners when I’m rubbish compared to these amazing authors
  • I’m so inarticulate
  • Am I going to be good enough? Eeeeeeek!

I used to get these wobbles in the  very first days of The Girls Mean Business. But I’ve not had them since, and certainly not as big as these! They stopped me in my tracks.

And they couldn’t have come at a worse time because I was just about to start writing a high level programme aimed at my online coaching ladies and suddenly I felt totally inadequate.

I felt like someone had kicked my legs out from under me. And I felt like I needed to start again.

I did start again

About 6 blummin’ times. In fact I barely got past module one for weeks. And it was frustrating and infuriating – I wasted so much time on this silly ‘not good enough’ mood when I could have had the whole programme written in a couple of weeks. Honestly!

I had to give myself a talking to.

  • I gave myself a break from the books.
  • I started taking my own medicine and stopped comparing myself to others.
  • I looked at my testimonials.
  • I reminded myself of the breakthroughs my amazing ladies get when they learn marketing from me.
  • And finally, I calmed down.
  • My wobbles slowly disappeared and I breathed a sigh of relief.

And I wanted to share this with you because it made me remember how that feels.

The ‘I’m not good enough’ wobbles.

The ‘who the heck am I’ wobbles.

The ‘I feel like a fraud’ wobbles.

And it’s not nice.

And I know you’ve probably been through it too, maybe you’re going through it now? If you are, you’re not alone.

The Wobbles can set in at any time.Usually when you least expect it. Usually when you really could do with them. Especially when you’re about to do something big and scary, or you’re going through a period of personal growth. (Gah, as if you didn’t have enough to contend with, being a business owner!)

So the good news is I’ve got rid of my wobbly bits again for now. I’m sure they’ll be back but next time I’ll be ready for them (well, that’s the plan).

Your Challenge

If you get a bad case of the wobbles, don’t DO anything. Stop doing. Take a break. Have a breather. Remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve achieved and why you love what you do. Remember you’re awesome. Wait for the wobbles to pass and know that every business owner out there has been wobbly at some point, it kind of goes with the territory. Wobbles be gone! Have YOU ever let a bad case of The Wobbles knock you off track? I’d love you to share in the comments!

 

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Most Business Owners Make

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Most Business Owners Make

It’s tricky being a business owner.

Nobody tells you when you start out that there is SO MUCH to consider. When you plan your business and start out, you probably expect to spend most of your time doing the *thing* you love – the *thing* that made you want to have a business around it, whether it’s crafting or singing or coaching. And it’s not until you’ve taken the leap that you realise that’s not the full story.

Most of us spend much of our time NOT doing the *thing* we’re in business for.

We’re too busy trying to get our head around marketing, legal stuff, tax and accountancy issues, spreadsheets, forecasts, social media and more. That’s not including the fact we’ve got other stuff going on in our life – when you add children and their social life into the equation your time shrinks alarmingly.

When I left corporate world in 2005 I felt the same. I had no idea what I was getting into. I made so many mistakes, I’m surprised I even had a business at the end of it. I’ve been looking back at the mistakes I made and the mistakes I see other business owners making all the time that make it so much harder for them to grow a sustainable, profitable business.There are SO MANY, I had 15 written down but I only gave myself an hour to write this so I’ve picked my top 5 and I’ll do you a ‘part 2’ blog soon 🙂

1.Trying To Market To Everyone

Yes, I know I go on and on about this but it’s a BIGGIE! You can’t market to everyone. You’re a ‘micro business’ owner just like me. You have limited time, money and energy to spend on marketing and so you may as well target those people who are most likely to buy from you – why wouldn’t you do that?

Why would you waste precious marketing resources on people who AREN’T likely to buy? Who aren’t a good fit? It just doesn’t make sense, and yet so many people don’t know any better so they just throw their marketing out into the world, willy nilly, and hope some of it works. But you know better, right? You are going to focus your marketing on the people who are a great fit for your business, who love what you do, who are most likely to buy out of everyone, who keep coming back, who tell their friends. Agreed? Good.

2. Not Thinking Like A Business Owner

When you ARE your business it can be really tricky to separate out the business from the personal.  Let’s have a look at some of the symptoms of not thinking like a business owner:

  • A criticism of your business is a criticism of you
  • A nasty comment on your Facebook page feels personal
  • You cave in every time someone asks for a discount because you’re ‘just little old me’
  • You hate chasing late payments because your clients might hate you and never come back
  • You undercharge
  • You take everything personally, to the point where it’s affecting your home life
  • You actually don’t HAVE a home life…

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, don’t fret because most women business owners feel like this at some point. Our business is our baby and our products and services are created with our passion, enthusiasm and energy. It’s understandable that things feel personal. But you’re a business owner and you need to think like one. Thinking like a business owner looks like this:

  • Taking the higher ground
  • Not getting caught up in ‘little old me syndrome’
  • Not being bullied into giving discounts
  • Not being afraid to chase up YOUR money that you’re due
  • Rising above nasty comments on your FB page (they don’t know you!)
  • Taking criticism constructively rather than personally
  • Putting boundaries in place

It’s easier said than done. I’ve fallen foul of loads of these. But you live and learn. I’m still here and so are you – and the sooner you start to think like a business owner, the sooner your business will start fly

[Tweet “The sooner you start thinking like a business owner, the sooner your business will fly #tgmb”]

3. Pricing Based On What Your Competitors Charge

No, no, no! Stop it! Do you know how your competitors set THEIR prices? I’ll tell you. They most likely looked around to see what everyone else what charging and then benchmarked themselves against them – I’m better than them so I can charge more, I’m new so I can’t charge as much as her because she’s been around for 10 years…. sound familiar. This is NOT the way to price. No.

Remember in #1 when I said you can’t market to everyone? Well, here’s a chance to put this concept into practise. Figure out who your ideal customer or client is. Work out why they love you. What problems do you solve for them? How do you make their life better, easier, happier? How do you save them money, help them lose weight, make their lashes thicker?

[Tweet “Figure out what VALUE you bring to your customers, what DIFFERENCE you make to their life and then work out what that’s WORTH to them #tgmb”]

Figure out what VALUE you bring to them, what DIFFERENCE you make to their life and then work out what that’s WORTH to them. This might mean you’re 3 times the price of your local competitors but so what? Customers always need a choice, some people (me included) will always choose the most expensive option if it represents better quality and value. You don’t have to compete on price – it’s time for you to step out of your comfort zone and change the way things are done around here!

[Tweet “You don’t have to compete on price – it’s time for you to step out of your comfort zone and change the way things are done around here!”]

4. Not Being Yourself

I can’t tell you the number of times I read ‘about’ sections on social media or websites and I’m yawning before I’ve got to the end of the first paragraph. “Our business is the foremost provider of blah blah services in the North East region of the UK”, “We are proud to be the current holders of the blah blah award for blah blah”, “Our team is professional and highly qualified blah blah blah”. Yawn.

How does that make you interesting? How does that make you stand out from the competition? How does THAT entice anyone to work with you?? IT DOESN’T!

Stop being sterile! Just because the big corporates sound like that, doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, it’s exactly why you shouldn’t! They probably feel like they have to have a certainly level of sterile professionalism in their marketing if they’re a multinational conglomerate thingy but you’re not. You’re an awesome, fabulous micro business brimming with passion, purpose and personality. There’s nobody like you. You’re one of a kind. So STOP BEING BORING.

Avoid ‘boring’ like the plague.

[Tweet “Your marketing should have your personality running through it like a stick of Blackpool Rock #tgmb #bizitalk”]

Stay away from ‘sterile’. You can still be professional and be YOU. I’d much rather see a business talking about an award like this “WE WON! We won’t bore you with our acceptance speech but we were voted the totally most awesome supplier of knitting needles in the Universe. Ok, maybe we’re exaggerating a bit – we actually won ‘haberdashery supplier of the year for the North East region’ but our version sounds funkier. We wouldn’t be here without you so we want you to share our award too – here’s a picture you can print off and stick on your wall’… Do you see what I mean? I’d MUCH rather buy from them than someone who says “We are proud to be the current holders of the blah blah award for blah blah”.

It’s time to infuse your personality into and through your business as if it was a stick of Blackpool Rock. The BEST news is that when you do this, your competitors can’t touch you. They can’t copy, they can’t compete because you’re not just selling products, you’re selling YOU, your TEAM, your PASSION, your PURPOSE, your ZING. It puts a whole new spin on all of your marketing and I’m telling you it’s your time to shine. Today! (I can see you glowing already.)

5. Not Being Consistent And Persistent With Marketing

You’ve tried that idea once, it didn’t work, so you gave up. If I had a penny for everyone who told me something similar in the past month I’d have at least 24p by now, which would nearly buy me half a Curly Wurly.

Marketing takes time.

Lots of time. Marketing is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do once and then give up. So stop being flaky and start marketing like you mean it!

I teach my clients that they need to give their marketing 3-6 months before they really see the results. 3-6 months and that’s AFTER you’ve sussed out your ideal customer and started focusing all your marketing on them. It’s ages. I know. And that can be quite depressing, especially if you’re short of money and desperate for sales but I don’t want to build your hopes up.

Don’t get me wrong, if you get your marketing approach right then you’ll sell stuff during that 3-6 month period, of course you will, but if you carry on marketing, and marketing, and marketing some more by the end of 6 months you’ll REALLY start to see the effect.

Think about it.

How long does it take you to properly take notice of a new business out there? Maybe you see them posting a bit on social media, maybe you walk past their shop occasionally, maybe you see an ad in the local paper.

Eventually, when you’ve got time in your busy life you might check out their website or pop into the shop. And you might even buy something, but you’ll probably just take a look around and file it in your head for ‘when I need it later’.

People buy when they are ready to buy, not when you need them to. Your urgency is not their urgency. And if you stop marketing in the meantime and they go searching for you and can’t remember your business name, they might not find you.

Whereas, if you’ve tempted them onto your subscriber list with a juicy offer, you send them lovely deals and show off your wares in a monthly e-newsletter, you post every day on social media and you blog every couple of weeks to keep your website content fresh, you stand a MUCH better chance of being found (and you’ll probably find that people spend more with you because you’re showing them stuff they love all the time).

Phew! So, how many of these mistakes have you made or are you still making?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments if these struck a chord! Don’t beat yourself up about them but DO look at them from a new perspective and fix them going forward. I want your business to be the best it can be, you deserve it after all the hard work you’ve put into it so don’t let these 5 silly mistakes hold you back!

15 Ways To Market Your Local Business

15 Ways To Market Your Local Business

If you’re a local business it can feel like you don’t know where to start with your marketing. After all, you’re in the same town as lots of other people with similar businesses to yours. How can you stand out? How can you differentiate yourself and most of all, how can you get more enquiries and clients?

I’ve put together 15 ideas to help get your brain whirring. Not all of these will work for your business but think about those that MIGHT work. Don’t discount any just because that’s not the way accountants/beauty salons/marketing consultants do things – that’s the whole point! This isn’t about doing what everyone else does or doing things the way they’ve always been done. This is about thinking from a new perspective and being brave. I’ve got loads more ideas that I’ll share in other blogs, so keep an eye on my website, but for now here are a few to get you started.

1. Local Directories

Where I live there are directories of North East UK businesses, or even town-specific directories where you can list your business, your website and your social media links. Search for business directories or sector-specific directories (arts, crafts, therapists) in your area and list your business. I know it can feel like a real chore to come up with what to say but remember, you never know where you’ll be found first so make sure that all your business listings properly reflect your business and your professionalism. Come up with some wording that talks to the people you’re trying to attract (as opposed to trying to attract everyone) and that says in a nutshell what you do, for whom and why they should care. Prepare a longer version and a short, snappy version in case there’s a strict word count and literally cut, paste and edit every time you do a new listing. This will help you get found on the search engines as these directories tend to have pretty good SEO (search engine optimisation) so you may as well piggy back it and drive traffic to your website.

2. Business Clubs

Most towns have a business club or business network where businesses of all types get together regularly to network, learn and do business. Find out about your local business club and see how you can get involved. Some will have a monthly speaker, some have trade evenings or showcases, some have a website where you can list your business details as a member (see above). There is usually a nominal joining fee but local business clubs don’t tend to be too expensive as they are usually not-for-profit.

3. Awards

Many town/city councils run annual business awards, as do local Chambers of Commerce and other business organisations. Why not Google ‘business awards’ for your area and see what comes up. Business awards are great for PR as a local newspaper often partners with the award organisers, so winners and runners up get coverage in the local press as part of their prize. If you are mentioned, you can set up an ‘in the media’ page on your website and share a link to the page on the paper’s website. You can also shout on social media about being mentioned/being a winner so that you squeeze some more mileage out of it. Finally, it will be great for SEO again as your business name will be mentioned on a newpaper’s website, and newspapers often invest a lot of time and effort in SEO for their own site.

4. Networking Groups

Apart from business clubs, there are loads of other networking groups out there – some paid and some free or pay on the day. Find out which networking groups work for you – they won’t all be a good fit. Think about who you’re trying to attract and pick your groups accordingly. By all means visit them all once just to see what they are like but be selective about which you join. It’s very easy to get into the habit of attending everything but you really just want those that attract your potential customers and give you a chance to get to know people who could help your business. Think about how you can be easily referrable, too, when you turn up at a networking event. Have a sentence that describes what you do ‘I help mums to get their children to sleep through the night’ or ‘I help women build brilliant businesses’ or ‘I create luxury garden spaces for anyone who can afford me’ (!). It’s much easier to refer someone when you’re really clear about what they do. It’s easier to refer an accountant who helps women-owned small businesses, particularly crafters, than just ‘an account’. Do you see? Be referrable!

5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Yes, I known it sounds scary. I know it sounds like something your web person should be doing for you and yes, that would be great but SEO is also YOUR responsibility. You need to make sure you’re creating regular new content for your website (blogging is great for this) and mentioning all of the things your ideal customers are going to be searching for. For a local business, you want to be found when someone types in ‘reflexologist darlington’ or ‘children’s dance class epsom’ or whatever and wherever your business is. So, think about this. What WILL your ideal customers be typing into Google? What words and terms will they use? And how can you incorporate them into your website without it looking and sounding contrived? Make sure your about page says what you do and for whom. Make sure you have a contact page that says where you are, even if you don’t include your full address. Don’t miss out on a chance to get found!

6. Your Business Facebook Page

You might think that your Facebook page is just another chore but actually, it could be bringing you business if your ideal customers are out there in Facebook world. Apart from the fact that Facebook appears in Google searches (often before your website) it’s also a great platform to showcase what you do, build relationships, build credibility and drive sales and enquiries. Facebook lets you upload short videos, post photos, run competitions, do polls (you might need to get an app for some of these), start discussions, run business clinics, all sorts of things that you could use to promote your business. You can choose Local Business as an option when you set up your page and that lets you include a map and have the reviews function available on your page. If your ideal customers aren’t on there, don’t spend much time on Facebook but DO make sure you’ll filled out your ‘about’ section just in case someone does find you on there first.

7. Blogging

Blogging is a great marketing tool for any business but it works really well for local businesses because you can use it to help you get found in the search engines. Think about what your ideal customers, those people who are most likely to buy from you and whom you’d really like to attract, are going to be putting into Google and come up with some ideas for blogs. Think about what questions they might have before they consider buying. Think about how they might use your product or service and whether you can help them get more out of it. You can use your blog as a ‘day in the life’ type diary where you showcase new stock, team members, trade shows or networking events you’ve attended. Think about sharing industry news, celeb trends or whatever relates to your business. Don’t underestimate blogs, a prospective customer will always have a good dig around your website and if they see regular blogs that show your personality and how you do business, that’s going help them decide if you are for them.

8. Twitter

Twitter works really well for local businesses as you can build up a local following. Often there are local Twitter Hours for a town or region where you can get to know who else is out there and find new referrers, customers and networking buddies. Lots of people put shouts out on Twitter when they are looking for a certain type of business and often there are hashtags for certain towns, to help people narrow down their search. If Twitter takes your fancy (and it’s not for everyone) start by following the editor of your local paper, the chair of your local business club, your local MP and any other well known bods from your town. This will give you a good idea of what’s going on around your area and will also give you ideas for other people to follow and get to know.

9. Your Own Events

Events are an excellent way to market a local business – when I had a marketing agency we ran free social media training sessions for local businesses and it helped us get to know loads of really useful contacts, many of whom loved our training and turned into customers. Think about whether you could run free or good value workshops and training sessions for local customers, if it fits with your business.

10. Facebook Groups

Depending on your type of business, Facebook groups could be a great way to get known. Some towns have FB groups for local business owners, or for certain types of business. Search on Facebook for your town and the word ‘business’ and see what comes up. Also if you’re targeting local mums, there are loads of mums groups you could join. Think about where your ideal customers will be hanging out together online and see if you can add value. By that I mean don’t join groups and just spam/sell – that’s going to switch everyone off you and lose you friends quicker than a skunk with dogpoo on its shoe. Instead, see how you can help people, refer people and become known as a trustworthy person to approach rather than someone who takes every opportunity to foist their unwanted products on you.

11. PR

Public Relations or PR is a great option for local businesses and it’s easier than you think. Local papers get more readers by covering local people.Local radio stations get more listeners by featuring local people. So, they are always on the lookout for local stories and your business could be featured. Think about what might be NEWS in your business. Have you won a big contract? Got a new member of staff? Moved into new premises? Got a business anniversary coming up? Won an award? What could you include in a press release for your local radio station or newspaper. And don’t be put off by ‘press releases’ – my local business editor is always happy to get an email saying ‘this is happening in my business, is it the sort of thing you could cover? – he’ll fire an email back which is always ‘not really, sorry’ or ‘tell me more’. It’s easy peasy. Also, get a good photo to go with it. Photos fill space and get you more coverage and DON’T always go for the boring ‘shaking hands with bank person/landlord/customer’ or ‘team standing on stairs’ type images, be innovative! You’re much more likely to get noticed and a good photo could get you featured where the story alone wouldn’t.

 12. E-Marketing

Building up a list of email subscribers is a MUST for any business, but it’s even more important for local businesses because you can drive sales right to your door if you do it right. Come up with a way to get people onto your email list – either a discount code, or a free checklist or ebook, something your ideal customers will love. Then email out every month. If you’re a professional services business, become known for sharing great tips and advice in your field. Become a ‘go to resource’ rather than just an other accountant, architect, solicitor or whatever. Build relationships with your subscribers. Show you’re credible. I KNOW it takes time to put together a monthly email but put yourself into the mind of the people you’re trying to attract and share what you know they will find useful. This will set you apart from all the other similar local businesses out there. Also, when you DO have an offer or deal, you can whiz out a ‘QUICK, DON’T MISS THIS’ email to your subscribers and wait for the phone to start ringing. It’s a way to get straight to their inbox and most people check their emails on their phone several times per day, so you can get their attention very quickly. Once you start, be consistent. Don’t do 2 or 3 then give up. Make it a priority and after a few months you’ll find it turns into a talked-about, fabulous marketing tool.

13. Posters and Flyers

These can be GREAT for local businesses, depending who you’re trying to attract. If you’re looking for dog owners in certain neighbourhood, flyers are great. If you’re targeting pensioners, a poster in the post office or village hall could get you right in front of the right people. If you’re looking for town centre business customers, an afternoon spent leafleting and chatting to the business owners could drive a ton of business, and a poster in the local coffee shop or popular cafes could drive enquiries. Be selective. This won’t work for every business and could actually waste a ton of time, money and energy unless it’s thought through but for the right business, this could very quickly drive sales. The main thing you need to think about is the message or offer. You have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention so think carefully about the words you use, the offer itself, the image that goes with it and make sure it’s instantly clear what it’s about and what people need to do.

14. Loyalty Schemes

Loyalty cards aren’t just for coffee shops and beauty salons (although they do work brilliantly for that type of business). Even if your industry doesn’t traditionally offer loyalty schemes, why not be the ones to buck the trend and do something new. How could you use a loyalty scheme to encourage repeat custom and referrals? Think about what you could offer, how you could incentivise it, how to make it top of your customer’s mind. People love being rewarded and they are usually very happy to keep coming back and refer you, IF THEY REMEMBER. Your job is to stay top of mind, remind them about the scheme, mention it in your e-newsletter, have a sign up in your office or shop. Your loyalty scheme could end up creating an army of free salespeople.

15. Competitions

Competitions are an excellent way to market your local business. You can run them on social media using carefully targeted ads or you can do a real-life in-person competition. A client of mine was a maternity reflexologist and instead of running a competition alone, we decided she should approach other businesses targeting mums-to-be and new mums and create a bigger competition. She got together with a photographer, a babywear shop, a beauty salon and a couple of other baby-related businesses in the same town. They each donated a prize, so it was a SUPER prize. They each promoted out to their own email lists and via social media and competition entrants were made aware that they would join the mailing lists of each prize donor, but could unsubscribe at any time. They approached their local paper and got coverage as a fab example of businesses working together. With competitions, be very clear about who you want to attract to enter. Come up with a prize that will attract the right people, rather than freebie hunters. Finally, make sure you gather email addresses and put a message on the entry form that you will be adding entrants to your mailing list and will announce the winner by email.

So, that’s a few ideas to keep you going – I’ve got a whole lot more coming in 15 MORE Ways To Market Your Local Business. Keep your eyes peeled! I’d love to know if these have worked for  you or given you food for thought – let me know in the comments!

5 Things You Should Never Post On Your Business Facebook Page

5 Things You Should Never Post On Your Business Facebook Page

Your business Facebook page can be a fantastic marketing tool. Used properly, it can build relationships, build your brand, build trust and credibility and drive enquiries and sales. However, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid if you’re going to get your Facebook page really working for your business. If you are doing any of the 5 things below, you’re at best wasting your time on a Facebook page that’s just not going to do you justice and at worst heading for trouble, even getting your page shut down.

Here’s a list of the 5 biggest mistakes I see on Facebook pages – there’s no excuse to fall foul of them now.

1. Rants

I know, it’s so tempting to vent your anger/frustration/opinion of your competitors on your Facebook page but it’s the equivalent of washing your dirty linen in public. It doesn’t look good and doesn’t help anyone, least of all you. It looks unprofessional and all you’ll do is create a pity party, which is a total distraction from your business. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no angel, but I think I’ve ranted just once on my page in 3 years (in response to a spate of really rude emails) and I regretted it almost immediately. It’s just not worth it. Complain to your pals, vent to your family but keep it OFF Facebook and other social media. Better to maintain a dignified silence and let karma take care of the rest.

2. Other People’s Memes (Rather Than Sharing The Original Post)

SHARING other people’s memes or posts is fine, in fact it’s a brilliant idea. When you share from their page, they benefit from the shares which helps their page engagement. This is called Ethical Sharing. The great thing is you benefit too as Facebook seems to give greater weight and reach to popular posts shared from other pages. It’s a win win. If you do the opposite – in other words you just save the image to your computer and post it on your page, rather than sharing then that’s just not cool. Not only that but if the owner of the meme or artwork finds out, they can legitimately report you for stealing their intellectual property. Ethical sharing is the only way!

3. Sell Sell Sell Posts

Nobody wants to be sold to. Everyone wants to be helped. If all you post on your business Facebook page is pushy sales message after pushy sales message, pretty soon you’ll end up with a page that’s as flat as a pancake. Nobody is going to engage with that! Instead, think about the people you want to attract to your page and think about what they want to see. By all means post offers and deals, but put a bit of YOU into the page. Record some videos showing your products, talking about your suppliers, telling a story about your business – anything to inject some personality into your page and start to build relationships with your page fans. Ask questions, share tips, HELP people. You’ll get a much more engaged page and remember, people buy people!

[Tweet “Nobody wants to be sold to. Everyone wants to be helped #tgmb #bizitalk”]

4. Like & Share Competitions

They are against Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines (See E.3) which means YOU SHOULD NOT USE THEM and Facebook can and will shut down your page if they catch you. I’ve seen it happen more than once – it’s just not worth the risk. And apart from that, they are a huge wasted opportunity – it’s much MUCH better to use a dedicated competition app that lets you collect email addresses of entrants, that way you grow your list while you’re promoting. Even if the app charges you a small amount to add the ‘collect emails’ feature, it’s definitely worth it because you NEED to start building your email list.

5. Anything NOT Aimed At Your Ideal Customers

By ideal customers, I mean people who are a good fit for your business and are most likely to buy. If you’re not clear who you’re trying to attract to your page then you’re going to be wasting a ton of time, money and energy and getting lukewarm results. Instead, figure out who is most likely to buy from you and target all your marketing at them – including your business Facebook page. Work out how you can add value, how you can help them, what sort of stuff they are likely to love and share. The more ideal customers you can attract, the more engagement you’ll get on your Facebook page. The more engagement you get on your Facebook page, the more likely people are to stick around and take up any offers you put in front of them.

6. SWEARING

I’ve added a sixth ‘no-no’ to the list even though I feel like this shouldn’t even need to be said. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT EVER swear on your business facebook page unless your audience is full of sweary types themselves, and even then think twice. I know a couple of people who can get away with this because it’s totally part of them and their brand but even they do it in a considered way.

So, there you go. I’d love to know what you think and if you’ve got any more to add!