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    17 Expensive Marketing Mistakes that Cost You Customers

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Investing in online marketing is critical for businesses that want to grow their customer base — and ultimately their business. But, simply spending on online marketing doesn’t guarantee you results. You have to make sure that both your marketing is effective, and that you’re not making some of these (unfortunately common) expensive mistakes that can cost you customers.
     
    Are you making any of these expensive online marketing mistakes?
     
    1. Not tracking your online marketing.
     
    Tracking enables you to know which of your marketing tactics are working — and which ones aren’t. Continuing to invest your marketing budget into tactics that don’t work means you probably aren’t reaching the right consumers in the first place. It’s important to track these tactics so you can reach consumers who are actually in your target so you can convert more of them into customers.
     
    2. Driving website visitors to fill out a Web form no one checks.
     
    Do you know where all your website contact forms are going? And if so, how frequently are you checking them? If you’re not sure, or not regularly reviewing leads you get from your website, you are probably investing in an important website feature you’re not taking advantage of — and missing out on converting a lot of potential customers.
     
    3. Paying for a website that’s not optimized.
     
    Simply having a website doesn’t mean it’s helping drive customers to your business. Investing in a website that’s not optimized for search engines and conversions could be costing you twofold. First, it’s likely you’re not even being found when your target consumers are searching for your products or services. And second, those that do find your website can’t contact you if your site doesn’t have easy to find contact information like your phone number or
    email address.
     
    4. Not targeting your advertising to the right people.
     
    Online advertising has powerful targeting capabilities — but targeting your ads to the wrong people — such as those outside of your geographic area, target age range, or income level — or worse, not targeting your ads at all — is both wasted effort and expense.
     
    5. Paying for search ads that don’t use the right keywords.
     
    Search advertising is pay-per-performance, so you might be paying for clicks on keywords that aren’t reallyworking to drive leads from your website. Not all keywords are created equal, so make sure the ones you are bidding on and using in your text ads help your ads show up when people search for your products and services, so they’re more likely to click your ad and convert.
     
    6. Not bidding on your business name in search ads.
     
    Regardless of whether you “own” your business name in organic search, it’s important to bid on your business name in paid search ads as well. Chances are, your competitors are bidding on your name, and their paid ads might trump your organic ranking on the search engine results page, which could cost you customers.
     
    7. Using misleading advertising, promotions, or pricing.
     
    Consumers are savvy, and one sure way to turn them off is by using misleading pricing, promotions, or advertising. Sure, you might get more clicks on a “too-good-to-be-true” offer, but misleading advertising might cost you customers — and your reputation, too.
     
     
    8. Not marketing locally.
     
    As a local business, it’s important to make sure your online marketing targets local consumers. Not only is this more cost-effective, but it also cuts down on you filtering though leads that aren’t from your target area.
     
    9. Not following up with prospects who call you.
     
    After all the effort to drive qualified prospects to contact your business through your marketing and business website, this is one of the most costly marketing mistakes. It’s critical to have a system in place that helps (and reminds) you to follow up with people who contact your business. Whether they leave a message or just aren’t ready to buy, not following up with these leads can have a serious impact on your business.
     
    10. Not tracking your marketing through to actual conversions.
     
    Simply tracking clicks, visits, and number of followers doesn’t tell you much about how effective your online marketing actually is at getting you customers. If you’re not tracking your marketing all the way through to conversions like calls, or emails, you may be investing in marketing that isn’t really working.
     
    11. Not monitoring and managing your reputation.
     
    Is your online reputation costing you customers? If you haven’t checked to see if your online reputation is positive or negative, you could be losing many potential customers due to bad reviews, comments, or other content that’s critical of your business. Do a quick search for your business name to see what shows up — then take steps to improve your reputation.
     
    12. Not claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page.
     
    Claiming your local listings is an important task for any local business. Google+ Local is even more critical, because your listing there is tied directly to your Google Maps listing, which is one of the top ways that consumers search for local businesses on the go via their mobile devices. If your Google+ Local page is bare-bones or contains incorrect information or negative content about you, chances are it will turn prospects away from contacting you.
     
    13. Not checking your phone number on marketing and directories.
     
    Is your phone number correct on all of your marketing as well as the directories your business is listed in? An outdated — or just plain incorrect — phone number is virtually guaranteed to cost you customers. So make sure to audit (and call to double check!) your phone number everywhere it appears — whether on a billboard, print ad, or online source.
     
    14. Poor phone call handling.
     
    Is answering the phone effectively a part of your marketing strategy? It should be. Since a majority of local businesses make sales or set appointments via the phone, poor call handling techniques — including rudeness, not providing the right or enough information, or not answering at all — is a huge source of churn for many prospects —who may then find a competitor who has better phone skills.
     
    15. Not shopping your competitors.
     
    How are your competitors marketing their businesses online? What offers and specials do they run? What do their websites look like? How are their online reviews? Not shopping your competitors means you may be out of the loop on what appeals to your target consumers.
     
    16. Not using negative feedback to improve your business.
     
    Nobody wants to see negative things about their business online. But when you do, do you actually take action on the feedback to improve your business? If not, chances are that other customers are experiencing similar issues, meaning once-loyal customers could be turning elsewhere.
     
    17. Waiting too long to contact a lead.
     
    How quickly do you call back a potential customer when they contact you? If your answer is weeks, days, or even hours, it could be costing you. Research shows that the more quickly you contact a lead, the more likely you are to close a deal. And common sense says that the first business to contact a consumer is more likely to
    win their business. 
     
    It’s important to make sure that your marketing investment really works — and that you’re not losing valuable contacts and leads due to poor marketing or business practices.
     
     

    Can Consumers Find You on the Mobile Web?

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Does Your Business' Mobile Web Presence Measure Up? 

    It was a little over three years ago when Apple announced the iPad, dubbed a “Magical & Revolutionary Device” but that had many consumers questioning its usage and longevity. However, the iPad is now in its fourth generation, it has spawned a “mini” version, and the market now includes tablets from other manufactures running Android and even Microsoft operating systems, so it seems tablets are here to stay. In fact, research from Pew Internet indicates that of American adults, 26% own an e-reader and 31% own a tablet. Tablets have become so widely used that some zoos are now using iPads to stimulate and entertain orangutans.


    So what does the widespread popularity of tablets and other mobile devices mean for your small business’ online marketing? Now that  many U.S. consumers are purchasing mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and 84% more Web traffic is coming from those mobile devices compared to a year ago, it only makes sense for you to consider how your Web presence translates to the mobile space. To help you out, here are a few simple steps you can take to see how your business measures up on tablets and smartphones, and some tips for making sure you can optimize your business for the mobile Web.  

    Step 1)  Grab a smartphone or tablet. Chances are you have one within reach. If not, you can use an online tool to show you how consumers may be experiencing your Web presence on mobile devices.

    Step 2)  Open a mobile browser or search engine app and search for your business type. Don’t search explicitly for your business name, but instead imagine how a consumer would search for products and services like yours. When you run the search, note how and where your business shows up in the mobile search results. You can also try searching for your business type in a mobile map app, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps.

    Step 3)  Search for your business by name in a mobile search engine. This gives you a better understanding of how your business name ranks on the mobile SERP, and it also helps you identify how consumers see your business when they search via mobile devices. Additional ranking results you should note include your business blog, social media profiles, and local listings. Plus, pay attention to any ratings, reviews, and mentions of your business that all impact your online reputation.

    Step 4)  Visit your website from a mobile browser. There’s no better way to understand where you should start optimizing your website for mobile than to actually see how your current website looks on a smartphone or tablet. Browse around your site to see how your visitors might interact with it and pay attention to things that would annoy you if you were a consumer. For example, do you have a mobile-friendly site that displays properly in a mobile browser? Is your phone number available in text on your site so that a mobile browser can detect the phone number and allow the user to click to call directly?

    If your website, social pages, and directory listings rank highly in mobile search engine results, you have a glowing online reputation, and your website looks and functions exactly how you want it to, then great! You are above the curve. If not – don’t worry; you aren’t alone – here are some tips you should consider to optimize your Web presence for mobile devices. 

    Claim and Optimize Your Business on Local Listings

    If you conducted mobile searches via Google, you may have noticed that the first results on the mobile SERP are map listings. By claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page, you can help increase your chances of showing up when local consumers search for your products and services while on the go via mobile search engines and mobile map apps.

    Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly and Responsive

    Two of the most common reasons small businesses don’t have mobile websites are time and money. However, there are a few things you can do to make your website more mobile-friendly that don’t involve a giant team and a small fortune.

    Don’t hide your contact information.
    When you visited your website on a mobile device, how easily and quickly did you find your contact information, such as your phone number and email address? If it took a little while, or you did not find it at all, consider moving this critical contact information to a prominent area of your website, like the top right of your page.

    Ditch heavy graphics that slow down your website.
    How long did it take for your site to load on your mobile device? Using many heavy design elements, like large images and Flash animation, can often increase the load time of your site on desktop browsers, so you can expect a long load time on a mobile device.

    Design for clear and quick fingertip navigation.
    You should lay out the content on your website so that anyone, young or old, can navigate to specific information. Also, keep in mind that mobile visitors use a fingertip to navigate through your website. Make your content easy to find by simplifying and clarifying the menus and options on your website. Avoid creating menus with lots of links that are difficult to click on mobile devices, and make sure the content on your Web pages is concise and easy to read.

    Cultivate a Positive Online Reputation

    Over 57% of tablet owners use the mobile Web to do research before making a purchase decision. So it’s important to make sure that they find positive information about your small business when they search online. As Google owns the majority of mobile searches, positive Google+ Local reviews are more important now more than ever. So in order to build the best online reputation, ask happy customers to leave you positive reviews, and have a plan to monitor your Web presence.

    Is Your Website Ready for Mobile?  See how ReachEdge™ gives you a mobile website and makes other upgrades that fix the most common website problems. 

    5 Signs You're Losing Customers to Your Competitors

    Last updated 3 years ago

    “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

    As a business owner, you know that attracting prospects and turning them into customers is the lifeblood of any company. But have you ever thought about why someone would choose a competitor over you? If you’ve ever lost a prospect to a competitor (it happens to the best of them), there are several likely culprits. Check out five reasons you’re losing business to your competitors and what you can do to win back the hearts of your prospects.

    1. Poor Search Rankings

    Do you know which search terms your prospects use to find local businesses like yours on popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo? Are you landing on the first page of these search engines after a prospect types in a search term? If you don’t know which search terms to use for your industry in order to be found online, or if your competitors rank higher on a search engine page than you, you’re probably losing business to your competition.

    That’s because most consumers don’t look at search results past a search engine’s first page. And, according to BIA Kelsey and ConStat, 97% of consumers use online media to shop locally. The best strategy to high search engine rankings uses both organic search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click campaigns. So make sure you have an online strategy in place so you can be found in search engine results before prospects find your competitors.

    2. Poor Online Reputation

    Do you know what people are saying about you and your business online? Do you know how your reputation compares to your competitors? Managing your online reputation is critical in today’s connected world. That’s because prospects will often check online review sites and your social media pages as part of their research during the buying process.

    In fact, 90% of respondents in a 2013 survey said online reviews influenced their buying decisions. No matter how good your products or services are, if past customers have left negative online reviews or posted negative comments on your social media pages, you’re most likely losing business to your competitors.

    The good news is that there are proactive strategies you can use to address poor online reviews and negative comments on social media. And, you can work to build a positive reputation online to help provide a more balanced view of your company. There are also services that can save you time by monitoring your online reputation for you. 

    3. Website Quality/Features

    Your website is your calling card to the world. It’s often the first place prospects visit to learn more about you and your business. But if your website has poor design, lacks crucial information like an easy-to-find phone number, or is difficult to navigate, your prospects will simply leave your site to check out competitor websites.

    There are many features you can add to your website to help make it more appealing and helpful to your prospects – features that can help convert a prospect into a customer. The time and money you invest to ensure your website is the best it can be will pay off by attracting and keeping your visitors on your site, which in turn can lead to new business.

    4. Slow Response Times

    When prospects contact multiple companies via an online contact form or leave messages after business hours, you want to be the first business to follow up. That’s because up to half of all sales goes to the company who contacts the prospect back first. Your prospect is a warm lead because they have already reached out to you either online or over the phone.

    So don’t waste this opportunity to win new business simply due to a slow response time. By being the first one to follow up with your prospects, you’re demonstrating that you’re proactive and professional. It’s your opportunity to establish rapport, answer their questions, and perhaps even set an appointment or schedule a visit.

    5. Customer Service

    A brand loyalty survey by ClickFox noted that 56% of respondents said their “first purchase or first customer service interaction with a brand” is the deciding factor in determining long-term brand loyalty. Quality customer service is essential at both the prospect stage as well as the customer stage.

    Think about yourself as the customer of other businesses and the interactions you’ve had. How were you treated? If you called a company, did the person speaking sound professional and courteous? If you visited a business, were you greeted warmly and given the attention you needed? If you contacted a company by email, did you receive a prompt and articulate response?

    These are just a few examples where excellent customer service comes into play in the earliest stages of the sales cycle. If you’re providing poor customer service to your prospects, they’re more likely to take their business to your competitors.

    So take the time to do an honest assessment of how prospects are being treated once they contact you. If you can win a prospect’s heart early on, you have a better chance of converting them into a customer later on.

    Be Sure to Check Out: 5 Website Ideas to Outperform Your Competitors

    >See five ReachEdge™ website makeovers that helped our clients stand out online.

    Do You Love Your Leads? Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Should.

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Surprising, right? Generating leads online — whether via SEO, social media or other advertising — has never been more popular with local businesses. But without timely follow-up, these lead generation activities won’t generate the new customers (and revenue) businesses like you ultimately want.

    Getting someone’s business isn’t always easy. But putting a system in place that helps you organize and follow up with leads makes getting more customers — and keeping them — much easier.
     
    So, here are three reasons it’s important for every business to invest in establishing a good lead management system. Not sure it’s something you can do or have time for? It can be easier than you think, as long as you have the right pieces in place.

    Many consumers call you to ask about products or services, get a price quote, or 
    better yet, book an appointment. But when you aren’t able to answer these calls, they may go to a voicemail system or answering service that doesn’t immediately provide the information your prospects are looking for. 
     
    When you don’t respond quickly enough — or at all — it’s safe to assume those customers are going to your competitors — and that’s not what you want.
     
    However, having a lead management system will help you follow up with these leads as quickly as possible. Plus, using a system that will record every call gives you the opportunity to listen to all of your calls and know exactly how to respond to new leads when you promptly call them back.

    If you keep each lead’s contact information scribbled on a sticky note or on the back of a business card, chances are their information will be lost and you won’t follow up with them. 
     

    In other words, if you don’t act quickly, you probably won’t act at all. That means you are most likely losing these hard-won leads simply because you don’t have a lead management system.
     
    Instead, you need a digital, accessible way to collect and store new lead information, complete with each prospect’s phone number, email address, and any qualifying information they may provide. Having a system in place for recording this data will help you and your employees make sure your lead list is accurate and complete, so when you follow up, you have the right information in front of you. Even a spreadsheet or a shared document on an online drive is better than nothing.
     
    The important takeaway is to put a lead management system in place so you can 
    collect important information and then follow up quickly with your leads.

    In many industries, especially those with highly-researched products or services, or longer sales cycles (such as an auto dealer or kitchen remodeler), many consumers who contact your business will not be ready to make a purchase immediately.
     
    That’s OK! But what’s critical here is not to leave those leads hanging. You need a way to stay in touch with them after they contact you, so you can stay top of mind and entice them to book and buy from your business when they are ready.
     
    That’s where lead nurturing comes in. By sending new prospects — or even existing customers — regular email communications with relevant information about your industry, new product and service offerings, or promotions and specials, your leads are more likely to remember your business and buy from you.
     
    What is your process for lead capture, identification, alert, response, nurture and closing? What other tactics have worked for your business? Do you not have a system in place? How do you measure results? Is it automated, or manual and time-intensive?
     
    Ready for a better system for your business? ReachEdge can help:

    Sources: ReachLocal Marketing team (content). 1. InsideSales.com 2. LeadResponseManagement.org

    What's in Your Briefcase?

    Last updated 3 years ago

    #inmybriefcase

    Here are my tools of mass productivity:

    • Briefcase: Coach
    • Laptop: Apple Macbook Pro
    • Moleskin Evernote Smart Notebook
    • Tarugus Stylus / Pen
    • Purell Hand Sanitizer
    • Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
    • Apple iPad Air w/ Product RED smart cover
    • Whole Foods Mints
    • Targus Screen Cleaner
    • Apple Space Grey iPhone 5S w/ Apple Black Leather Case

    What are yours? Submit your photo on Twitter and LinkedIn with  #inmybriefcase




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