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It’s a simple question: What is marketing?

The answer, however, isn’t always so obvious. Most business owners I speak to have a very different idea of what marketing really is. For some, it’s simply advertising (in print or online). For others, it’s ​​Social Media, PR or even just ‘word of mouth’.

Everyone’s got a different idea of what marketing means and how they best market their business. Here’s how I put it. 

“Marketing is everything you do to GAIN and RETAIN customers.”

So, when I think of marketing, I think of it as a lot more than just running ads or posting on your Facebook​ page. If you’ve watched some of my videos or visited my marketing blog before, you would have probably already heard me talk about the 3 pillars of business success. 

1. Attraction
2. Conversion
3. Delivery​

In this blog post, I will give you a list of marketing strategies you can do within each of these pillars to grow your business and increase sales.

Attraction – How to attract more potential customers

Attracting new customers is a crucial element of any business and one that many business owners struggle with. Here are some ways that will help you attract new potential customers continuously. You should be using a combination of these things in your business.

1. Have a great website

Seems obvious, right? The truth is though that many businesses don’t utilise their website enough. In most cases, it’s an online brochure that merely talks about them, when your website can be so much more (here are some examples). There are certain elements every business website needs in order to convert visitors into leads and actual buyers. You can find a checklist of these 17 crucial elements here.

2. Be on Social Media

Again, this seems like an obvious one, however, many business owners don’t explore social media to it’s full potential. When I say be on social, I don’t just mean go create an account for your business on Facebook and Instagram. You need to be active and use these platforms to drive potential customers away from social and back to your website (where you are not competing with cat videos).

The problem with social media is that, if done well, it can be incredibly time-consuming. The answer to this problem is automation. Luckily, these days we have the tools and technology to allow for a hands-off social media strategy that allows us to post as often as we choose to on autopilot. Here’s a complete guide to automating your social media posts so you never have to worry about what to post ever again.

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to engaging with your customers. Don’t dismiss it and use it to your advantage.

3. Run print ads

Even though I’m a digital marketer, I still believe print ads have their place. But it depends on your business, the audience you are trying to attract and what print media you have available in your particular market. The key to making advertising work is to track your success. The key to making advertising work is to track your success. Yes, I just said that twice.

Don’t just have your logo and a little blurb printed in a generic magazine or newspaper. Make sure you have a clear call-to-action (CTA) for readers to follow. Coupons work great in most cases, as they will allow you to track the success of your ads and calculate the exact return on investment.

Know your numbers:

  • How much does the ad cost you?
  • How many leads (i.e. coupons) did you receive as a result?
  • How many of these leads actually purchased?
  • What was the total revenue generated from the ad?

Example:

Say you invest in an ad that costs you $300. Your ad results in 100 enquiries, meaning your cost per lead is $3. If out of these 100 enquiries, 3 people end up buying (3% conversion rate) with a value of $200 per transaction, you generated total sales of $600. That’s a 100% return on your investment.

These numbers will, of course, vary depending on the type of business you’re in. In most cases, even if you just break even, it’s still worth advertising, as you will be building your list of potential buyers, which is the biggest asset in any business.

4. Run online ads (Google, Facebook, YouTube)

Even though online ads are very similar to print ads, I like to list them separately. The great thing about online ads is that you can be so much more specific with your targeting and only put your ad in front of people that are highly relevant. This will help you reduce ad costs and increase your conversion rates.

Say, you own a beauty business in Sydney and decide to invest in a print ad in a Sydney newspaper. Now you are paying for the number of readers the paper tells you they reach. However, out of everyone who buys the paper, only a very small fraction of readers are actually based in your area. Out of the people in your area, only a fraction are actually potential customers (not everyone needs a beautician). And out of those potential customers, only a fraction will actually notice your ad and even less will take you up on whatever offer you presented them with.

In comparison, a Facebook ad will allow you to run a much more targeted campaign. Going with the above example of a beauty business, you could choose to only put your ad in front of women between the ages of 30-50, who live in your local area and also have shown an interest in beauty businesses. Even though your audience is now much smaller, it is also a lot more targeted, meaning you will reduce your ad costs significantly and increase your conversion rates.

Again, print and online ads can both be great ways to attract new customers. The important thing is that you track your success and never invest in advertising that can’t be measured. Oh, and did I mention, never invest in advertising that can’t be measured? (you may want to write this one down)

5. Partner with other businesses

Business partnerships are one of the fastest ways to grow your business and are heavily under-utilised. It’s important to understand though that not all business partnerships are great ones or even worth your time. Try to only focus on businesses that will have a significant impact in your marketing.

I recently helped two of my clients, based in the same city, partner up and create a little joint venture. One is a local café with a huge customer database of over 10,000 people; the other is a massage business who had only started out a year earlier. Most massage business owners would go around putting flyers in local cafes and other places, which is incredibly time-consuming and will get you little or no results.

But instead, we wanted to leverage the huge database of people the cafe already had, so we sat down with the owner and explained that we would like to send a complimentary $25 massage voucher to every single customer on their list. And to put the focus on them, we wanted to make it look like it’s coming from them as a gift to their customers. They look good for spoiling their customers and the owner of the massage place was putting her business right under the nose of 10,000 locals.

All we had to do was write one email that went out to 10,000 people. And to take things even further, we even made this email a part of the café’s automated email marketing. That means that the gift card won’t just go out to everyone on the list at the time, but every future customer, too!

As a business owner, make sure you value your time and only focus on marketing strategies that have the biggest impact on your bottom line. Business partnerships are one of the best forms of leveraging your time and resources.

6. Write a blog

Ok, this one probably sounds boring to most business owners and you may not see the value in doing it. Let me try to change the way you look at blogging.

As business owners, we have conversations with customers daily. They ask us questions about our products and services, they voice their worries, hopes and fears. They want to feel heard and we want to show them that we know our stuff. A blog allows you to do all of that at the same time and in a much more leveraged way.

Use short articles to answer your customers’ burning questions, help them to understand what you do and how it will help them in their own life or business. Even with just one good article, you can attract plenty of traffic by sharing it on social media, on other websites, in your email marketing, and even in your ads. Everywhere!

Your customers are already looking for the information they need online, so you might as well be the one giving it to them and position yourself as the expert in your industry.

I like to compare blogging to renting vs. owning real estate. You can pay for traffic each month (renting) or you can provide value on your website that people come back for (owning real estate). Every article you put on your website becomes a timeless asset you can use to generate traffic for years to come.

Tip: Hire a writer to help you come up with and write 12 quality articles to put on your website. Then share these articles on social media each month and link to them in your email marketing. You’ll see your traffic increase significantly (and improve your search engine rankings as a result)!

7. Optimise your website for search engines like Google & Bing (SEO)

Despite what many business owners think, SEO (search engine optimisation) is not dead. Search engines just have gotten a whole lot smarter!

SEO is no longer just about having a bunch of keywords on your website that your customers are searching for. These days, search engines like Google scan your website for a lot more, such as readability, quality of content, how long visitors spend on your site, which pages are shared frquently on social media, the list goes on.

So, how do you take care of all this yourself? Simple. Focus on quality content on your site that people actually want to read, watch and share. That’s why the previous point (blog posts) is so important. Engaging videos are also a great way to connect with your visitors and keep them on your site longer.

There are plenty of resources on how to do great SEO out there. If you have a WordPress website, be sure to install the Yoast SEO plugin to help you optimise each page and article for search engines.

8. Run a competition or give-away

Giveaways are a great way to reach new potential customers, and they are a lot cheaper to run than other forms of marketing.

The idea of a give-away is to ask people to enter their details for a chance to win a prize. This is a fast way to build a list. You want to make sure that the prize actually attracts potential customers and not those who are just in for the freebies and who were never going to buy from you.

I see many business owners make the mistake to give away an iPad or similar as a prize. That’s way too generic. Anyone who wants an iPad will enter, which is not what we want. You want to use your give-away specific to your product or service in order to attract the right kind of people.

If you are an accountant who focuses on Xero, for example, don’t give away a free Netflix subscription. Instead, consider the prize to be a free Xero Setup and Consultation to streamline your accounting (valued at $495). That way you are only attracting business owners who would actually be a good fit.

The mistake I see many business owners make ist that they run the giveaway simply for the engagement. But engagement doesn’t equal sales. The whole purpose of a marketing activity like this, especially if you invest the time to set it up properly, is to build a list of qualified leads that you can reach out to afterwards. So don’t stop at the giveaway – think about the offer you can send to all those who entered but didn’t win. This is where you really turn your giveaway into profit.

9. Run a survey or quiz

A quiz or survey is another great way to build a list fast and gain valuable insights about the needs of our customers. You’ll want to come up with a set of questions that helps you improve your product or service and identify what may be missing.

If you don’t have an audience at the moment that you can send your survey too, consider partnering with a business that shares your target market and could also benefit from the data generated. You could incentives the survey, which may help to increase responses but could also result in lower quality leads and dishonest answers from people who just took the survey for the prize.

If you would like to learn more about how to use surveys effectively, I highly recommend reading the book ASK by Ryan Levesque. You can download a free copy here.

10. Send a press release to media outlets

A press release can get you lots of free publicity in major newspapers, magazines and news websites. Once you discover this magical strategy, you’ll never want to pay for print advertising again! How much would a full-page article in a major newspaper be worth you you? Exactly? And it’s so much more powerful and memorable than any ad you paid hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars for.

The key is to have a good story that journalists can pick up and elaborate on. Before you write a press release about a new product you launched or a sale you have going, put yourself in the shoes of a journalist. What would their readers want to read about? Tell stories that are not directly about you, but in which you or your business play a role somehow.

Which story would you rather read?

  1. Local roofing company launches new website and is open for business
  2. Local roofer helps homeless have a roof over their head for Christmas by handing out free tents

There is no way a journalist would pick up the first headline. Because, frankly, nobody cares. The second story is something they can actually work with. Be strategic about the story you want to tell. The first rule of writing a press release is to NEVER SELL your business or products. Focus on helping the journalists to find the story they are so desperately looking for to hit their quota of articles they need to write each week.

Download my free press release template here to have your press release written in no time.

Conversion – How to turn browsers into buyers

11. Create a lead magnet

12. Use email automation to educate and engage with your audience

13. Use a chatbot to help people find what they are looking for faster

14. Create a strong offer people can’t refuse

15. Run retargeting ads

16. Find a way to help more people (when you do that, you will naturally sell more)

17. Run limited time only offers

18. Be easy to do business with (I had to add this one)

19. Get to know your customers better and understand exactly what they REALLY need/want/don’t want

20. Make sure your website has all the right elements (just a page online won’t cut it)

Delivery – Ways to grow your business during and after the sale

21. Provide great customer service

22. Ensure people only buy something they actually need

23. Offer good quality products and services (you want people to rave about it, not complain about it)

24. Overdeliver and exceed your customers expectations buy offering something extra

25. Follow-up with your customers after the sale to see how they are going

26. Invite customers to leave positive reviews on Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor etc.

27. Add customer testimonials to your website

28. Send a thank-you note after the sale

29. Offer up-sells and cross-sells

30. Consider offering a subscription/membership type product

This list is far from complete and you could certainly write a book about each point. But I hope that it will spark some ideas for what you can focus on in your business to grow and take it to the next level.

The biggest challenge most business owners face is finding the time to do marketing well. I can say from experience that this is only possible when automating the majority of your marketing processes. To help you do that, I have created a free step-by-step guide on how to completely automate your Social Media posts, as this is often one aspect my clients struggle with the most.

To your success,

Marketing is a bit of a mystery for many small business owners. After all, most of us didn’t go into business to market and sell, but to do whatever we are great at and love doing. 

But when we break it down, marketing really isn’t such an overly complicated thing. There are very specific steps you can follow to implement a successful marketing strategy in your business and set yourself up for success. More specifically, there are four pieces to the marketing puzzle.

Customer Journey: Attract, Convert, Close, Delight

The big marketing mistake

Most business owners make the mistake to try and “close” people before they are ready to buy. You can see this reflected in most advertising. Whether that’s on TV, on the radio, in magazines or online ads, the message is pretty much always “buy our product now!”.

But before someone is ready to do business with you, we should consider a couple of other steps and implement a system that helps us to turn strangers into visitors, visitors into leads and leads into customers.

The 4 stages of a complete inbound marketing strategy (free download)

Inbound marketing strategy for small business - Small business marketing by David Lee-Schneider
Download 1-Page Marketing Cycle (PDF)

Let me explain each stage in a little more detail.

1. Attract

First of all, every business needs the ability to continuously attract new potential customers. No customer, no business. It’s pretty self-explanatory. We need to have visitors before we can have customers — whether that’s online or in-store.

Ways to increase traffic and get more visitors

  • Have a great website
  • Share valuable and relevant information on your blog
  • Search Engine Optimisation to attract organic traffic
  • Engaging Social Media Content (with the goal to drive people back to your website/blog)
  • Paid advertising (i.e. Facebook ads, Google ads, print ads, TV ads, Radio ads etc.
  • Joint Ventures (partnering with complimentary businesses to help each other grow)

2. Convert

Secondly, we need to be able to somehow “capture” these potential customers, so that we can reach out to them again to build a relationship with them. This is where we talk about leads. People who have given us permission to contact them, but haven’t bought from us yet.

Ways to convert visitors into leads

  • Offer a free download (i.e. e-book, checklist, cheat sheet, discount voucher, video etc.)
  • Use optimised landing pages to increase your conversion rate 
  • Split-test your free offer to identify the most effective one
  • Re-targeting ads to past visitors

3. Close

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, we need to be able turn these leads into actual customers. Because all the visitors and leads in the world won’t help if we can’t get them to buy our product or service. 

Ways to turn leads into customers

  • Use automated email sequences to nurture your leads and help them with their buying decision
  • Keep educating your leads to increase their understanding and awareness
  • Send out irresistible offers that will get people to take action
  • Use multiple channels to initiate a conversation with prospects
  • Re-targeting ads designed to move your leads closer to the purchase

Now, this is where most businesses stop. But there’s one more crucial step that makes your marketing strategy so much more effective.

4. Delight

Would your customers buy from you again? This is an important question that you should be able to confidently answer with a big fat “yes”. You want to wow your customers and aim to over-deliver, so that the great customer experience you deliver will be reflected in customer reviews, repeat business and word-of-mouth. 

Ways to turn customers into advocates

  • Deliver a great and consistent customer experience 
  • Aim to over-deliver and surprise your customers
  • Collect feedback to constantly improve your product or service
  • Invite those who gave great feedback to leave reviews on Google, Facebook or TripAdvisor
  • Showcase customer testimonials on your website and social media channels

This fourth step will close the cycle and, in turn, generate even more organic traffic, leads and customers, ultimately helping you to perpetually grow your business.

With these four elements in place, you will be able to take your business to new heights and maximise your return on every marketing activity in your business.

To your success,

In essence, there are only three ways to grow your business. Increase the number of customers, increase the purchase frequency, and increase your average transaction value. However, there are a number of not so obvious ways to increase sales and make your business more profitable. Here are four of them. Are you ready? Let’s go.

1. Automate as much as possible

Today, there are hundreds of tools out there to help you automate repetitive business processes. Simply automating a few things can help you significantly reduce wages and free up valuable time. Start with things that don’t directly contribute to your profit. Here are a few things you can automate quickly and easily.

  • Social Media Posts
  • Invoicing
  • Email Marketing
  • Online Advertising
  • Lead Generation
  • Sales Processes & Follow Up
  • Internal Task Management
  • Review Management

Tools like Zapier and Integromat can help you connect various services and software to make processes even more efficient. 

Some examples:

  • When you have a new lead -> automatically add contact to a list -> then send follow-up sequence
  • After a customer makes a purchase for the second time -> send invitation to review on Facebook
  • When a purchase is made on your website -> automatically create invoice in Xero

2. Launch a re-targeting ad campaign

Many business owners already use ads to attract new customers and generate new business. However, if you only run direct ads, you are missing out on a huge chunk of potential customers by ignoring this simple strategy. Re-targeting ads are a powerful tool that allow you to show specific ads to people who have already interacted with your content in the past, adding continuity to your customer experience and significantly increasing the chances of turning them into customers.

Se if you can offer them something of value in relation to certain pages or blog posts they have visited on your website. 

Example: A yoga studio might show a re-targeting ad for a free yoga pass to people in their area who have read blog posts on the benefits of yoga on their website. When people see the ad, they can enter their email address to claim the free yoga pass and automatically be subscribed to an evergreen campaign. (See next point)

3. Stop focusing on one-off promotions and develop an “Evergreen” campaign instead

The majority of business owners think of marketing and promotions in terms of one-off activities. It might look something like this:

  • January -> Promotion #1
  • February -> Promotion #2
  • March -> Promotion #3

While this might work well, it also requires you to continuously come up with new promotions, which can be exhausting and feel like you’re always running behind.

Instead, create an “evergreen” funnel that sends new leads or customers a series of pre-designed offers from the moment they join your list. Then keep adding new offers to that sequence. Over time, this strategy allows you to develop a marketing machine that continuously produces sales without ever having to worry about what your next promotion is going to be. You just need to make sure that offers in that sequence are timeless and not seasonal.

All you need is a good email automation tool, like Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign.

4. Make Partnerships “evergreen”, too

Partnerships and joint ventures with other businesses that complement yours is a powerful strategy. You might have already partnered with another business in the past to run a one-off campaign promoting your products or services. Maybe you’ve asked the other business to hand out vouchers to all their customers.

See if you can turn this strategy into an evergreen campaign, too, like in the previous example. Look for businesses that already have an evergreen funnel and see if they are happy to plug your offer right into it, while you can do the same for them. 

Example: One of my clients owns a massage clinic, while another owns a yoga studio. I got both of them to add an email to their existing evergreen sequences promoting the other business. Now, everyone who receives a massage at the massage clinic, also receives a complimentary yoga gift card, and everyone who joins the yoga studio, receives a discount voucher for a massage a month later.

There you have it. Four (not so obvious) ways to grow your business over the next few months. All four are “set and forget” strategies that you only have to set up once and will profit from forever.

To your success


No matter the size of your business, I believe we can all agree that having a website, in this day and age, is a must. However, not all websites are created equal. A well designed website will not only look pretty, but help you to capture leads, increase sales, and ultimately allow you to take your business to a whole new level.

So, what makes some websites better than others? The ability to capture leads and predictably turn them into customers. And in order to achieve this, we require three things:

Great Content

The content on your website is a crucial element. Providing your visitors with engaging content that captivates, educates and encourages them to take action is a vital part of any good business website. Make the content about your readers, not your business and ensure the jargon and tone of voice you use are consistent and in line with your brand.

Great Design

The “look and feel” of your website says a lot about your business and leaves a lasting impression. It’s also often the first impression someone gets of your business. Lack of consistency and poor layout will result in many visitors leaving your website before you even had a chance to tell them what you are about. Great design means, your customers can easily navigate your website without getting lost (or frustrated). Again, make sure the colours and fonts you use are in line with your branding. A well designed website will help you built trust with potential customers and convert better.

A Great Offer

This might be THE most important part of any website that most business owners (and even web designers) simply overlook. I’m not speaking about your actual product offer or service, but an offer targeted at your IDEAL CUSTOMERS with the aim to collect their email address and/or other relevant data. In marketing, we refer to this as “Lead Magnet“. Not everyone who comes across your website for the first time is ready to buy from you. By giving them an opportunity to opt-in for a free download or trial of some sort, you drastically increase your chances of reconnecting with them at a later stage (using email marketing or retargeting ads, for instance) to do business in the future.

The main goal of every good website should be to build your list of leads and aid in converting them into future customers.

3 Websites of Local Small Businesses That Are Killing It

Here are three websites I designed for local Bundaberg businesses, where I have incorporated all three aspects mentioned above. They also make some great examples for when you are ready to give your business’ website a face lift.

1. Love Life. Live Yoga.

Love Life. Live Yoga. Bundaberg Website Design

Love Life. Life Yoga. is a local yoga studio in the heart of Bundaberg that has built their following solely using a great online strategy. The website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. The home page is laid out in a way that you can easily find what your looking for, see upcoming classes, learn about the instructors and read up on the benefits of yoga through featured blog posts. Without being intrusive, the $25 gift card offer makes it easy for new visitors to leave their details to stay connected to the brand before leaving the website.

Visit Live Site

 

2. Bundaberg Health Foods

Bundaberg Health Food Website Design

The website of Bundaberg Health Foods conveys a clear message, both in terms of content and branding. Users can easily navigate through the different sections of the website, finding what they are looking for quickly and without getting lost. The website is designed to be completely mobile friendly and displays beautifully across all devices and browsers, including Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox. A quirky popup captures visitors’ attention and offers them a $10 health food voucher in return for their email address – a fast way to build a loyal following.

Visit Live Site

 

3. Holistic Chinese Massage Therapy

Holistic Chinese Massage Therapy Website Design

One of the biggest mistakes most business owners make is that they ask for the sale to early. The website of Holistic Chinese Massage Therapy in Bundaberg is designed to educate visitors and offer Bundaberg locals a massage voucher as an incentive to trial the service. I have found that this strategy combined with a good follow-up email sequence can consistently deliver conversion rates of 15%-30%, depending on the nature of the business.

Visit Live Site

 

If you would like help with the development and implementation of a sound marketing strategy for your business, let’s have a chat to see if I might be able to assist you.

In my 90-Day Marketing Transformation, I will personally work with you 1-on-1 to to get you the results you are looking for. However, there’s a limited number of clients I can take on each quarter. Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.

To your success,