Friday, July 29, 2011

Using Google Analytics for more than the obvious

A tool that is so powerful and free is always going to be an essential in the zero budget marketing tool kit. I'm talking about Google Analytics.

Yet Google Analytics provides you with so much information about your business that you often only take in the basics - how many visitors, how long are they spending, what page are they leaving from, what is the bounce rate (where they only visit one page and leave) and maybe how many goal conversions or what key words are bringing people to your site.

It is worth digging deeper occasionally, as it may reveal some business issues that need your attention. This can be less about analysis and more about recognising a trend.

Here's one example...

Browsers - with many of the clients I help manage, I've been watching an interesting trend emerge over the past couple of years. By far the most popular browser was Internet Explorer...but no longer. Gradually Firefox gained traction and interestingly, Safari is also now extremely popular.

Why the Safari dominance? The proliferation of iphones and ipads.

Why does browser matter?
If your website was built more than 3 years ago, it may not have been tested well (or at all) on a browser like Safari. So does it work as it should on Firefox, Safari or Chrome? And if not, how much of your hard won traffic is getting a sub-standard experience?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Email marketing - an "oldie but goodie"

I was recently asked to speak on email marketing. It's a marketing tool close to my heart, because it has allowed so many of my zero budget marketing campaigns come to life. Who can argue with reaching 5,000 people for around $60?!

Lately, however, email marketing has been a little left in the cold by social media. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking the ONLY way to go is to the land of twitter, facebook, youtube, tumblr & the rest.

But I'm here to remind you that you should not neglect your old friend, the email marketing list. Why? The number one reason is that unlike with social media tools, it's YOU that own the list with email marketing. You don't really own those hard won facebook likes. If facebook disappeared tomorrow (god forbid!), so would your "list".

It's so hard to get visitors to your website. Thus, it's often unrealistic that they'll buy from you immediately. But it's less unrealistic that they'll engage in another way. Getting their email address is what I recommend you aim for, rather than ONLY ask them to like you on facebook or follow you on twitter.

If you're interested, you can download a PDF of the presentation here>

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to get more people to your business events

Marketing via events is a great relationship building and prospecting tool. As I'm heading off to one such event tonight - and have run literally hundreds over my career - I thought I'd share some tips for more successful event marketing...

You need to sell it! Promoting an event is NOT about brevity. You'll often need to provide a LOT of information, and likely some enticement, to help them make a decision to attend. In other words, you need to SELL them ... even if the event is free.

Events are a hard way to make money. Yes, some people make a lot of money running events. But a lot more don't. If you're trying to make a buck, ticket sales almost always won't be enough. You'll need a sponsor - or lots of them.

Copywriting is king. Yes, with most marketing, you need great copy to convince people to attend your event. You should include:

- A descriptive and enticing subject line to your email invitation (as almost all event invites these days are sent via email). Including the date there doesn't hurt either.

- Throw out generic/bland titles - go a little crazy if you must. A clever and catchy title AND then a more "straight" subtitle that summarises the content of the event, is a good way to go.

- Just because it's a business event, doesn't mean it needs to be dull. Make the event sound INTERESTING, engaging and like they might learn something they wont find elsewhere.

- Establish “the issue” – that is, why should people CARE about the content of the event. Asking questions in copy or providing trusted research result is a useful technique.

- Provide an overview of what will be covered, preferably in bullet points, to make scanning easy. You can then expand and provide long copy.

- Provide a bio of the speaker and a summary of their credentials. A couple of audience testimonials from previous speaking events never hurts either.

- Add a sense of urgency in the call to action if possible (ie. Only 17 places remaining)

And keep asking. More than one invitation is a must. 3-4 invitations is ideal. No, it's not really badgering because most people take a long time to take action!

Make & follow a checklist. After you've done all the clever stuff, make sure you've also done the "boring but necessary" stuff, such as CHECKING that you've included the right date and time and the venue .... sounds simple, but so easy to miss! A proof reader for this is your best asset.

Final golden rule: Even if an event is free, people’s time is NOT. They won't forgive you for wasting it, so make sure the event is worthwhile.

Monday, July 11, 2011

How to generate media coverage

Getting OTHER people to talk about you is often more successful because it is seen as more trustworthy. Of COURSE you will say you are great - but if someone ELSE says it, it's instantly more believable; particularly if they trust the source. (This is why referral is the main source of business for almost any business I've ever worked with).

The next best thing to referrals is media coverage - it's not as long lasting and consistent, but the right media mention can get you an instant spike in traffic or sales. Getting media coverage isn't easy - but it isn't impossible either, as journalists' and bloggers' jobs are creating news constantly (In fact, as the "news of the world" debacle has shown, some of the media will do pretty much anything to get a story!)

I just read a great post from Ben Angel covering 33 ways to appeal to the media which is not only worth a read, but it worth printing out and sticking up on the wall in front of you the next time you're thinking of doing your own PR.

To add to Ben's list, a few additional zero budget marketing tips are:
  • Don't forget local media - it can be easier to get featured IF you have a local angle (and often more than once)
  • Good blogs are increasingly viewed as media - so don't forget bloggers, or partner/friend companies who might write about you / your offering. (A recent article in the Australian on food bloggers might have been derisive about them BUT noted that PRs targeting them had more consistently POSITIVE coverage from them than their print counterparts).
  • Do have someone else proof read! It's so easy to make a spelling/grammar error - but that's no excuse. Don't rely on spell check, as a person to proof read before you send out.