If You’ve Once Again Resolved to be More Consistent With Marketing this Year, Read on.
If you have a small business, it’s possible that you’ve been determined to get to grips with your marketing every year and maybe even a few times throughout the year too.
Small businesses often run on feast and famine because when you’re busy you have no time for marketing and when you’re not busy, you don’t have the money.
If you can take a step back and plan your marketing, you can get to a point where you can predict your business and operate from a proactive point of view rather than a reactive one.
To Control Your Business, You Must be Able to Control Your Marketing.
Once you’ve got your marketing plan in place, you can start to make decisions based on what you know rather than guessing. You can set goals and milestones for yourself, and use real data as benchmarks to see how well your marketing is working. Marketing isn’t a guessing game. It’s about setting goals and tracking your progress. If you want to see results, you need to measure what you’re doing, analyse the data and then scale what works. You will soon have a formula to work to that you can repeat time and time again.
Your marketing plan is your blueprint for success. It’s a way to get your business growing consistently, and it’s the only way you’ll know if what you’re doing is working. If you don’t have a marketing plan, you’ll always be winging it and reliant on what ‘walks through the door’, and you can’t rely on that.
The Importance of Local Marketing.
Marketing is an important part of any business. However, the marketing strategy that works for a national company may not work for a local company serving a small area. The difference isn’t about the location, it’s more about the user intent and therefore, the keywords that you optimise for.
Now, more than ever, it is essential, for any business, that wants to grow, to be found when prospective customers are looking. As a local business, that means that you want to be found, not when they are in the research or curiosity phase, but in the ready to buy phase.
Not all Marketing is Equal.
If you’ve looked into marketing before, you may have got confused because most marketing tutorials are generalised and are more relevant for companies that can have a ‘trawler net’ approach to marketing. This may be because they are affiliates and have adverts on their pages. You have no doubt tried to find information and struggled to see through the forest of adverts. Those sites are marketers who are making money every time an ad is clicked. This means that their focus is to get as many eyeballs on the page as possible. A local business does not want quantity. It wants quality. It wants people who are in the market for what it has to offer.
The key is to get those quality eyeballs on your site, and that means you need a local SEO strategy. You need to be found by people who are looking for you and, preferably, ready to make a decision. This is called low funnel marketing.
What is the customer funnel and why do you want low funnel traffic?
See the image for a simplified funnel example for prospective customers for a new kitchen. If you’re in home improvements, you already know that some customers can move through the buying cycle in a day and others can take years.
I have sold a £25k kitchen at the first appointment to someone who popped out to buy bread. The showroom caught her eye and she popped in for a look. I was available for an immediate consultation, was able to get rough sizes from the internet from when she bought the house and designed and quoted there and then. That type of customer bypasses any type of funnel but most start with an internet search at the top of the funnel. Of course, it’s also possible that this customer, having signed an order, had 14 days to cancel. She may have gone home and entered the funnel at the top to complete her research where she may have met a convincing salesperson who persuaded her to cancel.
How do we know that it is a top of funnel search query?
I’ve only used a few examples but if you look at the keywords given at the top of the funnel, you can see that when these keywords are used, we have no idea at what stage they are in the buying cycle, or if they are in it at all. Those searching for the single word ‘kitchen’ may be looking for food or appliances. Google also has the browsing history so previous searches may influence the results. All of these keywords give us no idea whether the customer is buying, when they will buy or if they are just collecting for a future dream. Who, what and how searches can also indicate the research phase. These searches also appear lower down the funnel.
Examples of high funnel kitchen question searches:
Who has the most expensive kitchen in the world?
What is the most popular colour for a kitchen?
How is a kitchen installed?
Question searches further down the funnel that may indicate that the customer is ready to buy might include:
Which kitchen appliances?
Who has the widest range of kitchens?
Which kitchen company supplier is best?
These questions are still not ideal as these searchers could still drop out of the funnel before getting to the point of purchase for a new kitchen.
Why is it important to choose your keywords carefully?
The choice of keywords and the traffic you attract will directly affect the conversions for your website. A conversion is an action taken on your website. In online shopping terms, a conversion would be measured as a sale. In the home improvement business, we are not usually measuring sales as a conversion. In general, we want our visitors to make contact to either visit your showroom or make an appointment at home. After the enquiry conversion, you will want to convert that enquiry to an appointment and the salesperson will want to convert the appointment to a sale. There are lots of ways to measure engagement on a site but the point of this article is that your website will be more relevant to potential customers who are ready to buy your product. If they are just looking for info, they are likely to leave your website without engagement.
This becomes particularly important when you are paying for marketing. I promise you that if you targeted the word ‘kitchen’ on Google Ads, without any other words to further clarify intent, you would run out of money before receiving any qualified traffic.
The national companies such as Wren or Magnet are no doubt targeting high funnel keywords because they do have ‘trawler net’ style marketing. They can afford to waste keywords. If you’re advertising on Google with less than a £5,000 per month budget, you need to make every keyword count. The keywords you choose must send qualified traffic to your website for pay per click advertising to work for you.
If you are a prolific writer and can generate articles for your site at low cost, you may be able to compete for high funnel keywords but then you have the problem that you may rank nationally when you only service a limited area.
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make when they start thinking about search engine marketing is choosing the wrong keywords. If you want the best chance of success, read this article about search intent before you start choosing your target keywords.
If you don’t have a marketing plan, you’ll always be winging it and reliant on what ‘walks through the door’, and you can’t rely on that.
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