How to Build Five Star Online Reviews to Fuel Your Business and Career

freelance, Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, Marketing Strategy, Online Reviews, reputation management, Reviews, testimonials, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

Zero-cost word-of-mouth marketing is the gold standard of brand ambassadorship and the one thing that will surely build your business, customer base, and client book.

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The best way to build online reviews for your business is by designing a superb product or service that delights your customers and clients while delivering an exceptional experience from beginning to completion of a purchase.  Restaurants know this via Yelp and Open Table. Businesses are starting to pay attention to Glass Door.  However, consultants, freelancers, and hired guns also need reviews.

 

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It doesn’t matter what you do or what you offer.  If you’re a nutritionist or personal trainer, or maybe a fashion apparel designer or corporate wellness director. Perhaps you’re a physician, attorney, life coach or yet another creative director, you want to work for five-star ratings.

Kyle

As I transitioned from marketing and PR agency owner to online business consultant and strategist, I knew that one of the fastest ways to bring in new business was to focus on my current clients’ absolute happiness.

Matt

I knew that when they shared their happiness with other people who didn’t know me, I was creating a built-in lead generator for future clients while minimizing my cost per client acquisition spend. What does that mean? Well, this has been going on since the dawn of time, but so many free agents don’t remember to make recommendations and referrals a priority.  You see, my reviews on LinkedIn, Upwork, Angel list, Clarity, Thumbtack and my website help convince and convert those that are on the fence about working with me. They help to get the client to sign the agreement and start the project.

Stephane

Whether you own a healthy fast food cafe, or you’re a veterinarian looking to build your thought leadership position, great reviews will let everyone know what to expect from you.

Upwork

So how do you get reviewed? Well if you are pivoting your career like I did or you’re just starting out, you want to create profiles on above-mentioned platforms, like Linkedin. Then you want to find clients and you can do that on platforms like Upwork. Then you want to deliver the goods in an impressive way.  Some platforms will prompt a client to give you a review. Others, like LinkedIn, require you to request a recommendation.  How?Recommendtations

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I continue to work diligently for great reviews and recommend you do too. Need help creating your online presence? Let’s connect about what you’re up to  @madelinemariejohnson on Instagram.

Linkedin Pro Finder

 

How to Create a Growth Marketing Plan for Your Business

Brand Awareness, Creative Marketing Campaigns, market research, Marketing Metrics, marketing plans, social media marketing

I work with a hell of a lot of startups in the fitness, health and wellness industries. These are great people with really wonderful ideas. However, what I have observed is that too many business owners are in complete denial about what it takes to really grow their customer and client base. Some are under the impression that if they build it, they will come.

 

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Others think it just takes a couple of big press hits to get the brand awareness ball rolling.

Most are incredibly impatient.

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Sorry, folks, unless you do the deep research about who your customer is and if they even want a product or service likes yours, you are going to run into trouble.  You also need to wake up to the reality that all marketing is pure experimentation and some activities work better than others.  Depending on your target market, if you scurry around without a plan you will be hitting your head against the wall, wondering why your sales aren’t spiking like you thought they would.

You will be lost in the matrix of marketing hell.

It’s also very, very easy to get overwhelmed by what type of marketing you should be doing  for your brand.

This is why I recommend building a plan first.

This plan does not need to be an 80 page manifesto for building your business. It can be as simple as focusing on the core elements for a plan of action.

These elements include –

  • competitive market research
  • defining your target audience
  • a strategy for owned, earned and paid media
  • a realistic budget
  • metrics to measure your success.

This will help you create a realistic situation analysis and summary while giving you a clearer picture of what you must do first and a marketing strategy that will have you overcoming obstacles and threats as you build brand awareness for your business.

 

The Best Way to Begin Building Your Business

brand management, branding on mobile phones, Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, Measureable Marketing, memorable logos, Uncatergorized

Essentially there are four elements of marketing that you must get right in order to drive sales and begin to grow.

Before you begin to market, check out your competition or products and services like yours and consider what industry standards are right now. You want to be better.

  1. Branding, which includes your business name, logo, icon and look and feel should be spot on. All it takes is a complicated name that is difficult to pronounce or spell to set you back.
  2. Your price in the market place. Are you priced competitively? Are you too low? Too high?
  3. How easy is it for clients and customers to find you? Are you giving them the easiest access to buy? Can they find you when they need you?
  4. How well are you educating them on why your brand is the best? Are you explaining the value you offer and do your customers get it?

Creating the right marketing mix begins with asking the question “Will my customers and clients find me in the right place, at the right time, w/the best price?

How Not to Grow Your Business

Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, marketing plans, Measureable Marketing

There are over 6.7 billion people on the planet and about 99.99% of them don’t want to give you their money. – a quote from “Ignore Everybody”.

Critical Assumptions are facts that must be true in the real world for your offering (your product or service) to be successful. Every business has critical assumptions that will define if it can survive or not. The more accurately you can identify and test these assumptions, the less risk you’ll be facing.

Yes you are very excited about building your new business and growing your new “brand”, your new start up, but be very careful and test your critical assumptions.

Marketing Secrets. A Look at Conversion.

advertising on smartphones, Brand Awareness, digital advertising, Email Marketing, Experiential Marketing, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, Marketing Metrics, marketing plans, marketing rituals, target marketing, web advertising, website design

brainBefore I begin, I must stress that the most effective marketing secret is in remaining “remarkable” @thisissethsblog Why remarkable? Because it really is about creating an amazingly valuable product or service that people just can’t live without. There may not even be a need for marketing. Well unless you have a really bad website. Than you need some help. But if your product is super wonderful, especially when people want to know – where’d you get that? Then you are #mydreamclient

For the rest of the world, marketing comes in handy and increasingly so on the internet.

Statistics vary from source-to-source, but the conversion rates to follow in this post are closer to the truth than what most digital agencies quote.  The purpose of this post is to relate what is most effective when it comes to spending your marketing dollars.

In 2016, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach 1.92 trillion US dollars. This year alone, 1.22 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online. (Conversioner.com)

While Gartner Research claims that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships with brands without ever talking to a human because of rapid growth of “marketing automation”, this post is a review of current conversation rates for some of the most popular methods of inbound marketing conducted by mere humans.

It’s important to understand the difference between a CTR (click through rate) which happens during the customer’s discovery and journey and which refers to the percentage of visitors clicking on your online ad or blog post/video link. Divide the number of impressions (people who saw your content) received by the number of clicks to get the CTR. For example if a blog post had 100 shares and two people clicked on something in it, the rate would be 2%.

For this post a conversion rate measures the percentage of your website visitors who actually purchase something from you. Conversion rate measures the number of sales you’ve received, just divide the number of sales by the number of visitors you have had to your website. Focusing on the ultimate user experience, while optimizing the conversion rate on your website is extremely important and an entirely different topic. For this post we were interested in learning which marketing activities attract the highest chances of conversion.

According to Forrester Research the average conversion rates across marketing activities are about 2.9%, while it’s also interesting to note that the average online order value in the first quarter of 2014 in the US was $78.00.

According to Conversioner.com 80% of the online population has purchased something using the internet and 50% have purchased more than once while 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media site for recommendations before shopping.

Email Marketing

Some interesting findings.

  • Personalized emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Aberdeen Group)
  • Using the word “Secret” in the subject line of your email has proven to get the most clicks. (Hubspot). While “Click Here” gets the highest percentage of clicks over “Go” and “Submit”.
  •  65% of consumers prefer emails that contain mostly images vs 35% who prefer mostly text. (Hubspot).
  •  According to Conversioner.com email marketing is the most converting traffic source with 3.3% conversion rate.

Social Media Marketing

So what does a Facebook business page or Instagram account really mean to your bottom line?

  • 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring the return on investment as their main source of frustration in social marketing. It really makes you wonder about all the work it took to get those 1K + likes on Instagram, doesn’t it?
  • In 2014 Conversioner.com reported an average conversion rate of 1.08% through social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.
  • According to a blog post by Marc Macdonald on Shopify.com Facebook dominates as a source of traffic and sales with a 1.85% conversion rate and an average of 85% of all orders from social media belong to Facebook. So less than two people out of 100 are actually going to buy anything from you.

You see Facebook and basically all social media are good tools for market research, customer service and customer feedback. Not sales.

Search Engine Optimization

  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (like direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (Search Engine Journal).
  • A search for a product had an average 2.27% conversion rate for online US Shoppers in 2014. By referrer, Google had a 1.71% conversion rate in 2013 according to Smartinsights.com

Content Marketing

  • Marketers who have prioritized content creation and curation (ie. a brand blog) are 13x more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
  • Content marketing generates 3 x as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less (Demand Metric)
  • The top three most widely adopted content marketing tactics are videos (87%), website articles (86%) and in person events.
  • 79% of companies that have a blog have reported a positive ROI for inbound marketing in 2013. (HubSpot State of Inbound 2013).
  • It’s interesting to note that 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video and videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click through than plain-text results. When optimizing for universal search, pay attention to keyword intent and be sure to use informational keywords vs transactional words.

Referral Marketing

The trust factor becomes important with referral marketing as consumers rely on recommendations from people they know. According to a Neilson Trust Study, word-of-mouth referrals are the most trusted form of “marketing”, while editorial content, a mention or feature story in a magazine or newspaper fell behind a great branded website and online reviews.

Make it easy for customers to refer your products and services and be sure to respond to online reviews for engagement. Shopify has a number of great app recommendations to help referrals including Referral Candy, Friendybuy, LoyaltyLion and Referrify.

Paid Search

It depends on what you read, but the average click-through rate for paid search in 2010 worldwide was 2% (Convario Jan 2011) and in 2014 about 3.58% for shopping, 6.12% for banking, insurance and finance, 1.45% for the travel industry, 2.21% for home and garden and 4.79% for computers and technology.

Mobile Advertising

While about 8% of purchases come from desktops with a tablet purchase close behind, only 4% of purchases are made from a smart phone. But don’t you worry, that is growing. Thousands of blog posts will tell you so. In the meantime, there is a lot of mobile frustration, as potential customers complain of difficulty viewing product information, a challenge comparing product features and costs to others and slow connection speed as just a few of the setbacks to purchasing on their phones.

Affiliate Marketing

Conversions by affiliates have the highest order value with an average of $445.00 per sales order according to Hubspot and online surveys demonstrate a 1-3% conversion rate for affiliate marketing.

While we continue to study what marketing activities are worthwhile and actually lead to sales and have a return on investment when it comes to building a business, we agree with Seth Godin. “Being the best in the world is seriously underrated.”

Enlightening Customers, Brightening Sales

customer loyalty, customized promotions, Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, Star Powered PR, Uncatergorized

This post addresses the ultra-curious customer.

It’s amazing how much you can learn when listening to your customers’ frequently asked questions.

It’s even more amazing when you discover what happens when you answer those questions.

Sometimes customers need help understanding why they should shop and receive services at your location(s).

Leaving them in the dark does nothing. Shining a light on any doubt or questions, speeds and moves sales.

We made it our business to uncover those questions (on behalf of our busy clients) and quickly fill in the blanks in their customers’ minds.

Recently we have done this in the form of easy research and a customer brand wide email, newsletter and social media campaign.

 1.Do an informal study. We called 25 different locations and asked the receptionists and managers what the three most frequently asked questions were that customers always asked.

 2.Create an email and a newsletter that answers all questions. We made September a back to basics/knowledge is power month. Our goal – empower our clients’ customers with the right answers.

 3.Create short, sweet and concise answers. Train receptionists and managers on the answers first. Make them easy to remember and share with others.

4. Spread those answers quickly through a brand wide email, newsletter on the social media channels your loyal customers are following.

Mastering Marketing Metrics

Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, marketing rituals, Measureable Marketing, Uncatergorized

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And more often than not, the data you’re measuring is pretty complex.

We wholeheartedly embrace the new marketing mix of paid, owned and earned media that is giving us the rewarding opportunity of linking our efforts directly to our clients’ bottom lines. This truly helps clients realize how valuable marketing and PR really is – provided they offer a useful and valuable product or service and they keep up to their end of the bargain with superior customer service.

In the digital world, we look to use every bit of exposure – from visits, views, followers, fans, subscribers and brand mentions to share of voice and top influence to retweets, wall posts and comments to content downloads, lead generations and last, but not least -actual on and off-line sales.

It’s important to also include –

  • Non-marketing variables, such as- economics, store density, pricing, seasonality, sales force staffing levels
  • All current marketing programs for acquisition and retention
  • Multiple markets and distribution channels
  • Multiple years of weekly data, sometimes more
  • Multiple product and/or customer types

Setting customized Key Performance Indicators can and will  measure activities, conversation, monitor results and show a return on investment in the marketing plan. We are studying the power of services like Visible Technologies and reviewing Cision’s new media metrics and analytics reports to evaluate the coverage, frequency and impressions made in the mind of the media and customers engaged.  Their “net score effect” will even attempt to measure how memorable your story was.

It’s important to remember to be sure to set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and of course timely goals and measurements before any campaign begins and with the right CRM tools, marketing and PR can and will answer simple questions like –

  • How much money did we actually make from the campaign?
  • How much precisely did we save?
  • And even more complex questions like -did we make our customers happy? Are they pleased with what we have to offer? Are we increasing their loyalty?

Bret Leece, SVP Performance, Initiative metrics explained it well in Cision’s The Future of Media broadcast yesterday when he said engagement and measurement should involve-

  • Tracking and measuring consumer involvement
  • Mapping the brand’s touch points
  • Connecting the purchase path to every touch point
  • Using local insights to create local plans
  • Giving the customer an experience not just the rotation of messages

Metrics should also be designed to analyze content, tone, or message, because that’s nearer where the value proposition lies and more relevant to how effective marketing and PR work is being tied into overall sales and marketing initiatives.