Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Backlinking

To help build the authority and rank of your website, you should establish quality backlinks on niche websites, and not just broad or directory websites. By including links on sites relevant to your own, you will positively help your website ranking and attract new customers. In addition to niche websites, your backlinks should include sites with a high page rank. Link building strategies can easily come from participating in blogs, online forums, and local event groups. When placing a backlink on these sites, you should utilize unique keywords and descriptive anchor text. Another option to find credible backlinks is to search your competitors’ link groupings. A link grouping is a page on the internet from which all, or most, of your competitors get incoming links. By searching your targeted keywords, common backlinks of your competitors can be located. Once these backlinks are identified, you should visit and include your website link on these websites if possible. If these websites are a relevant niche to your business, it should produce favorable results.

Mobile Optimization

Some businesses have websites but don’t have a properly built website that is optimized for mobile devices. Even if you do have a mobile website, customers may complain that the website doesn’t look as good or that the website’s performance on mobile devices is sluggish. When you’re building your mobile website keep in mind that it’s on a phone, or device smaller than a computer monitor, meaning your buttons need to be bigger, some content needs to be moved, and some content needs to be removed or blocked from being seen on the mobile version of the website. A mobile website should be a watered-down version of your main website and should include only key selling points and a call to action. Keep in mind that most mobile users aren’t on your website to view your special graphics or large photo gallery. If your site is not built or optimized specifically for mobile users, your bounce rate will skyrocket and you’ll lose a potential customer over a fixable problem.

E-Commerce

E-commerce and online transactions account for billions of dollars in sales activity. While e-commerce is a good opportunity for your business to expand online, it could be overwhelming if your business is not prepared for online growth. Initiating your online store is like opening a second location, so you will need to hire new employees and a new technology team to help manage the new location. Additionally, your online store will require top-notch security measures, privacy resolutions, and excellent customer support. You will need to define and understand your new online customer group which will be very different from those ordering by phone or shopping in-store. If your customers are within an older demographic group, you could find yourself having to create and market your new business service to a new user group from scratch considering disruptive technology is often influenced and adopted by younger demographics.

The benefits of e-commerce are based on the efficiency of the automated system. Benefits include a decrease in overall production and transaction costs if implemented properly which can help resolve business concerns regarding the budget. Ample stock inventories, proper notifications, timely delivery dates, and excellent customer support is key to achieving e-commerce success.

A drawback of e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar businesses is that with e-commerce sites it is difficult to generate a sale through user interaction with the business. To partially resolve this issue, you can implement a chat system and monitor the effects of your e-commerce strategies by using activity and traffic tools that monitor users visiting the website.

CMS Benefits

Having fresh content is mandatory if your intent is to drive traffic to your site to gain new and repeat customers. With a CMS, you can keep your website updated with the latest news, articles, products, and services. A CMS provides you with full control to manage the content on your website.

Updating. A CMS allows your website to have new content added on a regular basis and be easily upgraded with the latest technology as it becomes available. Additionally, a CMS gives you full control so that you can easily add new updates and blogs to your website without having to call a programmer to do it for you.

With a CMS, you can easily implement, update, and manage:

  • Article publishing
  • Website forums
  • Photo galleries
  • Surveys and polls
  • Interactive event calendars
  • Complex data entry forms

Management. Through the use of a CRM, website content can be managed through a simple user interface that allows for quick task completion. The administration area of a CRM is often easy to use and can involve multiple access levels for various employees and management control.

Website influence

A website gives your business the opportunity for exposure 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no other medium that allows consumers to discover all of the benefits of your business, at their convenience, and provide a source for direct correspondence from the user to you in real time. The benefits of a website are limitless.

Building Process. When building a website, make certain that you design the site for your customer and not for you or the graphic artist or designer. Design for the individuals that will use the site. By building for your customers, it allows you to target who is actually going to be viewing, and hopefully purchasing, from the website. Don’t design for looks, but for a purpose. If customers don’t like the colors then, no matter what you or your designer may think, those colors need to be changed. When building a website, you need to focus on attracting your target audience and making the site user-friendly.

A properly built website requires an effective title and meta tags, incoming links, and a strong architectural design. In addition, you should implement social media strategies through the use of proper link baiting, keywords, and creating a pay-per click campaign that will increase customer conversions.

A strategy that I have found to work well in improving website conversions includes adding an online blog or newsgroup. This method has shown to be a positive step in influencing conversions as well as conversations. In addition, it helps to generate a higher domain authority when utilizing unique content which can benefit the site’s ranking within search engines. Furthermore, blogs and news updates elevate customer satisfaction and attract traffic to your website.

Another question that should be asked when building your website is, “Does my website compete with my competitors?” and “Does it target my desired customer group?” If you don’t have your website built by a designer who understands your industry, then the answers are likely to be, “No.” Your website needs to represent you and your business. If it looks cheap, so will your business. If you try to cut corners, your customers will know. It’s better to have no website at all than a badly designed, poorly built website that doesn’t represent your business in a positive light, doesn’t serve the needs of your customers, and doesn’t drive traffic.

Personal Brand Messaging

Branding involves creating, maintaining, and enhancing the awareness of your product or service. In establishing the credibility and awareness of your brand, third-party endorsements have a tremendous effect. Individual branding is different from business branding in that it requires a continued positive attitude and even stronger relationship building. Unlike business branding, which recommends posting a social ad or banner on a webpage, billboard, or in print collateral, personal branding requires networking— and lots of it. Networking can be done via social networks, local group meetings, and events. In addition, during these networking sessions, the individual needs to be likable and must present good character, knowledge, and a pleasant appearance.

Attitudes toward the message of your brand have an impact on the customer’s purchase and behavioral intentions. To promote your brand, you could invest in advertising, which is a more general means of communication for promoting your brand. Marketing-oriented publicity elicits either positive or negative cognitive responses in customers. A positive cognitive response enhances the brand messaging which has an impact on the customer’s purchasing decision. A negative attitude and cognitive response toward brand messaging reduce the likelihood of a customer making a purchase.

A perfect example of marketing based on customer brand attitude and the use of endorsements is the Beats headphone brand. The brand was introduced without a large budget and focused on building credibility through celebrity endorsements and word-of-mouth. As customers accepted the credibility as positive, they spread the word about the product as being a commodity to those interested in owning the popular brand. With the help of social promotions, celebrity credibility, industry targeted publicity, and brand messaging the brand has developed into a multi-billion dollar company.

Social Brand Development

As humans, one of the ways we build relationships is through the stories we tell; why else do we catch up with our friends, right? In business, it’s no different. You want to create moments between your business and your customers. Those willing to share the experiences of their founders, customers, and staff can reap the many benefits that storytelling offers. It shifts the focus a little from what you do and talks about why you do it. The story of your brand is as individual as you are, and it needs to tell your audience who you are and why you’re doing what you do. It is where your manifesto comes to life, giving your audience context for your business and a chance to connect with what is important to you. After all, people buy from people.

Your brand is often your business’s most valuable asset. A strong brand can generate loyal customers and positive sales. The brand should be seen by customers as both positive and valuable. For your brand to be valuable to customers, it needs to simplify the decision-making process and reduce any perceived risk for your customers.

Social Media Branding. The personalized brand for your business should include a presentation of your unique benefits, knowledge, experience, and expertise that help make your business memorable. These unique assets influence customers to make a purchase and professionals to want to work with your brand. To expand brand awareness, start by creating, or cleaning up, your online presence and social media pages. On your social media pages, you should not post or subscribe to anything that does not enhance your brand. This includes both text and images. In addition to social media pages, you should create digital image galleries and a website showcasing the best of your brand.

Branding Benefits

To say that you need a brand to be successful is inaccurate. The laundry mat or embroidery shop up the street do not have a brand and they are doing very well. Whether you need a brand is dependent on the goal of your business. For example, if you are a service based business, or simply have a business that is in demand, then having a strong brand is not needed considering customers will seek you out and already know what they want, how they want it, and at what speed and price they want it. Think, where does the local school purchase its school buses? Have you ever seen a school bus manufacturer advertise their brand on television or at local events?

You do, however, need to have a brand if you have significant competition and if you have a niche product which requires educating customers. The goal of a brand is to provide customers with reasons to purchase your product or service over the competition. Without a solid brand, it makes marketing and customer acquisition expensive and time consuming. A brand gives your business its unique character – its look and feel, voice, and identity. Without its image, Nike is just one more shoemaker, and Macy’s is simply another retailer. A good brand should have a foundation based on value and customer engagement. The brand should represent the mission of your business and hold relevancy to your customers.

Perceived Value. Your brand should reflect the goal of your business by highlighting your strengths and encouraging a positive perception. Perceived value influences the amount of money your customer believes your product or service is worth. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the customer’s perception of your business’s expertise, quality, and reputation.

If your business and your competitors sell the exact same item, built the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the business with the better brand value reputation will sell the item at a higher rate because of the perceived value by the customer. If your customer perceives the value of your brand as high, they will likely make assumptions that the products you promote are of high-quality as well.

The Follow-Up

Providing the customer with a price isn’t the final step – obviously. You still need the potential customer to make the purchase. Because many businesses don’t like to think outside of an immediate sale, they often fail to implement follow-up procedures that pay off after an estimate. They give up after a few emails or calls. Remember: Persistence is key. If you understand your customers’ journey, you know that this is all a part of the decision-making process. Now, you just need to give potential customers the information they need to make the final leap.

To help with your follow-up, create a process for your typical sales cycle armed with information on average close rates and the time it takes to complete a deal. With a customer relationship management program (CRM), you can define these stages and easily keep track of progress. Map out what information you will send at each part in the process. Consider creating an email series that checks in on the customer every few weeks and reiterates how your business can help. Send the proposal with an invitation for an in-person meeting, visit, or phone call the following week to continue the momentum of the conversations. Tweak the messaging of your emails to determine what resonates with prospects. You’ve gotten this far. Don’t fail at the follow-up.

Building Trust. Trust takes time. When you are sending marketing material to a potential customer, there just isn’t always time to create a trusting relationship. But there are things you can do to prove you are credible, which is a step in the right direction. Credibility starts with a good reputation and a good design which inspires confidence in the viewer. When designing, follow modern design standards and practices to create a clean, easy-to-read campaign. In addition, marketing content full of misspellings and poor grammar can be a red flag for customers. It says little for your business’s ability to pay attention to detail and reduces your credibility as a professional organization. Finally, you need compelling testimonials or case studies that showcase the results you can deliver, the type of working relationships you have, and how you solved problems for previous customers.

 

Pricing and Expectations

Framing Your Price. You need confidence to make a sale – and you need that same confidence in the product or service that you are selling. Most business strategies are designed so that customers are given the bare-bones option first, and then the business reveals what it can do for its Super Special, Super-Charged Retainer or its “Everything you ever dreamed of” package. By giving your lowest price first and then the higher price, you are cautiously approaching the customer with the idea that they should spend more for a complete service, but not convincing them which package is right for them or their business.

Consider this: which of the following statements is most impactful? You’ll save $1,000 if you buy marketing automation software. Or; You’ll lose 100 customers if you don’t buy marketing automation software. People feel much stronger about the thought of losing something. When you set up your business strategy, emphasize the possible loses if the customer does not take action now. In addition, set up your marketing so that the right package is presented first. Then, if necessary, outline what a stripped-down version of this would cost. Also, emphasize how much more difficult, time consuming, or unattainable achieving the customer’s goals will be if they choose the cheaper version. You’re not really changing anything about what you do. You’re just reframing the conversation.

Outline The Process. Every customer’s goals and challenges are unique, but that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch when building a sales strategy. If you have a keen understanding of what you do, how to sell it, and how to package it, you should be able to create or customize an existing sales strategy to fit the needs of, and attract, any type of customer. However, this relies on your business having a repeatable and defined selling process. When questioning your customers, you should know:

  • The goals, plans, and challenges of the customer
  • Current customer metrics and key company information
  • The cost to the customer of not doing anything to meet their goals

When building a sales strategy to target your desired customer, the strategy should include:

  • Campaign goals
  • Scope of services and benefits
  • Reporting
  • Success Metrics
  • Timeline
  • Budget

With this framework in place and a defined process for gathering information, it will be much easier to put together a winning sales and marketing strategy.

Set Expectations. Once you have confirmed that the customer is a good fit for your business and the customer has requested more information and an estimate, you need to detail what the purchasing or contract phase looks like. The price estimate or sales collateral is the next step in the commitment process on the part of the customer. It should confirm everything you have already spoken about and solidify the deal.

There is no magic trick to selling. There shouldn’t be some big reveal. There is no tool for convincing and impressing. The price estimate or contract proposal is a confirmation, in writing, of what your business can do, how it will do it, when it will be completed, and why the customer specifically needs your product or services. It should be the final step prior to a contract being signed, and your business and the customer should both be confident that the deal will close – and soon.

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