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Right Hand Planning is a professional marketing agency that develops marketing strategies that help brands build traffic, leads and sales.

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Filtering by Category: Small Business Marketing

Sizzling Pad Thai Video

Pete Semple

Bangkok Thailand

A friend from Bangkok Thailand sent us a video via WhatsApp. We didn't know what the subject was but from the beginning you can see it's about the famous dish Pad Thai.  

Upbeat music and quick-shot editing of colorful scenes grab you from the start and take you on a culinary journey. You're on the water, in a crowded market, at a fancy restaurant, helicoptering over the jungle...

Who knew there was so much to know about Pad Thai and it that it could be so exciting?

Viral Video Sneak

Only toward the end did we start to suspect this video's about more than Pad Thai. But we weren't resentful over a bait-and-switch promotion, we wanted to know more.

 

Why It Works

Why does this video works so well? Here are a few ideas:

  • Relatable yet intriguing topic - a food video on a familiar yet foreign dish
  • Beautiful imagery
  • Fun and fast-paced
  • Interestingly informative
  • Shareable - high viral potential
  • Soft sell


Did you know the real promotion before the end?

Small Business Marketing Planning and Budgets

Pete Semple

"CAN I SPENT $300 TO $500 A MONTH ON MARKETING?

Many clients or potential clients initially contact us wanting to do one marketing strategy, such as an SEO, Facebook or a PPC campaign on a limited budget. But we don't usually advise a single marketing strategy approach because it's unlikely to work.

Too Much Competition

The truth is, a single marketing strategy on a $300 to $500 a month budget is not going to provide the desired results because there's simply too much competition in every industry.

No matter what business someone is in, it's likely the top companies are investing more money and engaging in several inbound marketing strategies. Therefore, a single strategy on a small budget is not likely to have much of an impact.

"What Is A Good Small Business Marketing Budget?"

Read More

Small Business Marketing Plan Outline

Pete Semple

Small Business Marketing Plan Outline

Follow this small business marketing outline to learn how content marketing and social media can hit your traffic and sales goals.

Marketing Challenges

Not Enough Time

It’s easy to lose marketing momentum when you're busy running your business day to day.

No Clear Next Steps

It can be hard to step back in and know the best next step marketing-wise after you've been away from it for a while.

Also, there’s something about being so close to your own business that it's hard to see the big picture (not seeing the forest for the trees).

This article will give you a marketing guideline to follow so when you feel stuck you can refer to it and take the next logical step.

This Marketing Plan Outline Has...

OBJECTIVES

  • Traffic – Need more visitors to site Leads
  • Leads – Have visitors, but they’re not taking action
  • Sales – Getting visitors or leads, but they’re not becoming sales

Traffic - Content

  • On-site blog Social media Content curation
  • Article posting
  • Guest posts

LEADS - Credibility - Enticements like free tools, white papers, podcast/MP3 files

  • Contact form
  • Call to action
  • Follow up

SALES - Conversions

  • On-site copy and photos
  • Check out process
  • Customer service

Objectives

A good plan starts with the goal in mind. In your marketing plan, there might be two or three objectives – to get traffic, collect leads and make sales.

Or it might be easier to focus on only one of these, Conversions (leads or sales) for example, if you’re already getting traffic. Or you’ll goal will be traffic if not enough people are landing on your site.

Inbound Lead Sources

Here are the most cost effective methods of receiving inbound leads according to a survey by marketing software company HubSpot.

Inbound Marketing sources
Inbound Marketing sources

In this study, people agree that Blogs, Social Media and SEO are the most cost-effective ways of getting leads from the internet.

Let’s look at how each method can bring traffic.

Inbound Traffic – Create and Share Content

Whether looking for sales or to get more people to your site. There are two things that will happen:

  1. People arrive directly at a page of your site
  2. People see something you post elsewhere that links to your site

Here are Five Steps to Generate Traffic

TRAFFIC

On-Site Blog Social Media Content Curation Article Posting Guest Blogging

Blogging - Helps Traffic and SEO

Studies have shown that the more you blog, the more traffic you’re likely to gain from it.

There are probably two reasons for this; first the increased content provides more material to be found by searchers and search engines (Google).

Second, the more often you add content, the more Google considers your site a good information source and might be more likely to show material in the search results (is the theory).

Blogging Builds Credibility, Helps with Conversions

Another advantage of blogging is it makes you look like an expert in your field.

If you post new blogs a couple times a month, you’re on top things. If you publish a couple times a week, you’re practically a news source for your field – talk about being seen as an expert!

Social Media Marketing - For Traffic, Awareness and Credibility

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about how social media works if you’re not used to using it.

It’s not “free” because it takes some time to use it, BUT it’s not hard to get in the habit and it can be fun and a great way to network.

The social media platforms most people use are Facebook, Instagram (the new hot one), Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn if you’re a B2B service provider.

Simple Social Media Marketing

  1. Share your own content like blogs/articles, white papers, new product pages, inforgraphics, videos, etc.

  2. “Curate” content valuable to your readers – this means reposting/retweeting and commenting on content your audience will find valuable.

Curating is classic networking. Try not to share your direct competitors too much (but sometimes leverage the audience of the biggest in your field), but instead share with people in related businesses with whom you can build a mutually beneficial relationship.

RELATED: Get a Custom Marketing Plan for your business! Call us at (424) 237-8155.

How to Do Social Media Marketing

Here’s a brief summary on how to use popular social media sites for to build Traffic and Credibility.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is now much more than a resume and job posting site, there are interactive groups and places to post your own links and comments.

On LinkedIn you can also have a company page, upload header photos, it’s a lot like Facebook. If you’re in B2B and haven’t been on LinkedIn a while, check it out.

Twitter

Twitter is fast-paced environment that’s very interactive. People mention each other by using their @username in retweets or replies or to reference someone.

You’ll get a notification for every mention, which makes it easy to keep up on the conversation without needing to be on Twitter all day.

You don’t have to engage heavily in Twitter. It’s ok to post a short message a link to your online blog or other page. But you might find it addictive!

Twitter makes it easy to meet other people because of the notifications feature and because they recommend people to Follow in the sidebar.

Pinterest

Pinterest is used more by women than men and it’s a good medium for visually aesthetic products like art, furnishings, homemade goods. However, that’s not to say B2B companies or less tangible services couldn’t find a way to put it to good use – if you think you’re best prospects are likely to be found there.

Facebook

NOTE: Facebook marketing has changed in 2014 – 2015!

It’s harder to get your posts seen in Facebook unless you pay for their advertising.

It’s still worthwhile to post links to your content on Facebook, because some people will see it. But it might not be worth investing to build a large group of fans because such a small percentage of them will see your material.

Facebook is a good place to answer questions and conduct customer service. And it’s worth having a presence because people might still search for you there.

Instagram

Instagram uses photos as the main part of its message – but look how even B2B company FedEx has found ways to use it creatively and effectively, http://www.fastcolabs.com/3019809/why-startups-should-use-instagram-for-marketing

Also, it’s easy to connect Instagram to Twitter and Facebook so if you do get good at using it, it’s automatically shared to your other two accounts, a major time saver.

RELATED Articles on Social Media Marketing:

"6 Must-Have Tools to Boost Your Social-Media Productivity"

"5 Reasons Why A Social Media Content Calendar Is Important For Your Business"

Get a Custom Marketing Plan for your business! Call us at (281) 624-5835.

Content Curation

Why Use Content Curation

  • Provide information that your audience will find useful
  • Helps you build relationships or leverage the audiences of others
  • Shows you’re up on the trends in your field, builds your credibility

How to Curate Content

  • Share via social media (mentioned above)
  • Place someone else’s article on your website
  • Link out to a related article (as we did here by linking to the FedEx – Instagram article in Fast Company)

Guest Blogging

This is when you write an article and another website publishes it to their readers. Almost always there’s an author bio box with a link back to your site.

At a minimum your company or product name should be mentioned, and usually with a link to the relevant page of your site.

Guest blogging is another way to build traffic and build your creditability as an expert in your field.

A Note About Guest Blogging in 2015...

Google has started to frown on guest blogging just for the sake of building backlinks to boost your SEO score.

Therefore, use it wisely with actual blogs related to your field or those that share your audience. Try to use it to get in front of quality readers, not just as a backlink and it should be fine with Google.

Article Posting

When you write original content, such as a blog post or article, there are places so share it online to help you gain backlinks and exposure.

It’s also a good idea to find sites related to your line of work where you can get exposure to your best audience.

Article Sharing Sites (a partial list):

  • Scoop.it
  • Paper.li
  • Rebelmouse
  • Storify
  • Curata
  • Trap.it
  • Kurasie
  • Content Gems
  • Sniply
  • BizSugar
  • SlideShare.net - A great place to share PowerPoint presentations and PDFs
  • Vimeo and YouTube - Good for sharing video content

Posting articles in sites like these should be done in addition to using your own Social Media site to share your content, as discussed above.

LEADS

Enticements - like free tools, white papers, podcast/MP3 files Contact method - email form or phone number Call to action Follow up

Capturing Leads

A “Lead” might mean filling out a form, calling an 800 number, downloading a document or booking an appointment online.

Website visitors alone are rarely a lead because just having someone visit your site doesn’t move the sale forward

Your Leads Might Be Sales

Some businesses won’t have leads . They might just have sales. Amazon for example doesn’t require a lot of customer interaction. People either order or they don’t. This is a nice simple model for less expensive items which tend to have shorter sales cycles.

How to Get Leads

Usually people need to be prompted to complete information by a, “What’s in it for me?” type giveaway. Basically you need to offer something of value before people will turn over their information like email address or phone number.

The Four Elements to Lead Capture

  1. Giveaway – free informational paper, consultation, comparison tool (think loans or insurance)
  2. Call to action – “Sign Up Now”, etc.
  3. Contact source – a form, phone number
  4. Follow up ability – email responder, customer service process

Facebook Sign-Up Page Example

Here is an example of how Facebook had a simple sign up page to get people to join:

Facebook's website lead capture example
Facebook's website lead capture example

Lead Capture Tools

Call to Action Landing Page (or Squeeze Page) Tools or WP Plugins

The WordPress plugins just below are free, but there are reports of being buggy. Read latest reviews for updated information:

WP Landing Pages WP Calls to action WP Landing Pages WP Leads

Paid or Free Trial Services:

  • Inbound Now
  • InstaPage
  • LeadPages
  • Optimize Press 2.0
  • Thrive Content Building and Landing Pages

Email Auto Responders

For many businesses, capturing a lead means collecting an email address and automatically generating emails or delivery of electronic material.

Check out these services for capturing email addresses and generating automatic (or manual) emails:

  • Aweber
  • MailChimp
  • Get Response
  • Constant Contact
  • InfusionSoft

SALES

On-site copy and photos Site trust Check out process Customer service

The Sales process of your marketing plan might replace or have some overlap with the Leads process.

The most important parts of online sales are:

  1. Product or service description
  2. Site trust
  3. Checkout process

Product Descriptions

It’s always hard to get nudge people to actually take action online. What and how to say the right things to move a customer to action depends on what’s being sold. But here are some generalities...

Good Copywriting

High quality copywriting often uses these three elements:

  1. Excitement – make it a must-have
  2. Urgency – limited time type offers or language (“scarcity”)
  3. Assurances – Safe to buy seals, or customer testimonials

And Visuals – Again, it depends on what’s being sold, but having a visual image of the product for sale is almost always a requirement

Product Views

Simple to use sites like SquareSpace or Shopify now make it easy to offer all-angles views for selling things like clothing.

Electronic Product Photos

Even electronic products can benefit from a visual representation

Product Reviews

Use product reviews and customer testimonials to provide assurance and lower resistance to making the sale: (see Customer Reviews directly under product purchase page):

Site and Payment Security

Verification seals by familiar names can be the final key to winning a sale. Familiar types of merchant verification are:

 
 

Short Check Out Process

It’s said that a check out process should be no more than two pages long. One page is even better.

Shopping cart abandonment rates are already as high as 30% for online retailers

If you’re losing sales after people select an item, but don’t follow through on the sale it might be worth testing different checkout options, including collecting only the information you need to fill the order.

A lot of resources are invested to get a customer to select an item; it’s smart to keep as many of these sales as possible.

How Is Your Customer Service?

  • Do you offer online or telephone chat before the sale?
  • Do you send an email confirmation right after a sale? And a tracking number as soon as an order is sent, or other confirmation?
  • Can customers talk to a person on the phone?

These are all things that can be deal maker or deal breakers in making online sales or getting repeat sales.

Custom Marketing Plan

Want a marketing plan created specifically for your business, customers and goals?

We can develop a custom marketing plan that includes marketing calendar detailing the steps we offer to improve your copywriting, social media marketing and content creation. It's a customized solution made specifically for you!

Call us at (424) 237-8155 for a free consultation.

What If You Hate Marketing? Three Easy Examples To Love

Pete Semple

Are You Too Shy Or Not "Salesy" Enough To Promote Yourself?

  • A shy brand gets noticed with simple but memorable tchotchkes
  • How to smoothly get Yelp reviews
  • A work-at-home mom offers free seminars 
  • How to miss a huge opportunity..

 

"There are so many ways to do marketing. Why not pick one you enjoy to be sure you're going to actually do it?"

Suzanne Bird Harris

How To Find Marketing You Enjoy

Herb Tarlek wkrp

There are aspects of marketing that make us not want to tell people we're marketers or not want to do marketing if we're business owners.

But that's because the concept of "Marketing" is so broad and because it often gets equated with sales. Not that there's anything wrong with sales. Sales is a proud part of marketing.

There's so much more to marketing than pop culture stereotypes and tactics and it shouldn't be hard to find a part of marketing you love.

 

...It shouldn't be hard to find a part of marketing you love

- A wise man just said that

What's The Difference Between Marketing, Advertising and Sales?

This comes up a lot so let's get it out of the way. Marketing is making people aware there's a product for sale. Sales is completing the transaction with a customer - delivering the product and collecting the money. Sales is usually more direct and often involves talking one-on-one with a buyer or decision maker to make the deal go down.

Sales and advertising are both subsets of marketing.

Advertising is a type of marketing that often uses mass media to make consumers aware of a product or product attributes.

Many people reading this aren't marketers. They're artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers or other non business-world people. Yet there are ways for you to feel comfortable promoting yourself, read on...

Marketing Ideas For Introverts And Others

Salespeople are a different breed and they love to get out and glad-hand prospects. If that's not you, try to do it for a while anyway (we should all try to shore up our weak areas) but if it's never going to be you, hire a consultative (i.e. listening) sales person or team. Don't keep doing it yourself if you're terrible.

Your experience doing sales will help you hire and manage the person with traits you don't have. (But sales doesn't mean pushy and obnoxious, like Herb Tarlek)

What Is Branding?

 

Brands live in the hearts and minds of consumers

Branding can mean slapping your name on everything (not a bad idea really, if you can afford it. Right, Mr. Trump?)

And if you look at the quote above, branding is also about making a name for yourself. This includes service, reputation, return policy, cleanliness - how you carry yourself and the word that travels out to others from that.

Easy Introvert Marketing Tip # 1 - Polish Brand And Subtly Promote

If you're proud of what you do branding should be easy. Not the ordering of polo shirts wit your logo and big signs and high-profile sponsorships, but the quality that speaks for itself among your target as you do what you do with good intentions.

Promote Yourself The Way You're Comfortable

EasyBranding

You are "branding" (making a name for yourself) if you just do a great job. But try to tout it somehow too.It's a crowded and noisy market place out there.

You don't have to spend money on cheesy tchotchkes, but instead look for unusual and memorable ways to sneak your brand in front of people at the right times. Everyone does trade show trinkets - is there a way you can do it differently or unexpectedly?

Different Noticeable Branding Example:

Someone gave us a milk frother for coffee. We loved this little spinner that made regular-brewed coffee into a frothy beverage. Years later the batteries needed replacing. When we popped out the AAs, check out what we saw - branded batteries with the Aerolatte logo, colors and tagline, "Steam Free Milk" - we fell in love with this brand all over again.

Yes, we want their cool "Steam Free Milk" back in our lives. These aren't batteries, they're a part of our morning ritual. Plus, we want to associate with people who put this amount of thought into the batteries that are rarely seen. What pride they must have in their product.

Cable Remotes And Cheap Batteries

Have you ever replaced the batteries in your cable remote control? They are cheapie brand batteries. They last a long time, but when I see what I've been using, I wonder why I've been paying $150 a month all these years. Have they been taking advantage of me?

Easy Introvert Marketing Tip #2 - Ask For Yelp Reviews

Restaurant Yelp Reviews back

Yelp reviews rule because we consumers love to read them and because throughout Google's recent updates Yelp still stays prominent on the search engine results page (SERP).

There are some nasty rumors about Yelp's power, but the place to be (as with Google) is on top and in their good graces.

Ask For Yelp Reviews In Your Own Way. Make it easy and smooth to get happy customer reviews with an easy well-placed "ask".

Here's Where Your Sales Experience Pays Off

Remember that sales training we suggested you to do? If you read sales books, you might have learned sales techniques that were uncomfortable to you. Or you might have learned how to sell as yourself. But at some point it comes down to Closing or The Ask. You don't get whatever your goal is until you request it*.

Check Out This Subtle Way To Ask For Yelp Reviews

RestrntYelpReviewsBIzCardFrnt

In this photo, a small restaurant in L.A. County isn't shy about asking. It doesn't matter if the server isn't comfortable asking directly, as long as this card is dropped off with the check. What a perfect activity for the smartphone addict to do while waiting to have their bill picked up.

What if the reviews aren't good? Fix the problem. It's better to know right away than be badmouthed online and be unaware of it.

But this isn't going to be the case - because an owner and server who are seeking Yelp reviews know to protect and promote the brand.

Work At Home Mom Teaches A Free WordPress Seminar

If you are looking for help with WordPress, Suzanne Bird Harris of http://websitesinwp.com runs a free WordPress clinic every second Thursday of the month. When she told me about it, it was because she enjoyed doing it and she knew I would benefit, it wasn't as any sort of a marketing gimmick.

Suzanne is the person from whom we got the great quote at the beginning of this article (and I'm paraphrasing),

 

"There are so many ways to do marketing. Why not pick one you enjoy to be sure you're going to actually do it?"

- Suzanne Bird Harris

From that comment we knew she had a point. And right away it became clear that no matter what marketing you're doing because you think you have to, all these initiatives take time, money and effort, and if they're not enjoyable you're not going to keep them up.

So market subtlety or passively or freely - but make it enjoyable, and do it from the heart and you'll do fine :-)

* A famous business anecdote says that a friend of automaker Henry Ford asked, "Why did you buy life insurance from that stranger instead of me?" and Ford replied, "Because you never asked."