How the customer experience (CX) is evolving in 2022

The customer experience is every interaction that a customer has with your business, from the very first time they find your website, shop, or social media pages, to every time they comment or like what you do, right up to making a purchase or working with you.

It’s something that continually evolves, and since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, it’s developed faster than every before. During the various lockdowns, we all had to adapt our businesses to cope with being more visible online…and customers have found that they like the services that businesses started to offer during this time and want it to continue.

For the rest of 2022 and into 2023, there are several things you can do to ensure that your business evolves to match those new customer experience trends.

The Digital Experience

These days people use technology more than ever to find what they want – most of us reach for our phones to look at things we want to buy. We can see what the best products are, compare prices and look at reviews to see which is the best to buy. If you’re a small business and not online in several places, you’re missing a trick.

The obvious one is to have a website. I know that many small businesses have online shops, such as Etsy, to sell their products, but at the end of the day, you don’t own that shop. You must pay high fees and the owners of Etsy could shut you down whenever they want.

Whereas, if you have your own website, you own it. No one can take it away from you and you can put so much more information about your business on it – you’re not just restricted to a shop. As well as being able to tell your backstory through your ‘About’ page, you can also set up an email subscription to communicate regularly with your customers and set up a blog to share information with them. It’s more personal.

Your social media accounts are also useful to gain a following and promote your products or services. You can also promote your website, blog, or email subscription, with links to your website.

Consumers expect you to be on these channels and they are the best way to engage and interact with your customers and potential customers.

Be personal

Another positive for the customer experience is personalisation. They like personalised experiences when they engage with a business. And not just greeting them by name in emails etc, or remembering birthdays, they want more than that. They expect to be able to contact businesses on their terms – using email, chat, voice calls, messaging etc. They want their enquiry answered in a timely way and don’t want to waste their time waiting or having to repeat themselves.

Customer expectations

As things have evolved to a more digital world, customer expectations have grown. And if you make any kind of promise to a customer, they will expect it to happen quickly.

How do you find out what their expectations are? Ask them! Put questions on your social media pages to find out what they like and don’t like.

You could send out a link to a survey…and offer a discount in exchange for completing it.

It also helps to look at your competition to see what they’re doing and how they interact with their customers. If you run the same, or a similar business to that of your competitors, your customers will have similar problems.

Identify customers’ pain points

To turn your customers into fans and advocates for your business, you must exceed expectations. Look at the pain points that your customers have and find out how you can address them with what you do.

Some common pain points include shipping, returns, sizing and being able to easily contact you. By looking at these and other pain points, you can exceed expectations and create very happy customers, who will recommend you.

Your customers put positive experiences above everything else, as you can see from some of the latest statistics below.

The Omnichannel experience

Omnichannel simply means lots of different channels – social media, website, email, chat etc.

To maximise this experience for your customers, ensure that you are consistent across all channels – that branding and the way you speak and interact is the same. And that your customer service is excellent and exceeds expectations on all channels.

Data Security and privacy

Another thing that customers are very aware of these days is data security and privacy. There is so much on the news and online about this that most people know they have certain rights.

The emphasis on data security and privacy is only going to increase over the coming months and years. As your customers share more personal data, businesses must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulations, (GDPR) relevant to the country you trade in, as well as the countries you sell to.

You should ensure that you have a privacy policy and clearly you’re your data practices in that policy. You need to ensure that you are clear about your purpose and processes for collecting and storing customer data.

You need to have your customers’ consent to email them – most email subscriptions include an opt-in, where customers willingly give their name and email address, so they are consenting to you sending emails.

Never share your customers’ data with third parties or sell lists of customers email addresses.

You can find out more about GDPR online for your country, but here are a couple of useful links.

GDPR UK

GDPR EU 

Top tips for a great customer experience

Businesses with great customer experiences have higher customer referral rates and higher rates of customer satisfaction. This means you’re more likely to keep those customers’ loyalty and they’re more likely to come back for more. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have – your customers do the marketing for you, saving you time and money.

In today’s market, you not only need to compete on price, but you also need to compete on experiences, that is, your customers want to feel emotionally connected to you and your business.

Here are some of my top tips for creating that great customer experience:

  • Every business should have a mission statement and set goals. Make the customer experience part of your mission statement and have specific goals to enhance that experience.
  • Be friendly – whether you are talking to customers face to face, or via video call or phone, SMILE! Believe it or not, you can hear that friendly smile. If you’re face to face, make eye contact. And always use warm, friendly language and tone of voice.
  • Have empathy for your customers. Do your best to understand them and what they want. Make the experience they have with your business, the best!
  • Provide value – by this I don’t mean that your products should be cheaper than everyone else’s. I mean deliver the best value you can, at the right price for your customers. Make sure your prices are easy to find and are visible – people don’t have to go looking – they’ll just log out. Make the sales process as quick, efficient, and easy as you can.
    Make sure that your shop or website is easy to navigate and doesn’t take ages to load – or you will lose customers.
  • Be easy to contact. This speaks for itself. Make sure that your contact details are on every channel you use…be that your phone number, email address or chat box.
  • Be consistent with everything you do and never stop looking for ways to improve. Listen to your customers, take note of any feedback you get and act on it.
  • Finally, show your appreciation for your customers. Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ is enough, whether that is face to face or via email.

I hope that this article has been helpful – if you have any further suggestions or have any questions, please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email me at cindymobey@outlook.com or contact me via my website.

What makes your customers buy from you?

Understanding consumer behaviour

Have you ever wondered what makes some people choose one type of product and another person choose another? For example, why someone would prefer to buy a designer handbag, whereas someone else is happy with one she bought from a local small business. What drives our choices?

Studying consumer behaviour is fascinating, as I’ve found by researching this article. So, what is consumer behaviour?

It’s the study of how people buy, use, acquire and dispose of goods and services. It’s not just about buying either, it could be they acquire goods through bartering, lending or leasing. Behaviour can be affected by how much they use the goods they buy. For example, if someone buys a can of drink, it is consumed just the once, but if they buy a laptop or tablet, it would be used over a period of time. Buying behaviour depends on how much that product is used.

Consumers are also influenced by others, through reviews. If a product has great reviews, or if a consumer’s friends are raving about how good a product is, they are likely to buy it. But, if their friends are really slating a product, or it gets negative reviews, they probably wouldn’t buy it.  

There are several factors that influence how consumers make their buying choices. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about five of them…

  • Psychological
  • Social
  • Cultural
  • Personal
  • Economic

All of these factors can be split down further.

Psychological factors

How someone feels about a particular product when they are presented with it will depend on their state of mind. Their state of mind will determine not just how they feel about the item itself, but also about the brand as a whole.

Social factors

Most of us want to be accepted socially, and this can affect buying habits. In order to be socially accepted, some people will mimic others, including copying what they buy.

Family, friends, work colleagues or other groups will play an important part in the way people see different products or services. These groups all help to influence buying behaviours.

Cultural factors  

Culture is not just defined by a person’s nationality. It can also be defined by who they associate with, religious beliefs or even people living in the same geographical location.

Personal factors

Personal factors include age, occupation, marital status, budget, personal beliefs, values and morals.

Economic factors

Consumers are affected by the economic condition of a country. This is evident at the moment with inflation at an all time high – people can’t afford to buy too many luxuries, as they have to concentrate on paying the bills, putting fuel in the car and buying food.

Economic factors include personal income and how much disposable income is left after everything has been paid each month. It also includes family income – again, what’s left over that the family can enjoy.

Consumer credit is another factor. People have credit cards so can buy goods when they want to. Consumers are more likely to buy luxury and comfort goods if they have access to higher credit, or can pay through a credit card, easy instalments or bank loans. I’m not saying this is good – it’s just a factor.

    

The Five stages of the consumer buying process

Now you understand the factors that influence the buying process, lets look at the five stages people go through when deciding to buy.

  1. The problem. A consumer notices they have a problem they want to solve. This could be anything from needing to get a new outfit for a special event, to buying a new tap for their sink.
  2. Research – the next stage is to research how to fix their problem. This might be trawling the internet for recommendations, or to look at various sites that sell what they’re after. It might be talking to a friend or family member for their advice.
  3. Find a solution – once they have all the information they need, they can start comparing brands and looking at reviews to help them decide on a solution.
  4. Buy a product – the consumer makes a decision and decides to spend their money on the solution they’ve chosen.
  5. Review the product – some consumers will leave a review about the product they’ve bought – some won’t. Either way, they will still personally review the product and decide whether they would recommend it to others…and whether they’d buy from that brand again.    

The four types of buyers

It’s also worth knowing about the four different types of buyers, so you can market your products or services accordingly. The four types are different, based on what motivates them to buy.

  1. The analytical buyer – this person is motivated by logic and needs to have lots of information. They want to look at all the data on the different brands and different types of products available before making an informed decision.
  2. The amiable buyer – this person is warm and friendly and just wants everyone to be happy. They can often be stumped by having to make big decisions, especially if there is a perception of a win/lose outcome.
  3. The driver buyer – this type of buyer is really concerned with how others view them, and whether they should follow the trend setters. Drivers are most concerned with their appearance rather than the relationships that are formed during a transaction.
  4. The expressive buyer – this buyer is driven by relationships. They hate the feeling of isolation and don’t like being ignored during a transaction. They like to feel as though they are your most important asset.

This being said about the four types of buyer, it’s difficult to put everyone into one category – people will often fall into a combination of the four.

Conclusion

As you can see, consumer behaviour is influenced by many things; psychological, social, cultural, personal and economic.

It’s also worth knowing the buying process and the types of buyers – this can help you figure out how you can reach and influence the people that are most likely to buy your products.

If you’d like to take a more in-depth look at your customers and target market, get in touch for a free discovery call.

How to find your ideal client on Facebook

It is crucial for any business to know who your ideal client is. It’s always the starting point for any marketing strategy. If you don’t know who to aim your content at, you’re just posting …and you could be hearing crickets.

Whenever you see a business advertising something, you never see the statement, “This is aimed at everyone.”  This is where a lot of businesses can fall down.

By aiming at everyone with a generic offer, it doesn’t naturally capture the attention of anyone in particular. Some businesses will argue that their products are aimed at everyone – for example, a card business. And whilst that might be true, a card business can still niche down. Just look at the very well-known online big companies – they have a website with distinct categories and when they advertise, they pick on a particular client to target. Valentine’s Day is coming up and so you’ll see adverts aimed at couples, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, partners etc. So, even if you do have a business that could potentially encompass everyone, you can focus your efforts on particular events during the year…after Valentine’s Day, it will be Mother’s Day and Easter. There is always something to focus on. And if there isn’t an event coming up, you can focus on birthdays, anniversaries, weddings – the list is endless.

For this kind of business, you will have a range of ideal clients.

Where do you start?

This is a question I get asked a lot. If you target the right people, they will feel like you ‘get them’ and so what you have to offer becomes very appealing.

Your current customers

The first place to start is to look at your current customers. Who buys from you and why? Take some time to look at who they are – what age are they? What gender? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? What interests do they have?

This is going to be easier for some businesses to pinpoint than others. For example, if you sell children’s books, your customers are likely to be Mums, Dads, Grandparents, and maybe Aunties and Uncles. But if you think a little wider, you could also target schools and nurseries, children’s birthdays, and Christmas. There are stories about about everything, from tooth fairy to camping…and not just stories. There are also educational books, which gives a whole new raft of clients.

Look at your customers’ habits

This is a little harder. You need to dig a bit deeper. What do they like – what kind of things do they google? Do they prefer Android or Apple? Do they hang out on Facebook or on Instagram? What hobbies and interests do they have? For example, your target market might be Mums. A Mum obviously has children, but she will have other interests – she might love Zumba or Yoga; she might like skydiving or love white knuckle rides at the funfair! She might be really interested in a healthy lifestyle – she might not. She might be Vegan; she might love animals – she might be allergic to animals! So, even though you think you are targeting Mums, you could have the potential to target so many other areas too. And it’s up to you to decide on your niche.

Look at your customers’ goals

Knowing what your customers aspire to can help you with ideas for your content. You might be a wedding planner, but you will know that your customer is not only interested in planning her actual wedding; she also wants to have her hair/make-up/nails done. She wants to have lovely flowers, and evening do with music.

It’s good to be able to see the bigger picture. And if you have contacts with the various other businesses you know she’ll want, that can be part of your service to find the right things for her. That gives you much more scope to advertise your service.

Solve a problem

Does your product or service solve a problem? If you can identify some kind of challenge that your potential customers face – and can give them the solution, you’re onto a winner.

How do you customers decide to buy?

There are different types of buyers. There’s the person who totally buys on impulse; sees it, wants it, buys it. This isn’t always a bad thing – it might be that you offer exactly what that person is looking for at that moment in time – or your product might be something that triggers a memory – ‘my best friend would love that’ and buy.

Then there’s the buyer who likes to do some research, look at the benefits and features of a product, does price comparisons and looks at all the reviews.

If you have customers who will buy on impulse, make sure that your shop or website is easy to use, and they can order and pay easily and quickly.

If your customers like to take their time, ensure your website is up to date, has relevant reviews in a prominent place…and that your product descriptions are spot on.

Who would you like to be your customer?

This sounds like a weird thing to say – surely it’s anyone who wants your products or services? If you’re a service business, you’re sure to have had the odd difficult customer and wouldn’t necessarily want that again, so it is a consideration.

You might prefer to work with Mums, for example, or with people who are like-minded. Again, this is a useful consideration to make when thinking about your ideal client.

Your customers are on Facebook – what next?

OK, so you now know what your ideal customer looks like. Build up a couple of client personas and keep them somewhere to help remind you when you make your content. I talk about this in a previous blog post.

What’s next?

You know your customers are primarily on Facebook.

How do you get to them?

As well as setting up a business Facebook page, so you can keep it separate to your personal stuff, Facebook Groups are THE BEST PLACE to find your ideal customers.

There are Facebook groups for absolutely anything you can think of. Once you know who your ideal customer is – what they like to do – what they are interested in – you can join groups where you know they’ll be. On your Facebook homepage, there is a search box top left of the page. You can search for anything. If you know what your customers like, you can search for them. For example, you could type ‘Groups joined by people who like XXXXXX’

If you go to your personal page and click on Groups – then click on ‘discover,’ Facebook will show you groups that your friends belong to.

Always read the rules of a group before you join. You don’t want to join a group where people just share promotional content all the time. You want groups that are supportive of each other, have conversations, maybe themed days, and who have engaging posts that you can join in with. This is the way to build engagement on your page, as you will be able to put a link to your Facebook page, whilst supporting and talking to other like-minded people.

Facebook groups are a great way to make friends, make connections, ask for and give advice, and to offer your expertise. People will notice you and your business if your name pops up a few times a week, especially if you take the time to engage and have conversations on posts. After all, it’s not called social media for nothing!

I would advise being on no more than 3-5 of these groups as you need to get involved and it can be time consuming, so it’s better to be very well known on a couple of groups, than posting and engaging randomly every month or two on lots of groups.

Start your own group

You really need to think before you start your own group as it is also something that takes up a lot of time. But it also means you have your own group of people who like what you do and have similar things in common. And it gives you valuable insights into your target audience.

Insights

When you have a Facebook business page, you get access to your insights. This gives you lots of valuable information, such as what kind of posts your audience finds most interesting.

When you log into your insights, you’ll automatically see figures from the last seven days, but you can look at the last 28 days.

When you scroll down, you’ll see post insights on your most recent posts. It will tell you what kind of post it is; whether it’s a straightforward post or video for example. It will tell you your reach, and the engagement that post has had, be it comments or likes.

The last section gives you insights into your competitors. Facebook can recommend pages for you to watch here, but you can also add pages, so you can tract a particular competitor’s performance if you want to.

When you are on your insights page, you will also see a list of options on the left-hand side, and you can click on any of these categories. For example, if you click on ‘likes,’ it will show you a tracker of your likes and you can track the last 28 days to see how and when your figures grew. If you click on followers, you can track your followers in the same way and see how many unfollow you too. It’s definitely worth spending a bit of time having a play with your insights to better understand what’s happening on your page. I try and check mine once a week and I’ve found it invaluable for knowing what kind of posts my followers like and find useful.

I hope that this blog post has given you some ideas to help you find your ideal clients on Facebook, and also how to understand them and what they want from you.

Please follow my blog for more posts on marketing your business. And, as always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

A peek into the mind of an online shopper

Online shopping has never been more popular, and not just amongst the younger generation. Lockdown was a contributing factor to more people starting to shop online and it seems that it is continuing. More online stores are opening, which will mean that competition to stand out is fierce…and online marketplaces help build trust with customers and give a more convenient way to buy from home, on your phone.

Why do people shop online? Here are a few reasons…

Wide variety of products

Online shoppers have access to absolutely anything they want to buy, whereas if they visit a store, they are limited to what that particular store sells and must visit several different stores to get everything they want. Online shopping puts every kind of store at your fingertips – it’s easy to browse and find what you want and easy to find the latest trends or fashions.

It’s convenient

You don’t have to go out, get stuck in traffic, find a parking space, or drag your children round the shops. You don’t have to worry about fitting it in around your job, rushing to catch the shops before they close. You can shop online 24/7 …and even shop in your PJs if you want to. It’s less stressful and often cheaper, as you can compare stores and prices much more easily.

Lower prices

It’s not just about loads of options when you shop online, but often you can find things you want at a much lower price than in stores. Online shops don’t have the overheads of a physical store.

You can also often find coupons or discounts online as this is a tactic used to rise above competitors. And several online stores operate within a cashback regime, so this is also attractive to buyers.

No sales pitch

When you visit a physical store, you are often pounced on by assistants, asking if you need help or trying to get you to buy something you didn’t want. If something isn’t available, you’ll often be tempted to try something else. Many a time, I’ve gone to a specific store to buy a particular dress, only to find it’s not in stock, or they don’t have the colour I want. But do I leave the store empty handed? Very rarely! I have bought things I don’t really want, have been persuaded that a different colour will really suit me by the assistant and know it’s not really for me, but often just get caught up in the moment and buy anyway.

Plain packaging

When you shop online, you don’t have to worry about what you buy – if you want to buy some really sexy underwear or something a bit more intimate for the bedroom, buying online means you can choose for it to be delivered in plain packaging. You don’t have to be embarrassed at the checkout. You can also browse everything you want to look at, read the descriptions and decide which item you want, without an assistant hovering. And you can take your time to choose.

No crowds and no queues

This is an obvious one – I absolutely hate crowded shopping centres, so online shopping suits me as I don’t have to queue to buy something, nor do I have to feel claustrophobic in crowds.

Baskets and checkout

The thing I really like about online shopping is the quick and easy checkout process. I just add what I want to my basket, and then checkout at my leisure. It’s usually quick and simple – you can also choose which delivery option you want and can often get next day delivery. There are also lots of local shops who do free delivery, which is an added bonus.

Customer reviews

I like to check out what other people think about a product before I buy it and online shopping makes this a cinch. Information and product descriptions are usually clear – you know if the product you are buying is environmentally friendly, and you can see what other buyers think of the product before you buy.

The stats

In 2021, it is estimated that 2.14 billion people worldwide will purchase goods online (Statista). And that global ecommerce sales are forecast at over four trillion dollars. As well as this, projections are that ecommerce sales globally are going to grow to 6.4 trillion by 2024.

According to Thinkwithgoogle, 2018, 63% of shopping occasions begin online. This means that, no matter whether a product is bought online or at a physical store, the customer journey began online, with a search. This just goes to show that if you have an online business, it makes sense to ensure that the customer experience is first class. Understanding how your target audience searches for products you sell can help you create a unique customer experience.

It goes without saying that the recent and ongoing pandemic has had a massive impact across the globe regarding online shopping. Strict lockdown has seen online shopping skyrocket – especially grocery shopping.

Conclusion

Online shopping is set to evolve further as time goes on. If businesses want to survive, they must get online to keep up with the latest trends.

A particular plus for me regarding online shopping is that I know that I’m buying something that hasn’t been picked up, tried on or handled by loads of different people. However, having said that, there is still something exciting about wandering around the shops and finding something you never knew you wanted! And, being a huge stationery fan, I love to browse a stationery aisle…and don’t get the same buzz online.

What are your thoughts on online shopping? Do you prefer it, or do you like to have a wander and a browse in a physical store?

What makes storytelling so powerful?

From a very early age, we are brought up on stories. I remember my Dad making up stories at bedtime, full of action and adventure, and I was always in there somewhere. Why do we tell stories to our kids? It brings us closer to them, it’s something we can share and it’s something they look forward to. It’s really no different to telling stories as an adult to help your marketing. Storytelling is a very powerful marketing tool.

Why is it so powerful? 

Stories have been used throughout history to give messages to future generations. They convey culture and values that both unite and divide people. History books are full of stories and legends…there are even stories in the bible. And what makes them so powerful? They connect people with fact, ideas, spiritual growth and develop a sense of community. The stories we have in common are what ties families together.

The same can be said about business. Stories not only connect the reader with the writer, they build relationships and familiarity in a way that factual articles and bullet points don’t. Good stories draw the reader in and make a point, which other forms of communication can’t. They enable your reader to learn about you and your business on their own, so it’s important when you decide to tell a story, that it matches the message you want to get across to your audience.

Make it unforgettable and meaningful     

The reason why your audience remember a story is because it strikes a particular chord with them. So, if you know about a certain problem that your target audience has, try and write about it in an engaging way that talks to that particular audience, so it speaks to them and they have that ‘aha’ moment. Use words and examples that help your audience remember what you have to say, using persuasive language, whilst being friendly and helpful. It isn’t easy and I don’t have a formula, but repetition of your main point, looking at the issue from different angles will help people remember your message.

Emotion plays a part

Emotion also plays its part in storytelling. I’ve laughed and cried when reading a book or watching a film on TV. This is because the writers of those kind of scripts know how to tap into the part of us that makes us human. Getting inside the heads of your target audience, and working out what they feel passionate about, will help you influence them with your writing. This, in turn builds a bond or a rapport between you and your readers.

The most powerful stories I’ve ever heard have come from motivational speakers at conferences at the company I worked with in the UK. Stories that tell about a struggle the speaker has overcome…very personal information that they shared and held captive an audience of hundreds of people. The most powerful stories you can tell will be life experiences…maybe a time when you failed at something and how you got back up, dusted yourself down and started again. It could be about a mistake you made that you managed to eventually find a solution to. These stories build connections with your audience and get them on your side, and often it’s something they can relate to.  

How to tell your story?

Once you have decided on your message or the important point you want to get across, it’s largely up to you how you write it. But it’s important to think about how you are going to present it to your target audience. If you know your target audience well, you will know what kind of media they prefer. 

They might like to read your stories, they might like to watch you on video or listen to you speaking animatedly on a podcast. You might want to tell your story through a presentation, combining all three elements. It’s up to you. Whichever way you choose, you will be engaging with your audience on a personal level, influencing them to your way of thinking, connecting with them to gain their trust and giving them inspiration to carry on.    

If you post on social media, I’m sure that you’ve used quotes from famous people. These are used to make us laugh, cry, entertain, educate and always have a moral in the story or a meaning that resonates in the quote. Quotes are a form of a short story and that’s why they can be so powerful. Often when I post a quote, people will say that it speaks to them. Some might say ‘I really needed to hear this today’ if it’s motivational or addressing a common issue. What I’m getting at here is that to tell a story, it doesn’t have to a long rambling tale, it can be short and snappy and to the point.

Whichever way you choose to tell stories to your audience, give them a meaning, be sincere and your readers will be inspired to engage with your content and your brand. Give your story context, maybe some conflict, educate them or make it emotive. You are sharing your reality, or something you have been through – your audience will love you and will love and engage with your content.

What sort of story do you like to hear from an influencer in your life?

A little less conversation, a little more action!

Create a perfect CTA

A CTA is a call to action. Quite simply, it’s you telling someone who visits your website, newsletter or blog to do something. If done well, it will be well designed and thought out, draw the eye of the reader and encourage them to act on something.

It is your last instruction to your audience and tells them to complete a specific task – click on the button!

You need a strong CTA

You don’t just need a CTA, you need a strong CTA that convinces your audience to react. The two main functions of a CTA is to tell someone what to do next and also give them the motivation to do it.

However it’s all very well telling someone to sign up to something, they also need to know why; what’s in it for them?  How does it benefit them? How will it make their life easier or better? You may have already written a paragraph before the CTA telling them the ‘why’, but a reiteration or a recap never hurts and will make the CTA all the more powerful.   

It’s important to put the CTA in the right place, in front of the right people at the right time. They are the perfect way to get your audience to do what you want them to and to get what you want, be that signing up to your newsletter, downloading your e-book or workbook, clicking to get a free checklist, lead generation, traffic to your website or blog or to simply buy direct. They can be used to educate, inspire and engage your audience, generating trust in your business and brand.

How to write a CTA

Before you begin to write a CTA, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve with it.

  • Is it to get someone to sign up to your newsletter?
  • Is it to boost sales?
  • Is it to get your reader to move to another piece of content?
  • Is it directing your reader to some free content?

As soon as you know what you want to achieve, you can start to think about the best way to do that.

Make sure your words or phrases speak directly to your audience and try and be as specific as possible. Whilst things like ‘click here’ are OK, it’s not particularly strong or inspiring, whilst something more specific would be ‘Get your XXXXX now!’ or ‘Discover more now!’ – They just sound a little bit more enticing.

Who are your audience?

Think about your audience. Who are you aiming your CTA at? Is it a specific audience? Your CTA will be seen online, and each internet user is completely different. Some might be online absently browsing news items or shopping offers…some might be watching Netflix or looking for music on YouTube. There are lots of different audiences, so if you know who you’re aiming for, you can tailor the CTA accordingly.

For example, if you have uploaded a video to YouTube, your CTA might be ‘Watch my video now!’ or ‘Watch demo’.

If you are a Chef or love baking and have put a video of you making a cake, your CTA might be ‘Get recipe now’ or ‘Learn to make xxxx’

But it’s not just about having a jazzy button telling someone what to do, you need to lead up to it with some tempting copy too. Never assume that your audience will see a button and click on it because most won’t. They need to be told to do it – it needs to be crystal clear and once they press that button, the instructions also need to be very clear, not at all vague. Don’t use long words and clever language and don’t use jargon. Gently guide your audience in the right direction, you want to attract their attention, not scare them away.

Include them in the introduction to the CTA, using words like ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘we’. This makes them feel valued and their decision is important to you. Focus on the reason they need to do whatever it is. Why is this going to be so good for them? How does it benefit them? Does it solve a problem they have? People love to get something for nothing, or to feel they are getting a real bargain, so if you’re offering something and there is a cost attached to it, why is it such a bargain – what are they getting for their money?

It’s also good to instigate a feeling of urgency – do it now or you’ll miss out on this fabulous bargain. Is it a one-time only offer? Is it at a specially reduced price for the first 20 people to sign up? Is there limited availability? Is the offer only available for a limited time? All these things signify an urgency – telling your audience that they need to take immediate action.

And ultimately, keep the copy short and sweet – your audience don’t want to read a long description – they’ll get bored and scroll on by. It needs to be appealing, persuasive, but short, snappy and to the point. So you need to get the benefits of what you’re offering and why in as few words as possible. This can take some time to get right, so don’t stress if you can’t get it straight away.  

Make your CTA look good

Not only should your copy be snappy and appealing, it also needs to be aesthetically pleasing too. People won’t read it if it doesn’t look good. Give it some space – never underestimate white space, it can be used to highlight a CTA very well. Give it a good colour scheme, maybe include a good image. You might have to test a few before you come up with the right formula that works for you, but once you do, they’ll be no stopping you.

Now it’s time for you to go to your website, blog or wherever you have a call to action and make sure it is clear and specific for your audience, or if you haven’t got one, go set one up.

Make sure your audience know what they have to do next and why. And let me know what CTAs you use!

How to run a Facebook Christmas Campaign to sell your products

Christmas is usually the most important time of year for anyone who sells products or services. With around 93% of people owning a mobile phone or device, millions of them will be logging into Facebook (FB) looking for gift ideas, Christmas related posts and funnies. So it makes sense to use FB to reach some of this massive audience with your posts.   

christmas-2618269_640Christmas is the season of giving and all over the world, people get excited about everything that surrounds this magical time of year. So, let FB be your ‘Santa’s little helper’ and get started now on your Christmas campaign.

If you market your business, you’ll know that a giveaway is the way to get better engagement, more followers and sales. But as everyone who markets their business also knows, you need to stand out from your competition. So how can you run a successful Facebook Christmas campaign?

As an example, let’s say you run a jewellery business, selling jewellery that you make. You sell online via an online store and to the public directly through your market stall. You have a website where people can see your products and you have a business FB page.

What are you hoping to achieve by running a Christmas campaign?

  • Increase your sales of jewellery online and face to face
  • Raise the profile of your business (your brand)
  • More people looking at your product range on your website
  • More ‘likes’ on your FB page
  • Increase the enquiries you get about your jewellery

Now you know what you’re hoping to achieve, you can get started.

Your target market

The first thing to look at is your target market. Who do you want to sell to? What do they do for a living? What can they afford to buy and where do they live. You can get this by looking at your current customers and also look at who engages with your social media pages, your website and/or your blog.

If you have a FB business page, you can look at FB insights. This does take a while to get your head around if you want to fully analyse everything, but as a basic guide…Go to the Overview tab to export your FB Insights data. A pop-up box will appear with three choices…Page data, Post data and Video data. If you click on each of these in turn, you will be able to see key engagement metrics for your page. Facebook do a guide for more in depth information – click here

If you use Instagram, you can also look at their guide for analysing insights on your Instagram account. And you can use data and the details to run a Christmas campaign on Instagram too. Click here to see how to look at your Instagram insights.

cat-1898637_640You will have your unique brand for your products or services, but it’s a good idea to look at branding your products for Christmas and apply that branding to your FB posts and your website/blog. Famous brands do this every year, for example, television programmes such as Dr Who, will have a Christmas special episode, fast food outlets will use Christmas themed wrappings for their burgers, pizza etc. and there will always be a popular musician who will release a Christmas album, such as Cliff Richard! Everyone jumps on the bandwagon at Christmas, so why shouldn’t you too?

When you advertise your products for Christmas, give the ad a Christmassy theme, spice up your website or blog with some Christmas pages and look at packaging your products with Christmas paper, ribbons or offer a gift wrap service (either free or for a small charge).

Your campaign     

It’s up to you when to start your campaign, but generally campaigns start around the September/October point.

As I’m specifically talking about a FB campaign, let’s look at what kind of posts you can put up to attract business. The important thing to remember is that, although you want to be selling as much as you can during this period, it’s also important that your customers get something of value, something that makes a difference to their lives – what’s in it for them? How will they benefit from your campaign? So how can you do all this and still make a profit? Here are some ideas…

Offers/discounts

Everyone loves a bargain, so run a special offer for Christmas on a particular product or service. Make it clear that it’s for the Christmas period only.

sticker-473635_640Offer gift cards so customers can buy a gift card to give to family and friends.

You could run a ‘buy one, get one free offer’ or ‘buy one, get the second half price’ for a limited time. Big companies like Boots the chemist, do this every Christmas with their ‘buy two, get the third free’ offer.

Run a ‘recommend a friend’ offer – if one of your customer’s recommends a friend, then when that friend buys something, your customer gets a free gift or a money- off voucher.

Competition

Run a Christmas themed competition with a special prize – make sure that the prize is appealing and worth entering the competition for. You can do the results of the competition ‘live’ on FB or via a pre-recorded video for more impact…and you could do the same with the run up to the end date of the competition – for example, ‘only one week left to enter our fabulous competition to win a xxxxx’.

Share Christmas themed updates     

You can add value to your customers’ lives by sharing Christmas themed updates. For christmas-dinner-3011500_640example, if you are a restaurant, you could share your Chef’s favourite Christmas dish, dessert or menu; Hairdressers can share easy to do hairstyles for Christmas parties; Beauticians can offer special packages so your body/face/nails/feet etc. are ‘Christmas ready’!; If you sell make-up, you can push your glittery make-up or maybe publish a video on how to do your Christmas party make-up. You get the idea!

You could also share Christmas themed things on your FB page that are just useful and nothing to do with your business, such as ‘how to gift-wrap your presents with style’ or ‘how to decorate your tree’. These kind of posts have the potential to draw in a new audience who may then go on to look at your products/services.

As well as these posts, you could also post inspirational Christmas quotes, ask a question posts, nostalgic post and Christmas trivia related posts – maybe a ‘did you know….’ kind of thing.

You can also produce a FB ad for the Christmas period – socialmediatoday.com have a great article on how you can do this in detail, so have a read.

How many times a week should I post on FB?

The recommended number of posts is once a day and post in the afternoon to reach the maximum number of people. The minimum suggested is three times a week and maximum number, ten times a week. You can do all your posts in advance for the following week and schedule them to automatically appear at a certain time every day.

You don’t need to use all of the ideas I’ve talked about, but I hope I’ve given you some food for thought and that you will crack on with producing your Christmas campaign and I wish you luck with lots of sales and engagement!

Ace your ‘About me’ page!

Do you have a website or blog? If you do, you’re likely to have an ‘About me’ page. If you sell products or services, it’s an important page as it is likely to be your most popular page.

Why?

It’s where new visitors to your site go first to find out about you and what you can offer – what you can do for them. So, it needs to be relevant and grab their attention.

Click on your page now with the eyes of someone looking at your site for the first time…does it immediately ‘grab’ you and make you want to read more? If it does…fabulous! 

If it doesn’t, read on…

About me page essentials 

The purpose of this page is so people can get to know you, but it’s not good enough to just throw together a quick biography, upload a blurry photo from your phone and hope that works.

Let’s face it, not many people out there like writing about themselves, it’s an uncomfortable experience. But if you have a formula to work from, with a structure that works, you can capture the absolute essence of what you do. You can give your readers the opportunity to get to know you, trust you and see exactly what you can offer them.

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I’m going to share that formula with you, so you can ace your ‘about me’ page and stand out from the crowd.

  1. WHAT VALUE DO PEOPLE GET BY READING YOUR PAGE?

    The most important part of your page is letting your readers know what value your business gives them. After all, they’ve come to your page because they’re interested in your products or services. They didn’t come to your page to find out how many pets you have or what hobbies you do (although that has its place…just not the first thing you share!)
    Make it very clear who your blog is aimed at (your target audience) and how you can help them.

  2. WHO IS YOUR SITE AIMED AT?

    This is where you really need to know your customers and your ideal customers. If you are writing for your customers, they will instantly relate to you and your business – they will recognise that this content is for them, about them and will help them. They will then read on.

  3. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR SITE?

    banner-1090830_640
    Or in other words, your site’s biography. You’ve already got your reader’s attention, they know how your site is going to benefit them. Now give them a bit more information – your personal biography comes later!
    >Include information on why readers should care about what you have to say. There are so many websites out there who offer you help for your business, when really, they’re after you paying them shed loads of money for something that probably won’t help them. Show your readers that you mean business, you are genuine. Do you have any recommendations from current customers that say exactly how you’ve helped them? Include one here. This will help you build credibility for what you do.
    >What will your readers get from your posts? Is it financial advice/beauty advice/business advice – you get the picture? It’s about telling them what they can expect from your posts.
    >What do you write about? Keep this short and sweet and to the point and don’t waffle.
    >Is your blog reliable, credible and believable? You need to know your niche very well and be able to answer any questions people may have…and if you can’t, you find out and get back to them. If you’ve written for big well-known sites you can add this here. You can also say how long you’ve been writing for or where you got your experience in your subject. If you’re still learning, you can also say that and say that you will share things as you learn about them. This is where you tell the story of your blog or website – how did your site get started? What inspired you to write your blog? Where did your passion for your subject come from? This is a good sized paragraph, but try and keep it concise and don’t waffle!

  4. YOUR PERSONAL BIOGRAPHY

    Now it’s time to talk about yourself. BUT, keep it relevant to your blog or business. How did you get where you are today? How does your business fit into your life? What inspires you to keep going? Why do you love your business so much?
    Of course, it’s important that you come across as a real person, with a life outside of work, so it’s also OK to include some personal things…if you have a passion for your pets, you run marathons, you love the cinema and films etc. You can connect with your audience on a human level by sharing a few titbits of information about yourself, such as the town and country you live in…anything that shouts ‘YOU’. But just don’t fill the whole page with it!

  5. CALL TO ACTION

    This is the bit most people forget about…a call to action or CTA. It is what it says on the tin – you are telling your readers what to do next…what action they need to take. You might ask them to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites. You could ask them to subscribe to your newsletter.

    smartphone-1701096_640The CTA is really important as it’s your opportunity to get your reader to stay in touch with you, stick around, and come back to your site again. So you need to give them a reason to do this. Asking them to subscribe to something ensures that you can keep in touch with them. If you send out a newsletter, this is a great way to let them know about your business on a regular basis, tell them about new blogs, new products or services, special offers etc. etc. But please don’t do what a lot of people do and bug your readers with emails two or three times a day. When I subscribe to a website, I’ll soon unsubscribe if they bombard my inbox with the same email over and over again. I don’t mind having an email trying to sell me a course that is relevant to me, of course I don’t, but to have the same course being pushed day after day, with just slightly different wording, really irritates me. Maybe an email once a week for the first few weeks, then I’m happy with once a month. I find that if I get something once a month, I’m more likely to read it and click on any links. If someone bombards me every day, they become wallpaper and I end up just deleting them without even reading them.

    Your CTA can be put anywhere in your blog/website ‘about me’ page. It’s obviously good to put it at the end, but you could also put a CTA at the beginning or halfway through if you have something that could help your reader. For example, if you’re talking about what you can offer and you have an information sheet, clothes pattern, beauty tips pdf, you could put a box with ‘CLICK HERE’ to receive XXX or ‘SIGN UP TO RECEIVE YOUR XXXX’.

  6. A HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTO OF YOURSELF

    There aren’t many of us who actually enjoy having our photos taken, but it’s very important that your readers know who you are, what you look like – they can then more easily relate to you…so make sure you are smiling!

HOW YOU CAN BE CONTACTED


You don’t necessarily have to add this to the page, but make sure you have your contact details in a prominent place on the page – telephone number and email address. Alternatively, add a link in your CTA, to your contact page.

FINALLY, re-visit your ‘about me’ page every now and again and update it – give it a bit more pizazz!

I’m off to have another look at mine now!

17 different types of Facebook posts

If you use Facebook to boost your business, you need to keep posting regularly and make your posts interesting enough to keep the attention of your readers….sometimes easier said than done!

social-media-3696901_640My last blog post talked about how to get more ‘likes’ on Facebook, so this is a follow-up with information on the different types of posts you can use to engage your audience.

First of all, have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? The idea of this is to keep promotional content of your business to a minimum…posting non-promotional content 80% of the time and keeping promotional content to 20%. There are loads of different types of posts…here are some of them. If you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comments section!

  • Inspirational quote
  • Quote linked to your business
  • Top tip – this could be something linked to what you do, for example, if you are a crafter, you could share a video tip or crafting tip that would be helpful to other crafters.
  • questions-1328466_640Ask a question…this doesn’t have to be linked to your business. People like to talk about themselves and this is a good way to get a conversation going in your Facebook post…just be careful that the question you ask isn’t too controversial!
  • Did you know…?
  • Promote a competition you are running for your business
  • Promote your blog
  • Photos of your products
  • Image of your pets – maybe ask your followers to post an image of their pet
  • Funny story – again you can ask people if they had anything similar happen to them – this promotes engagement
  • quiz-2004350_640Something personal (make it interesting)
  • Video/Facebook ‘live’
  • Promote other people’s content – there might be an interesting article or funny story that someone else has published that you might like to share
  • Podcasts
  • Quizzes
  • Infographics
  • Call to action

Post at the best time

There has been loads of research done into when it’s best to post on Facebook. It seems that the general consensus of opinion is to post either early morning or at night, particularly around 8pm. I guess this makes complete sense as most people work during time-3222267_640 (1)the day, so are checking their Facebook before they go to work and then again, once they’re home, had dinner and relaxing in front of the TV.

It’s also good to post at weekends when people generally have more free time to browse Facebook and other social media sites. And try to make your posts weekend-friendly, focussing on things to do, places to go and entertainment…especially if your business is at a particular event, you could promote that event too!

If you want to find out exactly what time your fans are online, take a look at your posts within the Facebook Insights area. Facebook Insights is a bit limited, in that it only shows you information from the previous 90 days, but it’s a good start. It shows you information for each of the posts you put on your page, under Reach and Engagement.

Reach – this measures how many people have seen your post. It’s a good way to see how well your business, product or name is getting out there and into people’s news feed, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that just because it appears in someone’s news feed that they will act on it or engage with it. But it is a good way to measure the success of your posts when you are first growing your business, as you have to grow your fan base in order to get their attention.

Engagement – this measures more than just who has viewed or who can see your post. Engagement is defined by Facebook as including all clicks on your post to read more, likes and shares and of course any comments made on your post. If your post has a high reach, it doesn’t mean it will have high engagement. It’s all down to how interesting and compelling your post it and how it pulls in your target audience. The more people that engage with your posts, such as making a comment or liking/sharing it, the more likely those people’s friends will see your post too.

Using Facebook for your business is obviously a good place to advertise your business or an event you are going to, but it is so much more than that…it’s about building good relationships with your followers, showing your human side as well as your business side and also having a bit of fun.

So, why not have a look at your Facebook Insights and see what you can find out about your audience and how they engage with your business.

Do you have any other ideas on how to promote engagement on Facebook? Drop me a line in the comments section!

Did you start your New Year with a bang?

Happy New Year everyone, if a little belated! Did you start your New Year with a bang…
or was it more of a sigh?

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January and February are notoriously hard for the small business as things are generally chimpanzee-978809_640quiet after the Christmas period and January seems to go on forever…or is that just me? It’s a time when we feel lethargic and I always think January feels like a bit of a let-down after the festivities of Christmas and New Year…..a bit like my Chimp friend here on the right!

Whether you’re busy or not, this is an ideal time to kick-start your business, tell people about what you do, show your products or services and get that business rolling in.

Lots of us make New Year’s Resolutions, but less than 10% will achieve that resolution…in fact by now (end of January) most people will have given up on their resolutions…or at least be finding them hard to keep. So, try and tap into what your customers make resolutions about. If you’re a health and fitness business, for example, some of your customers may want to lose weight and get healthy this year. Ask your customers what their resolutions were and see if you can help them achieve that resolution with your products or services.

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Social Media Marketing Ideas

Social Media is a very popular place to advertise your business – you can use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other many sites. I’m going to look at Facebook and the Facebook business page.  If you have a business Facebook page, contrary to what you might think, people don’t follow you to solely buy your products or services. They like to see a wide variety of posts to keep their interest, so it’s a great idea to have a plan of the kind of things you will be posting month on month.

  • Interesting or entertaining content…this can be fun or factual, but all in a light-hearted way – maybe use memes, jokes, contests, puzzles or just a fun inspired image.
  • Content that inspires your audience – there are loads of inspirational quotations out there – you could google a particular theme and run with that for a month, posting something inspirational once or twice a week. Inspirational posts can also be image based – a breath-taking image, something that makes your audience say ‘Wow!’
  • Educational posts – can you teach your audience something? It could be a ‘how to….’ post; how to crochet a hat; how to make a particular tasty dish – a new exercise to combat belly fat or in my case…how to market your small business. These posts help to set you up as an expert in your field and inspires confidence in what you do.
  • Dialogue/chatty posts – these kind of posts are encouraging your followers to interact with you. Ask a question, and be genuinely interested in the answers you get; run a poll to find out your followers’ opinion on a particular subject; publish a post of something that interests you, maybe your favourite holiday destination, with a caption that says why you like your favourite destination – then ask what your followers’ favourite destination is and why.
  • Personal posts – I’ve read that it’s not a good idea to share too much from our personal lives. However, there is a time and place to engage with your audience on a personal level, to connect with your audience and show them you are a real person! You could share photos of your pet or an event you’ve been to; a place you love to visit and why or maybe what you’d like to do if you won the lottery! This makes you a real person that your customers can relate to, but worth noting to limit these to a couple times a month.
  • Promotional posts for your business… YES, there is space for this too! Share new products or services and how they can help your customers; a discount; buy one, get one free; recommend a friend. Also share customer referrals and testimonials

These are just a few ideas on how you can keep the attention of your customers and attract new ones on Facebook. The important thing is to make a plan with a good variety of posts to keep your customers’ interest and make them want to come back for more. Make it your February resolution to plan your business page on Facebook!