How to plan and organise an event

Events are extremely exciting to be involved in, but if you are the person responsible for the planning and organisation on the day, it can seem like a mammoth task. The key to having a successful event is being prepared and being organised is a huge part of that. If all your pre-planning is done meticulously, your event will go swimmingly.

I’ve pulled together a 10-point plan, which should help you think about every angle. This can be applied to anything from organising a craft fayre to a networking event for entrepreneurs.

Define the purpose of your event

What is the purpose of your event?

  • Are you raising money for charity?
  • It might be a networking event where a talk is given on a certain aspect of marketing/tax/pensions etc.
  • You might be teaching an audience something, such as a workshop for a particular craft or hobby
  • You might be organising a craft fayre, pet show or market
  • You could be planning a huge music event

The possibilities are endless, but having a clear purpose helps you to define who your audience is likely to be, what kind of structure you need etc.

If your event has a purpose, people understand what they are going to or signing up to and also know what they might get out of the event, be it professionally, personally, or just for pleasure.

What are your goals and objectives?

What is your ultimate goal? This will be WHY you decided to plan the event in the first place.

This is linked to the purpose of your event…but looks at the end result. What are you hoping that the event will achieve? It could be you want to establish a regular event every few months and this is the first of many. It might be that you want to drive sales for a particular product or make people aware of a particular charity or cause.

Then, look at the objectives.

Try and think of 3-5 objectives that support your ultimate goal.

For example, if this is your second craft event, an objective could be to increase the number of stalls by 10% from last time.

If it’s a charity event, you might want to raise 10% more funds than you did last time.

If it’s a first crafting event, you might have a number of stalls in mind that you want. Similarly, with a charity event, you might have a total amount in mind that you are aiming to raise.

Scope of your event

Once you know the purpose of your event, and the goals and objectives, you can start thinking about the scope of your event. This is the logistical side of things.

These are the key details.

  • When will your event take place? Give yourself at least three months to have time to plan everything.
  • Location – where will your event take place? Finding the perfect location is harder than you think. Depending on what kind of event you are organising, you need to think about the amount of space you need. If you’re organising a music event, you might need somewhere with a stage, for example. If you are having stands or stalls, you need to know how many you are likely to have, so you can ensure that the venue is big enough – and still have space for people to walk around easily – and that the stalls aren’t squashed together.

    You need to think about parking for people who will come to your event and have somewhere that can cater for drinks or something to eat.

    If you’re planning an outside event, you also need to think about a contingency plan in case the weather is bad, or you could end up with a cancellation, which can be avoided if planned up front.
  • How many people are likely to attend your event? This will have an impact on the venue and location you choose. Is it a local event, or are you planning to get people from all over the country to attend? Does your event need to cater for people to stay over? Do you need to look at local hotels or B&Bs?
  • What is your budget? This is an important one. You don’t want to be out of pocket after the event. So, you need to think about how much you will charge for people to attend, have a stall etc. If it’s a networking event or music event, how much will the ticket price be?

    Do you need to hire any special equipment…maybe you have a speaker for a networking event…they’ll need to be heard, so you may need a PA system. You might need equipment for slides etc.

    You can break your budget down into smaller chunks…

    – Venue cost
    – Marketing and promotion
    – Printed material and tickets
    – Speakers or musicians
    – Catering

    Some of these costs, you may be able to recoup by what you make on ticket sales, or pitch fees, but you may have to put some of the money into the event before it starts.
  •  Do you need a team of people to help? If you’re planning a small event, you may be able to do everything yourself, or with the help of a few volunteers, but you need to know how many people you need…and find the right people to help you.
  • With your team, decide on an agenda for the weeks leading up to the event and for the day of the event. Who will do what?

    Allocate specific tasks to the people who will do those tasks best. You will need to advertise and market the event – who will do that?
    You will need to get the right audience, so you need to think about how you will reach that group of people and target them.

    If your event needs to split into different sections – for example, a networking event. How will the day pan out? Will there be several speakers? Which order will they speak in? How long will they speak for?
  • Promote your event. You might put up posters if it’s a local event. Undoubtedly, social media will play a part, so you’ll need to have ads ready to put on social media pages.

    You might have an email list and send out emails to invite people. You might want to advertise on local radio if it’s a local event.

    Think about the best way to reach those that would be most interested in your event.

    If people must pay to participate or pay an entrance fee – how will this work? Do you need to have a float of cash? Will you have something in place to accept card payments?
  • Register participants. If your event means that you’ll have stalls, or several music acts for example, you’ll need to know who they will be in advance, so you can plan for space, catering, chairs, etc. If people will have stalls or stands, do they need electricity for their stand? How much space do they need for their tables? Will they bring their own tables?

    Think about all the logistics that you need to know in advance, so you can ensure that everything is in place, in plenty of time. You don’t want to be running around on the day, as someone suddenly needs electricity, and you don’t have enough extension leads or sockets.

Once you have all of this in place, you will be ready for your event. With the right planning and organisation – and an effective team of people to help you, things will run smoothly.

Risk/Contingency

There will be times when something goes wrong, or something unexpected happens. Wherever possible, try and produce a risk plan before the event. Make a list of all the things that could go wrong and how you will address them. For example, if you are hosting an outside event, what happens if it rains?

Having a contingency or risk plan, will make you feel much more confident if something does go wrong. And remember, even if something does happen, it’s usually something out of your control, such as a power cut or the weather. And there will be times when you just have to run with it and think on your feet.

Measurement after the event

Measurement is something that so many people don’t think of. This is a really important aspect of your planning, as you need to know if your event was a success or not.

It will largely depend on your goals…if you wanted to raise a certain amount of money for charity, for example, you’ll know whether that was a success virtually immediately after the event.

But if your event was something that involves other businesses, through networking or stalls, it’s a good idea to send out a survey after the event to ask what they thought of it, and if it worked for them and their business.

You can ask questions such as:

  • What three things worked well for you?
  • What didn’t work so well?
  • Do you have any ideas for any improvements for next time?
  • Would you come along again if we were to do another event?

You can also ask specific questions about the kind of event you did. You might want to ask about the catering, the venue etc.

Asking for feedback is so important for any future events you decide to do. If you get some good comments or compliments, you can ask if you can use those comments for advertising future events. And you can also use them to shout about how good your event was on social media. You can even put up a post asking people what they thought about your event.

Conclusion

I hope that this post has helped you think about the various aspects of organising or planning an event. If you go through the points and make sure everything is covered, I’m sure you will have a successful and smooth-running event, which will be immensely popular.

Good luck!

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Selling at markets – hints and tips

The past few years have been difficult for everyone and just continues with rising prices and the world economic situation. This has been particularly hard-hitting for the small business, particularly if you sell products. It’s where knowing a bit more about marketing your products comes in and what you can do to maximise the possibilities of selling to your target audience.

I’ve heard several small handmade businesses talking online about the problems they have with making sales – even when they take a stall at a market. So, I thought I would put my marketing thinking cap on and come up with some useful tips to help get those sales.

Before you go

Before you get started or start booking yourself into every craft show, fayre, or market…STOP!

It’s important when you have a handmade business, or in fact any business, that you choose the right venue or event for your business.

You and your products will be judged by everyone else around you, so it’s important that you’re in the right place. For example, if you are at a market or car boot sale, where everyone is selling second-hand goods or junk, the value of your products or services will suffer. So, it’s vital to research the place you’re planning to sell to make sure that it’s right for your particular kind of products or services, so that you give yourself the best possible chance of making sales.

If there are lots of stalls at the venue you choose, check with the organisers how many other stalls are doing the same as you. It’s good to have some competition, but you don’t want your pitch to be right next to someone else who does the same as you, or similar.

Your stock

Seems obvious, but make sure that you have enough stock to sell – be prepared. As you sell your products, your display will reduce…it’s great for you, but can have an adverse effect on those looking to buy from stalls – if there’s not much on your stall, they won’t stop and browse.

In an ideal world, you should sell 8-10 times the fee you paid to have your stall. So, make sure that you have enough stock to replenish sold items, keeping your stall looking as professional as it did when you set it up.

The basics

There are lots of little things to get in place before you can go to the venue.

  • Do you need any special licenses or permits to do the event?
  • Make sure you’ve got the relevant insurance in place
  • How are you going to take payment for your products?
  • Plan how much stock you’re going to take, so you know how much you need to make, and order any materials you might need
  • How are you going to package and wrap your products once they’re sold? Make sure you have enough packaging or wrapping.
  • Think about how you’re going to transport your products – do you need to get any boxes or containers to carry it all?
  • Put price labels on every product – or make price labels for groups of products – there’s nothing worse than having to do this on the day – or worse, not having prices and people either must ask, or don’t bother and walk away.
  • Make sure that any tables, cloths, stands, or props are all clean, not damaged or broken and that you have enough.
  • Make sure that you have signage, so people know what you do. Have business cards or flyers that you can give out or include with purchases.
  • Have something printed to collect email addresses, that asks for a customer/potential customer’s name, email address, stating they agree to having email from you. After the event you can send them a link to your email sign up. Or, have an iPad or phone so you can send your email sign up link to them on the spot.      
  • If it’s an outside event, do you have a contingency plan to keep your products dry in case of a shower? Similarly, if it’s really hot, can you have something to keep you and your products in the shade…and don’t forget sunscreen?
  • Pick your outfit and make sure it’s comfortable and practical – wear comfortable shoes!
  • Pack a chair so you can sit down in between customers
  • Have a rubbish bag with you, pens, paper,
  • Take a packed lunch or snacks and drinks.
  • Make sure that you have fuel in your car and directions to where you are going! And change for parking if necessary.      

Pre event marketing

Although the event will be advertised by the event organisers, it’s a good idea to advertise that your business will be there. Put this everywhere – on your social media pages and add to any groups you belong to. If you have Google My Business, put it on there as this will help with local business. Add it to your website. Tell everyone you know…you could even print off an A5 ad and put it in the window of your car! Make use of any local advertising – some supermarkets or local shops allow small adverts or posters – make one and put it anywhere you can – stating that your business will be there.

Get sales savvy

Before I go into sales on the day…before the day, set up your stall at home – how will it look on the day? Be uber critical – look at it from every angle, so you know it’s right.

Think about the type of people that will visit – you could have children or people in wheelchairs or motorised scooters. If all your stock is up high, is it accessible to everyone?

On the day

Arrive in plenty of time to set up and get everything out of your car, tables set up etc. You don’t want to start the day rushing and flustered.

Once you are set up, do a quick test. Stand where people will see your stall for the first time – maybe 50 feet away. This is the first impression people will have or your stall – what’s your first impression? Does it look inviting? Is it too dark or empty? Can you see what’s for sale? Is your signage visible and does it say clearly what you do?

Once this is done, you’re ready for your customers!

Engage your customers

Don’t just stand behind your stall and expect people to come to you. You need to talk to everyone that comes to your stall. Most people will be generally browsing and looking for reasons not to buy – you need to persuade them that they WANT to buy. So, give them the reasons…

  • Talk about your products
  • Tell customers about the benefits – what it does for them – it could be it would make a great gift for Mum, Dad, friend etc.
  • Everyone loves a story, so talk about your products. How was it made? Where is it from? For example, if you make products from driftwood or sea glass, talk about where you got the raw material and what gave you the idea to make it into your products. It’s not just a sea glass bracelet or necklace – it’s crafted from sea glass that you personally collected from a beach in XXXX. Get people’s attention and interest. A good story can give extra value that actually clinches a sale.

Appeal to everyone

Very often, at craft events or handmade events, there will be Mums and children. Usually, children are given a small amount of money to spend…and Mum is normally with them. Make sure you have a few small items that are pocket-money-affordable, so that you attract the children. Then whilst they are browsing you can engage Mum in a conversation and talk about your products. There’s then the possibility of a bigger sale.   

Target the senses

Encourage visitors to your stall by appealing to their senses.

Here are a few examples…

  • Encourage touch – put a small sign that says, ‘Touch me, I’m hand-felted wool’, or ‘The softest scarf you’ve ever felt’.
  • You might sell soaps or scented candles. ‘I smell delicious, smell for yourself’.
  • If you sell things to eat, such as cupcakes, hone in on the tastebuds. Instead of just having a plate with little samples – asking people if they’d like to try, make it more enticing…for example, you sell ginger or cinnamon spiced cupcakes, ‘Smell and taste Christmas’. Or even, ‘Taste me – what do I remind you of?’ It’s putting out a challenge and giving people a reason to taste your wares…giving them permission to be indulgent.

Don’t have things packaged away in boxes – have the items out of their boxes, so people can see them, or touch them.     

Get in touch with your customer’s senses!

A customer buys from you – what next?

Inside you’re doing your happy dance – you’ve made a sale! So, you wrap the purchase, take their money, and thank them – they go on their way.

NO!

You could be missing a trick here. Don’t just let them disappear in the crowd, never to be seen or heard from again. Wouldn’t it be good if you could increase your sales, and make them come back again – or come back with a friend?

Loads of businesses use a loyalty programme – such as coffee shops. Buy so many cups of coffee, get one free. Why not jump on this yourself? Give a loyalty card – once they’ve purchased a certain number of items from you, they get a freebie.

Introduce a friend and if that friend buys from you, they get 10% off their next order.

Ask them to sign up to your email newsletter, where they will get information about where you’ll be at future events, details about your products or services, link to your online shop, and social media. And details of any special offers you run. Have an incentive to sign up, (a lead magnet). This is simply giving a customer or potential customer something in return for their email address. It could be a freebie of some kind or a discount on their first order.   

Even if this doesn’t work, make sure you add a business card/thank you card in their package when they buy. They will find it later when they get home and might decide to look at your online shop.   

ALWAYS engage first and then sell.

I really hope that this has been a useful article for you if you are a handmade business.

If you have any further suggestions of what you do at events, please add to the comments below. Thank you for reading!

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How to market an online course

If you’re planning to create an online course, or even if you’ve already created your online course, you will need to have a robust marketing strategy in place to help you promote it to your target audience.

Before you create your online course

The first strategy really comes into play before you create your course. It’s important to know who you are aiming it at (your target market). So, how do you know this? Think about your ideal client and create a buyer persona.

So, you know who they are and what they do, how old they are, what motivates them and what interests do they have?

Create as many as you need as there may be different types of customers that you have in mind for your course.  

You can refer to these buyer personas when you’re creating your marketing content – it helps to know who your ideal client is, so you can tailor your content specifically to them.

What is your USP (unique selling point)?

Go into Google and look at courses that currently exist, that are based around the subject matter that you want to cover in your course. Make notes of what is included in those courses and how they are presented. Is there anything that they’ve missed? Are there any aspects that they’ve included that you wouldn’t?

Is there anything in the courses of your competitors that you think you could cover better or add more value to? Can you add in extra topics that your competitor doesn’t cover?

Putting a course out there means giving loads of value to the people that sign up. They want it to be jam packed with value, so they know that they’re not wasting their time and money.

Doing this kind of research will lead you to your USP…what is your USP? What is it that you do different to your competitors? What is the one thing that makes your business better than your competitors?

Once you know what that is, you can add it to your marketing messages. And the good thing is that when someone asks you what makes your course so special – or different to XXXX’s course, you have the answer!

Get information up front

Before you start making your course, you need to know if it is something that your audience want! It might be something you want to create, or something you think people will want. But, until you ask them, you don’t really know!

The best way to find this out is to ask! If you have an email list, or an audience on your blog, you can ask them what they’d be interested in learning about – you could send a survey to your email list. You can also ask people on your social media sites, or in the networking groups you belong to. Then create your course around what they want – not what you think they want.

Get to work

Once you know who your audience are and what they want, you can create your course. There’s just a little bit more research to do – what keywords or phrases will people type in to look for your course? You can research similar courses to yours, or you can use a keyword tool to look at the most popular keywords related to your subject. Then you can include those keywords in your title.

Once you are armed with all this information, it’s time to think about preselling your course. You need to treat your online course like a product launch…because basically that’s what it is.

Coming soon!

You want to try and create a buzz around your course, and one way is to create a ‘coming soon’ page. If you treat it the same way that you would treat a new product, you can’t go far wrong by building excitement and a buzz around the launch. You could just do a ‘coming soon’ page on your website, without giving away too much information…just the basic information! Then say that more details will be posted soon.

You can also use your social media pages to start some teaser information about your course. Don’t just talk about yourself and the course though – make sure that you give some valuable information to get your audience’s interest. For example, you could give away a checklist or cheat sheet that is linked to the information in your course.

You could set up a ‘sign up to show your interest’ page, either on your website, or on a hosting site, such as Mailerlite. When someone signs up to show interest, they get your freebie and an email that tells them a little bit more about the course. Then you have their email and can send them more details about the course as they become available.

If you run your own Facebook group, you can promote it there too.

You might send links to interesting articles you’ve found online about similar subjects to yours – you don’t have to just use your own content.

Start a podcast

You could start a podcast to highlight your expertise in your subject and talk about things related to your course material. Podcasts are great for interviews, so if you have done a course before, or have been running a pilot course with a targeted group of people, you could interview one of them to ask what they got from it.

If you do a podcast though, in the same way with anything that you give away, make sure that you don’t use the same information/subject matter that you’ll be using in your course, as they won’t be happy if your online course that they pay for, is the same content as the stuff you’ve been giving away for free!

Connect with your audience via an online webinar

In the same way as you can create a podcast, you can also run regular webinars…or even a one-off online webinar. You can pre-record these and cover some of the things you know that your audience struggles with – and give a solution to some of their pain points. Again, make the subject matter different to the course content you’re creating.

Running these kind of presentations gives your audience an idea of what you’re like to work with. You’ll no doubt get questions, which may give you ideas to include in your online course. It will also give you feedback, which you can use to show the value you give your audience. This all helps give credibility to your business.

Into the launch phase!

Now you’ve done the ‘coming soon’ stuff, which may have gone on for a couple of months or more, now is the time to promote the course date and more details.

You can still use all the things you used pre-launch, such as podcast, social media, your blog, or email newsletter, or even a webinar. Now is the time to ramp up the communications.

Paid Ads

Paid Ads can be an effective way to advertise your online course. Even a simple Facebook post boost can help with this kind of content. You can target them to a specific audience, they don’t have to cost a lot and you can track their success. I can’t specifically say, with hand on heart, that paid Ads are worth it or that they work, as I have never felt the need to use them myself. But it is something I will try when I do decide to create my own online course.

You just have to make sure that you factor in the cost of these Ads, as they can be quite expensive. Just make sure that whichever platform you use for Ads, that it is a platform that your target audience uses.

Team up with others

Another good way to get your course out there is to team up or buddy up with other businesses…preferably not businesses who do the same as you, but those that you know and like – you need to like or be interested in the kind of things your buddy posts in order for this to be successful – otherwise it’s just the same as doing like for like, or follow for follow, which really doesn’t work.

So, ask people who you regularly interact with and agree to like, comment on, and share their posts or stories, as well as doing shout outs to each other.

This helps you, but could also lead to partnerships in the future, especially if the business you partner up with does something that complements your business. They may even be able to be a guest speaker on your course, or be an interviewee on your podcast, blog, or webinar. The possibilities with partnerships is endless.

Teaser Mini Course

Earlier I talked about a teaser on social media for preselling. Another idea would be to create a mini teaser course, just a few weeks before your main course goes live.

This is a free short course that gives people a taste of what you do and the value you give. At the end of the teaser mini course, you can give the option to sign up to your paid course, where they can find out much more and get even more value from you.

The other thing about creating a mini course, is that the audience that sign up will realise how little they actually know about your niche and will be wanting to know more.

Offer a discount

You can also use a discount offer to entice people to sign up. For example, the first three people to sign up get 50% off – or whatever figure you decide to go for.

Create a sales page

You’ve done your ‘coming soon’ page; now it’s time to create your course sales page or landing page. A landing page is a page on your website, or on a hosting site like Mailerlite, that is dedicated to purely selling your online course. This is where you can go to town with advertising what, specifically your course will cover.

Talk about the benefits of the course – what’s in it for your audience? What problems does your course solve? What will your audience go away knowing that they didn’t know before? How will it help them or their business in future?

Include testimonials from those who did your mini course or those who have listened to your podcast, read your blogs, or have commented on your newsletter. You may have feedback from the survey you sent out that you can use. Just remember to always ask permission from the person who gave the feedback if you’re going to use it to advertise your course.

Make sure that the content of your course is really clear, so your audience know exactly what they’re signing up for.

And, don’t forget to include a CTA (call to action), such as a button saying, ‘YES, SIGN ME UP NOW!’ Always make it short and snappy and make it sound urgent, like you mustn’t wait to sign up – do it now!

Passive Income

Courses

Your online course may be a course where you are very hands-on and run individual sessions over a period of weeks or months. However, if you record a course with individual modules, you can put it on an online hosting channel, such as Udemy, which is an online learning platform (a marketplace to sell and buy courses online). You make money on this platform by uploading your course and selling it. It’s a free service for those uploading courses and can help you achieve passive income. It won’t make you millions, but it will help give you credibility and the possibility of a regular passive income.

Students on Udemy generally take courses to improve their job-related skills. I have used it several times for course on various social media channels to help me understand them better. The good thing is that you can upload a course on any subject you can think of. I’ve seen everything from cupcake decorating, to car maintenance, interior design to computer skills. There’s something for everyone and courses start from around £15. I’ve even got courses free of charge and have had some great deals during January sales.

eBooks

As well as making passive income from your online course, you could also write a related eBook and sell it on your website, or even upload it to Amazon or a similar book selling site.

Conclusion

Now it’s time for you to get started! Do your research, do a presale ‘coming soon’ campaign, choose the best strategy for you and just do it!

Let me know if you found this post useful and, as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  

How to promote your website

Another week has passed, and we are flying into spring! I am really hoping for some warmer weather, and already noticing the spring flowers starting to make an appearance.

There has been lots of talk recently about the online shop channels where you can list your products for sale, and how their prices are steadily rising. I’ve noticed a few people in networking groups talking about starting a website, or they have one but don’t know what to do with it. So, this week I thought I’d talk websites.

Why have one?

According to E-Commerce Statistics, there are more than 2.14 billion online shoppers worldwide, with E-retail sales projected to grow to 5.4 trillion (in dollars) in 2022. And 68% of online shoppers search a product on Google before buying.

So, the more places that your business can be seen and found online, the better. Whilst online shop sites are great and help push your business to their wider audience, you still don’t own it – and they can have glitches that effect your business. With your website, you own it! But why have one?

  • Promote your business 24/7 – you can sell even when you’re asleep!
  • Builds your reputation and credibility. A website gives you the chance to not only show your products or services for the world to see, but they can see the quality and price, can look at recommendations and comments from customers, and a website gives you the space to tell your audience a bit more about yourself and your business – how you started etc. Not everyone will want to know this, but there are those who like to know who they’re buying from, and your website gives that personal service.
  • First impression – Not only does having a website make you more credible, but it also shows that your business is established and that you are experienced at what you do. Even if your competitors are stronger than you, a well-built, mobile friendly website can entice customers to choose you instead. You might operate your business from the tiniest desk space in the corner of your dining room, or make your products in your tiny spare bedroom, but when you have a website, your customers don’t see this. All they see is the power of your brand – size doesn’t matter!
  • Advertise your business – Your website is your ultimate advertising tool. For a relatively small investment in the cost of setting up your website, you can reach millions of people. It is that one brochure that the entire world has access to – no printing and re-printing when you have new products – you just add them online at the click of a button. You can include tons more information and images than you could afford to put into a brochure…or that there is space for in online shop sites or social media. It’s a fantastic marketing tool that is constantly relevant and up to date.
  • Saves you time – Your website can tell people who you are, where you are and what you do. Without a website, you may spend endless wasted time on the telephone or email giving people directions to where you are, giving details of the products you sell or the services you offer. Your website gives all these details in one, easy to access space, available 24/7. Not only does it give these basic details, but it also gives more detailed information about your products. Then, when people do contact you, it’s generally about something more specific or to actually buy from you or use your services.
  • Reach a huge audience – A website puts you in front of a worldwide audience. Business often comes from word of mouth, and this is a fantastic way to get local business. You may have business cards that you give out at craft fayres or commercial networking events, which is great, but to expand and reach customers that don’t know you, the internet is the way forward. And if you do give out business cards, having your own website looks professional and gives something for the recipients to look at when they get home after an event.
  • Customer Services – Your customers are the most important part of your business. You can improve the service you give them by including FAQs and a Contact Us page on your website. Customers can not only leave comments and recommendations, but they can also ask questions. You can collect your customers email addresses, and with their permission, can send them regular updates about new products or services through your email newsletter. This makes them feel valued and valued customers will come back to you time after time.

How to promote your website

Now you know the importance of having a website and its benefits, how do you promote it to reach that wider audience?

Before I start on this, make sure that your website homepage gives readers the information they need, quickly and succinctly. You need to include:

  • Who you are
  • What you can do for them – the main benefits or your products/services
  • How they can contact you
  • How they can make a purchase
  • CTA – call to action – what you want them to do next.
  • Links to your social media pages

OK. Let’s look at the promotion.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

Now, I see this title and often glaze over! But it doesn’t have to be like that. SEO is just a matter of making sure that your website content includes the terms, keywords, and phrases that your potential customers will use to search for businesses like yours. This involves you knowing who your customers are and what they type into search. Have a brainstorm, produce ideas, and look at what words/phrases your competitor uses.

You can also use a free keywords tool (https://www.wordstream.com/keywords/

You can type in your website address, or your competitor’s website address…then choose your business category from a dropdown box, and the country you are in – it will then show you the most popular down to the least popular keywords that people search for. I must admit, it’s pretty amazing! Try it!

If you have these keywords in your website, in headings or subheadings, as well as in the text, the more likely you will be found by search engines. Focus on your product and service keywords first. For example, if you sell gardening equipment, you might include keywords such as, gardening…gardening tools, growing a garden.

The only thing I would say to avoid is using too many keywords – Google and other search engines will notice if your content is stuffed with keywords – the copy must still be relevant and make sense!   

And don’t forget to optimise images, by adding alternate text, using keywords.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is great as, not only does it improve your SEO, but it also gives useful information for your target audience. There are lots of different ways to include content marketing in your website.

  • Blogging is the obvious one. You can use your blog to give useful information that will help your audience; you can use it to talk about your products or services; use it to introduce new products or talk about special offers or products for a certain time of year, such as Easter or Christmas; is you have a book published or an article published in a magazine, you can give an excerpt and talk about it.

    A blog is a very versatile tool and helps bring traffic, and so potential custom, to your website.
  • Email newsletter is the other most popular form of content marketing for websites. You can have a pop-up box or a ‘click here’ button on your website, which asks your readers to subscribe to your email newsletter. When they sign up, it’s a good idea to have a lead magnet (a freebie that they get for signing up – could be 10% discount on their first order, or a free gift, E-book, checklist, workbook, audio or video, or even a free mini-course. Whatever you choose, it’s important to have something to entice them in.

    Once you have subscribers, you have your own email list and can send out regular emails, whether it be once a week or once a month, and share a bit about yourself, talk about things you’re doing, ask questions, promote your blog, promote your products and share valuable information with them. They have chosen to sign up, or opt-in, so they already like your business. Now it’s down to you to keep them interested…just don’t bombard them with sales talk and selling products, or they will unsubscribe. I also don’t advise sending emails too often. I unsubscribe if I’m getting emails every couple of days as it clogs up my inbox. I only send my email newsletter out once a month, but once a week is OK too – it’s up to you.
  • Podcasts are also good and work much in the same way as a newsletter, but you are talking to your audience via audio. Potential customers can sign up and, the good thing with podcasts is that they can be listened to when your audience are driving to and from work, doing the housework or just sitting quietly. It’s a great tool and becoming increasingly popular.
  • Video is another form of content marketing that can help you promote your business. You can share it on your website, in newsletters, on your social media pages, and you can set up your own YouTube channel to host the videos and reach another audience that way. Video is taking over and set to become even bigger in 2022, so it’s worth thinking about.

Whether you choose blogging, email, podcasts, or video, when you share them in your social media, or on other sites, you can put a link to your website pointing your readers or listeners to go check it out.

Social Media

We all know how effective social media can be in helping us promote our businesses. So long as you post regularly, consistently and give a varied array of posts, you will engage with your target audience. Networking is crucial to social media success, so make sure you join RELEVANT networking groups that will help your business.

You can do the odd post about your website and include a link; you can give a taster of a blog post and include a link. And you can advertise your email subscription. This can be done through posts, reels, or stories – or even live video…and always put a link to your website, so you are driving traffic back.

Update your email signature

This is one that people often don’t think about, but it’s the perfect place to promote your website. Just add your website URL under your name in your signature. It’s easy to do and can be highly effective.

Business Cards

You might send out business cards or thank you cards out with your orders. Make sure they include your website address. Another simple and effective way to promote your business.

Google My Business

Google My Business, or Google Business Profile as it’s now changed its name to, is a free must-have resource if your business relies on local people. It’s simple to use; you register your business and when someone searches for you or something you do, your business will be highlighted to them if they are local to you. You can link your website to your account, share photos and post short paragraph posts, which has an option to include a link. I share my blog posts on mine, as well as posting from time to time about my website and email newsletter.

You can add opening hours, contact information and a host of other things to make it easier for customers to find you in search engine results. The only stipulation is that you must have a Gmail email account to set it up. But worth it.

These are just a few ideas – there are loads more out there, but for starters, these are the ones I would advise to help you get traffic to your website.

If this has been helpful, please add a comment below. Thanks, and have a great first week of March!

54 ideas for email content

Email marketing is a fabulous way for your customers or potential customers to find out more about you and your business…the brand, products, or services they care about. The great thing about email is that people have to opt-in to receive your emails in their inbox, so they are choosing to have communication from you on a regular basis.

Over half of the entire population of the world uses email, according to The Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, and they expect email users to grow to over 4.2 billion by the end of 2022. Just think about that for a moment – 4.2 BILLION! It’s a bit mind-blowing.

They say,

“Email remains the most pervasive form of communication, while other technologies such as social networking, instant messaging, chat, mobile instant messaging are also taking hold, email is still the more ubiquitous form of business communication. In addition, email is integral to the overall Internet experience as an email account is required to sign up to any online activity, including social networking sites…”

The Radicati Group

How do I produce new ideas every month?

This is the big question that I’ve been asked several times over the past month, so after a bit of research and hard thinking, I’ve produced a list that I think will help you tailor your email to your audience, to keep them engaged and to keep them coming back for more, month on month.

But, before I give you the ideas, think about these three questions first. You shouldn’t just throw any old content out there – it must fit your brand and your target audience.

  1. Will your email hit the spot with your target audience?
    You know your customers, so you need to make sure that any content you publish is right for them and will add value to them and their lives.
  2. What are your goals for your email?
    You need to know why you’re setting up an email list. It could simply be that you want to have more engagement with your business or to help you increase sales. Once you know what your goal is, think about how you want your audience to respond. It’s important to pick content ideas that will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Does your content fit with your brand?
    In the same way that you pick the content to target your audience and help you achieve your goals, you also need it to fit with your brand. Does the content align with the core values of your business?

I always bang on about the 80/20 rule when I talk about content for social media posts. That is, all content should consist of 80% engaging, entertaining, educating and inspiring your target audience, and only 20% sales.

The same applies to content for your email marketing. So, with this in mind, I’ve created a list for you, under those separate headings.

What content can I put out there?

Engaging ideas

This is where you can share things that help your audience to get to know you and your brand. Be authentic and show your personality. This helps your audience relate to you, feel cared about and valued, and to find out what your brand stands for.

  • Share things that you love – this could be images, music, articles, or stories that you come across.
  • Introduce yourself and tell your audience about your business. What is your ‘why?’ Why did you start your business and why do you do what you do?
  • What inspires you? This could be individual inspiration for particular products or services that you offer.
  • Show behind the scenes videos or photos of your business. You could video you making a product, packing an order to a customer, or unpacking an order and showing each individual item to camera.
  • Share a ‘day in the life’ and take your audience through a typical day for you.
  • Tell your story and share a list of things you wish you’d known before starting your business.
  • Share something that didn’t work for you, (we’re all human), and how you rectified it. Or share an obstacle you’ve come across and how you resolved it.
  • Write about your children or your pets and how they make you happy or mad (!) and tell a funny story about them.
  • Share a charity you support and why it’s so important to you.
  • Share your most popular posts from social media.
  • Talk about any courses you’ve done or any certification you have. You might have done something to upskill – share it!
  • Ask your audience questions – if you’re thinking of a new product or service, ask their opinion.

Entertainment ideas

These things help show your fun side. Make your audience laugh, think, or test them in some way. Content that you share to entertain doesn’t have to link directly to your business or your products/services. It’s about showing the authentic you. Although it doesn’t have to link to your products/services, it is important that it will appeal to your target audience.

  • Holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas. Share funny stories or facts.
  • Memes and jokes – share something that makes you laugh – just be aware of things that could offend your audience.
  • Contests – share a contest through your email list, set out what it is and what they must do – and tell them the winner will be announced in your next email. This will ensure they open and read the next email you send!
  • Quizzes – set up a quiz with a set of questions and offer a small prize for the winner…to be drawn at random. You can publish the results in your next email.
  • Share a case study of one of your products from the perspective of a customer. Ask a customer if you can interview them and feature them in your email as a case study.
  • Host a poll – ask a question and have multi-choice answers.
  • Share the link to an article or post you’ve read that you have found interesting/entertaining.

Educating ideas

There will always be something that you can teach your audience. Whether you’ve been in business for years, or just a few months, you will know how to do something that others don’t. Your business will be unique, even if you do a similar thing to other businesses, because you are unique and have your own set of values, interests, and ways of doing things!

  • Provide hints and tips to help your audience
  • Create a video showing your audience how to do something
  • Create a series of videos or photo shots, showing the creation of a product or service, from start to finish, with an explanation for each stage.
  • Give tips on what NOT to do, related to your business.
  • Create a template or checklist that your readers can download for free.
  • Create a beginner’s guide to something you know all about. It can be in PDF format and doesn’t have to be a book!
  • Share an infographic.
  • Share trends in your industry or interesting articles about your niche.
  • If you see a new legal thing that impacts your type of business, share it for others to see.
  • Share any blog posts you’ve written that month, or any articles that your business is featured in.
  • Share facts.
  • Share an actionable idea that will make your audience’s life easier.
  • Tell your audience how your products or services can make their lives better – what problems do you solve for them?
  • Share a book you’ve read and why you like it, especially if it’s something that teaches your audience how to do something.

Inspirational ideas

There are lots of different definitions of inspiration and what that means. Here’s just a few from some of the bigger dictionaries.

Another way to describe inspirational content is motivational. This is the way I tend to thing of it. If something motivates me, it inspires me to do something different or something new – or just makes me think!

So, with all of these in mind (wow!), here are a few ideas:

  • Share inspirational or motivational quotes.
  • Share a case study that you feel is inspirational.
  • Do you have testimonials about your products or services? Share them!
  • Tell a story about how you overcame something. It could be an illness, a sports injury (and your journey back to health), an obstacle in your business or something from your childhood.
  • Show what inspires you. It could be a photo of your favourite place…it could be something or somewhere that makes you feel safe.
  • Talk about the things that help you stay inspired and why. It could be that you do daily meditation or yoga. You might enjoy getting out in the fresh air and hiking or the kind of exercise you’re into.
  • Talk about your hobbies – for example, if you love taking photos, share the ones that inspire you and say why. Share your passion with your audience.
  • Share your bucket list – you could have serious or silly aspirations on your bucket list!

Sales ideas

Finally, you can talk about your products or services from a sales perspective.

  • Share an offer or discount
  • Talk about new products and how/why you created them.
  • Link to your website, price list, online shop, or blog.
  • Give the link to your subscription page and ask them to share it with their friends and family – or anyone they think would be interested in your products or services.
  • Give an incentive to buy your products – do you have a loyalty card like they give in coffee shops? E.G. Buy 10 coffees, get one free.
  • Give a freebie as part of a competition – or just give a freebie because your readers are loyal customers/followers.
  • Focus on one product and tell your readers all about it. What are it’s features and more importantly, what are its benefits? How will your product make their lives better or easier?
  • Share images of your products, maybe share a best seller, with price.
  • Create a video of some of your best-selling products and share it in your newsletter.
  • Share any media coverage or articles written about your business.
  • If you attend an event, write about it and how well your products sold.
  • If you have a stall at a local market, share photos and experiences.
  • Ask customers to send you photos or short videos holding or using your products.

I really hope that this blog post has helped you think of new and innovative ways to get content into your email. Thank you for reading and I hope you are inspired to get started with email or give yours a good re-vamp.

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Small Business Market Trends for 2022

The last couple of years has taken all businesses on one heck of a ride. From being plunged into lockdown with a global pandemic, to the current economic uncertainty, with prices rising and competition fierce.

Every small business out there deserves a huge round of applause for persevering and, in my experience from what I’ve seen on various social media groups, remaining optimistic with a ‘never give up’ attitude.

Over the past couple of years, we have all seen a shift in working from home and lots of new small businesses have sprung up. Some of them from just having more time to work on their hobby…with the realisation it could become more than that.

So, as we start to make our way through 2022, what are the marketing trends going to be this year, that as a small business, you should be aware of?

Online business service

First, the obvious one! Online search traffic has soared since lockdown, with more people than ever shopping online. More people are supporting small businesses, and like the fact they can order gifts for themselves and their loved ones at a very reasonable price, from someone who gives a bespoke, personal service. Reviews I’ve seen from the small businesses I follow all speak of excellent customer service; how the business owner has gone above and beyond to help their customers. This is the kind of service that you don’t get from some of the bigger stores when you order online…it’s more, ‘get your order in and get on with it.’ But a small business will take the time to wrap your order personally, will include a personal note, and will take the time to message you. This all adds to that all important, customer experience; the kind of experience that makes them trust you and come back for more.

Social Media and Instagram

This might seem like another obvious one, but social media is still the best way for you to get your products or services out to your target market.

Facebook is still the leader and continues to be the best platform for small business marketing.

According to https://www.oberlo.ca/blog/facebook-statistics, Facebook has 2.8 billion monthly active users (from 2021 figures). It also has 1.84 billion users that are visiting Facebook daily, using one of Facebook’s core products – Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. This is quite mind-blowing!

But Instagram is also part of those figures, and whilst Facebook remains the most popular, Instagram is starting to creep up in terms of popularity. According to figures published by theverge.com, fewer young people use Facebook. From 2019-2021, the percentage of teenagers on Facebook fell by 13% and Facebook itself, is projecting that will drop to 45% by 2023. So, Facebook’s average user is getting older.

This is where Instagram comes in. Instagram is experiencing a steady growth and over 70% of their users are under the age of 35. So, what does that mean for you as a small business?

You are missing a trick if your business is not on Instagram as this trend is set to continue into 2022.

OK, I hear you say, ‘but how can I market my business on Instagram?’ I know from experience how daunting it can be to start a new social media channel and know how to make it successful. Overall, the same principles apply, but there are some things you can do to help your business more.

Reputation Marketing

Reputation Marketing is a strategy to use your customer reviews to promote the reputation of your business in creative ways.

Storytelling is a big part of this, sharing stories of the work you’ve done alongside the reviews you get for a particular item. You can share screenshots of reviews or put images of your products with the review as a caption. Reviews are also good for your brand awareness and social proof.

Social proof is becoming a must – it is estimated that 80% of users go to Instagram for help in making decisions on what they buy from local businesses.    

Instagram SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Is there even such a thing? Previously Instagram only allowed users to search for content by hashtags, location tags, usernames, and profile names. In late 2020, Instagram put in place Instagram keyword searching. You can take advantage of this in three ways:

  1. You can search for your target audience or customers. It’s great for finding new people to interact with, start conversations, and build relationships with. This does mean you need to know your audience and know what kind of interests they have outside of your brand, so you know what keywords and phrases to search for.
  2. It also helps your ideal customer find you. If you use specific keywords in your captions, keywords that you know your customers will search for, it makes it easier for them to find you.
  3. It’s also great for conducting market research or looking at your competitors. With this search tool, you can look up your competitor’s keywords. You’ll also be able to see if your customers speak about any pain points, which you can help solve with your products or services.

For example, say you are an artist – Sarah Art. Before this came into play, your post would only appear in an Instagram search if you and your customer searched #sarahart, which to be honest, people didn’t really do. Now you and your customers can just search whatever you want, without using a hashtag, and a list of matches will come up.

Google My Business

2022 is the year to get onto Google My Business…. or Google Business Profile as it’s now called. If you are not taking advantage of this free service, you are really missing a trick.

It is owned by Google’s platform and promotes businesses across Google Search and Google Maps. When you search for a local business, you’ll always be pointed to local Google Business Profiles.

The benefits of this are obvious as your business will be more easily found locally. And if you ask your customers to put their reviews on your Google Business Profile, your Google reviews will be online – they won’t be without a Google Business Profile.

According to safaridigital.com ‘near me’ mobile searches increased by 136% in 2021, where people are trying to find local products or businesses. And over 50% of all ‘near me’ searches will result in an offline store visit.

Previously, users had to type in a postcode or town to search for a local business. But today, local SEO Statistics 2022 reveal that the addition of two words can help users find their desired local service.

If you’re not yet on this platform, I wrote a blog post about it in 2021… The Benefits of using Google My Business

Local Service Ads by Google

Local Service Ads allow you to interact with users who search for the services you offer on Google. Your ads will be shown to customers in your location. Your ad will highlight the most important information for customers to choose your business, such as services offered, service area, hours and reviews.

You only pay if potential customers contact you directly from your ad.

I must admit I haven’t used this service yet, but you can get more information here.

Conclusion

  • Don’t forget to continue using Facebook, but also get yourself on Instagram if you haven’t already done so
  • Use reputation marketing and Instagram reviews to engage with your current followers and reach new customers
  • Strategically caption your Instagram posts, as Instagram SEO is set to become huge in 2022
  • Claim and verify your Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business), so you can be found locally more easily
  • Look into Local Services Ads by Google and see if your business qualifies. They are inexpensive and enable small businesses to capture more leads.

If you find anything in this article a big daunting, please feel free to contact me. I offer Marketing Coaching, along with a free discovery call, so will be very happy to speak to you.

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.

Facebook marketing tips for creative businesses

Facebook is a great marketing tool for small businesses. It is one of the most visited websites in the world and perfect for engaging with customers and attracting new ones. From ads to Facebook groups, Facebook has lots of tools that you can use.

Create a business page

A business page is a great way to communicate directly with your target audience. People follow your page because they want to…and want to see more about you and your business. Having a business page also means you get access to Facebook insights, which give useful information about your followers and how they interact with your page.

It’s important to add a profile and cover photo that reflects what your business does. Use high-quality images, as they will in some instances, be the first impression you make on your audience.

Customise your page as much as you can – include your business name, address, and contact information. You can add your website URL, business hours and details of your products. There is even the option of having a Facebook shop for your products.

Use keywords throughout that tell your followers, readers, and Facebook what your page and business is all about.

Tell your story – there’s a section where you can write more about your business, so tell your audience what makes your business unique, how your products provide solutions for them, how you got started. Keep it real and relatable.

Invite people to like your business page. Most of us do this when we first set up a business page, but it’s worth doing it again every few months. Each week I also go through the posts I’ve put up and look at who has liked each post. If someone has liked my post, but are not followers, I invite them.

Be consistent

As with any business strategy, it’s important to be consistent on your social media pages, and Facebook is no exception. Post regularly – as frequently as you can, but once a day at a minimum. If you post regularly every day, your followers will start to recognise that you’re posting every day and will engage more, as they get to know you.

Whilst it’s great to post regularly, if you post the same kind of post every day, your followers will get bored with your content. Use a mixture of posts and avoid using posts to sell your products every day. It’s good to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% engage, entertain, educate, and inspire and 20% to promote and you’re your products. You can share behind the scenes information and photos, tell a bit of your story; entertain with funny memes or ‘fill in the blanks;’ educate your audience about your products or a process you follow. For example, if you’re an artist, you could show a series of posts that show a painting from sketch stage to finished article. Or you could give hints and tips about an aspect of your creative business – a sewing tip or, if you make cakes – a ‘how-to’ video is popular. Click here to see other ideas for posts on Facebook.

Facebook’s algorithm encourages engagement, so try and post something that gets a conversation going. It’s good to remember that it is social media, and we need to be social. Don’t forget to reply to comments and to any private messages promptly.

Ask your audience

As well as asking questions or writing engaging posts that promote a conversation, you can also ask your audience to tag their friends. This can work well, particularly with inspirational quotes. When you post a meaningful post, ask your audience to tag someone who might need to hear the advice the post gives.

You could do a post that just says you are sending out a hug to anyone who needs it today – we all know that sometimes, we just do! Then say, ‘tag a friend who’d like a hug today.’

‘Small Business Saturday’ posts work well too. Ask your followers to share links to their favourite small businesses, or to tell you a bit about their small business and to put a link. Make sure that you visit every single business that comments and puts a link on this post. Click on their business link and like some of their posts and post a couple of comments too – this helps them out with the Algorithm, as well as helping your business.

Facebook Ads

Now, this is something I haven’t felt the need to use, but it does seem to work well for some businesses. If you’re having trouble reaching your target audience, you can do an ad fairly cheaply. You can then target a specific audience by location, age, gender, and interests. There’s also an analytics tool to help you understand which ads drive interest and sales.

Facebook insights

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but this is a useful tool. I check my insights once a week, usually on a Sunday afternoon when I’m scrolling through my feed. Your insights tell you how many people engage with each of your posts and how many people each post reaches. You can look at which kind of posts are the most popular, which helps you decide what to post in the following week.

If you think that posting on social media takes up too much of your time, you can use Facebook’s publishing tools to schedule your posts in advance. And you can batch-make posts. I batch-make my posts for the following week every Friday or Saturday. I don’t like to schedule my posts as I like to be able to be available to reply as quickly as possible. But I have scheduled posts when I’ve been away on holiday.

Start your own Facebook group/join one

Having your own Facebook group will help you build a community around your products or services and can help make your brand more visible. It’s a great way to connect with your customers.

It’s also invaluable to join a good networking group with your target audience or with peers. I belong to a few groups – some are specifically for marketing people where trends etc. are discussed and others are networking with other like-minded businesses. I enjoy both, but I do have my favourites! This is a great way to get your business more well-known, but again, you need to be able to give time every day to network and comment on group posts, as well as interact with other businesses. I’ve met loads of lovely people this way and have bought lots of things from some of the small businesses in those groups.

Facebook features

As well as just posting every day, try out some of the features that are regularly being rolled out.

Facebook Live

Go live to engage with your audience in real time. Your followers will get a notification that you’re ‘live’ and can tune in to watch you. Once you have finished your live, you’re given an option to save a recording of your live so followers who haven’t tuned in can watch it later. Your live video then becomes a post on your page.

Facebook Live can be up to four hours long! Now, I’m not saying do a four-hour video, but you should try and aim for at least 10 minutes. The longer you’re live, the more discoverable your stream will be.

Facebook Video

If you’re not brave enough to go live with video, you can record a video. This way you can edit out anything you don’t like or start again if you hate it! Video content really makes a difference to your figure and video tends to be much more popular that posts. The thing I’ve noticed with video is that when you post it, you get some likes and views, but then suddenly a few weeks later, your figures on that video jump up as it’s shown to people. I’m not sure why, but it’s obviously something to do with the Algorithm!

You can use video to teach your audience something – a step-by-step tutorial, or a how-to video. Again, aim for at least 10 minutes. If you’re teaching your audience something, they’ll stay for as long as your video is engaging!

Facebook Stories

When you post a story, it stays on your feed for 24 hours. Again, stories get more traction and seem to reach more people than posts, so it’s a good idea to include them in your marketing strategy.

PLEASE NOTE: Avoid using video as a sales pitch. People tune in to find out more about you and your business, not to be sold to. I’ve made this mistake – I’m sure lots of us have, but I’ve found the videos that are more popular are ones where I’m being social and ‘having a chat.’

Create a plan

As with anything, what you post on Facebook should be part of your marketing strategy or plan. I try and plan my content a month in advance, so I know what I’m going to do and when. I also make note of any special days for each quarter, so I can plan posts around that – for example, Valentine’s Day or Easter.

I hope that you have found this post useful – if you have any questions, please feel free to comment on this post or send me a message.

Why an email list is important for small businesses

When you first start your small business, probably the last thing on your mind is setting up an email subscription list. You’re more about getting your business set up, selling, and getting to grips with basic marketing and social media. But setting up your own email list is crucial to a small business and can seriously help you grow your business.

Social media is great and is a growing medium for small businesses. But, as lots of us have realised over the past year, the algorithm can make it difficult to keep consistency and, at the end of the day, you don’t own your social media account, and it can be closed at any point without any consultation with you.

If you have your own email subscription list of customers, it belongs to you. You own it, you run it and it isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, or a new algorithm suddenly do something you weren’t expecting.

Some stats

Email marketing is totally worth your time and investment because, as well as being cost-effective, it gives you the power to reach your customers in a place that most of them visit every day – their email inbox.

Let’s look at a few stats…

According to MarketingSherpa, 91% of adults like to receive promotional emails from the companies they buy from. And, according to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business get new customers.

Why use email marketing?

If you’re a small business, you probably have social media accounts. You post daily, targeting your ideal client. But your posts will be aimed at a large number of people. Email marketing is aimed at a specific group of people – those that choose to opt-in to your email, so you can make your emails much more personal and targeted. You know you’re talking to an audience that are already on board with what you offer.

You can also further segment that audience and send more targeted information based on their personal preferences. And email is more personal, you can write to your audience in a more friendly and personal way, so they really feel valued. It makes for excellent customer service!

We all get email spam every day, but if a person has opted into your email, they’ve given you permission to email them. This makes it legal, and they know what they’re signing up for. Now, I’ve signed up to email lists before and within a few months, have unsubscribed. The reason? Because they bombard me with constant emails, trying to sell me their latest ‘whatever.’ And not just one or two emails along the same subject line but loads – every day – for weeks! I hate this, so it’s not something I advise! I have a subscription for my business, but I only send a couple of emails when someone signs up – then I do a monthly email newsletter. To me, that’s enough…you may or may not agree!

Brand Recognition

Email marketing is great for your brand. Each email can be branded with your colours or images. But not just that, you can give your subscribers valuable content, helping them solve their problems – be it around marketing (like I do) or around a product or service you offer. If you are consistent with your content, your subscribers will begin to recognise your emails and even start to look forward to receiving them.

You can also use your email to get feedback on your products or services. You can ask them if they like the content you send, or if there is something else they’d like to see – or would they like to learn something different from you?

This will not only make your subscribers feel important and make them feel that you care, but also will give you new ideas for content and possibly even ideas for new products or services.

Budget-friendly

Email marketing is budget friendly. You can start your email using a site such as MailChimp or Mailerlite. Both have free versions for up to 1000 or so subscribers, which is a perfect start for your business, with no financial outlay.

The bigger businesses can afford to spend time and money on advertising space, but when you first start out with your small business, you won’t have that luxury. Email marketing is the perfect choice to get you in front of a genuinely interested audience.

The other good thing is that once you have set up your initial subscription email and follow up emails, it can be automated, so you just need to have the link on your social media pages or website with the sign up and your hosting site does everything else for you. It does require a bit of time commitment to set it up, but it is worth it. Then you can write your monthly, weekly, or whatever email when you have time and schedule it to go out when you want it to.

The other good thing about a hosting site is that you have the relevant stats to help you. You can see who opens your emails, and whether they click on any links.

Traffic to your website

As well as being a great way to connect to your customers, email marketing is also great for getting increased traffic to your website. You can include links to your blog posts, and of course to your website, where you sell your products or services.

Be seen as an expert in your field

Email marketing can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Your customers have subscribed because they want to hear from you. They like the content you send them. For example, if your audience love what you do on social media, they will sign up for your email because they’ll want to hear more.

You can use your email content to establish yourself as an expert. You can ask questions and use the email to answer them, giving solutions to all your subscribers, who may have the same problem or question.

You can talk in more detail about what you do and offer and show more clearly the solutions that you provide.

Perks

Everyone likes something for nothing! And we all like to belong to a group and feel that we are valued or special. I belong to quite a few groups on social media, but there are only a few I feel really connected to. Your customers want to feel that connection too, so you can use your email to build relationships and build excitement around what you do.

You can offer exclusive deals to your subscribers – perks of belonging to your ‘group.’ We all love a freebie or a special deal, so make sure that you thank you subscribers by offering them something unique that they won’t get from other areas – such as your social media pages.

For example, when people sign up to my email list, I give them a free guide to help with their marketing. Once they sign up, they are then given a special code, which gives them access to a hidden part of my website, where they can get lots of freebie downloads, checklists, workbooks – all aimed to help them with their marketing.

If you are a product-based business, you could offer your subscribers a 20% off voucher or a free gift in return for signing up.

This kind of offer is called a lead magnet – it attracts customers to sign up and could then be potential regular customers.

Test the water

Another benefit is that you can test the water for new products, services or even just ideas for new products or services. You can ask for an opinion or ask what really interests your audience.

It could be that you are going to have a stall at a big event, or you are running an online event. You can ask your email subscribers what they think…and you can use your email to advertise these events so that your audience know where you will be and can come along and meet you in person…be it via Zoom or face to face.

Conclusion

Email marketing reaches your audience no matter where they are in the world – it goes to their personal devices. So, no matter what time zone they’re in, your email will reach your audience 24/7.

It’s easy to set up and manage, and you will be reaching your ideal audience because they WANT to be contacted.

You own your email list, and it won’t be affected by algorithms.

It’s personal, so you can segment your audience, and send them more detailed information. It’s much more personal than social media.

And it helps you sell your products or services and encourage traffic to your website, blog, or online shop.

What are you waiting for? Make this year, the year you set up yours and start reaching your ideal clients on a more personal basis.