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The 3-Step guide to writing your USP

THE 3-STEP GUIDE TO WRITING YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

So you’ve been asked to write a business bio or come up with an elevator pitch… where do you start?

What you need is to clarify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – a short summary that tells your ideal customers why YOUR business and offer is different from everybody else’s.

Personally I prefer you completely ignore what the competition does – there is no value in comparing yourself with others and explaining why you’re better. Providing you are clear on these few points below, your USP will attract loyal customers who won’t even consider the competition in future.

 

1. Choose your WHO

Ensure you know exactly WHO your ideal customer is, what their key problem is (that your business helps solve), and most importantly, how your product or service will make them FEEL when this problem is solved. This feeling is what you are actually selling – not your product or service at all! The demographic stuff  (age, sex, socioeconomic etc) may be useful to hone in on a particular niche that you prefer to work with, but unless you are a really big business who needs to break a market down into manageable chunks, it’s of secondary importance.

 

2. Identify WHY you do what you do

What values or passions drive your business and bring meaning and purpose to you (and your employees if you have them)? What change do you wish to make in the world (or your little corner of it)? What are you passionate about? Try to identify 3-4 keywords that summarise these values and incorporate them into the language you use in your USP.

 

3. Ensure WHAT you do solves a problem

Your products and services need to provide real solutions to your customers. This may not always be exactly what they think they need – sometimes people don’t even know what they REALLY need! However, it’s important to clearly communicate how your product or service solves their problem (benefits), rather than all the ways you think it is awesome (features), and highlight how your ideal customer will FEEL when they achieve their desired solution.

For solo business owners, your biggest point of difference is actually YOU! Only you have your unique values, skills, knowledge and experience, so highlight this uniqueness in your USP, even if you operate under a “brand” name.

For bigger businesses, your brand (visual image, voice, culture, systems) represents these things. It is up to you as the founder to ensure your core values – as well as the skills, knowledge and experience of your team – infiltrate your brand culture and marketing communications, and are consistent across all areas of your business.

 

While you may need to hone it into a more fluid sentence, the following framework can help you put your USP together:


For [WHO]
Who [have a particular problem]
[My business]
provides [value words]


to help them feel [desired solution]

 

For example, here’s one I put together for my business while writing this article:

“For small business owners who want to run a business WITHIN a life (not one that completely takes over it!), Wholehearted Marketing provides honest, “heart-centred” business mentoring and creative marketing support solutions, so that they can love their business more AND make more money!”

While I might want to tweak the wording a bit, you can see it’s a pretty good start!

Of course, like anything else, your USP does not have to be carved in stone.

It will evolve as your business grows and changes. You may choose to serve a different ideal customer, you might want to focus on different skills or passions over time, and in all honesty, only some of your products or services will be successful. That’s OK.

So long as you have some clarity around WHO you wish to serve, WHY you do what you do, and develop WHAT your Ideal Customers most need to solve their problems, you’ll be fine.

RELATED: How to Create Your 30 Second Elevator Pitch

 

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Cath Connell, Wholehearted MarketingAbout Cath Connell
Cath Connell from Wholehearted Marketing is the Marketing Demystifier, providing mentoring, training and hands-on support to help small business owners overcome their fear of marketing and build the skills they need to achieve success. She is particularly passionate about helping others tap into their Purpose and use their business as a platform for change.

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4 Steps To Becoming A Content Queen

4 STEPS TO BECOMING A CONTENT QUEEN

Small Business ContentWriting for your own business can be frustrating. In theory, you should be the best-placed person to do it; you speak to your clients every day and you’ve been in your industry for donkey’s years. So, why is writing about your own business so tricky?

It turns out, your clients don’t need all the information you have in your head – they just need the right snippets of information. Just enough detail to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about (#professional), build rapport and make the next step easy for clients to act and buy (#calltoaction). Working out a clear message, knowing your audience and putting yourself out to the world… it is easier said than done, right?

In short, business owners need to get out of their own heads – you’ve got a lot to think about – and find a simple way to get all of those ideas on to paper. By following these four easy steps, you’ll be on your way to creating great content for your small business – and leaving the frustrations behind you.

STEP ONE – WHO DIS?
When it comes to writing for your business, defining your audience is key. If your target market is too broad, your message could end up being a bit wishy-washy and will be destined to get lost in the crowd.

So, who are you talking to? What are they looking for or what is their need? (Hint: it’s your product or service!) How old are they? Where can you find them online? If you’re an online retail business and young women are your target market, Facebook or Instagram might be your focus. But what if you’re a business consultant – perhaps your dream corporate clients are spending more time on Linked In.

Try and be specific as you can. Taking a few minutes to have a clear idea of who your audience is – and how, when and where they get their information – is the first step to nailing your content.

STEP TWO – WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT, WILLIS?
The customer is always right, right? As a business owner, it’s always important to focus on the customer – what interests them and what issues do they have that you can help solve? When developing content for your business, keeping information current, topical and tailored to your audience will ensure it always in demand.

‘Content is Queen’, so they say, but what exactly is ‘content’? It is more than just your posts on social media – content encompasses all the things you can develop and create to promote your professional skills and your business. Blogging is often considered the cornerstone of any content marketing plan and is a fantastic way to focus on specific topics or issues that your clients may be thinking about.

Mastered your blog? Then why not try:
• e-books
• white papers
• online guides
• videos
• infographics
• downloadable templates or checklists
• tips, hacks and shortcuts

Once you’ve developed your content (remembering to keep it client-focused, topical, interesting and with your own spin on things!), you share, share, share away!! Social media, networking groups, guest blog posts, a newsletter to your database – think big when considering the many ways to share your content. Repurposing content is totally acceptable but it’s always best to shake up your timings and platforms so your audience get some variety – it is the spice of life after all.

STEP THREE – LET’S GET PERSONAL
People love getting to know people. Why did you start your business? Was it a lifelong dream to start a new career? Did you want more flexibility after having kids? Clients love to know the face behind a business and get to know the story and people that make it tick.

Why is it so important? It builds rapport and allows people to share in your story. Getting personal in your copy often feels a little bit uncomfortable – but once you find the sweet spot (and that looks different for everyone), it will be worth getting out of your comfort zone. A selfie of you about to meet a client, a photo of your workspace or the story of how and why you started your business – little tidbits about you that adds personality to your business and brand. It builds the likability factor and might be the difference between someone wanting to work or buy from you, instead of your competitor.

It’s all about balance – mixing up your content will ensure your clients are reading a variety of information from you in different formats. Some people like to watch a quick video, where others might enjoy a longer read. Try the 1:3 rule, that’s one ‘salesy’ piece of content for every three posts that are personal, information sharing or commenting on an industry trend.

Of course, you don’t be one of those people that talks about themselves all. the. time! But as a business owner sharing a little but about yourself is a great way for potential clients to understand more about you, your business and how you like to work – and for them a way to decide whether they like your approach (to work and life!) before they even contact you.

STEP FOUR – 5 MINUTE CONTENT CHALLENGE
OK here’s a quick challenge for you. Grab a piece of paper and a pen (old school, I know) and set the time on your phone for 5 minutes.

You’re going to write down every content idea that pops into your head. Every single one of them. Adopting a ‘stream of consciousness’ approach is a fancy term for brain dump, and the trick is to keep writing for the whole time and not to edit your ideas. There’s time for that later.

Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:
Monday: Promote your Blog – your opinion on an industry trend or topic
Tuesday: A great offer or discount on your products
Wednesday: Behind the scenes – what does your workspace look like?
Thursday: Video – Tips and tricks on a relevant topic
Friday: Something personal or light-hearted – a picture of your destination for the weekend!

Five minutes might seem like a short time, but it’s surprising how many ideas you can come up with. Some ideas might be great, others terrible (that’s ok!), but it’s a perfect starting point for refining your ideas and crafting it into a solid content plan.

The Content Checklist
Here are my five ‘C’s’ – all super important things to remember when developing good content for your business.

CONSISTENT – Message. Tone of Voice. Are clients getting the same style across all your communications – online, in print and in person?

CLEAR – What do you want clients to do once they’ve seen your post or article? What’s your call to action? Are you using jargon or confusing language?

CUSTOMER FOCUSED? – Less about you. More about them. What’s in it for your clients?

COMPELLING – Educate and inform, why should clients work with or buy something from you?

CHECK THE SPELLING! It’s the quickest way to look unprofessional. Ask a friend to proofread your work or use spellcheck, Grammarly or an old-school dictionary. There’s no excuses these days for bad spelling!

 

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Kate O'Mealley, Oh My WordAbout Kate O’Mealley
Kate O’Mealley from Oh My Word is a copywriter, writing coach and professional typo spotter. Kate teaches small businesses, startups and solopreneurs how to communicate better – online, in print and in person – to get the results they want and see their business flourish and grow. Find out more at www.omword.com.au or follow @ohmywordau

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10 Expert Tips For Marketing A Service-Based Business

10 EXPERT TIPS FOR MARKETING A SERVICE-BASED BUSINESS

Marketing Service BusinessMarketing your service-based business can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. There’s a lot of confusing terminology and moving parts.

Marketing can also take up so much time, which let’s face it, most of us don’t have! However, there are steps you can take to successfully market your small business without the stress and in a more productive way.

Marketing consultant and business coach Hayley Robertson shares her top ten expert tips for marketing a service-based business.

1. Strategically position yourself in the market
When it comes to successfully marketing your service-based business, the first step is to decide on your market positioning. Your decisions include selecting a target market or niche, specialising in a specific area, and tailoring your service offerings, so they are better or different to your competition. Many people are fearful of doing this, as they believe it will reduce both the size of their available market and revenue opportunities. However, it’s proven to have the opposite effect.

When you create marketing messages that speak directly to your target market, they are more likely to resonate, and it will be easier for you to stand out. When you specialise in a specific area, you become known as an expert in something, which is a fantastic way to build credibility and trust with potential clients.

And when you differentiate your services, it gives you an opportunity to value-add and set premium pricing. A great way to communicate your market position is via a unique value proposition (UVP) or an elevator pitch. Work on developing a concise sentence that includes your target market, the solutions you provide, and what makes you better or different to your competition.

2. Research your target market
Conducting appropriate market research is the key to attracting your ideal clients and developing irresistible service offerings. Research provides examples of the language your ideal client uses when talking about your services as well as insights into the struggles they face, enabling you to design better solutions.

There are several ways you can conduct target market research including:
• Inviting past or potential clients for coffee or lunch and asking them questions;
• Searching Facebook groups for problems to find out what they’re struggling with;
• Reading relevant book reviews on Amazon.com to see what solutions they value;
• Sending out a survey to your email list which includes open-ended questions; and
• Reading industry reports and case studies on services in your niche.

Market research is not only necessary when you first start. There are valuable insights that you can gather via feedback forms to continuously improve your services.

3. Invest in your website
When you’re a service-based business, your clients are likely to “visit” you via your website. As such, it’s essential to provide a great first impression. Also, to ensure your website functions well and is easy to use. If you’re not confident with the technical side, then invest in a website developer to help you. Alternatively, educate yourself on how to build, maintain, and manage your website.

Another way you can invest in your website is with high-quality photos. It makes all the difference! Also, if you find writing difficult, then employing an excellent online copywriter could deliver better returns through higher conversion rates.

4. Develop a strong brand
When it comes to branding your service-based business, focus on creating your:
• Mission statement;
• Personal story; and
• A brand style guide.

Your mission statement articulates whom you want to help with your business and ‘why.’ It’s an integral part of your brand, as it’s a way to build a deeper connection with your potential clients. Another way to build a connection is to share your personal story. It can be challenging to write and talk about yourself, so be sure to ask for support if you need another perspective to help you. Both your mission statement and a personal story should be present on the ‘About’ page of your site.

The final part of your branding is your style guide which includes your visual identity and brand values. Create a professional looking logo and select the fonts, images, and colour palette that you will use consistently.

Also, spend some time thinking of 4-5 words that describe your brand values. These values will guide your brand’s tone and presence as well as help you with creating content.

5. Package your services and create offers
Packaging your services makes it easier for you to avoid trading your time for money. You’re able to ‘hide’ your hourly rate inside a package price and sell your services based on value rather than on cost. It’s important because it’s the total price that you want your potential clients to focus on and determine value.

As an example, if you had a high hourly rate but took less time to complete a task, then your total package price may be the same as a competitor’s who had a low hourly rate but took longer. The objective is to present your services on the total value you provide, rather than get caught in a conversation around hourly rates which are directly comparable to your competition.

Also, as your business grows and your templates and processes mature, it will take you less time to deliver your services which will improve the profitability of your service-based business.

Regarding offers, this is a great way to create urgency in your business and build momentum. An offer could be a special bonus that is only available for a limited time or a new service that is available exclusively to people who are on your email list as examples. When creating offers, try to avoid discounting your services and think about how you can value-add instead. Sometimes all our potential clients need is a good reason to take a risk and finally work with us.

6. Start writing or speaking
Content is a valuable marketing asset for your service-based business, whether it’s written, video, or audio. There are two types of content that you can create – core content and promotional content. Your core content builds a platform for you to showcase your expertise and position yourself as an authority. While your promotional content helps you build awareness with your community or followers.

There are many formats that you can choose from for your core content including a blog, video series, podcast, live video, events, webinars, email newsletter, and information sessions or presentations. If you’re not sure what type of core content to produce, consider two things:

Firstly, what kind of content would be the easiest for your ideal clients to consume? As an example, if you’re providing technical ‘how-to’ information would it be better to write a blog, or to record a video series including computer screenshots showing them how to do something?

Secondly, what type of content are you going to enjoy creating and have time to produce regularly? The truth is if you hate writing or have limited time, then you’re less likely to be able to produce weekly blog articles. Live video may be a more realistic format for you.

The key here is consistency, so select a core content format you can use to create a base for your content marketing strategy. Once you have a solid foundation for your core content, then creating promotional content becomes a whole lot easier as you can repurpose it in multiple ways.

7. Build a community
There’s only going to be a limited number of people who are ready to buy from you at any given time. Additionally, it’s near impossible to be able to identify these people specifically with your marketing. It’s also not uncommon for people to take some time before making a purchasing decision.

Often, potential clients may need to see or hear from your business multiple times before they trust you enough to give you their money. That’s where building a community comes in, and it can become an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Growing a following on social media is a great way to create awareness, provide value, and nurture sales prospects. However, you don’t have any ownership over the connections or data on these platforms. As such, be sure to focus on how you can convince your social media followers to join your email list. Also, add list building strategies to your website and online marketing plan.

There is a direct correlation between the size of your email list and the revenue opportunities for your business. So, ensure you have at least one task on your marketing to-do list every day to grow your community.

8. Look for collaboration opportunities
If your business is new, you probably won’t have a large community of followers or high brand awareness. However, there will be others in your niche who offer complimentary services which you could partner with. If they have been around for some time, they will have a client base who may need your services. And in time as your client base grows, you will be able to refer business back to your partners as well.

Adopt a strategic approach when looking for collaboration partners. I recommend trying to build fewer, but more thoughtful connections. For a collaboration partnership to work well, there needs to be value in it for both parties. Find out what your potential collaboration partner would find valuable and approach them with the view to give, rather than to receive in the first instance.

Collaborating with others takes time, so ensure you have set aside the right amount of time to build a healthy relationship.

9. Ask for testimonials and referrals
There is a high level of trust required in a service-based sales transaction as your potential client is making a purchasing decision based on what value they think they are going to receive. As such, they will be looking for evidence of results from past clients to give them confidence. Having a strategy for collecting testimonials is essential for a service-based business.

Prepare templates that help your clients give testimonials that demonstrate the transformation they achieved while working with you. Sentences such as… “When I first started working with [name], I was {struggling with XYZ}. However, now I {have achieved/seen XYZ results} and have no hesitation in recommending her”.

Also, decide where you want to build your list of testimonials online for social proof. There are many platforms available nowadays, so choose the platform that is most visited by your potential clients and ask clients to leave you a recommendation there.

When it comes to referrals, these can often come from business partnerships as well as networking. Try to put yourself in a position where you are meeting or attending events with potential referral partners as much as you can. Referral partnerships are a relationship that is built over time, so ensure you focus on making a connection first before asking for business.

10. Write a plan and track your performance
Many people hate planning! It can mean structure and effort, and that’s just not for everyone. But, that’s ok. Some of us enjoy planning while others simply don’t. However, a marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated or long. It can even be on one page if that’s what works for you.

A marketing plan needs to have your objectives or what you want to achieve; the activities you are going to undertake to achieve your goals; and the targets you are going to set yourself so you can measure and track your performance.

When you’re investing time and money in anything, the results or the outcome will be directly linked to what’s put into the process. So, if you don’t see the results you want from your marketing efforts, take a step back and consider what you’re putting into it.

Do you have a plan in place (even a simple one) to help you make strategic decisions?
Have you identified what works best and are you focusing more of your time on that activity?

When you have a plan that is measurable, it makes it a lot easier to track your performance. It provides you with an opportunity to review what’s working, and what’s not. And then make adjustments to improve your performance.

When you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to developing a solid marketing foundation for your business. And the best bit is that over time, marketing your service-based business does become easier.

When you work with more clients, you gain a deeper understanding of what their main challenges are which gives you ideas for developing services and promoting your offers. Just remember to take things one step at a time and stay focused on the end goals and objectives that you want to achieve.

 

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Hayley Robertson, My Client StratgeyAbout Hayley Robertson
Hayley Robertson is an MBA-qualified and experienced marketing consultant and business coach. She is also a small business owner and founded My Client Strategy to teach service-based small business owners how to successfully market and grow their business without the stress and overwhelm. Hayley is based in Melbourne and provides virtual marketing strategy sessions, training, and coaching to clients Australia-wide. She loves to write and enjoys sharing her marketing knowledge, tips, and strategies on the My Client Strategy blog.

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What Small Business Can Learn From The Game Changers In Culture

WHAT SMALL BUSINESS CAN LEARN FROM THE GAME CHANGERS IN CULTURE

Culture in small businessCulture is one of those terms that unless you are a scaling start-up or a large corporate, it can be challenging to define. But there are some great lessons small business can take from organisations who get results through outstanding culture, and as a smaller business – those changes are usually a lot more agile to implement.

It has been found that organisations that focus on culture in their strategy have suitably better business outcomes, more engagement and productivity. According to research completed by Gallup, there is a direct link between employees’ understanding of their organisations purpose and culture, and measures of business health.

Among U.S. employees, four in 10 strongly agree that, “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.” By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, a business could see a 41% reduction in absenteeism, 50% drop-in work-related incidents and a 33% improvement in quality.

What is culture? How is it defined?
I define culture as being symptomatic of whatever is going on in your business. Your culture is formed, moulded, perhaps manipulated through actions and behaviours, expectations, the way you make decisions, set up systems and processes, undertake business with clients, allocate work and provide learning opportunities. It is influenced in the way you as the business owner role models the values and behaviours.

If we were to look at some successful companies and the focus they have on culture, we would probably look to leaders such as Netflix, Google and Airbnb. All household names – and partly because of the benefits they enjoy from having a great culture. Netflix are infamous for publishing their Culture Deck that outlines all the initiatives for building and maintaining a great culture. From the way they recruit to the way they manage performance – even how they encourage collaboration, Netflix enjoy values around a Great Workplace. It’s not all about benefits packages or ping pong tables, rather, it means they have ‘stunning colleagues’. They have values around Context, not Control in which they set up the framework for operating, as opposed to putting in place layers of approval to get work done. Their values have a foundation of freedom and responsibility. And this is mirrored in the culture.

Culture management
Now, to look at companies who have faced a crisis, we could look to the likes of Uber – who just last year faced a tirade of negative press for outcomes reflective of their culture. In the space of just a few short weeks, the company faced allegations of sexual harassment, a lawsuit over stolen technology and video dashboard footage of their founder losing his wig at a driver. Taking a deeper dive into the reason behind the series of disasters, their values were stacked in favour of competition with a win at all costs approach to doing business. Combined with a ‘do what it takes’ attitude and core values of ‘Fierceness’ and ‘Super Pumped-ness’, the tolerance of competitiveness meant stepping on others to get the job done. This downplayed collaboration and respect and promoted a work environment that bred negative energy and poor practices that were tolerated – even celebrated.

As a business owner, you can take some key learnings from these cultures and use it to your advantage. Here are 5 ways to set up a successful culture in your small business:

1. Give freedom & flexibility
Provide the outcomes and let your team work with you on how they get there. Be open to creative ways to achieve – and let go of policies, processes and systems that don’t enable or provide direction to work within. If there are no adverse outcomes to the financial, reputational or people aspects of a business, then the risk should be low. Define the measures of success and let people determine the journey.

“There is no clothing policy at Netflix, but no-one has come to work naked lately”
– Patty McCord, 2004

2. Be clear about expectations
Think about setting expectations first around the 3R’s – roles, rules, results.

Roles: What are the roles within your organisation and how are they executed? Are they clear and meaningful? Do they provide autonomy? Do they empower your people – or leave them feeling like a slave to the boss or client? Ensure that responsibilities are clear and people are able to work to their strengths. Look to build roles that maximise collaboration and give people the opportunity to grow

Rules: Ensure that the rules in your business enable your people – not disable or provide unnecessary bureaucracy. Sure, there are some activities that require strict levels of compliance, so do that to help people achieve positive outcomes, not to put up blockers to how they achieve. Make sure you are clear in policies, guidelines and procedures where necessary, use trust in place of anything else.

Results: What is the result you or the client needs? Don’t assume that your team know exactly what is needed, check in, discuss, and explain the importance of the results to them, and how their contribution will make a difference to business.

3. Role model your values
Be clear about what your company stands for. Values are enacted through behaviours and although those values may not be fully formed yet, they are implicit – what you do as the leader will have a large bearing on values. For example, if you are providing services in the wellness industry and ask your team to speak at a tobacco company event, ask yourself – does that align with what your company is trying to achieve? Culture is as much about your external brand as the internal. Employees work for you because of what you and your business, represent.

As a leader you must live and breathe your mission and values. I had an experience a few years ago with a company who stated that their values were transparency and respect, yet they were keeping all new business proposals secret from their staff – while having them work on strategies for those very proposals! The misalignment meant a missing piece in the purpose for employees, and a missed opportunity for the company to build loyalty and trust.

4. Recognise your staff for where they are
When you hire an employee, recognise where they are and help them along the journey to grow while they are with you. Put great energy into their transition into the organisation, the onboarding process is the first taste they get of your company culture and how much they are valued. Get to know them personally and how they like to be recognised – you may be surprised to know that for most people it is not all about the money! Understand what motivates and enables each person to do their best work. Think creatively about development opportunities for them and have them guide this with the organisation’s support. Always consider how to empower, enlighten and engage your team members on an individual and team level.

CFO: What happens if we train them and they leave?
CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?
Unknown

5. Be deliberate about HOW
It’s easy to be focussed on what you need done – not so easy on how you do it. According to Deloitte there are five levers for culture:

  • infrastructure and environment
  • business and operational processes
  • people practices
  • symbols and rituals
  • leadership behaviour.

Across all aspects of how you do business, there are impacts to the way a culture is determined. I worked with an organisation some time ago that had a no-approach procedure in their communications guideline. This procedure stated that even though they worked right next to each other, team members were to ping each other on Slack (a communication platform) before interrupting other team members.

That one policy meant employees stopped communicating directly with each other and did EVERYTHING via Slack or email. It stifled collaboration and impacted relationships, causing a distorted culture where conflict was rife. This example demonstrates all the levers of culture that Deloitte states and reinforces that what you do – or fail to do – creates your culture.

As Netflix demonstrate & Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of The Little Prince one wrote:

‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the
work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.’

A positive culture will form when behaviours and actions are enacted in a resourceful way, with respect, empathy and with intention. Do business with your people in mind and you will be able to enable a culture that promotes better business success. 

 

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Lorissa GarciaAbout Lorissa Garcia
Lorissa Garcia is a seasoned HR professional, whose passion is engaging in insightful and intelligent conversations with People practitioners around culture, capability and making workplaces more human-centered.

Lorissa supports individuals, teams and organisations as a Coach,  Mentor, Facilitator and Consultant.

Visit her website for more info and to see her full bio.

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How To Get Started With Google Ads

HOW TO GET STARTED WITH GOOGLE ADS

Google Ads Women In BusinessGoogle Search Ads can be an effective way to generate targeted traffic to your website and increase leads and sales.

You can also use other campaign types like Display, YouTube and Remarketing to increase brand awareness, bring past visitors back to your website and further build your sales funnel.

But if you haven’t run Google Ads before, what’s the best way to get started?

Well, you have two options. You can take a DIY approach, or you can work with an agency.

If you start with DIY, you can either set up a Google AdWords Express campaign, or a full Google Ads campaign. So, let’s start with the difference between the two types of accounts.

For both AdWords Express and Google Ads your ad can appear on the Google, Google Maps and Display Networks. You set the daily advertising budget that you’re comfortable spending, along with the geographic target area where you would like your ads to appear.

Google AdWords Express
Google AdWords Express makes it easy to get a campaign up and running. To quote the AdWords Express set up page you can “Tell us about your business, write an ad, and we’ll do the rest.”

The key advantage of AdWords Express is that it’s an easy, low cost way to get started with Google Ads. It’s a good option if you want to run DIY ads, but not spend time learning about the features and how to optimise your campaign.

However, the down side is that you don’t have control over the keywords that trigger your ad to show, or many options for making updates to improve your Return On Investment (ROI). It’s also important to know that your text ad can also appear on the Display Network, where you’ll get less expensive clicks, but they are likely to be less targeted than those from the Search Network. Plus, you’ll often find that your brand keywords are included in the mix and therefore you are getting clicks from people who already know about your business, rather than new people in your target audience.

Google Ads
Unlike AdWords Express, a Google Ads Search campaign gives you complete control over every aspect of the campaign including:

  • Campaign structure
  • The keywords and keyword match types that trigger your ad to show
  • Negative keywords, which stop your ads showing for the wrong search terms
  • The Ad Copy that is shown to promote your product or service
  • Ad Extensions which appear underneath your ad to make it bigger and more prominent
  • Conversion Tracking that can be used to analyse your ROI

Within your Google Ads account, you can also add other campaign types like Display, YouTube, Shopping and Remarketing (you can read more about the different types of Google Ad campaigns here).

To set up and manage effective Google Ads campaigns that help build your business you need knowledge and experience. Google offers free resources for learning about Google Ads including:

I also recommend Google Digital Garage for anyone who wants to learn about Digital Marketing

Having reviewed many campaigns that business owners set up themselves and ran for a few months before contacting me, I can say that if you’re not prepared to spend time learning about Google Ads I think taking a DIY approach is a false economy.

While you avoid paying an agency a set-up fee and management retainer, you also risk paying for inappropriate clicks and not getting a good return for your ad spend.

Think about the analogy of working with an Accountant. Sure, you can do your accounting yourself, but if it’s not your area of expertise you’ll end up spending a lot of time on it. Time that you could spend running your business instead of doing something that you probably don’t enjoy. And when there are areas you aren’t sure about a few mistakes can prove to be costly. Similarly, with Google Ads, working with an agency to set up and manage your ads, or to get training to speed up your learning, will pay off in terms of the return for your business.

Once you’ve decided to outsource your Google Ads management, how do you find the right agency?
Like every new product or service that you need, start by asking your network for recommendations. You can also Google Search, check your LinkedIn contacts and social media.

Once you have a short list, here are some questions to ask the prospective agencies:

1.    Are you a Google Partner?
This means that the agency has met Google’s Partner criteria including passing exams. They have also shown that they are committed to getting results for clients and following best practices.

2.    Will you have full Admin access to login to your Google Ads account?
You need this level of access so that if you stop working with the agency, you’ll still have access to your campaigns and the account history. This is really important. I’ve dealt with way too many businesses who weren’t happy with the service or communications from their agency, and then were left with nothing when they decided to stop working with that agency.

3.    What is included in the monthly management fee?
When new campaigns are needed, or new features implemented, will there be an extra fee?

4.    Will you deal with the same contact person who understands your account?

5.    What reports on campaign performance will be provided, and how frequently?

The agency should also do a briefing with you to:

  • Ensure they understand your business and your objectives
  • Make sure the Ad campaign is aligned to your goals
  • Decide what conversions should be tracked.

The monthly Google Ads management fee for working with an Australian based agency generally starts from a few hundred dollars per month and there might also be a one off set up fee. Generally the agency will invoice you for their fee and then advertising spend is paid directly to Google. Or they may have a different arrangement where the full ad spend and fee is invoiced to you each month.

Read more here: Hire Ad Words Manager 

Whether you DIY or work with an agency, here are some key things to consider before you run a campaign

  • Having a high quality, effective website.

This includes:
– Professional design
– Well written copy that makes it clear what you do, where you do and the benefits of your product or service
– Clear call-to-call
– Easy to navigate
– Fast to load
– Mobile responsive
– Easy to find contact details.

  • Understanding what you would like to achieve ie leads, sales, sign ups.
  • Being clear about how you will track what is achieved – an agency will help you with this. If you’re running Google Ads, having Google Analytics set up is recommended. It provides insights into how visitors behave once they arrive on your website and can track if they take key actions.
  • What is the value of a conversion to your business?

With your new insights into Google Ads you will be able to effectively generate targeted traffic to your website and increase leads and sales.

 

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Melinda Samson, Click Winning ContentAbout Melinda Samson
Melinda Samson is the founder and co-owner of Click-Winning Content, a Google Premier Google Partner agency. She is a Google Ads & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer.

Melinda provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first.

Find out more at Click-Winning Content and complete our online form to enquire about Google Ads Services.

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The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Customer Experience

THE COMPLETE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Customer Experience Small BusinessTrying to explain exactly what it is I do can sometimes leave people a little confused – usually because they assume that when I’m saying “Customer Experience” I mean “Customer Service”. Or because they hear the word marketing, and they automatically think advertising.

So, here’s a quick snapshot into why I believe that getting your customer experience right is at the heart of all marketing you will ever have to do for your business.

Customer Service = An event
The customer service you provide is basically about 3 principles – the people involved, the physical evidence of what you deliver and the process you use to deliver it. It’s finite. As a consumer, you can receive amazing service on one occasion, and next time around it might be a total disaster.

Customer Experience = A feeling
The experience your customer has may incorporate the customer service. But it is much more subjective and experiential. Even with all things absolutely equal, the experience two people have with your business may be completely different. In fact, the experience someone has with your business may not be due to a transaction having occurred AT ALL.

The experience we have with a business is more about how we feel about that business than the actual product or service itself. That being said, to ensure a great experience, we HAVE to ensure that our product or service is at least meeting our customer’s expectations.

As you can see, every single aspect of your business has the potential to impact on a customer’s experience. This is why it is now critical to make customer experience part of the DNA of your organisation – so that at each touchpoint you show your customers that you sincerely want to serve them.

I’m not sure where this quote came from originally, but it’s one I’ve used for a long time:

“Everybody who has an interaction with your business is a marketer of your business.”

Your own promotion – via blogs, social media, networking etc – is only a fraction of the marketing of your business that is going on. Every single person you come across is a potential marketer of you and your business. So it’s critical that you make the process of doing business with you a pleasure rather than a chore.

 

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Jodie PreissAbout Jodie Preiss
Jodie Preiss has walked her talk in all areas of customer experience through many different roles – both as Marketing Manager for two independent schools, and in a stint as a marketing consultant, when she wrote this blog post. Little did she know that her love of all things experience focused would lead her on another path. And in early 2019 she will officially launch the incarnation of that journey.

She has created Inspiring a Difference from one simple truth. That one person, one voice, armed with wisdom and the commitment to act, can make a very real difference.

Creating a methodology around challenge-driven impact has became her driving motivation, and the vision for Inspiring a Difference. Challenging herself, as well as those around her, to step out of their comfort zone and create a ripple in their world. The fundamental drive for Jodies is to show you that you can make a a difference. And that the ripples that we create individually, one day might move a mountain.

We turn drops into ripples into waves and then oceans of impact. One person, one challenge at a time.

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