Do you know where your Social Media Opportunity lies?

June 8, 2012

Social Media is a big new world of opportunity to explore, but where’s the best place to start the journey?

The statistics surrounding Social Media are mind boggling. However I consider this one to be the most telling, as recommendation has always been the most effective way to achieve sales….

“56% of consumers say that they are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a (facebook) fan”.  (Source Digital buzz).

This really highlights the power of Social Media and the crucial importance of getting behind it and embracing this new media.

Because it is new, it is often misunderstood and dismissed as a fad, which it isn’t.

Personally, I believe the three key aspects of Social Media to consider are that…

  1. It isn’t primarily about selling; it’s about creating a new type of dialogue, centred around freedom of expression that can then lead to customers buying from you
  2. It isn’t free. It requires time, effort and skill to navigate the journey and to develop and nurture an audience to effectively develop a relationship with them
  3. Despite the bad press in some quarters, it has an integral role to play with every business and organisation; from smallest to largest. Like the telephone, email, letter and meeting, it is a basic business tool!

These are also the three basic principles that FCG Consultancy’s SMO process is built around.

This is why it provides a quick, simple and cost effective way to identify how Social Media can be of benefit to you and how you can take advantage of what it has to offer, without creating a time or money soak.

So how does FCG’s SMO process work?

The goal is to quantify the impact, cost and return that Social Media could bring to your organisation.

This is achieved through a combination of questionnaires, interviews, workshop and desk research to create a ‘Snapshot’ of your business, from the perspective of owners, staff and selected customers.

We ask what it is they like about you, what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd and what you could do better.

We assess the resources open to you.

Then we combine this information with our marketing, communications, business development and social media knowledge, to identify for you a top level Social Media strategy that is both manageable and focussed on achieving the objectives identified through our consultations.

The result is a valuable 10 page white paper, specific to your business. This will help you to gain insights into how you can start and develop a Social Media dialogue to build customer loyalty that, in turn, will lead to increased sales.

Does that sound like a good plan?

For SME’s and charities, for orders placed before 1st July, the cost of this service starts at just ‘£295.

It comes with a 7 day money back guarantee. So you can be 100% confident that you will be getting the information you need to act upon or it won’t cost you a penny.

To place your order please contact Jonathan Wainwright by phone on 07971 006 446, or by email to jonathan@fcgconsultancy.co.uk

‘Terms and conditions apply, you can download a full proposal HERE.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

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What is Social Media Optimisation?

January 16, 2012

It’s quite clear what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about, but what is SMO?

Now that Social Media is here to stay, the question that arises is, “How can we use it effectively to create customer loyalty and communicate messages to potential customers that will eventually increase sales?” The answer is SMO, as it overlays method and discipline onto Social Media in a way that allows activities to be assessed for ROI.

Because this is new, measurement criteria are not well established. So the challenge is to choose relevant metrics to make the whole area more meaningful and less ‘Wishy-Washy’. To those new to Social Media, it will create confidence as taking this approach means effort and investment can be compared with results.

To start the process I suggest making the following five areas the priority.

  1. Measure how interested your audience is in what you are saying. One measure of their interest will be their willingness to share. If you are not achieving this, stop and rethink your activity as this is right at the heart of Social Media. As well as content, think about ways to integrate and measure sharing through different social platforms; web, mobile and email channels etc.
  2. Reward activity. Rewarding ‘Liking’ or ‘Tweeting’ information, by an audience, is becoming more common because it can easily be measured.  Essential if you are using Social Media to launch a loyalty or referral programme. Photobox, a company who turn digital media into printed material, provide an excellent example of this. They have a first class referral scheme promoted via both their Website and through Social Media.
  3. Know what makes it easier to share. ‘One Click’ makes it easy for viewers to get to the information they want. It also encourages sharing, recommending or bookmarking. Use buttons and other widgets and don’t make your audience jump through hoops or put barriers in their way, as you will considerably reduce the click through rate. Analyse the page positions, media and formats that you use to establish where you get the best results.
  4. Measure over the long term. This will help you establish which sharing activities, platforms and types of promotion lead to the best business results; leads, sales or changes in brand preference. It may take many months for a viewer to purchase from you, so don’t expect instant sales. The metrics around the first part of the campaign will most likely be around building critical mass with conversion coming later.
  5. Share your expertise and content. Guest Blogging with strategic partners or perhaps creating widgets for embedding or sharing on other sites is a great way to achieve this. Inevitably, as you are appearing within someone else’s media, you are automatically receiving their endorsement. Links between sites like this will also improve search engine rankings. Again, simple metrics enable the impact to be measured.

None of this has to be complicated. Keep it very simple and you will soon get into the habit of checking the figures. That way you will start to quickly get a feel of what works and what doesn’t.

When you are designing your campaigns and planning your activity, think of ways to measure the impact you wish to achieve from the very beginning. It’s a discipline I can help with and one which, when you get right, will have a positive impact on the way you approach digital marketing.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Digital marketing adds an exciting new dimension to communications

January 10, 2012

Traditional marketing was all about the product, the 4 P’s; product, price, place and promotion. Digital marketing has radically changed this, as the marketing focus has now become far more customer centric.

The emphasis has moved towards creating ongoing two way dialogue. It’s about creating new ways to purchase too. A good example being the option to buy online and then collect at the store, the customer chooses what’s most convenient for them. And most powerful of all, a brand new dimension enabling customers to communicate directly with each other, which was impossible before social media.

For most Companies, this means re-thinking their marketing and customer communication strategy and those that don’t are unlikely to survive. The impact Digital has is becoming clear. Statistics are available to demonstrate that it isn’t a fad or fashion, it’s now main stream. Last month according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, internet, mail order and telephone sales lifted by 18.5%, when compared with December 2010.

That’s the strongest gain reported by the BRC monitor since December 2010 when non-food, non-store sales rose by 18%. And this has happened during a time of financial uncertainty, squeezed transport costs, job cuts, pay freezes and general high street trauma.

And as Smartphone sales grow, it will continue to gain importance as the digital age places more power in the consumer’s hands than ever before; via both landline and mobile. They have the ability to check prices, assess quality, check availability and understand what other users think, before any contact at all with the seller.

However, it isn’t all one-sided. There are considerable benefits for sellers too. They have the ability to forge stronger customer relationships than before – the Apple syndrome. They can gain new customers through pier group comment, gain valuable feedback for product development and achieve a lower cost per sale by combining high street and mail order distribution.

Inevitably Digital will impact upon every business or organisation. If you are assessing how to respond, then let me explain the relevant pressure points and how digital marketing can have the same positive impact on your business that high retailers enjoyed in December 2011.

Jonathan Wainwright

enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

 


With Digital marketing comes accountability

April 18, 2011

Direct mail and Direct response advertising are very blunt tools compared with the way that modern Digital marketing is now driving sales and completely changing the role of Marketing Directors.

It’s about one word, ‘accountability’.

Digital marketing enables communication, promotion and measurement through multiple channels, enabling the creation of balance between branding, customer retention and sales; something that has never been possible before.

Today’s customers are more demanding and hungry for dialogue. Creativity is essential, the last thing they want is a ‘sales pitch’, the downfall of many a ‘Twitter’ strategy.

Digital marketing enables interactive communication across multiple platforms simultaneously, for example Smartphone, TV, Tablet and Computer. So it’s essential that the creativity and promotional mechanism is appropriate to the channel. Whilst a tablet user might be drawn to an ‘interactive game style’ promotion, a PC user will inevitably respond to a more ‘drill down’ information approach.

The major impact this all has, is that marketing now has a dual role. It can generate well qualified leads and also fill a Company’s sales pipeline.

So, assuming that the appropriate Web Content Management system is in place, organisations can take a critical look at achievement of marketing goals vs. spend vs. revenue generation. For the first time the direct correlation between the three can be measured.

And with this new accountability comes power. The skilled Marketing Director now has the ability to drive revenue for their Company, something that traditionally was once the domain of the Sales Director and previously often a source of conflict and frustration.

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Succeed in 2011 – KIS and get on

January 4, 2011

Business doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact the basics are very simple, so keep it that way, why complicate things. It’s all about keeping it simple and on track – that’s the challenge most of us face.

So, my 5 Mantra’s for 2011 would be:

– Create a business plan and work it (and it might just be one page)
– Remember, cash flow is king
– Profitability rather than the vanity of turnover should be the goal
– From day one, have an exit route that leverages on what you are doing
– If you don’t love your business, do something else.

If you can manage to do all that you won’t go far wrong.

And if it’s a struggle, executive coaching is a great way to gain clarity, objectivity and focus.

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Marketing on a Shoestring for SME’s

April 29, 2010

When you are an SME with limited financial resources, you may have a huge passion and belief that you need to commit time to marketing. So what can you do to make your business really fly?

I gave a presentation about this, yesterday, at a Chamber of Commerce Safari event and these are my thoughts on the topic.

The first challenge is to be very clear about what your competitive advantage is and the second, to have processes in place that make sure you can measure the response to each marketing campaign that you run.

Fail to do either of these and you are potentially wasting both time and money. You won’t know what works and what doesn’t; and you will never get to the heart of why customers buy from you.

Here are my top ten tips for successful marketing on a shoestring.

1. Look at your business using a fresh pair of eyes. Act like a customer and take a long hard critical look at every aspect; from phone answering to the impression your Reception first gives. Get help with this from your employees, suppliers and advisers, record what you find so that you can make future comparisons

2. Identify the key benefits of buying from your organisation, really get under the skin of your product or service. And remember, a benefit is something that directly gives the customer something; saves money, saves time, provides emotional satisfaction etc

3 Check that the key benefits you have identified are actually ones that customers want! Now you can establish your competitive advantage. Compare your key benefits with those offered by your competitors. Your competitive advantage lies where you provide benefits that they don’t. This should form the heart of your marketing message

4 Become a customer in your own market place, buy something from two or three competitors and document the pros and cons of the process. If you can’t do this because they know you, get someone else to be the ‘Mystery Shopper’ on your behalf

5 Visit the MD of five customers on a ‘Boss to Boss’ basis, without any of your sales people. Ask them about their business and find ways you can work together to help them (and don’t make this a sales pitch)

6 Look for projects where you can work together at an early stage and give real ‘Added Value’ to your customers. This way you can ‘freeze’ out the competition

7 Understand and analyse how to create unique marketing ‘Hooks’ that will give enquirers a strong ‘Call to Action’. Get ideas from the networking events you attend and research what are your competitors are up to. Explore other markets to find transferable ideas

8 Create a variety of ‘Hooks’ that you can test through the different marketing channels you use. These might be price, buy one get one free; extended warranty; bundled product; extended warranty; free technical back-up; discount off next order or low rate finance. Alternatively purchase could be linked with a promotion or competition. Link these ‘Hooks’ with a Social Networking Strategy to build advocates for your organisation

9 Measure enquiries generated and conversion ratio to sales achieved from each channel you use. Stop anything that doesn’t perform until you can identify the reasons why

10 Remember that all of this is a continuous cycle that constantly needs updating, so make sure that you allocate the appropriate time on a monthly basis. This way you will get better and better at the marketing you do

These are all ideas that I have used to build my business.

They worked for me, so I know that they can work for you too.

Good luck!

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Click here if you would like to view the presentation slides.

Here is my biography and LinkedIn profile


What can SME’s do to measure their performance?

March 29, 2010

Balanced Scorecard ProcessTime is what most SME’s lack; often time needed to monitor business performance. Balanced scorecards save time and enable SME’s to analyse their performance metrics in seconds – essential information to make decision making more effective. (Click on the image to make it bigger).

Once the domain of large businesses, balanced scorecards can now easily be implemented by SME’s and not for profits. The internet has transformed how performance information can be graphically represented and then communicated throughout an organisation.

And the benefit is the ability to transform an organisation’s strategic plan from a passive document into something updated and communicated on a regular basis and a powerful day-to-day measure of success to help Managers perform.

It has the power to measure far more than the figures, getting right to the DNA of an organisation. Yet it’s a relatively straightforward process to set up and once in place provides invaluable information about the organisation’s progress.

Generally speaking, four perspectives are used. These are:

Learning & Growth – covering employee training and attitudes related to both individual and corporate self-improvement.

Business Process – exploring the internal business processes. The goal is to provide managers with information to confirm that the business is running well.

The Customer – looks at customer focus and satisfaction, crucial markers of an organisation’s success. Poor performance here often indicate future decline.

The Finances – communicates traditional financial information such as, sales, cash flow, forecasts etc. You can also cover risk assessment and cost-benefit data.

To set up a balanced scorecard, having set the organisation’s strategy and direction, the questions to ask are, “What do I need to know to …..

1. ….keep travelling in the right direction without deviating

2. ….maintain the appropriate speed

3. ….keep our precious cargo in best condition

4. ….exceed our customer’s expectations so they order more”.

Once the perspectives and metrics have been identified, performance management software can then be used to get the right performance information to the right people at the right time, graphically presented for easy understanding.

Unfortunately, many people believe the balanced scorecard to be a piece of software, this isn’t the case. However, having made the initial time investment, the process can be simple and almost run itself. It doesn’t need to be complicated; the simpler the better in my opinion.

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