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8 ways to grow your small B2Bs with content

January 3rd, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

The digital shift is in full swing, so disseminating valuable content to grow a business and attract and nurture leads should be part of every marketing strategy. In this blog we discuss the topic, and look at 8 ways to use content online to boost brand awareness.

There’s a vital step in growing a business that I notice many B2B business owners miss when they start out – creating brand awareness. Instead, they jump straight into sales mode, run marketing campaigns, and wonder why the work isn’t pouring in. Now you’re probably thinking ‘but don’t marketing campaigns create that awareness?’ Yes, they do, but it’s a very expensive and slow way to get there if you’re a small business and your budget for marketing campaigns is closer to $0 than to the annual salary you had before you started your business. So let’s delve into the problem and the solution.

What do we mean by brand awareness?

You’ve no doubt heard the term ‘brand recognition’ often enough, but we tend to associate this term with big brands and it’s tempting to ignore it on the assumption that as a small business, we’re a very long way from being a ‘recognized brand’. That might be true but so is this: as a small B2B, you need to put a monumental effort into creating initial brand awareness – getting people to know you exist at all! That’s because:

  • The obvious: if prospective clients don’t know you exist, they can’t make an enquiry.
  • As consumers, we feel safer dealing with a name we recognize – and we can only ‘recognize’ something the second and subsequent times we see it.
  • You aren’t going to be stampeded by consumers the first time they see your brand – they’re more likely to go with a competitor who’s spent more time establishing their brand in the market, who they know and trust.
  • Prospective clients who’ve seen your brand several times are more likely to enquire, and more likely to convert.
  • You’re going to have to work hard to pull in business.

So how do you create brand awareness without selling your house?

There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll have to invest time and money, but by making clever choices, you can keep the cost to a minimum.

There are some simple strategies – like having eye catching signage at your business premises and on a vehicle – that can work wonders and will be an initial investment that keeps giving. You can also increase your personal and brand profile locally via speaking engagements, active participation in a chamber of commerce, or sponsoring a local charity or sports team. But there’s another strategy that can reach well past your local audience and put your business name in front of thousands of people very quickly, and that’s using content to spread the word online.

8 ways to use content online to boost brand awareness

1. Use your blog

Post regularly on your website blog – but first develop a strategy that will work. Merely writing about topics that might interest potential clients is hit and miss. Get serious and undertake topic and trend research. Armed with information about how many people are searching for information on related topics, you’ll be well placed to create specific blog topic ideas that are likely to attract interest and therefore traffic to your site. Then you need to keep at it consistently and be sure to promote your blog posts on social media channels. If writing, researching and using social media aren’t your all-time favorite activities, you can engage a content marketing agency to take you from content strategy creation to posting and promoting your blog on social media channels.

2. Be a guest blogger on someone else’s site

How many people currently visit your website? If you’ve just started out the numbers are probably low. Look to leverage your reach off someone else’s traffic!

The key to this strategy is to a) ensure you share a target market with the site you will be posting on; b) before you even ask about guest blogging, use a free site traffic estimator to get an idea of how many site visitors they have monthly. Aim for a site with over 10,000 visitors and the more the better. It’s not an exact science, but a good indicator of a website’s traffic is its social media following, so check its pages as a start (keep in mind that some platforms are better suited to certain industries than others, for example Instagram is image-centric platform will always appeal to the retail sector). You’ll also want to ensure they are happy to have you listed as the post author and include a link to your website, or at the very least, an author bio.

3. Get on LinkedIn

For B2B and professional services, there’s no better social platform than LinkedIn, but most of us simply don’t make the most of it. You can publish on LinkedIn Pulse, share updates, seek new connections, join groups, share content and contribute to discussions on relevant topics. And don’t forget the most basic strategy of all – spend some time viewing the profiles of people who might be interested in your services. Many LinkedIn members regularly check to see who’s been viewing their profile, so at least some will take a look at your profile to see who you are in return.

And every time someone does that, hey presto – you’ve just made another person or company ‘aware’ of your brand.

4. Create exceptionally helpful content

Consider creating a downloadable white paper or eBook, or a template or checklist that your prospective clients will value. You can set up your website to capture email addresses and grow your database as people sign up to receive each item.

5. Stay in touch

Once you’ve grown your database, stay in touch – send regular newsletters filled with interesting or helpful snippets. The arrival of a newsletter often prompts or reminds people to place an order, and at the very least, you’re keeping your brand name alive in their mind, making it more likely they’ll think of you when they do need your services, or even forward your details to someone else they know.

6. Create press releases

Done something newsworthy? If you win a business award or secure an important contract, there’s no harm in getting the word out. Stories about your business create brand awareness. The key is to a) ensure that your announcement is truly newsworthy, even if that’s only on a local level, b) create a professional press release and c) arrange for it to be distributed to an appropriate media list.

Many business owners create a press release and then don’t know what to do with it. However, you can join a subscription site like Medianet and pay for your own distribution, or you can engage a professional writing or content marketing service to write the release and distribute it for you. Releases sent out via sites like Medianet can reach major television networks and newspapers, local papers, radio and magazines.

7. Contribute to industry publications

Can you think of any digital publications that sections of your target market might read regularly? Some industry specific and business related digital magazines reach tens of thousands of subscribers. What would it do for your brand awareness if you were a regular contributor? Again, you don’t need to be a polished writer to do this – you can pay a service to come up with the idea and create the articles for you.

8. Create branded videos or infographics

Videos and infographics are very shareable and can keep working for you long after you’ve created them. The key as with all other content is to present a solution to a common problem your market has, to establish credibility and gain trust.

 

Whatever strategies you adopt to create brand awareness one thing should apply to everything you do – be generous! Don’t be frightened to share your expertise to help others. You’ll be remembered favorably for it and it can go a long way to making you a ‘go-to’ person when someone has a question or a problem that relates to your business activities.

For Bartercard members, utilizing member services that can help you to build brand awareness and market your business is one of the most effective ways to spend your trade dollars.

 

Log on to MYBC and view our online directory or contact your local franchise to see how you can use your Bartercard trade dollars to grow your business in 2017!

 

Author: Leonie Seysan
Leonie is the founder and director of Article Writers Australia and manages content arrangements for the company’s Sydney, Australia based clients.
www.articlewriters.com.au   |   1300.880.543

Cashflow

10 steps to maximise your cash!

February 6th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

 ‘Cash flow’ isn’t just about cash. It’s also about the systems around generating it, managing it, and multiplying it.

Many people aim to cut expenditure to improve their bottom line, but it is also important to increase income at the same time, and to more effectively manage the use of what we have.

By following these 10 steps, you’ll be well on your way to changing your approach to money.

  1. Examine your ‘relationship’ to money.
    Does it make you feel empowered or disempowered? What sort of beliefs did you form around money while you were growing up? What sort of family conditioning did you receive around money? Do these serve you? Is it time to rewrite your money beliefs?Start breaking old limiting beliefs today. Meet with an accountant or financial adviser to improve your financial literacy. Have a simple financial strategy drawn up and start right now to take control of your money!
  2. Do you know where you stand financially right now?
    What is the value of your assets; how much is in your superannuation fund; how is your money invested; what rates of return are you getting; how much are your liabilities and what insurances do you have?Organize your documents, and summarize your assets, liabilities, insurances, investments and superannuation funds all in one place where everything is at hand.
  3. Where do you want to be financially and by when?
    What will this look and feel like? What does this mean to you, in terms of financial security, family well-being, life-style, debt management, recreation and business development?Set realistic goals for 1, 3, 5 and 10 years, in measurable terms such as date or dollars, so you can see when you’ve reached this target. Write these goals in detail, or do a vision board showing what your dream life looks like.
  4. What is your relationship to debt?
    Do you understand ‘good debt’ versus ‘bad debt’? Is your debt creating leverage, or just draining your funds? How much is your debt costing you?
    Review your debts and your liabilities. Are these for business or personal purposes? Are they tax-deductible? If necessary, meet with a financial strategist to design a debt reduction strategy that will lead you out of ‘struggle’ mode.
  5. What is your plan to ‘save your cash’?
    How much of each dollar earned do you save to invest, compared with outgoings and expenditure? Do you have ‘money rules’ to govern the use of your money? Do you have a percentage that you pay yourself first?  This is important, for a number of reasons, one of which is to create a sense of empowerment rather than struggle, as either will become self-perpetuating!Draw a ‘map’ of your bank accounts, showing the purpose of each. Set weekly/monthly amounts allocated for various purposes, such as bills, investments and holidays. Remember to include a ‘fun money’ account too!
  6. Is your money making money?
    Or do you have to work hard for every dollar that comes in? When we spend what we earn, we need to go and earn more! When we get our money, even a small percentage, to work for us, then we can create cash flow that will grow to support your spending. Most people get these in the wrong order.
    Review your accounts and investments: are they earning a decent return for you, in terms of income or capital growth? If not, is there a better use for those funds?
  7. Are you spending your valuable time and energy on your cash flow drivers?
    Are you working on the activities most worth your time and attention, or do you waste your time/energy/money on low-value tasks that could be delegated, while you could be undertaking higher-value tasks that could be charged out to create cash flow? Simply being ‘busy’ does not necessarily equate to being productive or constructive.List your 4 or 5 core ‘drivers’, and focus your time on these tasks, while delegating more of the ancillary tasks that take up your valuable hours and energy. You’ll quickly see a boost in your results and your enjoyment!
  8. Do you have your assets – including YOU – adequately insured?
    Did you know that you can hold some of your personal insurances through your superannuation fund? Have you had a specialist assess your insurance needs to ensure you are covered for the right things and the right amount? What would happen to your family if you were unable to work for any length of time? Have you discussed estate planning if you were to die?Review the insurance policies you hold over your assets, and also your personal policies, such as life, TPD, trauma or income protection. Meet with a financial adviser to discuss your optimum level of cover to avoid being over- or under-insured. Meet with a solicitor to discuss your needs around wills, Powers of Attorney, and guardianship of young children.
  9. Is your superannuation part of your financial discussion?
    For many people, this aspect is forgotten or ignored, as they see it as a ‘necessary evil’, with no guarantee of it being there when they retire. There are a few styles of superannuation funds, and each should be weighed up given your personal circumstances.  Regardless of what you do or don’t have in super, NOW is the time to bring this back into the conversation and get it working for you!Include your superannuation in your financial conversations from now on; meet with a financial adviser to clarify where your superannuation is invested, and what the associated fees and insurances are, to consider whether this is the best fund for your money.
  10. Is your business structured in the most appropriate entity for income-splitting, asset protection, capital growth and tax management?
    Do you hold assets – personal or business – that should be protected via a company or trust? Do you have the correct structure for distributions to other family members? Are you aware of all of the tax deductions that you are eligible for, either as a business owner or an employee?

Consult with your accountant to discuss your personal needs, in light of your financial goals and proposed wealth creation strategy. Clarify those expenses that can be treated as a tax deduction to you, to ensure you minimize unnecessary tax, and identify how best to maximize your business profits.

 

Written by Dianna Jacobsen, Shine At Business, Bartercard Australia Member.
www.shineatbusiness.com.au

Combining a background in accounting, financial planning, small business management, and personal empowerment coaching, Dianna specializes in working with businesses, families and individuals to guide them to freedom and success, focusing on all aspects of business and personal development and financial strategy, from day-to-day financial, time and staff management, to farm succession planning to partnership dissolution.