Many small business owners will undoubtedly be faced with some downtime over the coming weeks and probably months. Why not use this time productively and get on the front foot when we return to some kind of normality? Here are my top 5 tips for small business during COVID-19. Firstly, don’t panic. This emotional reaction is rarely good for making any kind of decisions let alone those that revolve around your business. To help you remain calm seek opinions and advice from professionals in your network.
After 15 years of providing the fantastic service that is Google Maps, the search engine giant has just actioned their biggest update to the map platform for smart devices. This update is more than just the new app icon, and in this article, we break down each of these category updates and highlight how they can help you and your business.
The Benefits of Franchising in Business
For many of us, owning and running our own small business is the stuff dreams are made of. It is however rare for a franchising business model to be looked at as the pathway to achieve these dreams.
Freedom, lifestyle, challenging, rewarding, satisfying, are some of the words and emotions felt by those that are just not cut out to work for a boss or are looking for a challenge.
For some, it is a natural path from early on as this entrepreneurial itch has been ever present and for others perhaps it is forced due to job scarcity or a new interest in their life?
Whilst extremely rewarding at times, running your own business can often lead to risking it all and unfortunately, losing it all.
Homes, assets, credit ratings, relationships, marriages, confidence and mental stability are just some of the losses experienced if the business turns ugly.
However, many have ventured down the path of self-employment before you and many will long after you have retired in the Bahamas somewhere.
Those that have chosen this life share a special and unique bond that only business owners will ever truly understand.
My advice is to surround yourself with as many smart people as you can.
Those that have been there and done it for themselves.
Those that have been successful and especially those that have failed.
It is quite often these people that have learned the hardest lessons of all and therefore have the experience to assist you so as to not to make the same mistakes they have.
The "F" Word.
The franchising and licensing business models have many fantastic benefits to them and reduce the risk exponentially.
When initiated correctly, professionally, fairly and for all the right reasons, a franchise can be hugely beneficial to all involved and can quite quickly become a powerhouse in their industry or niche.
Franchising and business go hand in hand, and below we will look at the benefits to the franchising business model and how to execute a successful marketing and lead generation strategy.
Become Part of a Team
“To come together as a team to achieve a common goal” is the definition of Team in the dictionary.
By nature, a team has a fantastic opportunity to utilise skills and attributes from each of the members.
Working together can spawn enthusiasm, inspiration as well as new ideas and ideals.
Highlighting a common goal can keep everyone on track and focused on the same direction.
Sharing of workload is another benefit to being part of a franchise team as many hands do make light work.
Fun. Who doesn’t want more of this in their lives?
Catching up for regular brainstorming meetings or drinks after work can often help in making your work or job just a little bit more fun.
More reasons as to why having fun is so important in our lives.
Successful businesses quite often share the similarities of structure, processes, procedures and automation.
With a proven structure to follow, a new franchisee can literally follow the steps and be confident of the outcome.
Without structure, many business owners will waste hours of their time by not heading in any one clear direction. This can lead to lack of uniformity as well as impact profitability.
Take McDonalds for instance. Everything is structured and processed right down to how many pickles goes onto a Big Mac.
It matters not whether you are in the London, New York, Tokyo or Brisbane, when you order a Big Mac from McDonalds, you know exactly what you are going to get any time of day or night.
This is not by chance. The golden arches have invested millions of dollars, if not billions, on structuring, systemising and processing their business model and it works.
We should never stop learning and we should never stop innovating.
The world needs this to advance into the future.
Without innovation there would be no smart tv, no advance in health and wellness and no bagless vacuum cleaners, we as a society would just forever stand still.
A company that rests on its laurels is a dead company in many industries.
A good franchising business system should recommend ongoing learning and training of its franchisees.
Many will offer an initial and extensive on-boarding training regime and the good ones will offer and promote on an ongoing basis.
Further training can ensure legal responsibilities are met, assist productivity with new techniques learned and product availability as well as impress a future client or prospect.
Compliance and Legal Obligations
To be found non-compliant or on the wrong side of a legal obligation can be extremely costly in so many ways.
Many business owners do not have the time, let alone the expertise, to stay on top of these requirements themselves.
Ensuring that compliance and legal obligations are being met is often the role of Head Office, this means that the franchisee can be assured their legal obligations are being met and that they are compliant and legal.
To Market to Market
Strategic partner building
Build a network.
Form alliances and strategic partnerships.
Together, everyone can grow.
If you are a concreter, look at forming a good relationship with a landscaper, a fencing company and a builder at the very least.
A referral is always going to be much easier to close than any other lead you generate.
Look at who could refer work to you in your industry and reach out to these people.
Perhaps you could incentivise them to refer their clients to you?
Utilise Your Buying Power
Nobody wants to pay full retail. Ever.
Sure, a stand-alone business can negotiate a good deal with suppliers and service providers but will struggle to reach the potential that a franchise has.
The franchise teams buying power is huge and resellers understand this.
They also understand the potential future they have with a franchise as the majority are always looking at expansion of some kind.
Expansion = volume.
Volume = more sales for the reseller and everyone loves sales.
From vehicles, to sign-writing, to telecommunications to marketing, trade and industry suppliers to insurers and professional services, negotiate and then negotiate some more!
Results are reliant on trust.
Your colleagues rely on it, your suppliers rely on it, search engine relies on it and so do your future customers.
It is most business owners dream to have their website rank well on search engine and for Google to generate good quality leads and enquiries each and every day.
This is achieved by building trust and proving your authority to search engine.
Ideally, a great online structure is to have the head office and the main website and then a mini website set up on a sub domain.
Of course, your website should be developed by a reputable specialist who also understands search engine optimisation.
The mini website would have 4 to 5 pages of content unique to them focusing on demographics and geography.
Head office would have its own Google My Business profile as well as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube etc as well as listing the main website on 30 to 40 local and free directories.
Replicate this for each of the franchise locations and you have a fantastic online presence with huge authority in a very short period of time.
A strong trusted brand is the echelon of business.
Typically, building a strong brand can take many years and huge budgets.
However, we can now build an extremely powerful brand quickly thanks to the online world.
When an enquirer Googles your business name, there a few things we can do to ensure a great first impression to the prospect.
Ideally, you need to have a great Google My Business profile that is filled out correctly, has some great relevant images and video as well as some good recent reviews.
This will ensure Google displays your Knowledge Graph.
The next point of attention should be every organic listing owned by you.
These listings will be made up by pages with your website, social media links as well as directory listings.
To view this strong brand will give great confidence to the enquirer in the first 2 to 5 seconds of the search.
Build your brand for people and build your brand for search engine.
Create and engage in a decent social media marketing campaign.
Yes, your potential clients are hanging out here on various social channels so be sociable.
Each new franchisee that comes on board and follows this set up will add to the overall branding to search engine which in turn will see immediate value and trust from them.
It is always recommended to have multiple lead generating streams rather than have all of your eggs in one basket.
By following the process laid out under Trust Building, you will have a very chance of generating organic traffic and leads from Google and other search engines over time.
Most small businesses want (and need) to generate some high-quality enquiries soon after commencing in business.
The solution to this necessity is paid advertising or pay per click.
They enable you to define your target audience demographic and geographic, like never before seen, and to invest your marketing dollar into advertising to only those likely to actually buy something!
Across all search terms we know the number to be around 20% to 25% of all traffic will click on a paid ad. These numbers are not to be ignored.
By having a Google Ad running, your business listed in the Google My Business Map Pack, as well as having a good organic ranking, you can have 3 bites of the cherry, so to speak.
I recommend focusing on lead generating offers and campaigns.
If you are posting on social media, mention an offer for that month only or for the next 5 people that comment or share you post.
Give your audience a reason to act now instead of just blending in with 99% of other business advertising messages they will be exposed to that day.
I am not necessarily a big fan of discounts, but I love value adding!
The concreter that specialises in driveways could give a 3-month car wash subscription with every driveway sold this month.
The house painter could give a 2-night stay in an apartment in the city with every full interior paint sale made.
Focus on what makes you unique and your USP (unique selling proposition).
Stand out against the crowd.
Of course, there is more to running a successful business or franchise but follow these recommended guidelines and you will be off to a pretty good start.
Should you like to discuss your business, business marketing or lead generating and anything franchising, please reach out anytime.
The top 10 reasons why you should meet with a digital marketer as soon as possible.
Please let me start off by saying this is not a spiel from a digital marketer to try to generate more leads.
I’m not here to spruce our services or any special deal for this month only or the first 10 enquiries.
I totally get that business owners receive multiple emails and phone calls every week from SEO experts all around the world promising page 1 rankings but let’s look past that for just one minute.
There are very few businesses that can survive, let alone grow, in this day and age without a half decent website and online presence.
Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few decent digital marketers and agencies out there that can certainly assist in helping you with both branding and more importantly, lead generation.
Here are the top 10 reasons I strongly recommend meeting with a digital marketer as soon as possible.
1. A Health Check up
Many digital marketers offer a comprehensive health check and audit of your website and online presence for free.
These agencies often pay hundreds of dollars per month for the latest in reporting software and various tools.
They are usually more than willing to give you extremely important and useful insights into what you are doing well and where you may want to focus your time and energy.
With so much riding on websites, social media and online enquiries, I struggle to see a better way to spend an hour or so of your time in the coming weeks?
2. The Dreaded Algorithm Changes
Yes, by now the majority of us are aware that Google, and all other search engines, make many updates to their algorithms each and every year.
In 2018, Google reported over 3000 updates in the calendar year.
Many of these are quite minor but some are quite major and have significant impact on where you rank and also the potential for penalties.
I don’t believe that knowledge is power, instead I believe that knowledge has the potential to be power.
The more knowledge we have, the more opportunities and options will be available.
By educating ourselves, the better equipped we will be at making informed decisions and sourcing solutions to any issues or problems that may be present or face us in the future?
4. Justification and Clarity of existing Providers Performance
Many business owners are engaging with a digital marketer or agency and are unsure if the results are up to scratch?
I would be wary of meeting with a marketing consultant that bad mouths your existing provider.
However, they should be able to offer some advice and give honest feedback as well as recommendations of what to pay attention to even if they feel they are not going to win your business in the short term.
Quite often, by asking a few questions to your existing provider, it can give them added incentive to pay a little more attention to your campaign.
5. Budget Forecasting
No one likes it and few are prepared when it happens.
Perhaps your website is getting a little old and needs a refresh in the coming months or years?
Maybe you had a slow period repeatedly over the last few years and would like this year to be different?
You may be interested in increasing your social media presence as well as increasing leads in foreseeable future?
Why not create an implementation plan for creation of social profiles, content creation and posting as well as planning for increase in both enquiries and also sales that will be generated from the activity?
This may include having to look at hiring staff to cope with the extra work or buying more stock of your product etc?
By consciously planning for these times, they won’t come as a shock and we can also minimise the impact on our businesses and most importantly, our cash flow.
6. Identify Shifts in Market and Customer Behaviour
Once upon a time, in the days of cassettes and only 4 to 5 channels on the television, when we needed to find a plumber, we opened the yellow pages or simply asked our neighbour for a referral.
A good marketing consultant will be able to assist you in identifying your target audience as well as perhaps identifying new audiences?
A good marketing consultant will be able to help you fish where the fish and also forecast where the fish may be swimming in the future?
7. Networking Opportunities
Typically, digital marketers have fantastic networks and therefore make fantastic networkers.
Are you looking for a potential collaboration or forming a strategic alliance?
Chances are your marketing consultant could give you some name and numbers of some good reputable referrals?
Be sure to hand over some business cards and perhaps keep in contact as they may be able to refer some decent leads and business to you in the future?
8. Save You Money
While saving money is pretty high on everyone’s wish list I would recommend thinking about a better return on investment?
Marketing and lead generation is about investing rather than just saving money.
Invest $50 and see $100 return or $500 return.
Very few business owners have a clear and concise figure of what a customer, a sale or a lead actually costs them?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that every qualified lead you generated over the last 12 months cost you an exact figure of say $8.50?
Wouldn’t this information be useful for business growth if you knew your average dollar sale was $3500 and you had a closing rate of 35%?
You could now quite easily plan to increase your business turnover by whatever percent purely based on increasing your current marketing investment.
Selling your product or service has numerous amounts of steps and stages.
We need to market and advertise on various channels and platforms, we need to generate a lead via website or landing page click, an opt in on a social media post or even generate a phone call.
These all come from the traffic we generate through our marketing and advertising actions.
What if your marketing consultant could help convert another 5% or 10% of your traffic to the next stage?
This would give you a much better return on your existing marketing investment and possibly even reduce the investment required?
9. Grow Your Database
Although I touched on a better return on investment in the previous point, I wanted to mention building your database more specifically based on a conversation.
I recently had a chat with a good friend who manages a camping store.
When I asked about their target audience, she gave the expected reply of outdoorsy, relatively fit 30 to 40-year old’s etc.
While yes, I agree these are the types of people they want coming into the store I suggested the actual audience, that is the easiest to sell to, are those people that have already bought something or even just visited the store.
Until our conversation, the camping store had no email database they could advertise to and advise of upcoming sales, new products or new manufacturers they now had onboard?
Pretty crazy when you think of the power of top of mind marketing?
A good digital marketer will be able to help you funnel contacts, store easily and advise on various ways to communicate with them to achieve some outstanding return on investment.
10. Help You Close More Deals
While marketing and sales are different fundamental aspects of your business, many good digital marketers will be able to offer advice and assist you to close more deals.
It is, I believe, the role of the digital marketer to be involved in the whole process.
From identifying existing and new target audiences, branding, traffic generation, leads and enquiries, data capture, sales, closing and also follow up marketing and client nurture.
The more experience, the more businesses your digital consultant has been involved with.
Chances are they have assisted other business owners in the same industry and perhaps even some of your direct competitors?
So, there you go, the top 10 reasons I believe spending an hour with a decent digital marketer could be the best hour you may invest this year.
Sales Manager and Digital Marketing Specialist.
What is Facebook & Instagram Remarketing/Retargeting?
Do you wonder why an ad is displayed on your Facebook or Instagram feed for a product you have just been looking at on another website? It’s not a coincidence. In this article we will explain how it works and how you can utilise it for your business.
So, what is remarketing/retargeting?
The word ReTargeting was first used by Google’s Adwords platform and ReMarketing was later termed by Facebook, both essentially mean the same thing and are now used interchangeably.
How do Facebook and Instagram know what websites you have visited?
Facebook has a tool called a “Facebook Pixel,” which is a small bit of code that can be inserted into a website. This piece of code allows website owners to understand who is visiting their website and their behaviour. Although this may feel like an invasion of privacy, the concept of the Facebook pixel is to provide website owners with insight to their audience. They can then use this information to serve ads and content that they are most interested in. It is also incredibly powerful for business owners and marketers as it allows you to understand your audience and then serve them ads on Facebook & Instagram to remind them of your business. To see this in action, visit www.elementor.com, (this is a great wordpress builder BTW) and then refresh your Facebook news feed.
You will likely see something like this:
Image source: adparlor.com
How do I see ads on Facebook and Instagram from websites I have visited?
A business who is using a Facebook pixel on their website can create audiences based on user activity. This is called ReMarketing or ReTargeting. Within Facebook’s business manager, businesses can create broad or specific audiences. An audience could be as broad as “website visitors,” which will create an audience with everyone who has visited the website or a specific audience, such as “website visitors who live on the Gold Coast who visited a specific page on my website in the last 7 days”. Businesses can then create ads specific to the audience they have created.
Ps. We are also running remarketing ads. This means that once you exit this page and then head over to Facebook and scroll through your news feed you’ll see our ads.
How do Facebook and Instagram know what items I am looking at online?
Have you ever shopped online for a product but didn’t commit to the purchase and then you see the exact product on Facebook or Instagram? This is called Dynamic ReMarketing or Dynamic ReTargeting. With the help of the Facebook pixel, businesses can automatically create Facebook and Instagram ads tailored to specific products you have been looking at. This is possible by adding products within Facebook Business manager to a catalog. This catalog is directly linked with your online store so that Facebook can serve ads for the exact product you were looking at.
This is especially useful for online stores with high abandoned cart rates. According to a study from Barilliance, “over 3/4 of shoppers choose to leave the site without completing a purchase.” With Dynamic remarketing, it is possible to show ads for the the exact products that was in a users abandoned cart.
If you haven’t seen this in action, I recommend you visit www.surfstitch.com . Add a few products to your cart and then scroll through your Facebook feed. Voila!
After visiting Surfstich, I was also served ads on a blog I was reading through Google Adsense. The blog was actually about Facebook remarketing. This was because they are also using Google Adwords – Dynamic remarketing. If your interested, we will be posting another blog on how Google Ads Remarketing works.
How can you utilise this for your business?
Facebook remarketing is an incredibly powerful tool, especially for ecommerce sites. The benefit of remarketing is that it reminds users of your business, brand or products to revisit your website or complete a transaction. Over 90% of users won’t purchase from a website the first time they visit. Often users will look at multiple sites, researching their desired product or service before making a decision. Or maybe they were distracted and were unable to complete the purchase or submit an enquiry online. Remarketing allows you to reconnect with your users. Plus, remarketing only targets users who you already know are interested in your business, this means that you are not wasting advertising budgets on audiences who might not be interested; this provides lower advertising costs.
Head on over to Pixels in your Facebook Business Manager
Click “Create a Pixel” in the green box that appears:
Select from the below two options shown, in this case, we assume you will be installing the pixel code yourself. Click Install the code yourself:
Head over to your WordPress website and hover over Appearance and click editor:
Locate the tags these are commonly found in the header.php file of your theme. Paste your Facebook tracking pixel code just before the closing tag. In code close tags will have a “/”:
Save the file and be sure to empty any cache or minification settings you may have setup:
The best way to test your pixel is working is to install the Facebook Pixel Helper Google Chrome Add-on:
Oh and incase you were wondering...
Do Facebook and Instagram listen to your conversations?
Let’s clear this up. The answer is, No (according to Facebook officials, at least).
Although you may think that they do, they are only tracking your web activity. However, they do track activity even when you are logged out of Facebook or have the app closed. The reason you often see ads based on a conversation you had is because you (or your friends) have likely been visiting websites related to your conversation topic. Following the Cambridge Analytica sage, Joe Osborne, Facebook Spokesperson stated that. “Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed.”
For example, if you and your best friend have been talking in person about a trip to Fiji and suddenly you see an ad on facebook for Fiji Holiday Tours. You might think something is a little suspicious. However, even if you haven’t researched anything related to Fiji holiday tours, your friend might have and Facebook’s algorithm calculates that you would likely engage with a Fiji Holiday tour because your best friend is interested.
What seems to be a creepy breach of privacy is merely an attempt to try and serve you ads that you are most interested in. If your an 18-year-old guy who is interested in Surfing, you would probably get annoyed if you kept seeing ads for mascara. But if ads for a new range of wetsuits from RipCurl might just tweak your interest. If you own a business and are relatively tech-savvy, you could install the Facebook pixel yourself and learn how to use Facebook Advertising. Alternatively, you can use an agency like us and we will do everything for you so you can focus on your business and we can focus on generating website traffic, sales, engagement and leads for you.