Small Changes – Big ImpactNovember 20, 2013
How small changes can have big impacts on company profits
Many of us have our aims and ambitions in business, and there’s nothing wrong with setting your targets high; but it’s important to make sure you know how you’re going to achieve those aims. For instance, a general target of a 20% increase in profits might seem like an insurmountable objective, whereas aiming for 5-10% growth in four to five different areas could be more than enough to get you there.
This is one of the principles we put into practice on a daily basis in our consulting work, by helping our clients to grow their business across a broad range of different areas. An ever-increasing number of businesses are discovering that the internet is their best way to achieve their profit targets, and with some low-cost and even free ways to boost your earnings, it’s worth considering.
Here are four of the cheapest and best ways to boost your brand awareness and perception, customer numbers and overall profits online.
1. Facebook Advertising
Facebook advertising is a great way to increase your overall online traffic, without paying through the nose in order to do so. For as little as £35, you can reach between 20,000 and 30,000 people – but this is no scatter-gun approach, as you can target your ads by age, interests, education, religion and membership of Facebook groups.
You can have your special offers and price promotions appear directly in the Newsfeeds of the users you target, accompanied by a picture or video, and that taken together can make for a compelling proposition.
2. Google+ Local
If your business already has a Google Places page – or even if it doesn’t – it’s time to learn about Google+ Local, which is taking over as the new way to have a local presence on the world’s biggest search engine.
A well optimised Google+ Local listing, with trustworthy citations, can help to get you into Google’s local results – that’s the map and ‘A, B, C’ listings you see at the top of most searches when you include a place name.
This is a particularly useful area to focus on if you have an office address located close to your town or city centre, as in addition to optimisation, your postal code is a major ranking factor.
For example, somebody searching for ‘litigation lawyer London’ is highly likely to be looking to pay somebody to represent them – but without a local presence, you could get overlooked completely in the search results.
3. Google Hangouts
Another feature of Google+ is Google Hangouts, a videoconferencing service that has plenty to offer in terms of online marketing. You can reach a sizeable live audience, but your video will also be archived automatically to your YouTube account and can be embedded into your blog or website for future viewing at your own URL.
This is your chance to appear as if you were on TV – have a friend interview you, make a business pitch or discuss your latest special offer.
As a Google property, like Local pages, Hangouts have a headstart where optimisation is concerned, so if you make sure you have done everything you can to optimise your video title, description and so on (which is a whole subject in itself), your recordings should perform well in search.
Still the best way to build organic traffic over the long term, SEO is increasingly about finding niche, long-tail key terms (i.e. popular search queries that contain three or four words). These terms are typically less competitive, because there are many more of them to target, but while each carries less potential traffic, the visitors you do receive will typically be much more relevant and likely to buy.
For example, a general search for ‘broken drain’ has no clear buying intent – it could be somebody just looking for advice or even photographs. But a search for ‘best drainage specialist London’ offers much more confidence that the individual is intending to place an order, and ties in to the local optimisation mentioned above.
The sum of its parts
The overall impact of an online marketing campaign is likely to be more than just the sum of its parts – efforts made on local listings can feed into your wider SEO work, for instance, while embedded Google Hangouts can further boost your optimisation or can be duplicated as video content in your Facebook ads.
In general though, breaking your campaign down into these component parts is a great way to keep things manageable, and could make it much easier to achieve those smaller 5-10% increments that ultimately add up to significantly larger profits.
As I mentioned up top, this is just one small area of our consulting work, and just a tiny fraction of the total ways businesses can boost their earnings and profits – and that, in turn, means that all of these component parts can in turn feed into a much broader online and offline promotional campaign.