Back in days of telephone books, we had no way to tell if the business was trustworthy. We just went through a page at a time and made our decision based on very few things.
So there was no first impression outside of a logo and advertisement.
However the internet has given everyone a voice. And with that voice people can say what they want about anyone. Including businesses.
When people find any Google Places business listing, they want to see what others have to say. Especially if they’re a first timer. It’s why Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor are so big.
Reviews are like a comment card. But everyone can see them. It’s not like the old days of comment cards when management were able to discard the bad reviews.
To sum it up, your reviews are your business’s first impression.
More the Merrier
Having just a few reviews is fine. But just about every Places page I see has 0-5 reviews. I believe the more reviews you have, the higher your social proof.
It also means that your business must be pretty remarkable. Especially if your competitors have very little reviews. If people love your business and take the time to write a review, you’re doing something right!
The more reviews you have the easier it is to stand out from the competition.
Getting More Reviews
I started this post off by saying all you have to do is ask. And that’s what I want you to do.
If you’ve been in business for over six months, chances are good you have repeat clients. Those are the ones who would be willing to write a review.
All you have to do is ask them.
There are only two ways we communicate (outside of body language) so here are the two methods you can ask for reviews:
1) After checkout (verbally)
If you have a physical storefront, you probably have a computer with a POS system. When they’re finished their checkout ask them how their visit was and if they have a Google or GMail account. If they enjoyed it (I’m sure they did) kindly ask them to write a review on the spot.
This might be hard for some of you to do. I suggest asking those repeat clients whom you’ve built a good rapport with.
When you do this, make it really easy for them. Have your browser on your Google Places page and be sure you’re logged out. Then all they have to do is click on the “Write a Review” button and they’ll be asked to sign into their Google/Gmail account.
Some people might not know their password. But you can ask them to follow step two.
What you do next is simply answer that question by writing a blog post about it. The keyword you then target is that question.
So simple. What’s extremely beneficial about this is a qualified lead is landing on your blog post. They get their question answered and their happy.
It doesn’t stop there though. Perhaps this question has other questions tied to it. If you have a ‘recommended posts‘ plugin or links to other blog posts in the blog post they landed on, they can read more of your blog posts.
There is a slight problem with this SEO strategy which is known as targeting longtail keywords. But it can be easily overcome.
You’ll be targeting people from all over the world. Here’s a screenshot of the visitors locations.
Not exactly targeted. However I can easily change my settings through my Google Webmasters tools account to target searchers in a specific country.
If you don’t have Webmaster tools setup, do it know by reading this post.
So you’ll receive visitors from all over your home country. But in the example a few images above, Ryan Apsy and his shoulder pain found a Doctor who blogged about shoulder problems in his city. Depending on your average bill of sale or the lifetime value of a client, the ROI on even 5 people doing business with through your blog is massive.
The Ball Is in Your court
I’ll leave you with this. Write down every question you can think of when it comes to your business or service. Then get blogging!
When you’re new you want to tell everyone why they should check you out. I can’t blame you there!
Maybe sales are sluggish and need you more clients.
Perhaps you have a sale or product you want everyone to know about.
No matter the reason you have to get the word out. Advertising does just that.
Sure I think internet marketing is great but advertising can be effective.
But the cookie cutter “Here’s my business and contact information, please call us” advertising doesn’t work anymore.
Let me explain.
Advertising needs to engage
It’s a fact that I dislike 95% of advertising. Almost all advertisements lack creativity and can be ignored. Actually all advertisments can be ignored except website pop ups! I’ll save that for another day however.
I’m sure my feelings on advertising are shared by many others.
How often do you say to yourself after seeing an ad “Yeah, I want to start doing business there” or “I must find out more” and call that business or visit their website? I bet I’ve been on more dates in the last year which for the record has been a measly two.
As a society we ignore advertising. It’s been jammed down our thoughts for far too long. How often do you even take the time to look at ads anymore?
So how you can break through the noise and engage people with your advertising? What does it take to get some serious return on investment from any advertisement you run?
I’ll show you a great example in a second so read on!
Before that happens do me a favour and tweet this if you’re on Twitter
Break through the noise & create engaging advertisements – Click to Tweet
Introducing Meaningful Advertising
Once in a while I flip through my local paper to see if anything catches my eye. A month back I found this advertisement.
Let’s be clear, it’s goods but it can be better. I’ll explain why later but it’s a step in the right direction.
So what makes this ad meaningful and better than the majority of ads?
It never tries to push
It opens the sales funnel
Meaningful marketers are always willing to educate potential clients. They’re thinking about their clients and what questions they have. In this case it’s something as common as using eye drops.
People are generally looking for information on your product or service before buying. Often times they’ll do research on the internet. The best way to get in front of them and answer any questions is by blogging for business.
This ad is essentially what a blog post would look like. It’s meaningful because it educates someone and improves their life. After all no one would engage with this ad if they didn’t know how to use eye drops since that’s the title!
It never tries to push
Since the begin on advertising companies have been pushing their products on us. That has to change if you want to engage more people.
During the advertisement not once do you see “See us for all your eye care needs” do you? The concept is certainly there but it’s subtle.
Dr. Taylor could have easily peppered this ad with more pushing. But he didn’t.
At the bottom of the ad his clinics contact details are listed. That’s the only time. He didn’t even offer a call to action which is very passive. Too passive though.
He’s simply educating people. If the reader wants to know more, perhaps they’ll visit his clinics website or call him next time for an eye care appointment.
It opens the sales funnel
Too much focus is put in closing the sale now a days. I know it’s all about sales but if you’re too pushy, people will shy away.
When people come to a website or see an ad, they want more.
Can they see photos of your products? Can they read or listen to what satisfied clients have to say? How about learning more about your particular area of expertise?
By letting people see those things you are opening the sales funnel. You’re inviting them to learn more.
Without doing those things it will be tough to open the sales funnel. Chances are they’ll flip past your advertisement and leave your website within 10 seconds.
When you open the sales funnel your ROI greatly increases. People will read your ad and stay on your website longer. This is taking advantage of every person who engages with your marketing.
An Opportunity Missed
I did say this ad was a step in the right direction towards meaning. There is something missing here.
The odds of someone needing an eye care appointment at the time of this ad are slim. That doesn’t mean they won’t think of his clinic when they do. But how could he make sure they don’t forget about him?
Drive them to his website for more education. Since the chances of someone remembering his phone number are low he needs the reader to take action and visit his website for more education on eye care. This will also help build trust and credibility with the new visitor.
The next step after awareness in the sales funnel is turning someone into a lead.
Here’s what Dr. Taylor could do to increase his leads.
Call to action
Dr. Taylor and the Mayfair Optometric Clinic need a better call to action to start with. Something simple could be “Visit our website for more eye care and health tips”. No matter what you want to get people back to your website.
If he is putting in the effort to write an article for an ad, why isn’t he blogging? Someone who actually reads this ad all the way through is engaged. What do you do in this position? Give them more! By inviting those readers back to his site for more articles on eye care and health.
Email opt in forms
Email opt in forms offer a person to get updates from your site. It’s a simple way of lead capturing but very overlooked. If he is utilizing an email newsletter they could grow their email list. This obviously gives them the ability to market to that engaged person for a lifetime and hopefully turn them into a lifetime client.
Hopefully you’ve learnt a lot on how to increase advertising ROI. It takes more to stand out from your competition. By creating advertisements like this example, you’ll be well on your way to more meaning and more sales!
What kind of offline advertising do you do?
Do you see a good amount of ROI from it?
If you’ve made it this far you should get my Meaningful Marketing manifesto. It’s somewhat of a bible that will guide you to marketing with meaning. Simply enter your email address below to instantly receive that and all my updates.
You’d be surprised at how many websites fail to capture leads. The last statement can also apply to a physical store front.
If someone visits your website or store you have to do everything to get their contact details. Ok, not everything but you must try to build a relationship with this person. The only way to do that is by getting their contact details.
This is what I mean by asking is your businesses website a sieve. Is it letting people drop by without trying anything to capture their details?
If 100 people visit your website a month (you have Google analytics setup don’t you?) and you don’t have any way to capture their contact details you’re missing out. The visitor may not be in the market for what you’re selling now but they have come to your site or store so there is something intriguing there.
Get that email!
When you have their contact details – email is usually the most common form given out – you are able to market to that person one on one and for a long period of time. For the record I would be hesitant to ask for a person’s phone number. Most people are more comfortable with email starting out.
Being able to market to a person for a long time is a huge factor to building a loyal community online. That’s assuming you provide meaningful content for that person to engage with.
Combining blog posts with emails is a great way to keep people up to date with your business or industry. You can send out weekly or monthly newsletters, your latest blogs posts or just useful links you’ve come across over the internet.
Using any of the suitable email automation programs allows you to do numerous things with an email list. The most important thing is tracking and analyzing data. Who opens your email and along with what links they click.
Being able to track your progress is pivotal towards success online and off.
What if they don’t give it up?
Cue the dating analogies!
You have to be patient and not go for the email right away. Don’t you get turned off when you visit a website and within five seconds they want you to join their email newsletter? You don’t know anything about them and they’re already pushing.
Talk about coming on to strong! You wouldn’t ask for a second date one minute into the first one would you?
When someone comes to your website and they see you want their contact details but they’re reluctant, what can you do?
Today it’s all about offering value in exchange for getting someone’s email address.
Back in the late 90’s everybody loved email. Then spammers caught on and now everyone dreads email!
As a side note I’ll be addressing how to write intriguing titles for emails as well as blog posts in my email newsletter. This will help you get more of your emails and content opened and shared. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below so you don’t miss out.
Meaningful blog posts
A blog when done proper can provide all sorts of value. When I mean proper I’m talking about creating meaningful content and links within your posts to other posts so people can stay on your blog longer.
Whether you educate them or entertain them, it’s easier to get their contact details once they begin to trust you more. They want to see you know what you’re talking about, are a real person and that they can trust you.
You have to put the effort into each blog post you write. Treat it like it’s an article going into a newspaper. A lot of people would be reading that article so you would want to impress them right? Each and every blog post deserves the same attention.
It is after all digital and never going to get recycled so give them your best stuff!
I had a chat with a mortgage broker towards the end of November. He was mentioning a broker friend of his who had been getting consulting tips from a successful internet marketer.
One thing they do is offer each visitor some value for giving up their email address. The most common things are:
Ebooks have been around for close to 10 years now. They’re easy to produce and don’t cost much to make except for effort. An ebook can really set you apart from the competition and show your visitors that you truly care about them.
They don’t have to be the same length as a physical book but they do have to showcase your knowledge of your product or industry. See what others are doing in your industry and find out if they give away an eBook. If they do grab it to see what it takes to produce a great eBook.
If you have the time creating an eBook is the best choice.
I’ve seen a few internet marketers during my research who produce free reports. These are good if your product or service offering is really small. Top 10 lists are great for reports and intrigue people to sign up for an email list.
If you’re an insurance broker you could write on on the top 10 reasons why insurance claims fail. A small grocery store could write on a report on the top 10 reasons to buy local.
Free reports offer a great alternative to eBooks as they don’t require much time. Topics can range from a lot of different things but the key is to educate and provide value.
Lately I’ve come across service providers who offer free consultations. This is a sneaky way to get someone to offer their email address in exchange for free consulting.
A good route to go if you provide a service but be warned that people may not like receiving your emails because you weren’t up front and honest with them.
Now if you have a blog and some sort of free give away, you’ll be well on your way to capturing more leads for your business.
This method does require a lot of effort but the rewards are huge! You’ll gain trust and your credibility will soar. These are two major components to meaningful marketing.
When it comes down to it you have to offer value everywhere you go. This can only help but open the sales funnel and allow you the ability to market to your new lead for a long time.
The baseball glove of your website
Earlier I talked about your website being a sieve. That can all change.
Once you’ve implemented all the steps above you can now play catch! Opt in forms are the method of catching or capturing a leads details.
EZLeadCapture.com is a great way to not only
Aweber is the email automation software I use. Once signing you can create custom opt in forms or choose from pre made template.
These opt in forms capture a leads contact details and stores them back at you Aweber account. Don’t ask me to explain how this magic happens as I’m still mesmerized by the radio and cassette tapes!
Common places to put opt in forms on a website are:
along the side of the page where the reader can see it
in blog posts like I have done already
at the top of the page so people can see it right away
These places are all fine but the key will come down to providing a reason or incentive for someone to subscribe.
Well I’ve covered all I wanted and I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post. My goal is to not only help you market with more meaning but to also make sure you get the most out of your marketing.
Lead capturing is very important and I wanted to talk about ways you can increase your chances of getting peoples contact details.
If you liked this post and what the site is all about, please spread the word around your social networks by sharing it. It would mean an awful lot!
So how would you grade your websites ability to capture leads?
Are there any methods I’m missing for capturing leads online?