on page SEO for micro businesses

what is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is a popular service provided by those who specialise in digital marketing. The general idea of investing time and money into SEO is for your website to rank higher in the search engines, for a particular search term or keyword.

The popularity of search engines such as Google and Bing to name a few, have given rise to a whole industry of digital marketing professionals who obsess over ranking factors and changes in Google’s algorithm.

wtf is SEO?

A lot of business owners who we speak to, reference SEO as a dark art and something that if you know how to do it then you’ll automatically rise above in rankings. It’s not as simple as that, but it is simple, and you definitely don’t have to be a ‘digital marketer’ or an SEO expert to rank yourself competitively in the search results.

how to understand SEO?

When looking at where to start with SEO, we find it helps to break it down into the following categories:

  1. On Page SEO - How search engines read your website/web pages (internal)
  2. Off Page SEO - Who links and shares your website/web pages (external)

what is on page SEO?

If you are serious about wanting to drive traffic to your website from search engines such as Google, then you’ll have to focus on your website first. The general idea is that if a website visitor can have a good experience on your website, then search engines will rank your website favourably. Here are a few considerations that search engines like Google want websites to have before ranking them favourably:

  • Mobile Responsive - Your website can fit and scale to different mobile devices (smartphone/tablet)
  • Page Speed - Your website takes under 3 seconds to load the majority of pages
  • Titles, Tags, Descriptions - Each web page is using descriptive terms and keywords

how to make my website mobile responsive?

It is pointless spending time, money and resources optimising your website for SEO if your website is not mobile responsive. This may seem like you have to spend more money on your website and marketing before getting any results, and to a degree this is true. However, costs of creating a website have decreased significantly over the last 3-5 years, and paying more than £1k can be questionable at times if your website is simply, informational and 4-5 pages.

how to improve my page speed?

The quick win to improve your page speed will be to optimise all of your images on the website and make sure that they are condensed down to the lowest size as possible. After that, you’ll be looking at technical issues such as server configuration, optimising plug ins, using Google’s new AMP (accelerated mobile pages) project and minimising javascript and condensing CSS.

how to use titles, tags and descriptions?

When optimising your website, it’s helpful to choose one keyword for each webpage, this will allow Google to see that you’re being specific and targeted. For every page on your website you should look to have a target keyword in the following:

  1. Keyword should be in the URL
  2. Keyword should be in web page title (meta title)
  3. Keyword should be in the description of the web page (meta description)
  4. Keyword should be in the first header (h1 tag)
  5. Keyword should be in the first 150 words
  6. Keyword should be used when describing images on the webpage (alt text)

After this is done, make sure your web page text is organic, clear and helpful to the end user. Adding in more keywords will not improve your ranking and will actually penalise you. If you want to be really clever then map out the synonyms of your keyword and use them instead.

how to know what keyword to use?

Above is a template you can follow when looking to optimise your website, although, the difficult part now is finding what keywords to use. There are many tools available that will help you find the keyword volumes such as Keyword Planner. Depending on how authoritative your website is and it’s ability to compete with competitors, you’re likely to choose a more competitive term. It’s helpful to discuss this with your team and think about what keywords are quick wins and easier to rank for, and what keywords are difficult and longer term goals.

Just because one keyword may have the highest volumes per month, it may not be the best for you. Sometimes it is best to pick one that has a moderate amount of volume but low competition.

what about off page SEO?

This is the other aspect of SEO and terms such as link building, guest blogging, shareable content etc, can be related to Off Page SEO.

Search engines, such as Google, rank websites that have been endorsed by other websites. This shows a form of social proof and authority and in return, will rank you favourably. The way for Google to recognise this is through web links (hyperlinks). This is a noisy area when it comes to digital marketing and can quickly become confusing.

There are a lot of people who game the system by buying links and using PBNs (personal blogging networks) in order to dupe Google (and other search engines) into believing that the links shared are genuine and have authority.

These types of tactics and strategies are labelled as black/grey hat techniques. They can, and have worked for many business owners, agencies and digital marketing professionals, however, it’s a pyrrhic victory and it won’t lead to sustainable growth over time. You’ll run the risk of being penalised and having to start over, and it also fuels an industry of one trick ponies, the ‘SEO professional’.

To win at Off Page SEO, this will require application of the marketing mix; social media, PR, content creation (writing/video/graphic design), consumer behaviour and most importantly industry knowledge.

where can i find out more about on page SEO?

We will be launching a new workshop for micro businesses in 2017, covering all the important areas of On Page SEO, showing you how to do it for yourself! Stay tuned.

competitive advantages for micro businesses

what is a competitive advantage?

A competitive advantage is when you have a desired offering that is superior to the alternatives available. This offering can acquire competitive advantages from many different forms, mainly through lower cost or higher value.

what are the different types of competitive advantages?

Being competitive in a marketplace can stem from either being able to create products and deliver services at the lowest cost (comparative advantage) or by having the ability to create products and deliver services at higher rate (absolute advantage).

Comparative Advantage

  • Choose a comparative advantage if you can specialise more than your competitors at a lower cost and sell at a better margin
  • Choose a comparative advantage if your key resources can be sourced and developed at a lower cost to your competition

If your business demands a higher price and are a specialist in what you do, you have a comparative advantage.

Absolute Advantage

  • Choose an absolute advantage if you have the resources to create more than your competition at a quicker rate
  • Choose an absolute advantage if your customers are price sensitive

If your business model is based upon high volume/low margin sales, you have an absolute advantage.

where to start with creating a competitive advantage?

Choosing your competitive advantage is the cornerstone of your business strategy and should be reinforced in all of your activities. Think of business activities as touch points that your customers will experience and engage with.

A business strategy is simply a set of choices that decide the direction of your business and therefore, making the right choices is mission critical to achieving long term success.

Making good choices is the key to unlocking your competitive advantage. To do this consider a process called design thinking.

how can design thinking unlock competitive advantages?

Design thinking is a process that allows you to make choices based on a number of internal and external factors that wouldn’t normally be considered in the decision making of a creating a business strategy.

This type of ‘outside the box’ thinking can help businesses design new products and services that go beyond the typical transaction and offer more value through an understanding of customer assumptions, behaviours and challenges.

Design thinking is a powerful methodology that you can use to gain a deeper understanding of your customers and improve their experience. It’s an ongoing process that doesn’t happen overnight but by sticking with it, you’ll be able to create new services that meet the unmet and unarticulated needs that your target market is currently experiencing. This is where you gain a competitive advantage.

what steps can I take to improve my competitive advantages?

The following steps provide an introduction into a new way of thinking about customer problems to help you gain insights that allow you to create new products and services, that then become your competitive advantage:

  1. Discover - find out about your target market and ‘personas
  2. Opportunity - identify the common problems from patterns of behaviour
  3. Ideate - discuss ideas on how to solve problems
  4. Action - create something that addresses this problem and is the solution
  5. Repeat - learn from the experience and include what you’ve learnt going forward

what is the link between creative problem solving and competitive advantages?

Solving the unmet and unarticulated needs of your target market is what will give you a competitive advantage. These needs are not communicated for a reason and it’s because they are difficult to uncover, not easily given away by those who experience them and many more. Creative problem solving can uncover these needs through approaches like design thinking by looking at it from the customer's point of view, using empathy and logic reasoning to draw out those hard to find problems they experience.

why is it important to have a competitive advantage?

Competitive advantages will be what continues to drive growth for your business and make it financially sustainable for the long term. They can help you achieve the business goals and work towards achieving the overall business vision.

where can I find out more about competitive advantages?

If you’d like to know more about creating competitive advantages for your business, we recommend reading up on design thinking and if you want to take it step further, speak with us about our PICE workshops.

customer experience for micro businesses

what is customer experience?

The relationship that a business has with its customer's can be a simple way to look at customer experience. The not so simple part is being able to add value into the experience. This is possible by identifying all the interactions and touchpoints that a customer has, before, during and after a sale.

Customer experience is the phrase used to describe the relationship a customer has with a business. Customer experience refers to the total of all experiences the customer has with the business, based on all interactions and thoughts about the business.

Customer experience is an integral part of customer relationship management (CRM), and it is important to businesses because customers who have a positive experience are more likely to become repeat customers and loyal customers of the business.

Good customer experience is a long term commitment, not a campaign.

where to start with customer experience?

Being able to understand your customer's experience will require an insights into their needs and your ability to exceeded their expectations. By actively taking an interest in their needs you can begin to build a better relationship that leads to higher retention rates, improved chances of upselling and lower customer acquisition costs.

Start with a customer journey map that identifies some of the touchpoints your customer's will go through when coming into contact with your business:

  1. Online - search, social media, email, blogs, website
  2. Offline - in store, direct mail, outdoor advertising, word of mouth

Now to identify some of the interactions that they may have with your business:

  1. Online - completed contact forms, social media sentiment, email open rates, website engagement rates (bounce rate, time on page)
  2. Offline - sales (business development, procurement) and support teams (customer service, complaints) and in store/office

what steps can I take to improve my customer's experience?

Once you have a clear idea on the interactions and touchpoints that your customer’s experience, you can start to do a number of added value activities:

  • Create content that reflects customer's needs to optimise your online activities
  • Design processes that reflect your customer's behaviours to align with your offline activities

To be really customer centric, you’ll want to bring your online and offline experiences into one, keeping everything consistent and streamlined.

Creating content can be a great way to show your customers that you care about their needs and know what they want. The importance of content is that it helps people decide on decisions and deepens the relationship between people and brands.

What’s important to note when creating content for the customer experience is that you will need to know which customers consume content at which touch points and how that content will get to the customers.

Designing processes can be done through analysing your current online data and integrating this into your offline processes.

An example of making a small improvement:

  • Reduce the time on hold by asking less questions
  • Put an overflow call feature in place so you’re there for customers 24/7

Processes are designed to be effective and efficient, this is what customers now expect, they want it fast with minimal effort. If you can make everything as easy as possible for your customers, this will improve their experience.

what is the link between customer relationship management and customer experience?

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are a way of managing the customer experience. These systems allow you to gather information about your customers, in order to develop long term relationships that increase customer loyalty for both new and established customers.

The long term relationship focus is supported by a whole field of marketing known as relationship marketing. It shows the benefits of focusing on long term goals of customer engagement, instead of short term goals such as customer acquisitions and individual sales.

CRM systems help you collect information and data about your customers so that you can optimise for the experience. CRM and customer experience go hand in hand, one part is data collection the other data analysis.

Being genuinely interested in your customers will reward you with brand loyalty, positive word of mouth, cross-selling opportunities, and lower advertising costs.

why is it important to have a customer experience?

Living in a global marketplace has brought down the prices of many products and services and the rise of the internet has decentralised information. Customers have more power, more options and most importantly more knowledge. They also have more choice which can be seen as a positive if you’re super targeted with your value propositions as you’ll be the stand out option.

Experiences are yet to be commoditised and it’s where the most value from products and services derive. People are prepared to pay premium price if they know the experience will be worth it. The bar has been raised so high that people are starting to expect a quality experience and without adding value at every touchpoint, demanding a premium price just won’t happen.

how does customer experience affect my business?

Whether you like it or not, your business is currently creating an experience for your customers, either good or bad. If you compete solely on price then ask yourself would these questions; how long will it be before

a) your customer can make this product/service themselves?
b) technology automates the transaction to cut you out of the supply chain?
c) a larger competitor swallows up your market?

Understanding your customer's and becoming customer centric is what will keep you in business despite the future challenges. It also makes sense financially. Understanding your customers more will help you keep them for longer. Consider reducing the amount of advertising, interruption marketing and outbound sales you do and focus on raising prices through offering more value.

There is a cost to implementing this way of thinking and it’s investing in strategy, data analysis and content creation. See customers as people and not statistics.

where can I find out more about customer experience?

A solid start to improving your customer experience is by understanding your customers and you can do this through persona mapping. If you have already done persona mapping before then start thinking about the touch points and interaction that your personas go through pre, during and post a sale. A way to do this is by understanding the micro moments they are likely to encounter, when you understand this you can either create content to add value/aid decision making or design a process to make it a more pleasurable experience.

pricing for micro businesses

what is pricing?

Pricing is a core element of the marketing mix along with product, place and promotion. The prices chosen by a business are set because of a number of different factors, many of them being complex when looking to price strategically.

where to start with pricing?

There are many pricing strategies to choose from and much will depend on your business and your customers. Understanding your customers is the first part in being able to maximise your profit by pricing according to their perceptions, expectations, levels of demand (need) and also current available alternatives (substitute products/services and competitors).

what pricing can I apply to my business?

When looking to choose a pricing strategy, it’s helpful to consider what is the goal of your business and the marketing objectives. This helps align your business strategy with maximising profit.

Here is a selection of pricing strategies you can choose to apply to your business:

Cost Plus Pricing

This is where a business prices according to the cost of production plus an extra margin, your profit. This method is very popular and for the people purchasing, it’s easy to understand and digest.

advantages

  • Easy to predict gross profit and margin from each sale
  • You will never sell at a loss

disadvantages

  • Does not communicate the brand value to the customer
  • Does not take into account competitors pricing and current demand for product/service

Loss Leader

Also known as market penetration, the aim is to maximise the number of sales, even if this means selling at a loss. This type of pricing strategy can be used if you’re looking to gain brand recognition in a short amount of time and prevent new competitors into entering your market.

advantages

  • Takes into account competitors prices and substitute products/services
  • Potential to achieve economies of scale through high volume of sales

disadvantages

  • Does not represent your brand for having quality
  • Product or service may be perceived as cheap

Maximise Profit

As some would say the sole purpose of business is to maximise profit and value for the business owners, this pricing strategy seems like the most logical choice. However, to be able to price for maximise profit, businesses will have to be established in a market, have a strong brand and understand the current levels of demand for products/services.

advantages

  • Increases profit and value of the business

disadvantages

  • Marketing cost and investment into reinforcing the brand value and positioning in order to demonstrate reason for maximum pricing

Premium Pricing

Adding a premium in your pricing can help to communicate the quality of your product or service and positioning your brand to have value in the customer's eyes. This pricing strategy can be great for established brands launching new products.

advantages

  • Takes advantage of current brand and helps to continue brand building
  • High profit margins

disadvantages

  • Successful premium pricing will attract new entrants into the market
  • Continual investment in brand building will be needed to stay competitive

Value Based Pricing

The holy grail for service businesses. This is where price is determined by the customers perception of value from a product/service. This is difficult to quantify but is great to implement as your production costs play no role in setting a value based price and you can start to price according to the value you bring rather than the time it takes deliver your product/service.

advantages

  • High profit margins
  • High levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty

disadvantages

  • Significant investment needed in understanding your customer's business model
  • Calculating value based pricing will be different for different customer segments

Dynamic Pricing

This is a great way to maximise your profit without having to change your product or service. Dynamic pricing can occur when you deal with peaks in demand and market trends such as seasonality. This pricing strategy is determined by the levels of need for your product or service, the more they need, the higher the price.

advantages

  • Increase profits by optimising prices when your customers are in need the most
  • Appeal to those who are happy to pay premium prices for convenience and personalisation

disadvantages

  • Brand can be damaged when customer's realise they paid more for the same product/service
  • Have to be able to understand your customers and forecast trends to pick effective dynamic prices

what do I need to consider when pricing?

Choosing a pricing strategy is only half the battle when it comes to implementation. You will also have to use a pricing model based on your business model and operations, customers, market size, share and competitors to name a few.

Executing your products and services at the right pricing can be complex because of the internal and external factors it depends upon. There are several risk you should consider:

  1. Choosing an inappropriate pricing strategy can do more harm than good as it can send mixed messages to your customers
  2. Failure to anticipate adjusts in price and demand can be costly as competitors can look to take advantage
  3. Failure to manage and control discounting and sale pricing can lead to your brand being undervalued

how can I find the optimal price for my business?

Business to business (B2B) and Business to consumer (B2C) differ with their pricing and finding the optimal price will depend on who you’re selling to. A lot of finding the optimal price can be through trial and error and seeing first hand what works and what doesn't.

how does pricing effect my business?

Pricing can determine the growth and success of your business. It’s important to look at pricing as an opportunity your business can take advantage of. By optimising your price, you can distance yourself from your competitors and create value propositions that exceed your customers expectations.

where can I find out more about pricing?

Pricing is a widely covered topic and there are many fantastic resources online to help you understand pricing strategies and apply a pricing model to your business.

Even before entering into the world of pricing strategy, there are two must haves that you’ll need to know, the first if about your competitive advantages and the second is your customers.

We can help you identify your competitive advantages and gain a deeper understanding of your customers through one of our PICE workshops.

This co-creation strategy workshop allows you to understand why your brand is better positioned to serve your customers better than anyone else and provides a foundation for you to make strategic decisions, such as pricing, for the future.

thought leadership for micro businesses

what is thought leadership?

Thought leaders are those who are subject matter experts. They cross the line of being opinion leaders as they help diffuse innovations, ideas and commercial products to a wider audience. The term thought leadership has become very popular in marketing since the 1990’s and has increased in popularity with the rise of social media, where these subject matter experts have a platform to communicate to an increased number of people.

why is thought leadership important?

With the rise of social media, this has given people the opportunity to share their message and build up loyal followings. Content creators on the internet who write blogs and ebooks, record podcasts, shoot and edit videos are becoming the go-to people for information. Thought leadership is an important consideration for business owners and directors who want to stand out from the competition and be known for being a trusted source of information for their subject matter.

how can I apply thought leadership to my business?

We have created a mental model for thought leadership that can help you to become a thought leader. This mental model has been developed by the team at bmicro and is rooted in the theory of semantic search. This mental model can also help you create a content marketing strategy and as a byproduct of that, improved search engine performance.

Below is an example of the mental model for thought leadership applied to marketing, with numbers 1-4 being core subjects and 1.1-4.2 being sub subjects.

thought leadership for marketing

1. Marketing (Core Subject)

To become a thought leader in marketing, it’s important to understand what subjects are interconnected with marketing and how learning other related subjects and disciplines can increase marketing expertise.

1.1 Business Management

For marketing to be effective and sustainable, it requires processes and structures that fit into the overall business objectives. Understanding business management practices will help with this.

1.2 Human Resources

If you’re working in a team and looking for high employee engagement and an improvement to your employer brand, then an understanding of human resources will likely become of use.

2. Psychology (Core Subject)

Directly opposite marketing, an interlinked subject such as psychology can teach you a lot about how people behave, their motivations and how well they receive certain types of communication.

2.1 Economics

A lot of how people behave can be in the study of behavioural economics. It’s also helpful to understand the industry and related industries that you’ll be marketing so that you can anticipate trends like an investor would.

2.2 Design

With people inherently being lazy, being able to design for comfort and ease is not something to take lightly. If you are marketing a product, you want to design an experience that they will value and want to share. Learning design principles; graphic design and user experience can go a long way in improving communication and engagement.

3. Science (Core Subject)

Marketing is known for being a science and an art. The scientific elements happen when experimenting and testing marketing strategies to see which give you the best return on your investment and the methods you use to find out this information. Being able to calculate metrics such as CLV (customer lifetime value) and CAC (customer acquisition cost) can require mathematical application.

3.1 Technology

Marketing technology has risen with the popularity of social media and the widespread adoption of the internet and smartphones/tablets. Being able to understand what technology is available to marketers will help you decide on marketing channels and strategies. It will also help communicate to the more technically minded folk such as developers and programmers you’ll most likely interact with.

3.2 Neuroscience

A branch of neuroscience is neuromarketing, this subject helps with understanding more about the consumers of marketing and what their response to a marketing stimuli is likely to be. Closely linked to psychology but with more a biological focus on how the brain works.

4. Art (Core Subject)

The idea of branding, creative and design can all be reflected in the art of marketing. To help create demand and interest, marketing has to be interesting and intriguing enough for people to take action and be curious to find out more.

4.1 Culture

Being able to understand the culture of the market you’re targeting and the people you want to attract is crucial for a successful marketing campaign. Knowing the culture can seem like a minor detail at times but it’s the minor details that can set you apart from others.

4.2 Data

Numbers and information without context is meaningless. The rise of big data has created opportunities for marketers to analyse data to be able to provide meaningful insights that can be used in marketing campaigns.

where can I find out more about thought leadership?

If you’re looking to become a subject matter expert, start following and reading blogs from current thought leaders in your space. Use the mental model for thought leadership to plot what subjects are core to your overall subject matter and go from there!

To become a thought leader you have to put in your 10,000 hours, research current thought leaders and experts outside of your core subject and over time this learning will strengthen your expertise in your subject.

public relations for micro businesses

what are public relations?

Public relations also known as PR, is a form of communication that is used for the purpose of maintaining relationships with (but not limited to) journalists, colleagues and clients. PR is a vast and broad service that is different from marketing, however, when linked together they can deliver exceptional results, notably increased brand awareness and ability to build brand trust.

where to start with public relations?

If you’re looking to gain some media attention for your product or service, PR is a strategy that you can use when planning a marketing campaign. For PR to be successful, you’ll want to be able to give bloggers, editors, journalists, influencers and any other person who has the ability to spread your message, a well crafted story.

Your product or service is worth more than a press release simply stating what your product or service is. This is the type of PR that is not rewarding and doesn’t help you build up your brand, drive traffic to your website or lead to any incoming enquiries.

First task you want to do is research the media people/publications/stations that you want to be mentioned in and get a feel for what content and stories they already share. This will give you an insight into their interests and help mould your marketing campaign to achieve media coverage.

when can I apply public relations to my business?

Maximising PR exposure for your business starts with developing an idea that is a newsworthy story. This will require creativity, knowledge of your product/service/industry and a plan to make it happen. Applying public relations to your business can be when you’re going through any of the following:

  • New product/service
  • Expanding team
  • Rebranding
  • Receiving investment
  • Client successes
  • Achieved awards/accreditations

how does marketing link with public relations?

If you’re marketing online, PR can help with both SEO (search engine optimisation) and social media. When you create content that is newsworthy and people in the media pick this story up, more often than not, they will link back to your website/blog/microsite. This link back to your website is a seen by Google as a plus and in turn will increase your performance in search engine.

Using social media can be great for building relationships with all the bloggers, journalists and editors that can help promote your well crafted story. Twitter, for example is a great channel to research and gather insights on the media people you want to connect with.

where can I find out more about public relations?

Whether you are bootstrapping your business all the way to the bank or have a respectable marketing budget, you can use PR as a part of your marketing to increase your brand awareness and trust. Either budget size will lead you to be creative with your resources in order build sustainable and strategic partnerships.

Here at bmicro, we’re happy to help you out with generating ideas and crafting a compelling campaign you can use to build media relations. Talk to us today.

email marketing for micro businesses

what is email marketing?

Email marketing is a form of online communication between your business and the chosen recipient. In most cases, the recipient is someone who has chosen to receive communication via email by giving you their email address in some way.

where to start with email marketing?

Building an email list is very important for micro businesses. There are a variety ways you can build up your email list and it doesn’t have to be done all online. If you host events or interact with your customers and target market in an offline setting, you could use this opportunity to ask for their email address (or business card). Alternatively, you can use pop ups, widgets and web forms on your website to encourage visitors to exchange their email address for a newsletter sign up or incentivise them with a promotion of some sort.

Social media is also another channel you can use to gather email addresses. A useful tip to increase your email list using social media is to take advantage of the ‘Pin Post’ function on Facebook and Twitter to promote your email newsletter.

Another popular method used by small businesses to build up an email list is to purchase third party data. This can have advantages by being able to send marketing messages to a large audience, but is also unsolicited and likely to lead to a lot of hate mail in return and unsubscribes. Third party data can be expensive and it’s much better to invest that money into improving your product or service than hoping for an effective pay and spray approach.

how can I apply email marketing to my business?

After building up an email list, follow these 4 steps to help you maximise your email marketing efforts:

1. Objectives

Start all marketing activities with objectives, email marketing is no different. When deciding on what you want to achieve, remember that email marketing is direct line to your customers and potential customers, make sure you respect their time and inbox!

A helpful way to start with email marketing objectives is to think about the benefits of having that direct line of communication. You can can stay connected through promoting new content, offers, events and start building a relationship that leads to customer loyalty and trust.

A great way to make your relationship two way is to ask your email list subscribers for their opinions and thoughts. If you can extract this valuable information from your customers, you can use this as market research for developing new products and services.

2. Design

Now it’s time to start designing your email templates. You find inspiration for email template designs from Really Good Emails and use an email marketing provider such as MailChimp for management.

As for copy, optimisng your headline will be key to your CTR (click through rate). There are many different types of headlines to choose from but be sure to make it fall into one of the following topics:

  • CTA (call to action)
  • Curiosity
  • Direct
  • Personalised
  • Playful
  • Scarcity

3. Send

When choosing who to send it to, it’s a good idea to segment your email database into different lists and audiences. If you have a big database then it’s recommended to look into drip marketing, this helps segment your lists and send auto response emails based on their behaviours. This is a key feature of marketing automation and can be very rewarding if done correctly. An example of how a drip marketing model works is below:

4. Analyse

The majority of email marketing providers will have analytics functionality built in, however, if you want to really dive deep into understanding the performance of your email marketing campaigns, you’ll want to integrate Google Analytics. This can be done with the majority of services available.

When analysing your email marketing campaigns the following key metrics are important to measure:

  • Open Rate - how many people have opened your emails
  • Bounce Rate - the number of people who haven’t received your email
  • Click Through Rate - how many people have clicked on link from your email
  • Unsubscribed - how many people have unsubscribed from your email list

where can I find out more about email marketing?

emotional branding for micro businesses

what is emotional branding?

Emotional branding is a way to communicate with your audience through sensory experiences. It connects brands to people and helps build customer loyalty.

where to start with emotional branding?

To create a connection with your audience you’re going to have to understand what triggers their emotional responses. A crucial consideration when looking to connect emotively is that not all emotions are consistent, they are sporadic and can happen at the most unexpected of times.

A good starting point in creating an emotionally connected brand is to put yourself in your customer's shoes and get a feel for what decisions they go through on daily basis. A great tool to help you do this is the Empathy Map created by the brilliant team at Xplane. This tool can be used for many purposes, in this instance, creating a journey of what your ideal customer experiences can give you an insight into where they might experience unexpected emotions.

what makes emotional branding so important?

Being able to have that emotional attachment to a brand brings multiple benefits. You can cut down the cost of how much you're paying to acquire one new customer when you build a valuable relationship as they start to a) spend more and b) bring more business in referrals.

Another reason is that it will be help people better identify with what it is your offering and what your business stands for, by doing this you will help attract only the customer's you want and not have your time wasted by people who aren’t right for your business.

If you don’t know what your WHY is and how to identify yourself better in the marketplace, we recommend watching this motivational Ted Talk by Simon Sinek.

how can I apply emotional branding to my business?

A lot about branding is in the way that you think, position and identify certain objects in your mind. Emotional branding is no different, to really be successful in creating customer connections that last, you’ll need to embrace these following ten rules:

1. from consumers to people

Make your business, marketing, products and services, human. Everything is social and what seems to last is genuity, realness and treating people as people.

2. from product to experience

People want experiences not products. They want the end goal (usually a feeling of some sort) which they enjoy to be what they paid for, the product is the vehicle to make it happen. Products are functional while experiences are desirable.

3. from honesty to trust

In today’s world, honesty is a given, we expect it even if we don’t get it at all times. Trust on the other hand is earned, it’s built over time and takes investment in a relationship for it to be fruitful.

4. from quality to preference

Provide enough motivation for people to prefer your brand, if people make their own decision to choose your brand then you’ve done this through influencer and not persuasion. Move away from trying to persuade your audience and instead influence their decision making through education.

5. from notoriety to aspiration

Having a ubiquitous brand is great but it’s not going to command a premium price and high valued customer. You want your audience to aspire towards your brand, this is possible by knowing their current lifestyle, what their influences are and importantly where they want to be.

6. from identity to personality

Play into the emotions of humour by creating a character of your brand, a charisma, a tone of voice that has personality. To just have an identity is not enough.

7. from function to feel

This links back to the experience your brand delivers. Functional is great for certain brands, if you serve a purpose that’s a job well done. If you want to grow, return a higher profit and create a better working environment, then you’ll have to get a grip on your customer's feelings.

8. from ubiquity to presence

Being there is one thing, standing out from the crowd is another. Your presence will be felt not through a higher marketing budget but through understanding your customer needs, wants and desires. If you offer the service they require, better suited to their needs than anyone else, you have presence for them. To read more about creating your own presence that competitors can’t replicate, look up the Blue Ocean Strategy.

9. from communication to dialogue

Stay away from the shouting and one way communication that advertising has relied upon for the last 50+ years and start to open up to your audience. Relationship building is built upon an open dialogue where people can talk freely, share ideas, contribute towards one another for the good of a common goal.

10. from service to relationship

Services can be transactional and one dimensional, adding little value to the overall customer experience. Building relationships are two-way, reciprocal engagements that improve your customer retention rates and increase the likelihood of customer development.

where can I find out more about emotional branding?

There are many resources online about branding and customer experience. The link between the two is what will help you identify the emotional behaviours your customer's experience. Persona and customer journey mapping are great ways to understand your customers emotions. Follow @bmicro_co for the latest tips on branding, customer experience and everything in between

data driven marketing for micro businesses

what is data driven marketing?

Data driven marketing is a way of using your current marketing insights to help you make better decisions when looking to acquire new customers and keep your current customers. Micro businesses can gather marketing insights through keeping a customer database on Excel, downloading data from social media accounts and analysing website and email behaviours.

where to start with data driven marketing?

Planning is the first part in undertaking a data driven marketing approach. To identify new opportunities in your data you will have to start by understanding the different types of data you will be measuring.

primary data examples (information that you gather yourself)

  • Surveys (SurveyMonkey)
  • Quizzes (Qzzr)
  • Focus Groups (Webinars/Google Hangouts)
  • Interviews (Skype)
  • Social Media Analytics
  • Behavioural Metrics

secondary data examples (information that has already been gathered)

  • Government Reports
  • Corporate Publications & Insights
  • University Research
  • Search Volumes (Keyword Research)

After understanding where you can start to collect data from, it’s time to start planning how you’re going to go about gathering all this data and what the objective of it will be. The idea at this stage is to turn all this information into actionable steps that improve the way you market and help direct your creative content.

what makes data driven marketing so important?

Being able to understand your data is important on two fronts; better insights of customers and higher value offered to customers. If you understand your customers better than the competition, then you’ll be best placed to add the most value. If you offer the most value then you’ve improved your marketing efficiency, lowering your customer acquisition costs and improving their lifetime value, win-win.

how can I apply data driven marketing to my business?

Applying this way of thinking to your business requires the data infrastructure to be set up (a computer with Excel is all you need, a CRM system is a plus) but most importantly it’s a mindset you’ll need to make it work. Data driven marketing is an approach that requires ongoing planning, implementation, analysis and adjustments to be successful.

Success can vary on many levels too, if you learn something new about your customers then that’s success as you’re getting closer to them, meaning an improved chance to create a deeper relationship.

To help with applying actionable steps look at the following data driven marketing roadmap:

1. design

  • What are the objectives you are looking to achieve from analysing your data?

  • What metrics are you currently using to gather insights and help with decision making?

  • What do you want to gain from understanding your data and what will be the customer benefits?

2. diagnosis

  • What are the risks of implementing a data driven marketing approach?

  • Are resources available for it to be a success and is there a culture in place that isn’t afraid of change?

3. opportunities

  • Are there any quick wins?

  • What data can use straight away, are there any datasets you can join together?

4. tools

  • What metrics will you use to measure success?

  • What support will be in place to help with analysis?

  • How will you report on the newly analysed data?

5. process

  • When will you evaluate performance and how often?

where can I find out more about data driven marketing?

This article has only scratched the surface of data driven marketing. Micro businesses can and should be using data driven marketing to grow their business. Successful and popular examples of data driven marketing tend to be from larger companies that have marketing departments equipped with advanced CRM (customer relationship management) software and access to data scientists who can help visualise and interpret datasets.

However, for micro businesses there is way round by being creative with Microsoft Excel and the VLOOKUP function you can glean insights with ease. For those who are slightly more advanced and skills with programming, languages such as Python and R can help automate and analyse your data without the need for paying excess costs on underused software.

local seo for micro businesses

what is local seo?

Local SEO is a marketing strategy that micro businesses can use to achieve an advantage over bigger brands and larger sized competitors by ranking higher in search engines. The idea of Local SEO is that Google recognise the importance of its users search query intent by matching it with relevant local businesses.

Google identifies search query intent by the following micro-moments:

1. I want to know moments

People searching about information they want to know can be directed to a local business website or blog that answers the question. To do this you will need to be able to have an understanding of who your customers are and create content they will find useful.

  • Potential customers are in exploring and research mode
  • Not ready to purchase but ready to listen and open to offers
  • Provide them with information and inspiration

2. I want to go moments

People searching for information that involves them going somewhere. This can be great for local hospitality and retail businesses. To rank higher than the big brands and national chains, you’ll have to use trust review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor for Google to recognise your local business as reputable and relevant.

  • Potential customers are looking for a local business to buy or consider buying from
  • Ready to purchase and will look for social proof to validate trust of supplier
  • Make sure you have reviews that are positive and social channels are active

3. I want to do moments

People searching on how to do something. This can be a search query that asks for information on how to complete a specific task. This can be a great way to help potential customers by creating a step by step guide that shows exactly how to get around the problem they are having.

  • Potential customers are unsure on something and want to learn more
  • Weighing up a decision and likely to be influenced at this stage
  • Provide bite sized blogs and videos for them to consume, quickly and effortlessly

4. I want to buy moments

People who have the intent to buy and are looking for a supplier of some sort. This type of search is where local businesses can gain advantages as search results can reflect the location of the user to the location of your business.

  • Potential customers know what they want and are now actively looking to buy
  • Social proof will once again come into play
  • Make sure you reinforce why you’re the best option and use customer testimonials

NOTE: The above examples are one of many, depending in the business each of the micro moments will differ. To be able to take advantage of micro moments, it’s best to create a timeline of when these moments will happen and make sure you create content that answers the search query.

where to start with local seo?

Before being able to rise high in the rankings for local searches you’ll need to make sure you have the following:

1. On Page Optimised

Making sure Google knows where you business is located and that it can read your website's information is the first step in Local SEO success.

2. Local Business Listings

There are many niche business listings that you can register for, as well as general listing like Google My Business. Make sure that your business name, address and location is consistent across all local listings and Google will sure to reward you for this.

3. Brand Mentions

Many websites across the internet may mention your business without linking to it. If people mention your business online, Google will see this a trust factor. To improve Local SEO efforts try to reach out to local blogs, press and media publications.

4. Social Media

Most major social media websites will give you option to input details about your business location. Keep the information you use consistent across all channels and make sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

5. Reviews

A very important signal that shows Google your website is trustworthy and right for users. Try to add reviews into your customer experience by encouraging people to leave a review on Facebook/TripAdvisor but at the same time make sure it’s easy for them to do it as well. The easiest way to get a review online is by offering great service, do this and the rest will follow!

what makes local seo so important?

Big brands and larger competitors have an unfair advantage compared to micro businesses because of their resource allocation and budget for marketing. Link building is a popular strategy used to rank high in the search engines and involve other people linking to your website. People link to your website because they want to endorse your content, for people to endorse your content it will have to be well crafted which takes time, effort and expense, something bigger brands have at their disposal.

For local micro businesses, Local SEO is a way of competing on a level playing field. If you optimise your website, create purposeful content and user your customers to help you, then Google will rank you favourably, no matter what your size.

where can I find out more about local seo?

To understand more about how Local SEO works and where it’s going, a good place to start is by looking at the Pigeon Update which Google implemented in 2014. This alongside new algorithm changes are shifting the way Google rank local businesses in their search results. Follow bmicro on Twitter as we are regularly updating our feed with updates on Local SEO and micro businesses marketing tactics and strategies.

growth hacking for micro businesses

what is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is a buzzword to describe the use of creative marketing methods being used to achieve growth, of any sort.

where to start with growth hacking?

Make sure you know what you want to grow. Types of growth for micro businesses can be but not limited to:

1. Increase in website visitors

2. Increase in app downloads

3. Increase in registered users

4. Email list subscriber increase

5. Social media following increase

6. Increase in number of content views and downloads

what makes growth hacking worthwhile?

Being able to grow your business in the most cost effective way is always going to be worthwhile. If you’re looking to grow your business then growth hacking techniques should be on your to do list.

Growth hacking requires knowledge of advanced marketing techniques coupled with an ability to analyse data from sources like Google Analytics. The purpose of growth hacking is to find a creative marketing method that is low cost, effective and rewarding.

how can I apply growth hacking to my business?

Growth hacking can be achieved through the following tactics:

Pull Tactics

  • Blogging and guest blogging
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Slideshares
  • Technical SEO (schema/rich snippets)
  • Social media activity
  • Competitions and contests
  • Online reviews
  • Influencer relationships

Push Tactics

  • Paid ads (PPC)
  • Paid social ads (FB/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram)
  • Retargeting ads

Persuasive Tactics

  • Landing pages
  • Copywriting
  • Call to actions
  • Gamification (progress bars/leaderboards)
  • Pricing (free trials/discounts/bundling)

Retain Tactics

  • Social media engagement
  • Email newsletters
  • Curating content
  • Push notifications

where can I find growth hackers?

Choosing a growth hacker can be difficult if you only have a small team. Ideally a technical marketer would be the best person to help you with growth hacking, however, put a developer and a marketer in the room and between them they’ll be able to discuss what’s possible.

where can I find out more about growth hacking?

Talk to us! We have developers who can help grow your business through Javascript and Python programming and marketers to create ideas that make it happen.

semantic search for micro businesses

what is semantic search?

Search with meaning. That’s the idea of semantic search, a marketing strategy derived from the semantic web which was a term coined by Tim Berners-Lee (the guy who invented the internet) in 2001.

You may be familiar with the marketing strategy of search engine optimisation (SEO) and micro businesses should definitely be considering using such strategy in their marketing, however, SEO alone can be rigid, tunnel visioned and in many cases not linked to business objectives.

Semantic search allows you to look at optimising for search engines in a different way, a flexible way that offers meaning to the person typing the search query by understanding the journey they are going through.

where to start with semantic search?

Start by thinking about how the users behave and what search queries they would search for depending on their levels of intent. If you know your customers’ and why they will use your product or service, then match your website content to their search query.

To help you choose search queries by behaviour you can group them using the following:

1. Navigational queries

  • a query that asks for a particular website

2. Informational queries

  • a query that can be best answered through articles, images, videos, infographics etc. An informational query offers businesses the opportunity to capture the attention of the person searching. They are asking for help, take advantage

3. Commercial queries

  • a query with commercial intent. A great place to establish a relationship with a user and to drive them to your website to provide what they are looking for. These queries can be satisfied through offering expertise

4. Transactional queries

  • a query with high intent to convert. This could be to purchase a product online or leave their contact information for a service. They want to find a supplier and will choose based on the user experience they have on your website and how many steps it takes them to find what they are looking for. At this high intention stage people will usually need convincing before converting so consider testimonials and case studies to reinforce your authority and trustworthiness

what makes semantic search so flexible?

Google want users to have the best possible experience and to do this they search the web to find and rank favourable websites that offer what they think will be a good experience for their customer based on their search query.

One of the ways Google have decided to do this is by introducing structured data, a way for websites to to detail information in a flexible way. Google encourage you to use structured data through Schema tags which create rich snippets that appear inside Google search engine results.

Rich snippets are useful for all types of businesses, but those in the hospitality sector can benefit the most by being able to show opening times, prices, reviews and bookings all through the first page of Google.

There are many ways to use structured data and it’s ever increasing. There are many predictions for Google to favourably rank websites that use structured data and with the new Google algorithm RankBrain, this prediction is soon to be reality.

how can I apply semantic search to my business?

If you're serious about digital marketing and see it as a long term strategy for your business, then semantic search is definitely worth looking into. You can start by following this checklist:

Technical website audit - make sure it’s as easy as possible for Google to rank your website, look at the pagespeed of your website, tags and descriptions, mobile friendly (very important!) and much more. For a free technical website audit, talk to us today.

I will leave it at this, as there really is no point investing more money into your digital marketing if your website is not fully optimised, it’s a waste of time and resource creating amazing content if nobody ever gets to see it. Small technical changes to your website can make a big difference.

We have been working with a client who has experienced this recently, going from page 3 to page 1 for a targeted keyword. Read the story here.

metrics for micro businesses

what are metrics?

Metrics are a way of understanding the performance of a certain activity. In marketing you’ll frequently find KPIs (key performance indicators), goals and objectives being set to understand the performance of marketing campaigns.

how do metrics apply to micro businesses?

Metrics are important for a number of reasons. First, it’s best practice to put in place a way of measuring marketing activity to help you see what’s working well and what isn’t. Secondly, it’s a great way to show decision makers where to invest more time and effort and understand what the ROI (return on investment) has been for such activities.

why would I apply metrics to my business?

Being able to quantify specific marketing activities can help you make decisions about what activity to do when planning your marketing strategy and allocating budget. One of the many advantages of digital marketing is that you can see the impact that different channels have on your sales. This can be done through using Google Analytics (free) and other paid analytical suites. All the major social media sites have their own analytical suites which are also free.

how many metrics can I have?

You can choose as many metrics as you want, however, it’s probably best to start small and understand what the numbers are telling you before creating custom metrics. To choose marketing metrics you may find it useful to group them under the following:

website metrics

  • direct traffic (visitors who type your URL in their browser)
  • referral traffic (visitors who arrive on your website through clicking your URL on another channel)
  • organic traffic (visitors who arrive to your website by clicking on a search engine result)
  • campaign traffic (visitors who arrive on your website by clicking on a custom tagged link)
  • attributed conversions (visitors who have converted on your website but have visited from a variety of channels)

email marketing metrics

  • new subscribers (number of new people signing up to your newsletter - list growth)
  • open and click through rates (% of people who open and click through from your email campaigns)
  • response rate (% of people who reply from your email campaigns)

social marketing metrics

  • social interactions (number of times your brand has been mentioned on social media channels)
  • vanity social metrics (number of retweets, shares, likes your brand has had on social media)
  • engagement rate (number of posts on social media / number of interactions)
  • social referrals (number of people who visit your website from social media channels)
  • social conversions (number of people who convert on your website from social media channels)

influencer marketing metrics

  • cost per conversation (number of hours spent researching influencers / number of influencer conversations)
  • reach ratio (number of posts by influencer / number of responses by audience)

paid marketing metrics

  • click through rate (% of people who click a paid advert and land on your landing page)
  • quality score (relevance of keywords used in ad copy in relation to target segments according to Google)
  • conversion rate (% of people who click a paid advert and convert)
  • cost per click (the cost paid every time someone clicks your ad)

search engine optimisation metrics

  • inbound links (number of links that point to your website)
  • keywords rankings (position of keywords your website ranks for)
  • behavioural metrics (average time on website, average pageviews and bounce rate)
  • goal completions (custom built goals that indicate actions taken by website visitors)
  • returning visitors (number of people who are returning to your website)
  • mobile traffic (number of visitors who are browsing on a mobile device)

how do I choose metrics?

Knowing which metrics to choose is the difficult part. Before choosing any metrics, you will have to establish what marketing activity you will be undertaking and then match the metrics to suit. It’s also important to consider how the metrics you choose will link to your overall business objectives.

how do I find out more about metrics?

There are many resources online about marketing metrics, however, a lot of the time it depends on what you’re measuring and not all businesses are measuring the same thing! Marketing automation platforms such as Hubspot and Marketo are a great resource for learning more about marketing metrics and Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to measure what your website visitors are up to!

If you want to know about what metrics you should use or any questions on the above, tweet us at @bmicro_co and we’ll give you our recommendations.

social listening for micro businesses

This week I kickstarted the bmicro Twitter account and started with some social listening. Hopefully this blog will help with an aspect of ‘social listening’ and if you’re not familiar with the term, in a nutshell, it’s a way to find people on social media, talking about information relating to your brand.

The topic I searched for was ‘micromarketing’. After scrolling through a few tweets through Twitter’s Advanced Search, I stumbled across the below tweet:

Bingo! Someone who is in need of marketing advice and specifically used the term micromarketing. I decided to like the tweet and reach out to them to see how I could help.

bmicro twitter help social listening.png

A few hours later I have a response that is something I’ve come across before and topical among small businesses advertising online, Facebook advertising. This powerful marketing tactic can provide a high performing ROI, however, it’s important to know your audience in order to target them effectively.

The response is below:

After reading this, I decided that it would be best to create a blog to help out @PhinneasCrow and also many other people who are wondering the same. 

identify a target demographic without the overhead for much research, nor many sales?

1. Use YouGovProfile site and search for a brand, person, or thing that relates to your target demographic
2. Have a think about what related interests your audiences would be interested in and search for them on YouGov
3. Take this data and mix and match between different search terms, you can then use this for your Facebook advertising when choosing their behaviours, demographics and interests

Below is an example of a YouGov search for Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations Interest:

This website is great! If you’re unsure where to start and low on data then this tool can help. 

This is also one of the tools bmicro use when creating personas.

how many different ads to put at one time?

1. You can use a number of different ads, try using one ad per objective
2. Facebook allow you to have a lot of different options, below are some examples of objectives you can achieve through Facebook campaigns
3. To manage multiple ads, use Facebook Power Editor

I won’t go into the specifics of Facebook advertising because it will take more than a short blog post to cover all. If you are interested in Facebook advertising and want to laser target your campaign, look at the following:

Lookalike audiences are particularly interesting. They allow you to embed code that Facebook provide onto your website and then target ads similar (lookalike) to the people who have viewed a particular page on your website. Facebook refer to this code as a conversion pixel

Finally, social listening is something I’ll be continuing to do and if there are any particular queries you’d like answering, feel free to let me know and I’ll do my best to explain.

I also received some kind words from @PhinneasCrow for offering to help out.

If you would like to know more about Facebook Marketing and how to create your own Custom Audiences, talk to us today.

micro-moments for micro businesses

what are micro-moments?

In 2015, Google coined the term micro-moments for explaining how people behave on their mobile devices. The idea behind micro-moments are to help you understand your customer's behaviour when they are in need, Google help define these moments of need as:

I want to know moments - when people are researching prior to purchase and are looking for information/inspiration

I want to go moments - when people are looking for places to go, could be looking for places to eat/visit

I want to buy moments - when people are ready to buy and are weighing up their options

I want to do moments - when people want to be shown ‘how to’ do something and are looking for help

how can I use micro-moments for my marketing?

Using micro-moments requires you to understand what your customer journey looks like. Being able to understand what decisions your customers' make at any given time can help you create content that’s relevant for them at the right time.

Creating a customer journey starts with understanding your personas and matching content to their need. bmicro can help with creating your own micro-moments by delving deep into your personas and offering recommendations on what content to create in order to capture customers.

create your own micro-moments

create your own micro-moments

are micro-moments relevant for my industry?

If your business is in hospitality and retail, then micro-moments are definitely something you should be considering. Being able to understand the touchpoints each of your customers will go through prior to purchase can help you create a better experience for your customers and increase your chances of positive word of mouth (offline and online) and brand loyalty.

It’s particularly relevant for hospitality and retail as people tend to be open to influence when they turn to their mobile device for answers. When people are looking for a place to eat, you need to be at the top of Google local places. When people are looking to buy a consumer good, you need to offer information that helps them make the choice that’s right for them.

People are researching more than ever before. When deciding on where to eat and stay popular choice to find social proof are Facebook Reviews and TripAdvisor. People are becoming more informed before walking into a store and purchasing consumer goods too, popular websites such as Which? and Trusted Reviews are great for elecontrics, while online influencers and their blogs are key for fashion related businesses.

how can I take advantage of micro-moments?

Make the most out of micro-moments and anticipate what your customers are likely to search for by understanding them inside out. As part of our PICE framework we look at personas and content and match the two up so that you can provide real-time and relevant information at the right time to suit your customers needs.

We look at what stages your customers go through and use tools such as Google Trends and your website analytics to find out what content to create in order to provide the most relevant information, at the time they need it.

where can I find out more about micro-moments?

Google have many white papers on micro-moments and are constantly creating great content showing the benefits of using this approach, along with case studies and statistics to reinforce its importance.

Visit the collection of micro-moments brought to you by Google.

frugal innovation for micro businesses

what is frugal innovation?

Frugal innovation is a process of stripping away all unnecessary features of a product or service. The idea? To do more with less.

how does frugal innovation apply to micro businesses?

The idea of doing more with less is something that all micro businesses will have to deal with if they want to compete and win against larger businesses. This doesn’t necessarily mean that micro businesses are at a disadvantage, if anything, it can be a strength when applying the principles of frugal innovation.

what are the principles of frugal innovation?

engage and iterate

This principle looks at R+D and how involved your customers are at the development stage. One of the ways to do this is by crowdsourcing ideas on social media through polls, surveys and open ended questions.

flex your assets

This principle is about making the most of what you have. This applies to your supply chain and how you create your products and services. Ways you can do this is by empowering employees, sharing resources with others and taking advantage of technologies available (cloud services and 3D printing for example).

create sustainable solutions

This is about creating products and services that are quality, affordable and sustainable. Business models that involve collaborating and sharing, create multi beneficial relationships that last. You can do this by setting BHAG (big hairy audacious goals) and putting KPIs (key performance indicators) in place to monitor your progress.

shape customer behaviour

To do this you must understand the journeys your customers take before, during and after when using your product or service. Ways you can do this is by segmenting your customers by their motivations. It's also worth considering being flexible with your pricing and positioning. Persona mapping can help with understanding customer journeys, experiences and motivations.

co-create value with prosumers

Prosumers are those who take part in the design, production and marketing of your product or service. Proactive consumers help with identifying new ideas, validating and developing them and also commercialising them. Prosumers are a type of local influencer.

make innovative friends

By pivoting your business to collaborate and share with others (including competitors) will help you to achieve your BHAG. Look to enter joint ventures and share risk with others to help with cost savings. Ways to achieve this can be through hackathons (events designed to solve problems with technology) or host sector specific meetups/events.

why would I want to apply frugal innovation to my micro business?

If you’re looking to develop new products and services, you can use the frugal innovation principles to create so much value for customers, it makes competition irrelevant. This way of thinking leads to the creation of completely new market segments and is known as the blue ocean strategy. This strategy offers numerous financial benefits as well as intangible benefits such as brand recognition, customer loyalty and higher employee engagement.

how do I find out more about frugal innovation?

The thinking and principles behind frugal innovation are Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu who studied the way emerging economies make the most out of their resources. Their principles have been applied to many of the world’s biggest companies and now in full swing in many developed economies worldwide. Watch the Ted Talk below to see it in action!

personas for micro businesses

what is a persona?

A persona is a character you create based on the knowledge of your current customers and the people you want to target.

where did personas come from?

Personas were created in the mid-90s by a marketing professor who was researching customer segments with similar identities. It was made famous soon after when OgilvyOne, a leading advertising agency focussed on customer engagement adopted the technique. Apple went on to use personas for designing its user interface in 1999 and the rest is history.

how many personas can I have?

Keep your marketing streamlined and start with one persona per product/service.

how do I choose a persona?

We use a simple sales/volume matrix to determine who to create a persona for. Usually they’ll be for your best selling products/services or the customers who are most profitable.

why should I create a persona?

Personas help you understand a little bit more about your current customers, and those you want to target. It’s great for aligning your business vision with your customers needs and wants, and creating a customer-centric way of thinking. If you value your customers experience and the journey they take when experiencing your business, be that in store, on your website or through an advertisement, then it’s worth looking into persona marketing.

One of the biggest benefits of using personas for your marketing is that you can use it at a reference point when creating future marketing material, improving your consistency and tone of voice, key branding disciplines.

Persona marketing is also the first step in the PICE framework which cover the key areas of online marketing.

are personas bullsh*t?

Excuse the French. This is something we’ve heard, and you could even be thinking it, and to be honest I can agree with you to a certain extent. However, if done correctly using marketing segmentation principles, personas become insightful and not a ‘one size’ fits all approach. At bmicro we determine personas into macro and micro, see the example below:

macro persona

  • a micro business owner looking for marketing support

micro personas

  • a micro business owner that wants advice on whether or not to create a website or just use social media

  • a micro business owner that wants to improve his google search rankings and send more people to his website

  • a micro business owner that wants to train their team on how to use social media to offer better customer service

  • a micro business owner that want to starts brand building and is considering blogging

Segmenting your personas into macro and micro helps you understand the overarching problem of your target audience, but at the same time group those problems into specific products/service you can offer.

Personas in marketing are a powerful tool. They allow you and your team to create empathy for the people you’re looking to start a relationship with, understanding them as humans and not numbers. Creating personas puts people at the forefront of your business, thinking about them first and foremost.

influencers for micro businesses

what is an influencer?

An influencer is a term used in the marketing world to describe a person of influence that can help create awareness, build trust and generate sales for your business.

where did influencers come from?

Influence is psychological principle and therefore has in some form or another been around for thousands of years. In relation to marketing, terms such as brand advocates, early adopters, market mavens, and opinions leaders have been used to describe what is now branched under ‘influencer marketing’.

how many influencers can I have?

There isn’t really a set number of influencers that you can have, depending on your network and the relationships you look to build, the number can be as large as you make it.

how do I choose a influencer?

As part of the PICE framework we use, influencers are segmented into the following types:

local influencers

= your current customers and network

brand influencers

= bloggers, celebrities, editors and journalists

collective influencers

= like-minded professionals

influential influencers

= decision makers and peer groups

why should I take part in influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a way of making the most out of your current and future network and relationships. People like to learn off others and listen to those they respect. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of marketing and with influencer online, this can be transferred to online word of mouth.

Building relationships and gaining respect from influencers doesn’t happen overnight. For this key online marketing tactic to be successful it requires you to research your audience and create something of value, so valuable an influencer is willing to endorse/share it. We can help you find influencers and also give you some tips and tricks on how to approach them.

content for micro businesses

what is content?

For marketing purposes, we refer to content as any form of communication through a certain channel or medium. The term content is heavily linked to content marketing and this includes but not limited to blogs, podcasts, videos and visuals as an example.

why is content so important?

Content is a way of communicating with your audience. It’s a way that people can find you on Google, it’s what people share on social media and talk about with their networks. The more you create, the more chance you have of having your business being talked about online and offline.

how do I create content?

Content can be created in many ways. You can create content online through your website by having a blog, you can create content for social media so people can share it and you can create content offline by using print and hosting events.

how do I choose which types of content to create?

This depends on what types of content your audience wants to digest, some may prefer to read, others may prefer to watch. By understanding your audience, you’ll be able to create content they’ll find useful and enjoy consuming.

Different types of content are consumed at different stages of the customer journey, similar to the purchasing funnel. At bmicro we follow the ABC rule, create content for awareness, behaviour and conversion.

why should I take part in content marketing?

If you’re looking to be found on Google, shared on social media and have a brand people trust, then content marketing is an avenue to explore. Content marketing can be a lead generator via website traffic and incoming enquiries, as a way of branding your business for recruitment drives and also a way of educating your audience about your products and services.

Content is complex and Google are forever changing the way they rank content in their search engine. No longer is about keyword stuffing your website and blogs full of the keywords you want to rank for. Balance the content you create online with general, commercial and intent driven keywords for best results. We show you how to go about doing this in our interactive workshops.

engagement for micro businesses

what is engagement?

Engagement is the final piece of the PICE framework and is focused on the traction gathered from social media. Approaching social media can be a daunting task, especially with the number amount of channels to choose from. However, by understanding personas, influencers and content first, social media activity is purposeful and rewarding.

why is engagement so important?

Without engagement on social media channels you’re wasting time and money. It’s important to turn social media into a channel that works for you and your customers. The ability to start conversations with a targeted audience and offer insanely quick customer service are just a few of the benefits of using social media.

how do I create engagement?

Engagement is created through an understanding of what your audience is looking for. Are people going to follow you on social media because they want to know your opening times, or are they going to like your page because they know you’ll share something they’ll find useful. These are the questions that need to be thought about before going gung-ho on social media channels.

We can help you create your own social media strategy using our PICE framework.