SMEs Online – Page 2 – Sales & Marketing Automation for Small Business
SMEs Online
Share with friends and colleagues !

Paid Traffic

Search Engine Ads / Pay Per Click

There are lots of people with lots of traffic that they want to convert into money by selling you some advertising space.  There are three main places to look for advertising –Search Engines, Facebook and Other.

Google has three places you can advertise:

  • AdWords in the Search network – ads shown with search engine results
  • AdWords in the Display network
  • YouTube Ads

Bing /Yahoo also does advertising but obviously doesn’t have a YouTube offering

Someone searching for content is in an entirely differently frame of mind than someone browsing or reading their email (the Display network) – you should run separate advertising campaigns on Search and Display networks.

On the Search engine advertising you choose your audience by picking a keyword or phrase and then choosing a location, language and device (desktop / mobile).  You can group keywords together (if you think that they will appeal to the buyer) and show the same advertisement to that group and you then set your daily budget.  Your advertisement consists of four lines – a headline, two lines of text and a hyperlink – be concise !  The other setting you need to choose is whether to go for ‘broad match’, ‘phrase match’ or ‘exact match’:

  • Broad match – similar terms, synonyms, plurals, misspellings – more traffic but lower converting.  tennis shoes may be matched with running shoes, training shoes
  • Phrase match – like exact match but may also show your ad to people who search for your keyphrase with modifiers such as cheap or discount – eg cheap tennis shoes – not good if you’re selling high end tennis shoes
  • Exact match – what it says on the tin.  But you can add extra keywords / phrases into your ad group to ensure you get enough traffic

Some people also use negative keywords to eliminate traffic they don’t want – eg the top end tennis shoes advertisers might put ‘discount’ and ‘cheap’ into the negative keywords list.

The position of your advertisement on the search results page depends on the bid you make (known as Cost Per Click) and your Quality Score (your QS depends on how well the advertisements converts – clicks and conversions).

Once the campaign has been running for a while, you will have had a number of views and it will become obvious which words are working for this offer.  If the conversion is OK for some words, kill off the words it isn’t working for as soon as possible – these words will drag down your Quality Score.  Once you have a campaign that is profitable, then spend more – Google and YouTube have plenty more traffic for you where that lot came from !

YouTube is basically a search engine for the uploaded videos  and YouTube Ads work in a very similar way to the Google Ads

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are similar to Google ads in that you have a very small space which must have a picture, a headline, some copy and a URL.  You target your user in a quite different way – you can set up the demographics of the user by their characteristics (age, gender, income, location, language) and interests (Group memberships, Pages Followed, stated interests),  their relationship to you or members of Groups , Followers of Pages, etc or even People who have ‘liked’  something or someone.

You then submit your ad (and Facebook seem to look at them all) and when it is approved, give Facebook a daily budget and if the ad converts then the cost per click drops and the ad is shown more often.  Facebook prefers you to send visitors to a page inside Facebook (a Page, a Group or Profile).  Again there are good analytics which allow you to see how well your campaign is working and allowing to modify your audience targeting factors.

Facebook has another facility which makes its advertising powerful – Custom Audiences.  If you have group of people who have responded positively to your offer, you can load their Facebook ids into the Custom Audience systems and Facebook will identify similar people and make them a custom audience to whom you can then advertise.

Facebook also has plenty of traffic to go around.

Media Buying

Online Media Buying is more similar to Google Ads, but is harder to set up and manage.  You can buy space on high traffic websites, such as Huffington Post.  You are depending on that website’s audience being attracted to your offer.  Being rather less targeted than Google and Facebook, these advertisements don’t convert so well but can be much cheaper depending on the site.  Once again, you monitor performance of each ad carefully and prune the ones that aren’t working.  For the time being, traffic is limited only by your budget and your ability to find relevant sites.

Most big sites sell advertising space through ad networks,  media buyers or media buying agency.  Media buying takes some time to get setup and campaigns may lose money until the following factors are right:

  • The Offer – does it sell well enough ?  is it profitable enough ?
  • The Ad Copy – how is it converting ?
  • The Ad placement – is the ad on the right site (s)?
  • Your landing page – Your ad sends leads to the landing page – what do they do next ?
  • Target geographically to find your customers
  • Are your competitors running similar campaigns?

Paid Traffic is a matter to testing and tuning what works before scaling up the effort.  It takes a little bit of experience / confidence to commit budget to a particular campaign. When done right, traffic can be generated quickly and is sometimes worth using on order to build a social media following or optin list which enable you to use free traffic methods.

If your business would benefit from a rapid injection of traffic and leads and you would like some help with paid traffic , get in touch via our contact form or +44(0)7855 406652


Social Media Marketing

Social media is an effective tool for generating traffic and promoting your business.  Most B2C social media marketers use Facebook, while their B2B opposite numbers use LinkedIn.

In every local club and society, one of the leading figures is often a supplier of things that club members buy for their hobby.  Whether it is a model railway society or an astronomy club, the local business person (say, a shop owner) will welcome new members and nurture the enthusiasm of all the members, probably through a genuine enthusiasm for the subject.  As a trusted member of the club, this figure will never talk about his shop at the club’s meetings, but when the time comes for a member to spend some money on a new telescope, particular model locomotive or whatever, then all members know who to talk to about a purchase.

Social media is similar – you rarely mention your business, but you consistently engage with other social media users building mutual trust and your authority on the subject.  When they are ready to buy, they are more likely to come to you and in time, you may build a loyal following.  Always remember that people have come to social media for fun, whether that means watching videos or talking to their friends, and not to buy !

A good principle of social media marketing is to start slowly – it allows people to get used to you being around and you to see what works and whose opinion counts in this network.  While you’re watching, make sure your profile is interesting and accurate and has a flattering photograph.  Make sure your page has headers and background images.  Learn how to use all the features of the social media network you’re using.  Learn the terms and conditions too.  Make a plan.

Social Media Campaign Planning

It’s a good idea to decide what you want to achieve whether you measure it in terms of followers, leads or sales.  Concentrate on building relationships and the sales will follow if you have the right audience for your product or service.

You need to define who your users are and decide which network is for you.  Facebook works well for B2C, while Linkedin is better for B2B.  Google+ has many exciting features and is not being widely used for marketing – history shows that people are easier to market to when marketing is less common and Google + has some interesting features that other networks don’t have (eg Hangouts, Circles, integration with YouTube and a wonderful effect on your search engine rankings)

Check out where your audience hangs out by matching your audience demographics with the user base of the site (check out audience demographics on or

Think about how often you can post and where you will find content and if you have a team around you, whether one of them might be a natural social media marketer.  In the early days, assume that you will be sharing other people’s content, commenting and endorsing more than “transmitting” (normal party rules!)

Find the experts /influencers to follow and on the larger networks, find the right groups to join.

Content Planning

Your content needs to be a mixture of

  • Thought leadership
  • Tips and tricks
  • Fun
  • Announcements  (new employee, new customer, new product)
  • Conversation Pieces
  • Round-ups  (stuff worth reading that you’ve seen over the past week)
  • What your industry and chosen audience are talking about currently
  • Your brand story

Topical and relevant are also good – if the Olympics are running, blend that in, if a film has just come out, ride the wave of interest and if there is a relevant date (eg 300th anniversary of the invention of the sewing machine), make a bit of fuss about that (the Internet is fill of lists of upcoming dates like that).

Types of content

Text posts are easy to produce.  You don’t need any extra equipment or to assemble a team, but readers don’t have to read It and unless you have a good headline are likely to skim over it.

Image posts are the most shared- they are eye catching and can be instantly ‘digested’.  However, you need to be careful of copyright constraints – creative commons doesn’t always to commercial use of images.

Infographic posts– a special case of images, where data is presented in visual form making it easy to understand.  These often go viral and if they do so can permanently boost your traffic

Video posts – Videos are popular and engaging, but unless he watches them, your visitor won’t become engaged.  To make videos you need kit and editing software and you need to get organised – this is why there is still less competition in the video part of the World Wide Web and it is still possible to drive a video’s search engine ranking to page one of the search engine results quite quickly

Podcasting – Audio posts appeal to those who like to listen.  A podcast can be downloaded to your smart phone and listened to in traffic or in those spare moments in the day perhaps in the dentist’s waiting room or the post office queue.  Again, you need kit and editing software, but most of it is free.

Interactive Content

Interactive content drives engagement and makes your content more likely to be ranked by search engines and posted on followers’ timelines by Facebook as well as encouraging other followers to join in.  Make it relevant to your business to engage your target audience

  • Contests – a couple of simple questions
  • Polls – is black better than red ?  (vote yes or No)
  • Surveys – slightly more demanding of followers
  • Brackets – imagine that you wanted to rank 16 cricket players, you could do it on a knockout basis comparing two players at once – the ones with the most votes go through to the next round and then you pair them up again and vote again.
  • Galleries – show a number of eye-catching images and followers will probably ‘Like’ them

However often you choose to publish, stick to it and then your followers will know what to expect.

Finding your Audience

  • Having chosen your social network site, find your target customers.  Search the site using relevant search terms and have a look at the results that you find.  There may be large Groups that someone else has already assembled – join those groups and get involved.
  • Search for relevant published content, see who liked it and see which groups they belong to and join those too
  • Search for your customers by name and look at their interests as well.  Does that suggest any likely Groups ?
  • Use Facebook’s demographic filtering (within the advertising section) to find those of the right demographics who have stated an Interest in your chosen area.
  • “Borrow” a Twitter List
  • Let your audience find you by using hashtags on things that you publish.  Use hashtag directories
  • Create a Google+ Circle, invite a few members and then ask them to recommend others
  • Monitor social media networks for certain relevant terms and engage with those who publish about them

Engaging your Audience

It is important that the audience finds the content, so it needs to be syndicated (published on several channels) and promoted and then promoted again.

Nurture your tribe.  Respond to their comments, answer their questions and feed the conversation.

Converting your audience

I think it is best to convert your audience on your own website – there are restrictions on selling on some social networks and it also can muddy the social water if you’re seen to be transacting on social media.  So….

  • Build your email list
  • Set up your sales funnel (via email and your own website)
  • Always have a Call to Action
  • Link to your own website often
  • Be easy to find
  • Follow up any interest (outside the social network) with purpose (and more than once)

How we can help?

Social Media Planning – help with choosing your social media network, choosing content types, finding relevant sharable (even viral) content, defining your audience,

Finding your Audience – searching for relevant Groups, Authorities and Users, automatic monitoring of search terms to identify more possible audience members

Content planning – What kind of content does your audience want ?  How will you product it, when will it published ?

Engaging your Audience – Promotion and Syndication can (and should) be automated.  Comments management, Automatic posting of scheduled content

Converting your audience – building your autoresponder sequence, designing and setting up your conversion funnel,

Analytics for the whole thing – measuring what is going on to see what works and doesn’t work, tuning your social media activity to what the target audience wants

If you need help with your social media marketing, SMEsOnline is ready to help; just call +44 (0)7855 406652 or use the contact form

Gold Lead Generation Package

The products and services of some companies are too complex to communicate well in text or image form.  Some products need the human touch of video or webinars.  In the early stages of a complex product/service sale, progress is made by establishing trust and authority; the non-verbal communication is what builds both of them and video provides a good medium for doing this.

As the customer’s understanding develops, he or she is likely to have questions and so it becomes important to provide a two way path; webinars (Web Seminars) provide this extra interactivity and have other benefits relating to lead capture and creating urgency (webinars aren’t available at any time like videos).

Viral Promotion is about posting content that people wish to share so badly that it becomes as common as the outbreak of an infectious disease.  Viral content coupled with press release to seed the virus can lead to large surges ion traffic and permanent increases in site traffic especially for thought leaders.

The Gold Lead Generation Package has facilities for

  • video marketing including promotion, lead capture and in-video social sharing,
  • webinar promotion, lead capture, audience management and recording management
  • viral promotion

SMEsOnline recommends the Gold Package to customers with complex products (eg software or biotech companies) or complex services (lawyers, financial advisers).  As well as the Silver Package facilities, the additional capabilities are also backed up with:

  • Extra video promotion and syndication
  • Press releases
  • Promotional videos
  • Additional email marketing

If your business would benefit from some additional leads and needs to build trust and authority amongst a customer base that may not be located conveniently for meeting face to face, then the Gold Package is recommended for your business.  Get in touch with SMEsOnline using the contact form or by dialing +44 (0)7855 406652

Silver Lead Generation Package

When a company becomes a little larger, people can begin to specialise to some extent and that may include someone working on lead generation and promotion at least part time.  For this person to be fully effective, automation helps a great deal.   Building on the Bronze infrastructure, the Silver package adds

  • Content Curation – selecting relevant content from high ranking websites for comment and
  • Content Syndication – reposting your content on related websites with backlinks to the original content on your website
  • Press Releases – our press release service brings the attention of the world’s media to your news and creates many backlinks to your website for the search engines
  • Promotion –bookmarking and link indexing help to promote your website. Social media monitoring will allow you to engage better with customers
  • a Customer Review Capture facility – building positive social proof and Diverting complaints to you to address and win over the unhappy customers
  • Some additional promotion services –
  • Email marketing – engage with your customers and make them offers they won’t want to refuse

When many of the routine tasks have been automated, the marketer is free to spend more time on higher value tasks such as engaging on social media tasks and content creation.

If your business would benefit from automating the routine tasks of online marketing then contact us on +44 (0)7855 406652 or use the contact form.

Bronze Lead Generation Package

For small companies with few resources available for Web marketing, life can feel lonely.  Few SME owners know what they need to do to rank their website and of those who do, many don’t know how to do it.  Fortunately, most of it only needs setting up once and then it is just a question of writing the occasional article to remind your customers that you’re still alive.  And anyone who can use a word processor can publish a post on one of our websites.  For these customers, recommends the Bronze Lead Generation package.

Customers and search engines expect to see a branded website, branded social media sites and business listings:  The Bronze Package comprises:

  • A lead generating website  (with brand graphics)
  • A Facebook Page (with brand graphics)
  • A Google Plus Page (with brand graphics)
  • A YouTube channel (with brand graphics)
  • A Twitter account (with branded graphics)
  • A promotional video
  • 24x 7 monitoring service,  which alerts the customer of any downtime on the site
  • One set up autoresponder list – for emailing the customers
  • 35 major Business Listings  – sites similar to Yellow Pages

Ordering the Bronze Lead Generation Package is straightforward – after a low initial set up fee, a monthly payment pays for site maintenance, backups, software updates and support.  Get in touch using the contact form



Small Business Marketing Consultant

While managers are about continuity, consultants are about improvement (small change) or change in response to problems. There are three situations when a small business can legitimately use a management consultant:

  • The business lacks particular expertise
  • The business has the expertise, but it is not available or there is not enough of it
  • An external view is needed
[slideshare id=37426900&doc=smallbusinessmarketingconsultant-140728105124-phpapp02]

Entrepreneurs make the future; their ability, confidence, commitment and willingness to accept responsibility are essential to creating wealth, employment and change.  I am a big admirer.  (Can you hear the ‘But’ coming?).  There are a few human beings who possess all the different abilities to take a start-up all the way through to large corporation, but not many.  It is sometimes tough for entrepreneurs to admit, but their business’s success is heavily dependent on their preferences and skills and at various stages may be limiting the business’s success.  The downside (here comes the ‘But’!) is that an entrepreneur may find it hard to recognise this and even harder to allow someone else to provide a specific skill, to drive through a specific project or just listen to the advice of someone who knows more about a situation.

Large companies need structure, systems, roles and responsibilities, procedures, policies and standards; all these things make up the “business model” and are intended to produce consistent performance, stability and low risk results for the shareholders.  Big Company Consultants help big businesses to change their business model and in turn, have their own business model to do so !  They have the skills to see what needs doing, approaches to gather the supporting evidence,  convince their clients and then help the clients put the new “business model” in place.

If small businesses have a business model, it is rarely written down.  Most of it is in the head of the owner who will (sometimes) pass on relevant bits of it to colleagues.  This business model changes continually, usually in response to “incidents with unwanted outcomes”.  Essentially, as the organisation grows, the entrepreneur’s guiding presence will have to be spread thinner and eventually be replaced with a more formal business model.

Just as small businesses work with a less formal business model, so small business management consultants must adopt a less formal approach.  Small businesses often do not have the resources to invest in lots of compliance and assurance people.  That is not to say that consultants should abandon their tried and tested consultancy frameworks, but that they need to recommend approaches that resonate with the less formal approach of their clients.

What does a small business management consultant do ?  Assess the client’s goals and objectives, assess the market situation, review the company’s competitive position and recommend changes to the often rather informal business model (or goals) in a structured approach which ensures nothing is forgotten.

Some small business marketing consultant specialise in B2B marketing