How to get started with running a marketing webinar

…..And why you cannot afford not to be running one!

This week I am please to include a guest blog by Virginie Chasseriau from A Cup of Learning.

Everyone loves webinars! They are time-saving, cost-effective and easy to connect to! All you need is an Internet connection and that’s it.

Nowadays, 2,000 million people a month are connected to Facebook, 328 million a month to Twitter, 700 million a month to Instagram and 467 million users on LinkedIn (source: © Statista 2017). How many are your prospects? 20%? 10 %? Even 1%?

# your prospects Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn
20% 400,000,000 65,600,000 140,000,000 93,400,000
10% 200,000,000 32,800,000 70,000,000 46,700,000
1% 20,000,000 3,280,000 7,000,000 4,670,000

Social media have removed all barriers and it’s never been so easy to connect. Today, the power lies with technology. How well do you know it? How well do you use it? Website, emails, marketing campaign are powerful tools to raise awareness about your product or service. But how do you engage the discussion with your prospects? To stand out from the crowd, to be noticed among such a busy environment, a marketing webinar is the mean to use.

A webinar is a seminar over the web. With a webinar, you engage in a conversation with prospects. You give them valuable information and they can react, ask questions and get an answer. A webinar is a cost-effective and time saving mean to engage a conversation with prospects in order to convert them as customers.

Is a webinar for you?

Yes, if:

  • You sell a product or a service
  • You are passionate about your business and you are an inexhaustible source of information
  • You want to grow your business without compromising time with friends and family

No, if:

  • You are too specialized and only targeting a “niche” community (but is it really a narrow local niche?…)
  • You target an older generation not used to technology

Running a marketing webinar is not costly (only a monthly fee for the webinar platform is required) and therefore your product does not have to be expensive to be worth a webinar. With the potential to target thousands of people, there is a multiplicative factor to generate a big return on investment. And it is also the opportunity to develop subscriptions and loyalty programs. As you engage the conversation with your customers, you want to create that special relationship with them.

What do you need to get started?

A little bit of gut and:

  1. An appealing landing page with an easy registration process. 60% of people interested in a webinar give up on the registration page as it is too complicated or too long.
  2. A structured engaging presentation to deliver a crystal-clear message and, at the same time, engage a conversation with participants. Engaging means that participants are physically doing something to eradicate all distractions around them. Distractions that could stop them from listening to you.
  3. A webinar platform: there are several platforms and you should choose yours based on your budget and expectations. And, regardless of your choice, it is important to get familiar with your platform before delivering a live webinar. Technology is not always our best friend so make sure you know:
    1. How to get your microphone on
    2. How to mute the audience
    3. How to use tools such as chat area, video, polls, sharing screen…

If technology is not your thing, or if you do not have time, it may be a clever idea to work with a webinar producer. A webinar producer removes all the hassle before, during and after the webinar, so that you can only focus on what you do best: talking about your product or service, talking about your passion.

Furthermore, a webinar producer will:

  • set-up the platform to fit your needs,
  • introduce the webinar and polls,
  • manage any technical issues (such as if participants cannot hear you, cannot log-in) or manage questions that could be answered without asking the presenter (e.g. When will the recording be made available?),
  • keep participants active.

A webinar will save you time in marketing… really?

Even if webinar platforms are more and more powerful with a broad range of possibilities, there are still a lot of human participation needed to prepare a webinar. You’ll need time to structure your message and build a presentation, to design a landing page, to learn how to use the webinar platform and to rehearse.

But, once this is done, you can deliver your webinar many times over. Since webinars can be recorded, they can be easily integrated to your marketing strategy. And you can still reach people who have registered but haven’t turned up.

Once your webinar is ready, there will be no more preparation, saving you time to spend for what really matters to you: children, husband, spouse, family, friends, your hobby… Everything is allowed!

 

Author: Virginie Chasseriau from A Cup of Learning.

Virginie is an experimented trainer who has worked for 15 years in a Corporate environment. She has extensive experience in delivering webinars and implementing blended learning strategies. With her company, A Cup of Learning, Virginie supports self-employed and small businesses to develop and run engaging marketing webinars that convert.

Like her Facebook page to be kept posted with webinars and training programs.

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How to Prepare Your Business For GDPR

As we enter the last 7 months of countdown, more and more businesses are starting to worry about GDPR. At first, it was only the finance and IT industry that were wringing their hands, but soon business owners realised everyone would be affected by the new regulation. By now most business owners worth their salt have heard about the new GDPR. The savvy ones might have even started putting measures in place to get ready for it. But most of those are “big businesses”. You know, the ones who have infinite resources and entire departments dedicated to compliance and regulation. But that leaves the smaller businesses somewhat flustered and unsure of what to do. But never fear, Little Acorn are here to provide some more general guidance on the issue of GDPR.

What Is GDPR?

But first, what is this big bad acronym that has business owners rushing around like ants? GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations, and it’s essentially the EU’s answer to the Data Protection Act. However, unlike previous EU directives (which countries can choose to implement or not, and how), this is a regulation. This means it will apply to all EU countries in the same way. It also reaches outside of the EU to any organisation that handles EU citizen data, regardless of their location in the world. The regulation is already in place – we are partway through a transition period that allowed businesses to get their house in order before the regulation comes into effect on the 25 of May 2018.

The aim of the regulation is to unify and standardise data protection policies, shoring up weak spots and creating a strong base for personal data protection. The regulation provides a single set of rules for all member states to follow (including mandatory security notifications, new rules around user consent, a clearer definition of what could be personal data and greater rights for people to access and request deletion of the information companies hold on them). A special council will be created to oversee sanctions and provide guidance.

The Brexit Question

I feel I need a small note here. Before you ask, yes, UK businesses will still have to comply even if Brexit goes ahead. Not only will be still be handling EU citizen data (and therefore still subject to GDPR), but the government have also confirmed that they will be passing GDPR into UK law if we do leave. So, no matter what happens, you still need to prepare.

Areas of Your Business Affected by GDPR

The mistake a lot of businesses are making is assuming that GDPR will only really affect the IT department. And while it might be true that IT will certainly be hit hardest, that doesn’t mean the rest of the business is off the hook. In fact, there are 5 key areas of every business that will be impacted by GDPR:

Legal – One of the most important areas to be affected is the legal department (if you have one). There are many different changes that will need to be made to contracts, terms and conditions, policy documents throughout the business to ensure the consent rules are being met. This also means that the legal department will have to review and possible renegotiate contracts to meet this requirement.

Finance – GDPR will hugely influence the way accounting and financial processes function within your business. Huge amounts of confidential data pass through this department every day, so you need to be sure all your systems and policies are bulletproof. Because of the volume of data at risk, GDPR will impose heavy penalties on businesses that fail to guard their financial data adequately.

Sales & Marketing – Sales and marketing departments are the front line when it comes to dealing with customer data. They are usually responsible for the collection of data, so the consent rules need to be carefully followed. Sales and marketing need to make sure that their teams are addressing customers who have opted in or given their direct consent to receive it.

HR – GDPR will not only impact the way the business works, but it will also improve the rights of all employees too, giving them increased safety, security and control over their personal data. Everyone in the HR department needs to be updating contracts, ensuring that everyone understands their new rights and implementing them.

IT – And of course, the IT department are the first line of defence for all this data. The IT department is the foundation for the GDPR framework, which is why IT departments are currently running around like mad trying to get the systems updated and everything ready.

At Little Acorn Marketing, we are working with businesses in the Thames Valley to help them get ready for GDPR. Sure, we might not be able to help with the in-depth technical IT issues, but we can help review and improve your sales and marketing policies. Whether you just need a few tweaks or to redesign a new strategy to stay complaint, we are here to help. For more information, just get in touch today.

Why do you need professional photos on your website?

Tips for taking your own photos for social media and how to avoid copyright issues….

I am really pleased to bring you a guest blog by Pennie Withers of Photos By Pennie.

Are you having a new website built for your business? Or perhaps you have a great looking website, but are looking to freshen it up? Either way – you will need some cracking, beautiful website photos to really give it that WOW! Factor. You may also need photos for your social media posts.  Read on for some top tips as to how to get the best photos for your business.

Now obviously, I’m hoping you’ll look at my website (that’s http://www.photosbypennie.co.uk by the way!), immediately pick up the phone and book me for your business photos. However, even if you don’t book me, I would love to at least be able to convince you WHY you need professional photos on your site (and while I’m on my soap box, on your social media too!). If I’ve piqued your interest…..here’s why:

Apparently, our brains react differently to visual stimuli. This is because the brain deciphers images instantly, whereas words take more time to process. Photos or images are in fact, processed 60,000 times faster than text.

So – why should this matter to you?

Well, you can spend hours and hours creating a new website with fantastic, eloquent words, but I hate to break this to you, people rarely read website content word for word. However, have fantastic, professional photos on there and immediately, you are creating the impression that your business is professional. The photos reinforce your brand, they can show what you have to offer and in a nutshell, enable your business to create the right impression. In turn, people will want to do business with you. That’s good, right?!

On top of this – don’t forget that if you have a set of professional photos of your business, you can also use them in your social media. It’s a win:win – 2 jobs for the price of one! And if you don’t believe me, here’s some figures…..According to Media Blog – tweets that include a photograph, are 35% more likely to be retweeted. Add to this the fact that Facebook posts that have a photograph in will obtain on average, 87% more interaction. Make sense?

In case you’re not convinced, look at the photos below.  My client was Alison Harmer, a copywriter and. She was having a new website built and didn’t want generic stock images. So, we spent a couple of hours setting up specific shots and hey presto…..a unique website with striking professional photos. http://harmereditorial.co.uk/

So – hopefully you’re now fully convinced of the need for professional photographs on your website and social media posts. If you’d like to have a chat about how I might be able to help you, please give me a call on 07715 889457 or click here to send me an email.

While you’re here however – I promised to give you some tips for topping up your professional photos with some of your own which you can use on your blogs and social media posts. So, here goes:

Tip 1 – The rule of thirds: images where the subject is off centre are always much more interesting.  Divide your camera frame into 9 squares (see below) and place your subject on one of the intersecting lines – instantly your photo will look much better. E.g.;

Tip 2 – Use leading lines to create interest in your shot.  So – a bit like the rule of thirds, you are basically just making your shots that little bit more creative than just photographing from straight on. Here are some examples where things like walls, horizontal lines and a pathway are used to add that interest:

Tip 3 – Do NOT use flash!  If you are using a phone, the  flash is never any good and the photos end up looking really rubbish.  So – take my advice, take your photos on overcast days – you won’t get any shadows or rings under the eyes.  Or – if you can’t avoid a bright, sunny day, head for some top-shade.  This is created either by doorways or under trees.  Your subject will still be lit beautifully but won’t be blinded by the sun.

Tip 4 – on the same subject as top 3 (i.e. – lighting….) try to shoot your photos during the ‘golden hour’.  This is the time either shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which almost all photos look absolutely gorgeous.  (Think those holiday photos early evening when the sun is going down). E.g.:

pic 7

Tip 5 – Control Exposure. This is fairly limited on smart phones, but can still make a big difference. On I-phones when you have a photo you’d like to take, simply tap and hold the screen and you will see a slider, which allows you to increase/decrease exposure, and lock it. This can also lock focus – so you can decide what is in focus and what is not.

Tip 6 – minimize your editing effects. I’m a sucker for a filter on Instagram, and it can be fun to apply them but before you do it, ask yourself is it necessary?  Is it possible they detract from the image?  Sometimes, a simple crop, good lighting and composition are all that is necessary. Here is a photo that has been edited way too much!

pic 8

Finally, Tip 7 – Keep your lens clean! It may sound really obvious, but you’d be amazed what I see…..your phone sits in your pocket, your handbag, on your desk etc. and gathers finger prints and goodness knows what else in the process.  Before you take a photo – give it a little wipe and you’ll be guaranteed crystal clear photos every time!

pic 9

And now onto the thorny subject of Copyright.

When a professional photographer takes a photograph, they own the copyright.  Unless they explicitly give over the copyright (usually in return for a fee), they retain it.  All the images that I take are supplied to my clients with a full and unrestricted license to use them in any media over any time period. I retain the copyright ALWAYS. I have never found this to be an issue with any of my clients and indeed, have been fortunate enough never to find anyone using any of my images without permission.

One question you may ask however is, how can you find professional photos which you don’t have to pay for.  Whilst I wouldn’t particularly want to encourage this (!), I have to accept that sometimes there is a need for this kind of thing.  So – here are a few suggestions.

Dreamstime.com – you may have to pay for some of these, but they also have free ones. Pixabay – there are also some Shutterstock images on their site, which you must pay for but that is how they finance offering free ones. FreeImages.co.uk – this site is financed by paid for advertising however again, the images are free.

So again, I hope this was useful.  If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about photographs for your website or social media, do give me a call on 07715 8895457 or drop me an email on pennie@photosbypennie.co.uk.

Is your LinkedIn profile working for you?

When I ask for a show of hands for how many people have a LinkedIn profile it normally has a good response.  After all, at some point or another we have all signed up for a profile.  However, the question is – are we really taking this social media platform seriously?

Here are some statistics I have recently found on-line:

  • There are approximately 467 million users worldwide with 258 million in Europe/Africa.
  • 71% of professionals feel LinkedIn is a credible source for professional content.
  • 80% of all B2B leads that come from social media are from LinkedIn
  • Nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision making authority for their companies.

So, I think it is clear that LinkedIn is THE social media network for professionals.

Many people have no idea what LinkedIn is supposed to be used for or how they might benefit from being on it.  That is why there are so many abandoned profiles that haven’t been updated since they were created.

Here are my top tips for updating your profile so that you can start taking advantage of the power of LinkedIn.

Put a face to a name

I am sure you have all heard this before but first impressions count so make sure you have a professional profile picture.  Members that do have a picture receive 14 more views than those without.  But it is important to make sure that the photo really represents who you are.  Let me give you an example. I recently met someone who used to have a senior corporate role but now is a driving instructor.  His picture on LinkedIn was ‘suited and booted’ and did not reflect the image he was trying to create as a friendly, approachable instructor.

Create a punchy headline

Your headline is the first thing people will see after your picture.  It defaults to your current position but you can edit it.  You need to think about including keywords and make sure that it speaks directly to your target audience.  Don’t restrict yourself to one company or title – let your audience know who you are at your very core

Contact Information

You want your target audience to be able to contact you right?  So, have you filled out all the information in the contact section?  Make it easy for people to get in touch.  You can also add up to 3 websites so don’t forget to include not just your company website but your blog and your Facebook page as well.

Tell your professional story

Demonstrate your expertise in the summary section.  This is a great way to tell your story of why you are motivated to do the work you are doing.  You have up to 2000 character so you don’t need to restrict yourself but do remember to use keywords and phrases. This will help improve visibility on LinkedIn and Google search results.  Be aware though, that only the 1st two lines are visible on your profile so make sure they work the hardest to encourage someone to read more.

Showcase your work

Nothing shows your quality of work to potential business contacts better than rich tangible examples.  LinkedIn allows you to upload or link to work such as blog posts, presentations, images and websites, and give people a reason to engage with you. So think what visual content you could use.

So why not log into your LinkedIn profile today and do some small updates that could make a big difference.

Look out for my next blog focusing on what you can do to engage with your audience.

You may also be interested in my blog – Are you making all your testimonials work for you? This has a great tip for adding written testimonials to your LinkedIn profile. https://littleacornmarketing.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/are-you-making-all-your-testimonials-work-for-you/

Got any questions?  Please email karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

Email – the dreaded ‘delivery status notification (failure)

This week I am welcoming my first guest blogger – Holly Thorne from Virtual Angels

UNDELIVERABLE: your email

Imagine: you’ve spent ages composing an email. Pressed send and then… in a matter of seconds, back comes the dreaded ‘delivery status notification (failure)’.  That’s not so bad if it’s just one email, but what if you’ve just sent your latest email campaign and it’s not just one bounce but a large percentage of your campaign list.  You might be losing out on valuable customers.

Contact details can be wrong for many reasons; the details were recorded incorrectly; the person has moved roles or companies; or maybe they’ve changed their name.  These are just some of the reasons but what can you do to keep information up to date?

Set up a Database

Create a database or consider signing up to a CRM system that’s suitable for your business.  If your contact details are all in one place, you’ll know where to find them. Many CRM systems can now integrate with your emails or other marketing tools to make updating contact information even simpler.  With a contact database you can make notes or create tags so that you can record information such as when you last contacted someone, their preferred name or where you met them.

When choosing a system, consider if you require restricted access (e.g. logins with password access), multiple user logins or customisable fields. If using an online CRM system, check where your data will be stored and how it will be kept safe.

Your contact database should be your ‘single source of truth’ when it comes to contact information and if you have other team members, you need to ensure they know this too. That way, if you’re off sick or a member of staff leaves, the rest of your team can still find relevant information – so contacts are still contactable.

Back it up!

If you’re keeping an electronic database, back it up at least once per week. Ensure the backup is secure and cannot be accessed by people who should not have access to it.

Maintain and Update

It’s really important that you regularly review and update your contact database, also known as ‘data cleaning’. The best trick for this is little and often – spot check contact records and as soon as you become aware of any changes, update them.

If someone’s email bounces, make a note of it the first time. If it bounces again, try contacting them in a different way to see if they are still using that email, or if they have an alternative one they would like you to use.

Ultimately, you can have the fanciest CRM system in the world, but it you don’t have good quality data you may as well have a carrier bag messily stuffed full of business cards!

Finally – The Data Protection Act 1998 outlines your legal obligations when you hold information. This includes keeping personal data accurate and up to date. If you’re unsure of your obligations, check out the ICO website for more information.

If you would like to learn more about setting up a CRM system, Holly would be happy to chat with you.  Her email is holly@virtualangels.co.uk.

So what shall I post today?

How long have you been sitting looking at your computer screen, totally lacking any inspiration?

Constantly thinking of new content to post onto your social media platforms can be daunting if you are not great at planning ahead.  You want to keep your followers engaged whether on your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or in fact any social media.

Don’t worry help is at hand. Here are six ideas to get you kick started.

  1. Images – people love visual content. This is a great way to showcase your products or services. Photographs will increase visibility and help potential customers get more familiar with what you offer. Think – is there a picture you can take today and post?

Not everything has to be specifically related to your company’s product or services.  Do a google search for something inspirational that would be relevant to your audience.  There are some great free photo editing websites that allow you to overlay text on an image – perhaps add a quote or thought for the day.  I really like PicMonkey and Canva

  1. Guest posts – how about a collaboration? You can swap posting with people for a day so that you have the opportunity to get in front of a different audience.  Think about some people you could approach who would complement your business.
  1. Questions – do you ever ask a question or ask for feedback? It is a great way to get audience engagement and increase your reach.  Recently I saw a friend posting about the launch of their new website and asking for feedback. She was inundated with comments, likes and the post was shared several times.  Is there something you could ask?
  1. Links to your blog – if you invest time in writing a blog then you want to get the maximum mileage out of your content. Look back and see which blogs are still relevant and share again.  Have you posted them onto LinkedIn as an article? This has the benefit of then appearing on your profile.
  1. Events – are you hosting an event? Have you set up an event page on Facebook? This automatically generates a post and you can share the link on other platforms.  If you are attending an event give it some visibility by sharing the event information, using the event hash tag etc.
  1. Don’t forget to regularly check out your incoming social media updates. Retweeting on twitter is a quick way of posting.  Can you add a comment or reply?  Sharing a post on Facebook is easy and shows you appreciate what people are posting.  You are more likely to then have your posts shared too!  Take a look at your page feed with posts from pages you have liked. Is there something you could share right now? Remember it is nice to like content too and add a comment!

Hopefully this had given you some fresh ideas for posting on social media.  Obviously it is not an exhausted list.  Check out my previous blog  https://littleacornmarketing.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/help-i-dont-know-what-social-media-content-to-post/ for some more ideas. Do you have any other suggestions for things that have worked really well for you?

To discuss how to generate a social media content calendar please get in touch on 07988 676219 or karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

Are you making all your testimonials work for you?

As a business owner you will know that LinkedIn is a great B2B social media platform and an excellent place to showcase your experience. One key way to do this is by having recommendations. These are totally independent but unfortunately they do have their limits.

You can only be given a recommendation by another LinkedIn member.  For many of us this is absolutely fine but for some businesses this can be very limiting.  It maybe the nature of your work is confidential or perhaps your clients are just simply not on LinkedIn. For example if your clients were predominantly aged 65 plus.

So what can you do if this is the case for your business? This is a question I am commonly asked when training on LinkedIn.

Well LinkedIn now allow you to attach files to you profile.  This means that you can still ask for a recommendation and attach it to your relevant work experience section or even your main profile summary.  Your clients can give a written testimonial, anonymously if necessary which you can scan in to your computer.

Whilst in ‘edit mode’ on your profile, just click on the symbol highlighted below and follow the instructions for uploading a file.

add document to LinkedIn Profile

So why not look back in your files – have you got a fabulous client testimonial that is gathering dust? Scan it today and get it up on your LinkedIn profile!

If you would like more tips on LinkedIn I am running my next workshop – LinkedIn for the Small Business Owner on 28th April 2016.  For more information click here.