It’s Time to Change the Way We Sell

It’s Time to Change the Way We Sell

Is it just me, or are you also sick of the way that businesses try and sell to you based on fear and lack rather than focusing on ethics and value?

It has definitely been something I have rallied against since I became self-employed way back in 2003, raising a middle finger to the corporate ickiness I hated being a part of.

Still wondering what I mean? Here are some just some examples that I have come across:

Let me be your Mentor

Being offered a place on an ‘exclusive’ mentorship programme, only to find out that it’s actually a sales funnel for a network marketing gig and they expect you to sign up with them first!

I’ve got the Answer

Seeing an offer for a super-secret solution to something you know isn’t super secret and anyone can learn, or knowing there are different options which are all just as valid.

Let’s Connect

Connecting with someone via social media and then finding out you’ve been added to their email list without giving express permission.

Once in a Lifetime…

The offer that is advertised as a one time only deal, selling to us through the fear of missing out and only to be repeated again next week, next month or next year.

How do these make you feel? I know they really piss me off!

“Psychological tactics are designed to create false demand by feeding the fear that there will not be enough. This fear has us trapped in a cycle of consumption that is uninspired, unethical, and supremely harmful to the planet and its inhabitants.” – the ethical move

So, when I started Web Goddess in 2014, I knew that I needed to build my business around my authenticity and ethics and only sell in a way that I felt comfortable selling.

And that’s when I found the ethical move – an organisation devoted to changing the way we sell. Their original idea was to ask people to pledge that they would stop charging ‘charm prices’ – you know, the £297 price tags when we all know it’s basically £300! And because that kind of thing  really pisses me off, I pledged my support!

the ethical move

Now, the ethical move have increased their pledges against the outdated sales and marketing tactics we are bombarded with every day including countdowns that have no meaning, false scarcity (FOMO) and bait and switch techniques – and I am thrilled to re-pledge my support.

The full list of new pledges can be found on their website.

“Together, we are making the ethical move to create a new marketing standard based on transparency, trust, and honesty.” – the ethical move

So why is this important for your business?

Well for me, authenticity is EVERYTHING when it comes to creating business relationships with people – and if you start on the wrong foot then it’s pretty difficult to undo that initial mis-step!

Clients remember how you make them feel – and if you make them feel used, tricked or scammed then they are not sticking around for very long.

The alternative to following these ‘tried and tested’ sales and marketing techniques is to create a new, HONEST way of doing business – and I’m all for that. Putting people first and selling with integrity is in alignment with who I am – and I hope it resonates with you too.

I’ll leave you with these final words from the ethical move team:

“Small businesses are the largest growing sector of our global economy; how we operate will inform policy. There are a lot of us, we are courageous and adaptable — which makes us uniquely qualified to change the status quo.” – the ethical move

Stay true to what you believe in,

 Web Goddess

 

Why You Need to Stop Asking for Likes on Social Media

Why You Need to Stop Asking for Likes on Social Media

I’m on social media almost daily and it works really well for my business, but my Number 1 pet hate is when people keep asking you to ‘just pop over and like my page’.

I can not be more straight forward than this:

PLEASE STOP ASKING FOR LIKES!!!

But why? Well, you may think that the more ‘Likes’ and followers you have then the better your business looks and performs on social media, but this isn’t actually the case.

In fact, having random people who have no interest in your business – like your Great Auntie Sheila who is just being polite – and members of groups who all say “follow me and I’ll follow you” can do more damage than good.

Here are 3 reasons why…

#1 They’re NOT Your Clients

Social media is all about connection. In terms of business, it’s about getting your message out to the right people – those who want to connect with you and what you do.

So, if the majority of your followers are simply there because you made a pinky promise to follow each other back to improve your ‘vanity metrics’ then the weight of their ‘Like’ really isn’t doing you any favours.

Are they actually engaging with your posts? Are they commenting and tagging you?

Web Goddess Tip: Focus on content for people who you want to become clients and follow those people you want to work with or buy from. This forms authentic relationships rather than ones built on fear of saying ‘no’.

#2 You WILL be Penalised

Platforms such as Facebook use algorithms to work out where, who and how often to show content in newsfeeds and these are based on a complex set of variables – including how RELEVANT the content is.

If you have thousands of followers who never interact with your content, you will be ranked lower (and appear less often) than pages with fewer followers who consistently get support from their fans.

Web Goddess Tip: Spend time cultivating a following of REAL customers rather than asking for random likes from people who will never buy what you are selling.

#3 It makes YOU look Desperate

Hey, I know that starting a business can be daunting and having your friends support you online is a lovely thing for them to do. But over time you want your family (remember Great Auntie Sheila?) replaced by REAL clients and people who are actually going to buy from you.

Constantly posting in groups asking for people to follow you just makes you look desperate. You need to be confident in what you are selling/making/doing and create social media content that shows that off to your best ability. That way people will follow you because they really want to, not because they are simply sick of you asking.

Web Goddess Tip: Have confidence in your business and what you provide. Let that shine through in all that you do online and you WILL create a following of people who want to invest in you and your business.

So, I implore you – please stop asking random strangers on the internet to follow you. It makes you sound desperate and will do your business more damage than good in the long run.

Instead, use your social media posts to inspire and provide value and trust that the right people will follow you – and you’ll create real connections that turn into real business.

Web Goddess

PS: If you need any help with social media, the Web Goddess Academy is the place to be for no-nonsense advice and support when it comes to shining online. This is the sort of social media myth I love busting for my members.

7 Free Tools to Grow Your Business Online

7 Free Tools to Grow Your Business Online

Running a small business (or any business for that matter) can require costly investment in everything from premises to products – not to mention the costs of being online and running a website.

But, there are TONNES of awesome free resources out there to help you get the message out to potential customers and keep existing customers happy.

Here is my list of 7 Awesome Free Tools that you can use NOW:

#1 Google My Business

Even if you don’t have a physical location that customers can visit, registering for Google My Business is a must.

As you keep your listing updated your online ranking will improve and your clients can add Google Reviews straight to your profile. This helps you appear in map searches too.

#2 Facebook

Facebook is still alive and kicking and is a great place to build a community for your business – as long as you post and interact consistently.

Try giving 80% information and only promote products or services 20% of the time so your customers aren’t constantly bombarded with icky sales messages!

#3 Instagram

I recommend upgrading from a personal account to a business one (it’s still free) if you are using Instagram for business.

You can use your Insta feed to update your Facebook page as well as your website so your images are always online in multiple places.

#4 Email Marketing

Social media is amazing, but you have no control over your online reach or when the platform algorithms change.

So, having an email newsletter is still one of the best ways of getting news out to your clients. I use MailerLite now and can track insights for all of my email campaigns.

It’s important to set a schedule and figure out your reason & vision before sending emails but it can be a wonderful way of connecting for free.

#5 Blogging

Don’t have your own website yet? No problem (although I would recommend that you have one). You can’t use that as an excuse not to start writing & sharing it online NOW.

Sign up for a free account with a Blogging site such as Medium or Blogger and start writing. You can always move and update your posts later when you have a website!

#6 Google Search Console

This option is only available if you already have your own domain and website, but being able to track your visits and search queries is a great way of understanding your online reach.

You can sign up to Google Search Console for free and improve your online ranking.

#7 Canva

This online graphic design platform is my favourite tool of all! You can sign up for free to create any type of graphic you can think of – from social media to posters to ebooks – Canva lets you do it all.

And, if you need a little more (like extra stock images, premium fonts or a brand kit) then you can upgrade to Canva Pro at any time.

I create all of my graphics (including the infographic for this post) using Canva and use them for my website, social media, business cards and even presentations.

With all of these tools, all that remains to be done is to learn how to use them!

Set aside some time and choose ONE to work on first. Give it some time and energy (and have a PLAN) and see how you can improve your online reach without spending a penny.

And, if you need help, pop along to one of my Digital Workshops to help you get started!

Web Goddess

Note: this post contains an affiliate link to Canva Pro and I may receive a commission if you sign up through the link. However, as with everything I recommend, I do so because I use it and bloody love it!

Why Website Content is Key

Why Website Content is Key

It is so easy to get caught up in branding and sleek design when creating a website – and a business for that matter – but without the right content on your site it really won’t matter how professional it looks. That’s not to say that bad design is OK either, because the way it looks will catch the attention of potential customers. However, if they are going to stay on your site, there really has to be something of value to keep them interested and convince them that you are the person or company they want to work with. And only content can do that.

SEARCH ENGINES LOVES CONTENT

Or to be more precise, search engines love relevant and freshly updated content. Did you know that according to a Netcraft January 2018 Web Server Survey there are over 1.8 billion websites online? But of these, only a very small proportion are actually active or updated regularly. The easiest way of keeping your own site active is to write a blog and add posts regularly. Each new post becomes a new gateway to your website and gives search engines relevant topics and text to crawl. This will ultimately help your site rank higher in searches and give you a platform to show your expertise in the area you are trying to get business in. And if you have a clear idea of your target audience then this task becomes infinitely simpler to achieve, but if you still struggle for ideas on what to post, check out my list of 50 Awesome Blog Ideas – see you can even blog about blogging!

OVERSHARING IS GOOD

Some marketing gurus will insist that hiding details from visitors and only offering them answers once they click and sign up to your email list is the way to go. However, if you’ve got an overflowing inbox and little time to read through five emails a day telling you why you need to buy from someone, then employing this tactic won’t win you any new clients. I’m all for oversharing on my website and giving as many details about my services as possible – including prices. Why? Because if people see how much I charge upfront, they can make a decision there and then if they think my services are worth it to them. And sharing ‘secrets’ about web design via my blog may empower some readers to build their websites themselves but they are not my ideal clients anyway and I am thrilled that they want to learn a new skill and go it alone.

GRAPHICS AND VIDEO

Content isn’t just words – your images and videos are content too. So branding and keeping your visual content relevant is also important. It also helps break up long pieces of text so that readers don’t feel overwhelmed with long blog posts or pages on your website. I’m a big fan of Canva and use it to create all of my images (including the one below) but whatever image software you use, try to make the images your own and steer clear of stock images wherever possible. Branding your visual content is important

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

All that content you create in the form of blog posts and tips about your own industry can and should be shared via social media. You are creating a library of specialist information when you write a blog and sharing it with as wide an audience as possible is what social media is there for. So, share that post you’ve just written across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and get your message out there. Oh, and don’t forget to share blog posts more than once. Not everyone will see your post the first time and if the content is evergreen there is nothing stopping you sharing it time and time again across your social media channels. So, what are you going to do to make your content stand out and keep your website active?

Web Goddess

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Ignore Social Media

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Ignore Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. And if you run a business and don’t already have any social media presence then you are missing out on tens of thousands of prospective clients every single day. It’s just that simple.

There are 2.8 billion people on social media. 2.8. Billion. People. For a little perspective on how huge that number is, 2.8 billion is the total population of earth circa 1955. – tracx.com

Now that’s an amazing number of people accessing social media don’t you think?! You don’t even need to reach 0.0001% of them to still reach hundreds of thousands of people who may want to buy your stuff. I think that’s an amazing resource to tap into.

As if that wasn’t enough reason in itself to delve into the world of social media, then here are 10 other reasons why you really should take the leap for your business:

1. It’s FREE!

Yes, completely and utterly FREE. OK, so it will take you some time to get your content together and learn how to add it, and you can pay to boost your posts so more people get to see them, but honestly, compared to the paper-based advertising of old, social media is simply in a different league. And for new businesses and solopreneurs that’s got to be a huge selling point. In fact, using social media can actually reduce some of your other business costs such as advertising and recruiting as outlined in this post over on Business Woman Media.

2. Global Reach

For almost every business, having a global reach can really be a benefit. It’s great for connecting with potential customers, but even for a small or new business that works more locally, having the potential of connecting with like-minded individuals globally can really expand what your business does – and you never know where it may lead. I recently had a website enquiry from someone in New York who found me online! Whilst it turned out that I wasn’t the right fit for his business, it was great to think that my business is popping up on searches made over the pond.

3. Drives Traffic to your Website

It’s the whole point really. Social media helps people connect with you on a more social level before they decide whether or not to do business with you and then gives them a route to your website, thus bringing in more revenue in the long run – as long as your content is something they want more of!

4. Brand Recognition

With consistent branding across all of your digital assets, social media allows you to put your brand in front of potential customers in lots of different ways. I’m not talking about always selling because that’s just tacky, but writing blog posts and sharing graphics with your logo, strapline and colours really will leave an imprint that people will remember and start to associate with your company. It also builds brand loyalty and that’s super important if you want to keep customers coming back for more.

5. Build Relationships

Many businesses forget that social media is just that – SOCIAL – which means that a one-way stream of constant advertising seldom works. For social media to work for your business you have to build relationships. Join groups on Facebook and offer advice, join conversations on Twitter and voice your opinions, post photos on Instagram and share your world – all without selling your products and services at every single opportunity. The point here is to build a community who likes what you do, because they will then contact you to work with or pass on your details to someone else who needs your expertise.

6. Social Proof

This encompasses a whole lot more than just testimonials and feedback. Social proof is a huge decider when it comes to people buying your stuff. It’s online word-of-mouth and includes Reason #5 above as well as case studies and story telling. There’s a great article over at CXL with far more detail on this subject and I suggest you go and take a look – it’s really helped me (ah, more social proof – see what I did there?!).

7. Customer Service

Answering customer queries via social media is a great way of showing that you care. If those exchanges are public, they add to your social proof (Reason #6) and showing other potential customers that you deal with enquiries of any nature quickly and professionally.

8. Show Expertise

We’re back to social proof again here. You can show expertise in your industry by commenting on current events, news and trends and linking to blog posts that you’ve written either on your own site or on others. For example, here’s a post I wrote for the Knowledgebase over at Women in Rural Enterprise all about creating a business that is successful on your own terms. It’s linked to my mentoring and coaching business but also mentions Web Goddess.

9. Improved Search Rankings

The more time spent adding rich and interesting content to your social media efforts, the better you will find your search rankings. This is because your content brings new followers, who in turn click through to your website and thus improve your rankings.

10. It’s where your Customers are!!!

There is no longer any doubt that social media works. In 2016 80 percent of medium social media users (1-2 hours per day) made online purchases during the year with 79 percent and 78 percent of heavy and light users respectively making online purchases in the same period. This in contrast to 48 percent of non-social media users making online purchases in the same period (source). Your customers are scrolling through their social feeds looking for things to buy and if you’re not popping up in front of them then you’re missing out!

 

So with all of those reasons I hope you’ll agree that it’s a no-brainer for your business. It may seem like there is a lot of choice out there, but just take it one step at a time and remember:

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

 

P.S. If you’re new to working online or are simply struggling with your social media skills I can help. Check out my Digital Mentoring service for a little 1:1 help if you need it.

 

Extra Resources:
Check out this amazing infographic from the team over at tracx.com which gives you a fantastic idea of social media demographics at the beginning of 2017.
And here’s a great short infographic video from The Social Pro about why Social Media matters.

10 Great Xmas Marketing Ideas

10 Great Xmas Marketing Ideas

Christmas is a great time to connect with your customers and clients and is also an excuse to have a bit of fun!

So why not try one of these festive marketing tips:

#1 Surprise your VIPs

Give your top customers or clients a special Christmas surprise – whether that’s a free product or gift or simply a handwritten note to thank them for their custom over the year, your thoughtfulness and recognition of their loyalty will make them feel like they are important to your business and will keep them coming back. If you’re new in business then this list can simply be your most frequent interactors on social media or via email. Whoever they are, make sure they know you think they’re great.

#2 Run a Competition

We all love to win prizes – especially when there may be a festive treat involved! It doesn’t have to be big to spark people’s interest, but offering an entry into your Christmas prize draw if they sign up to your email newsletter or comment on a Facebook post can be a great way to get your customers interacting with you.

#3 Create an Online Prize Hunt

Another simple competition idea is to run an online treasure hunt to get people to interact with your website. You could ask people to find the plum pudding or the treats you have around the site and then email in with their answers. As long as people know what they are looking for then it can be great fun!

#4 Hold a Party

If you have a physical location then putting on a party for your clients or customers can be a great way to keep your business in their minds. This could be limited to your VIPs as another way of surprising them or you could invite everyone who signs up to your newsletter list or who has been a customer in the past year to come along. This very much depends on how many people you think will show up!

#5 Create a Survey

Surveys can be a great way to find out what you clients and customers really think of your business and if you team it up with the chance to win something then you are bound to get people to share their views with you. Think about what it is you want to know and use a free online survey creator such as Survey Monkey to collect the responses.

#6 Sing Silly Songs

One of the funniest things I’ve ever done is create a Halloween video with some colleagues over on JibJab. You simply upload your faces and paste them on the characters and you are all turned into characters on an e-card that often includes hilarious dancing. They also have Christmas ones as well so you and your colleagues can become elves, at least for a short while!

#7 Offer an Early Bird Discount

If you know that Christmas is going to be super busy for you, give an early-bird discount for sales or services in November and let your customers reap the rewards of getting their Christmas shopping done early. Not only do they grab a bargain, but you get more business and hopefully avoid at least some of the last minute shopping that happens. On that note, I actually received an email order at 9pm on Christmas Eve one year so you are not ever going to help everyone be more organised!!

#8 Sell Gift Vouchers

You may already be thinking of this for your VIPs but offering all of your clients gift vouchers is a really great way to say thank you for their loyalty over Christmas. Keep the validity short to ensure they use the voucher early in the new year and this can really be a great way to pump up your clientele in January and February. Customers tend to spend more than the value of the voucher and if they don’t use it at all it hasn’t cost you anything either so these really are a great way to celebrate at this time of year.

#9 Write a Christmas Email Series

Send out an email a day for the 12 Days of Christmas. This could each include a special offer valid for 24 hours only or offering special tips and advice over the festive season. Choose something that fits with your industry and have some fun with it.

#10 Send Custom Candy

Sweets and candy are always winners in my book, so why not create some custom candy with your business details on it, or simply a Christmas message. There are plenty of companies out there doing customised food including putting your logo onto m&ms!! Give these to customers in Christmas baubles or create your own crackers for a simple but memorable gift.

 

There are so many different ways to surprise your clients this Christmas so I urge you to make the effort and spread some festive cheer.

 

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