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Tip 10 - Leverage Your Brand With Paid Advertising


Doing paid marketing, such as Google Adwords or Facebook ads, are not as effective as a referral. However, there is room for both in an effective marketing strategy for your small business so let’s review why referrals are better than paid marketing and how to use paid-marketing to make your brand more e-ttractive.

Why are referrals better than paid-marketing?

Most small businesses rely on referrals for their new business. If you do a good job you will get clients recommending you to others, and these referrals are the best marketing you can ever get. They convert from an inquiry at between 50-80% and cost nothing! However, the way referrals work has massively changed over the last few years and those that haven't caught onto this change are at risk of being overtaken by their competitors.

This was highlighted to me recently when I had a call from a potential new client. Let’s call this new potential client “James”. James has been running his family physio business and been losing business to competitors steadily over the last few years. In fact, it was so bad, James was considering retiring after 25 years in the same location. When I looked “James’s business” up on Google, I saw many competitors within 1km of their location, some of which were my current clients, but I couldn't find James. It turns out James didn't have a website, social media or any digital presence! Wow. So even with a great reputation, 25 years’ experience in the same area and a shop front, James couldn't get enough new clients. James was losing business to competitors who had a stronger digital presence. 

This makes sense for some of us, as it's an extreme example having no digital at all. Most small business will have a website and at least a Facebook page. The first step for James to fix his business is build his digital presence and then stimulate his referrals. But while he is doing this and waiting for it to take effect, digital advertising can fill the gap in his marketing.

Paid marketing mistakes

After working in digital marketing for 15 years I have seen some massive waste of money from companies, big and small, in paid marketing.  One crazy very large IT company used to spend all its Google search engine marketing (SEM) budget on buying ads for their product names. Every code number and product - there were hundreds. The issue with this strategy is they were already getting the organic SEO link right under the ad. Therefore, the person searching was getting the paid link and the organic link, and if they click the paid link it costs the company money which they could have been getting for free.

Therefore, the first lesson is not to spend money on links you would get for free. Focus instead on what “term” or “type of information” your prospect would search for before they know your name or product. For instance, don’t purchase ads with your company name in the search words, as if people are searching on your company name, you would already get that organically. Test your product names to see if you get the organic link and if you do, there is no need to advertise against this search.  

The better strategy is to choose one category for your product and own that with organic SEO. That means your website and social media is optimised for this search. Write blogs, make videos, create images and useful content around this one area and you will get a presence on Google. Then use paid advertising to market your other products.

We hope you have enjoyed these 10 tips to build a more e-ttractive online brand.

Andrew Ford

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.