The simple SEO steps to get you started

co-workers using computer

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is all about helping people find your site as easily as possible. Essentially, we are trying to do what we can to work with the Google algorithm. The algorithm is the way that Google programs their search functionality and it decides whether you appear on the first page or not. There are lots of easy ways to make sure that your website is as accessible as possible for Google and, just as importantly, for your customers and visitors!

Be real, natural, and write for people, not optimisation.

Google are smart. They have evolved their search algorithm (the machine that decides what results to show in a Google search) to punish businesses who try to ‘stuff’ their websites with too many keywords. Your SEO aim can be easily summarised in one sentence; write content for your audience, the way they speak, about what you are good at and what you know. Share what you do well and explain why you do so.

Your keywords.

Take a step back and look at your business and the way you plan to attract customers to decide which keywords you want to focus on. Think about what people would be typing into Google to find you. Try to think at a deeper level about what questions people would type here. What are the problems or frustrations that you would solve for them?

The technical bits: Page titles and headings, in-links, alt-tags, XML sitemaps and URL structure.

Don’t underestimate how effective it can be to use your target keywords in all elements of your page or article. Consistency is key and, if the keywords naturally belong there, your page will rank higher in a search.  These are all elements that you can do yourself when updating your website if you’re a bit tech-savvy. If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, there are plenty of virtual assistants who do these things well!

Think about your domain name.

The best time to do this is before you buy it! It’s never too late to look at a new domain, though. The reasons you may want to do this include:

  1. If your domain is too similar to your competitors’
  2. If your domain is similar or the same as a very popular brand, movie, person or another topic that gets searched a lot
  3. If your domain makes you sound like you do something else (ie. using the word security when your business is not in that industry)
  4. If your domain is too long and hard to remember
  5. If you have changed your business name

It’s important to consider the SEO implications of changing your domain name. If you have a high level of trust and your Google results are very high, it may take a few months to get back to this position with a new domain.

Fresh content.

You should be updating your website regularly. Add new content to your newsfeed and update your product and services pages as your business evolves. Your website should give an accurate picture of the way your business changes and grows. If your focus changes, update your website. If you have a special offer on, update your website. When your staff change, update your website. If Google was looking at a history of website changes they should be able to see how your business has changed and grown. This honest reflection in your website will help your SEO a lot.

What is SEO and why does it matter for my business?

Father and son

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it’s the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s unpaid or organic search results. In other words, it means your website appears clearly in the searches returned when a customer types your business name into Google or a similar search engine.

An SEO strategy looks at how search engines work, what your clients may be searching for, what keywords or search terms they are tapping in, and which search engines they are most likely to use. Optimising your website is the best way to rank most highly in returned searches, and this can be done with the use of specific keywords, dynamic and regularly updated content, adding keywords to a web page’s metadata, and the inclusion of relevant links.

SEO is a bit of a ‘dark art’ in that the rules are always changing, algorithms are always played with and the way search engines operate also shifts. These changes ensure that search engine companies stay competitive against each other, react to new trends and technologies, and ultimately that it is harder to reign supreme in searches 100 percent of the time without paying for it.

Important things to remember:

Content is king
Search engines love content that is constantly being updated and that is “keyword rich”. Having keyword rich content is easy to implement, it can be simple things like mentioning the suburbs or areas you service on your website. These will be the things people will search for. Aim to make your content more interesting, by doing this you make it more likely to be shared, which is an important part of the next pillar of SEO: relationship building. Not all your pages will have link-worthy content, but the more unique and relevant your copy is to your users, the more inbound traffic you’ll see coming to your site.

Linking between sites
If you have other websites that link to your website this adds value to your ranking within search engines. So besides the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn where you can link back to your own site easily, you can try to arrange with other resources online. These can be business partners you may have, community networks or local business groups just as a few simple points.

These are referred to as inbound links as they are bringing users to your website. Outbound links are also important, this is when you link from your website to another website. It’s important to link to websites of high credibility, these will be obvious websites like news or industry press sites. The key thing to remember is, don’t go overboard with the links.

Getting nerdy with code
If you know the basics of HTML then you’ll be able to get your head around this, if not just get in touch with the developer that built your website.

  • Meta Tags: This is SEO 101, but optimising your Title and Description meta tags are one of the most basic things you can do to optimise your website. While meta tag optimisation alone won’t rocket you above your competitors in the search engine rankings, it’s an important step in the overall process.
  • Alt Tags: Similar to meta tags, alt tags are the alternative text attached to the images on your website. Adding alt tags gives the search engines crawlable text in the code of the web page. Without the alt tags, the search engines will see a big, block of nothing where some good, optimised text could reside. It’s an often missed opportunity.
  • Headings: Like any good publication, headings also play a big part in the usability of your site. They are the titles and subtitles on the page that help break your big blocks of content into smaller, clearly labelled chunks. Although they have less impact on content optimisation, headings (like H1 and H2 tags) should nevertheless be optimised for the search engines.
  • Body Text: We’ve already covered this earlier but can’t stress the point enough. Keyword rich content should be integrated seamlessly into the body text of every page of your site. Focus on 2 or 3 keywords per page and write for your users, not the search engines. Your text should always be written naturally and should never become bloated with keywords.

Stay clear of writing copy that doesn’t look genuine. If you know the keywords your clients are looking for are ‘hairdresser Brisbane’ don’t write something like “I am a hairdresser from Brisbane that can help with hairdressing styles in and around Brisbane and the Brisbane area.” You probably won’t rank for the word “Brisbane” writing like that, and even worse your website will likely get punished for what is known as “keyword stuffing”.

A basic understanding of SEO is essential, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all for every website. Like anything, a successful marketing strategy is multi-faceted. It includes a range of activities and mediums, but at the end of the day, your customers need to find you, and that’s where SEO comes in.

Our top brokers in Victoria for 2017

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we are incredibly proud of all the hard work our brokers put into providing fantastic customer service and support. At AFG we champion our brokers’ ability to find a loan that matches your particular needs, at a time and a place that suits you. Our Victorian brokers provide mortgage and commercial broking services in Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria, and?we can put you in touch with a broker in your area.

Each year we reward our brokers for all their efforts, and at the AFG Victoria 2017 Awards Night held in July we congratulated the following award winners and finalists:

 

Broker Group of the Year

Loan Gallery Finance Pty Ltd

Broker Group of the Year: Finalists

Broker of the Year

Alexander Sobolevsky, Link Mortgage Services

Broker of the Year: Finalists

AFG Home Loans Award

Chris Akyildiz (Orange Home Loans)

Insurance Writer Award

Nancy Gupta (Money Providers)

Equipment Finance Award

Daniel Zadnik (Hawthorn Finance)

Commercial Writer Award

Larry Zhou (Link Capital Finance)

Rising Star Award

Jasmeet Singh (Australian Loan Xperts)

Rising Star Award: Second Place

Sadish Visvalingam (Premier Financial Advisors)

Best Diversified Business Award

ARG Finance

Best Broker Group – Sole Operator

Eugene Sholomov (Minfin Australia)

Best Broker Group 1-3 Loan Writers

Link Mortgage Services

How to market your business on a shoestring

Whether you’re embarking on your first marketing adventure as a new business, or planning your next annual marketing strategy and spend, there are quite a few options available that are low on cost but can net a high response rate. Here we explore a few and look at how you can begin setting them up.

Email database

Don’t underestimate the power of email. Some days we all feel like we drown in too many emails, but they still have far higher open rates and click through rates than social media. If your emails are well thought out and engaging then you will be able to effectively reach people via this method. Explain the benefits of joining your email list to encourage people to subscribe and don’t be afraid to send out updates, at least monthly, to share informative, engaging and educational content.

Social media

It’s here to stay. Facebook added another 1 million users between December 2016 and January 2017 taking them to a total of 16 million Australian users. Instagram now has 5 million monthly active Australian users. If you are working on a B2B strategy then you have access to 3.6 million professionals in Australia via LinkedIn. Have a look at who your target market are, and where they are currently looking online. It’s much easier to put yourself in front of your target audience than try to make them come to you.

Referrers and influencers

Marketing is built around people and human nature. As humans, we naturally turn to other people for recommendations. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know directly, and anonymous reviewers have a 70% trust rate when they post online about a brand. Think about who you know, who you’ve worked with before, who loved what you do, and use those connections as much as you can. Ask them to give testimonials, reviews and share their experience.

Networking

We all belong to community groups, whether it be through schooling (our own, or our children’s), sport, neighbours, colleagues, or even family. Add to this all the online opportunities to join networks and groups. Think about what materials you can produce to encourage those people to share your business with others. You aren’t necessarily asking your family and friends to spend money with you, but to share your business with others they know. It might sound simple, but if enough people remember what you do, the potential number of word of mouth recommendations you could receive is quite high.

Ask around!

Don’t feel like you are alone in not being sure where to promote your business and what you should be spending. There are so many options when it comes to marketing and spreading yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere will prohibit you from focussing on where you can attract the most attention and conversions.

Don’t let your business finance take up any more energy than it needs to either. Enter your information to see your options online at business.afgonline.com.au.

How to ensure your social media is top notch

It’s not a fad, and it’s not a trend. It’s here to stay, and social media is part of our lives, whether we like it or not.

Social media for your business can be as complex as you choose to make it. You could pay thousands of dollars to engage another company to do it for you. You could automate all your posting and set it in advance. Or you could do all the work yourself. Regardless of how much you spend or how often you post, there are few simple guidelines that can help you make the most of your online business presence:

  1. Having an audience does not mean you have a following: Aim to have a high level of engagement with your followers. Generating a proportionally low level of post likes and engagement from a high number of page likes implies that your content is not reaching or engaging much of your audience.
  2. Use images: Ensure that your posts include eye-catching images. When Facebook users are scrolling through their feed, you have a very short amount of time to capture their interest. Images will help with this. There are plenty of free imagery creation sites online. Canva is a very popular one at the moment.
  3. Find your influencers: Are there businesses or celebrities who share your values and/or goals? Sharing content from bigger businesses or pages can help you reach new audiences and also get noticed by other businesses. The more potential referral sources, the better.
  4. Consider structuring your posts in different ways: Linking to a blog post can be done by quoting a fact, posing a question, or listing a benefit. Also, trial images of people, technology, quotes, and testimonials to see what works best for your audience.
  5. Don’t use every post as a sell: Share a mix of informative, interesting, and engaging content on your social media. Try to sell directly once out of every five posts. Be sure to include a call to action in these too.
  6. Be topical: If there is a local, industry or national event that people will be talking about then be sure to include that in the content on your page. Your business is a part of the community?— show your roots.
  7. Engage experts: If you aren’t sure where to begin, or you’re scared of launching your business online, then talk to an expert. There is a range of social media help available, with entry level help starting at approximately $500 per month. Figure out what your time is worth and spend it generating new business and bringing in money while you outsource the level of social media help that works for your business.

How to grow your business via word of mouth – getting your clients working for you

One great free way to extend the reach of your business is via word of mouth. But how does a business go about encouraging their current customers to share their experience and make a recommendation to a friend or colleague?

And why is it so important?? It’s a well-quoted statistic, most recently from Neilsen that around 90% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

We’ve put together the top tips for businesses looking to increase their word of mouth recommendations:

  1. Make it easy for them. Your website, subscription emails, vouchers, follow up communications and delivery should all be shareable on social media and via other methods too. Help your customer to help you.
  2. Be sure to think of creative ways to start a conversation. Think of something that is valuable to your client, something they want to talk about. If you’re product or service delivery is not something that people can easily talk about then they won’t want to share it – simple.
  3. Ask for the referrals. Ensure that all your customer touchpoints feature a request for a referral or recommendation in some form. Jog their memory.
  4. Provide images and wording for them to use. Whilst it’s great when your customers say nice things about your business, they don’t always know what to say or what imagery to use. Providing images on your website or emails as well as shareable wording will help to make the process even easier for your advocates.
  5. Use testimonials. When your customers send in positive testimonials, use them! Your website, emails, marketing material and social media are all great examples of how to show your customers that you value their feedback.
  6. Incentivise word of mouth and referral behaviour. Depending on the industry you operate in, you may have the ability to incentivize referrals to increase their frequency. Be sure to check the legal requirements of this type of reward before embarking on a course of action.
  7. Make it easy for potential customers to contact you. And be sure to get back to them promptly. When a potential new customer has contacted you on a friend or colleague’s recommendation, you want to make a great first impression so make sure your lead generation and funnelling processes are up to scratch.

Those are just a few of the many tips available online for businesses looking for word of mouth recommendations. Remember, a customer will only recommend you if your service has been top notch and you give them something to talk about.

Starting a new business – what should I consider?

Australians are an entrepreneurial lot and it looks like the trend is set to continue with more and more young people considering starting their own business each year.

Starting a new business is a really exciting time. The only problem is that there is a lot to remember and in all the excitement, sometimes things can be forgotten. We’ve put together a checklist for you that covers some of the key considerations to cross off when it comes to naming and promoting your business.

  1. Think about the serious legal bits first; choosing a business structure such as sole trader, partnership or company, get your ABN, register for an AUSkey, register your business name, get a tax file number, and check what licenses or permits you may need.
  2. Registration time! Register your business name, domain, and social media profiles. Check if you need to register for GST, check availability and apply for a domain name.
  3. Talk to a business accountant/bookkeeper. Understand how your business finances will work, what you can claim and what information you need to keep on record. Your accountant can help you understand what goals you should set for your income and how to know when you start making a profit. There may be financial software or a platform you will need to use.
  4. Keep a business log. Whether you choose to do so online or in a planner/notebook, it’s important to keep track of portals and services you sign up to, usernames and passwords, deadlines and goals, as well as notes on all your clients and actions.
  5. When choosing your business name, there are a few important checks you should do. Search ASIC to make sure the name is not already taken. Search for potential domain names and purchase the one (or more) you would like to use. Google the name to make sure you are not competing with a popular term already in use. Search for your potential social media usernames to make sure they are available.
  6. Be sure to have a logo professionally designed. Not only will this mean you are provided with all the file types and sizes you need, you have someone you can ask for help, should you need anything else in the future. Creating a logo in Microsoft Word is not a viable option for any business.
  7. Get your website and email arranged. If you plan to save money and try to build your own website, then give yourself quite a few months to become familiar with the platform you are using. It’s always better for appearance and functionality to have a professional designer/developer build your site. Consult your own legal expert to be sure you are not opening yourself up to any legal action by making misrepresentations or statements not allowed.
  8. Create email addresses and add them to your email program. Be sure to test these thoroughly as the last thing you want is emails going missing in your early days of being in business.
  9. Complete your social media profiles and begin populating them before officially opening your business. When potential customers find your social media profiles, it’s great for them to get a feel for your business straight away.
  10. Choose an email database and creation platform. Those who subscribe to your email list via your website and social media will be maintained on this platform. The one you choose should have an easy to use interface and automatically add in legal requirements such as unsubscribe functionality.

Once you begin trading, you may want to go back through this list to check if there is anything you would like to change.

What do I need to consider when it comes to website design?

Having a great website is imperative in terms of both connecting with your existing customers and attracting new ones to your door. When customers research home loans these days, it’s more than likely they will be researching online, and if your website looks unprofessional and hard to use, customers will assume you are too.

When it comes to your business website, here are a few pointers from us to ensure you’re on the right track in terms of great web design.

Why is good design so important?

There are easier options to build a website these days, but it’s important to find someone who can lay the right foundations with a?great design too. Why? Because a great website means you have the professional online presence that is so critical to success, and that you aren’t investing hard earned dollars in something that is going to do more harm than good.

Just think about a site you’ve visited lately and how frustrating it is if you can’t find the information you need, things take too long to load, content is out of date or poorly written, or fonts are hard to read. Consumers are so sophisticated these days when it comes to online research and their patience is low — if your site doesn’t deliver within the first few seconds they will start looking elsewhere. With more and more people looking at websites on their devices such as smartphones, having a site that is mobile friendly is critical, so keep this in mind at every turn.

So, our top web tips are:

Keep it simple

This applies to content, layout and navigation. People have short attention spans, especially when surfing the web. And according to eye tracking studies, users fixate longer on bulleted lists and text formatting (such as?bolding?and?italics).

With regard to content, make sure you:

  • Highlight keywords
  • Use bullet points
  • Be concise, cut out unnecessary ‘fluff’ words
  • Use easy-to-understand short, common words and phrases, and don’t use industry acronyms without explaining what they stand for
  • Start with the summary and then drill down to the detail
  • Avoid long paragraphs and sentences
  • Design a clear and simple navigation system
  • Proofread for grammar and spelling — check and check again

According to web usability guru Jakob Nielsen, a good navigation system should answer three questions: Where am I?? Where have I been?? Where can I go?

To achieve this:

  • Be consistent – the navigation system should be in the same place on every page and have the same format
  • Add a text-based site map.
  • Ensure your logo links to the homepage wherever it appears on your site
  • Include a site search box

Use images strategically

Photos, charts, and graphs are worth a thousand words. Using visuals effectively can enhance readability when they replace or reinforce long blocks of textual content.

Another eye-tracking study reported a 34% increase in memory retention when unnecessary images were removed in conjunction with other content revisions.

What you can do:

  • Make sure images you use aid or support textual content
  • Make sure you have the rights/consent to use any images or logos that appear on your site
  • Make sure your images aren’t enormous as they will take too long to download

Support your brand

A good brand creates or reinforces a user’s impression of the site. When your site is strongly branded, that means that visitors will think of you first when they go shopping for your product or service.

Branding on a website takes time, effort, and close attention to page design and layout.

What you can do:

  • Keep colours and typefaces consistent. Choose your colours and fonts carefully and use them consistently throughout the site.
  • Keep page layout consistent. Use a website template to enforce a uniform page structure.
  • Create a good tagline and use it on every page. A good tagline makes your site stand out from competing sites. It should be memorable and reinforce your brand in one quick phrase.
  • Make contact info easy to find. It should be on every page

Group all corporate information in one spot

Good corporate information is especially important if the site hopes to support recruiting,?investor relations, or?PR, but it can also serve to increase a new or lesser-known company’s?credibility. An “About Us” section is the best way to link users to more in-depth information.

Ensure your email address can be clicked on to instantly generate an email to you, and likewise with your phone number, ensure that when viewed on mobile devices your phone number is set as ‘click to call’.

Information, information

List FAQ on your site and provide great answers to each of them. This will help validate you as the expert in your field and also help customers feel empowered before they come and see you. It also helps with efficiencies at your end as consumers come to you well armed with the information they need and you’re both not wasting any time.

Remember who you’re talking to as well and try and add value.? If the two key market segments you specialise in are accounting and taxation, speak in a language they understand and relate to. Give them the?information they perhaps wouldn’t have access to elsewhere and offer them something that the next guy online isn’t prepared to do.

Validate why using you, and why using your product or service is the smart way to go

Never assume your clients really understand the benefits of using you or your product or service and reinforcing the benefits to them is a smart way to ensure existing clients stay with you and potential clients aren’t lured away by competitors.

Make sure your site can be seen

Ensure your site is able to be viewed easily on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and make sure your copy (text) is easily able to be printed as some consumers will still prefer reading the information in hard copy and will press print. And, less is more when it comes to good design and don’t use background images that will make legibility an issue.

Take your ‘professional hat’ off for just a minute

Always place yourself in your client’s shoes and try and look at the site as objectively as you can. If you find this hard, then ask someone without much knowledge when it comes to your industry, product or service, to sit next to you and watch them navigate through the site. Does it answer their key questions, does it fulfil their expectations or needs?? Does it make sense and does it encourage them to take the next steps and make contact?

Legalities

Ensure your site ticks all the boxes when it comes to the legalities of your industry and within Australia.? From ensuring you have privacy covered, to displaying licences and disclaimers, it’s best to seek the right advice on what you need to include on your website, particularly when making claims, advertising products and services, representing a company and collecting customers’ information.

Family friendly — how to optimise a family business

The majority of Australia’s SMEs are family businesses, but very few seek specialist advice.

As the saying goes, you can have a successful family or a successful business, but you can’t have both. So it’s a true optimist, then, who decides to run a family business. It’s estimated more than 70 percent of companies in Australia are family businesses, yet very few seek specialised advice on how they should structure and run such a potentially tricky enterprise.

Believing you can run a family operation as you would any other is a mistake, according to Family Business Australia’s WA state manager Lorraine Willis. “Ideally business is the business and family is the family, but in reality, you can’t really separate them out,” Willis said. But it was important to draw boundaries, which is where Family Business Australia (FBA) aims to help.

FBA advises businesses on structures to help navigate the unique demands and conflicts that often arise when parents, siblings and extended family work alongside each other. This could involve drawing up a family charter to lay out the core values of both the business and the family, and establish clear boundaries between both. Discussions about business matters should not take place during family social events and vice versa. Willis said some families even held retreats – much like corporate seminars – to talk through these issues.

The process not only helped businesses run more smoothly, it often helped family relations too. “Professionalising how you run your family business means conducting yourself with a professionalism between your family members as well,” Willis said. “So it does have a positive impact on the families as well?because it’s like a guidebook to steer how you conduct yourself and where the boundaries are.” As family enterprises roll into second and third generations, dealing with an extended family business network of siblings and cousins can become problematic without formal structures. “That’s why people come to us,” Willis says. “They know they can’t grow and professionalise their family business just by doing the normal business stuff when there are family members involved.”

Family Business Australia offers a range of education courses (covering topics such as succession planning and family governance), confidential forums (where family business owners share advice and problems) and a pool of accredited advisors (from accountants to counsellors). Willis was often surprised how few family businesses sought specialised advice when many disputes that impacted on companies were rooted in personal, rather than professional, disagreements. This was particularly true in second-generation enterprises when siblings took the reins from parents. And the fact family members were involved in the business often made HR issues harder, rather than easier to broach and resolve problems.

For example, most business owners would know how to manage a staff member with addiction or mental health issues, Willis said. “But if that person happens to be your wife or your son – it’s not quite so easy. It may not seem so open for discussion.” The strength of FBA, Willis said, was it brought together disparate family business owners who were often surprised to find they shared similar problems and were able to offer each other valuable advice. “It’s the people who are part of the organisation that give it its strength,” Willis said.

On more than one occasion members had reported savings thousands of dollars because of advice shared by other family business owners who had been through similar experiences. Another common pressure point for family businesses covered at FBA educational and forum events was succession or transition planning. “It’s not just: ‘One day son, this will all be yours’,” Willis laughed. “Firstly, it’s, ‘Are you interested son?’ And the son may not be, but the daughter is.”

Willis said leadership transition should be staged over several years and discussed well in advance, so all involved understood future intentions. Ideally, outgoing leaders would retain an advisory or mentoring role.

To check for Family Business Australia events, contacts and accredited advisors in your state, visit: www.fambiz.org.au

Top five conflict points for family businesses

  • Future visions goals and strategy.
  • Balancing family and business needs.
  • Lack of family communication.
  • Succession/transition-related issues.
  • Financial stress.

 

Source: KPMG Australia Family Business Survey 2015

 

Generating new business via referrals — what do I need to know?

It goes without saying that generating referrals is a great way to build your business, particularly in an industry where so much of your business comes from the word of mouth of happy clients telling their friends and family about the great products or services your provide.

The best thing about referred business is that the contact who walks through the door?or picks up the phone to call you, is already motivated and most of the selling has been done for you. They’ve?been sent by someone who was impressed enough to pass on your details, so they already have the trust and confidence in you.

So, how do you go about encouraging your happy clients to actively promote your name to their mates, family, and extended networks?

It’s pretty simple, just ask them. Let them know that this is how you build your business?and give them clever and easy tools to help them do so.

If you don’t ask, you don’t receive. Yes, we know — this is something your mother probably told you, but it still rings true. Work with your customers when a deal is on the table and you have their full attention, and touch base with them after the dust has settled give them that post-sale service they may not be expecting – take all these opportunities to remind them to refer you. If it doesn’t easily come up in conversation or you find it a hard subject to raise, simply include a referral reminder on your email signature. Something like ‘PS – My business is built on referrals from great clients – please pass on my details’ works well as a gentle reminder. Use similar wording on your letters and other communications with your clients.

Do the hard work for them.?Don’t rely on your clients fumbling for your business card that is hiding somewhere; keep in touch with your clients on a regular basis so that your email address is front and centre for them,

Credit where credit is due.?Say thank you and say it loud and often. If a client refers a new client to you, send them a thank you card or email or pick up the phone and call them just to tell them how much you appreciate their support. You can even follow up with something you know they’ll like – a magazine subscription or voucher, a bottle of red, or a great book that is related. Often it can be considered an unnecessary expense, but just think, it may cost you $300 for a local press ad that may generate a couple of calls and one appointment, but $40 on a magazine subscription or bottle of wine to a client that isn’t expecting it is a great return for that one brand new client, and will probably encourage them to refer you ten times over. A quick shout out on your social media sites is a good idea too to prompt other clients to do the same thing – “Happy to help the mate of a great long-term client today with the right [product/service]. ?Thanks to all of you for your great referrals that help me grow my business.”

Don’t forget the bigger picture.?All marketing initiatives and tactics work best when they are part of a more comprehensive strategy that entails elements such as growing your industry networks, talking to your local media and encouraging them to run a piece you pitch to them and being an active member of your local community. Often a client will refer you but it’s not until that prospect is reminded of you via something?they’ve?read about you in their local paper, or seen your latest social media post on Instagram or Facebook.