The Internet has completely revolutionised the way that many businesses operate. It has changed how they advertise, sell products, perform market research, find employees, provide customer support and much more.
The Internet has also helped businesses reach new markets. Businesses of any size can reach customers on the other side of the planet with a well-made website or social media campaign. This rapid expansion of markets has seen many startups become multi-million dollar success stories in a few short years.
To really get the most of the Internet, businesses have to develop a set of effective digital marketing strategies. They are online marketing techniques that your business can use to gain more customers, build brand awareness, cultivate leads, and much more.
One of the most important digital marketing strategies is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is aimed at increasing the visibility of your web properties in the search engine rankings of websites like Google.
For business owners not familiar with digital marketing or SEO, all of this lingo can be a little confusing! This article will demystify digital marketing and SEO, then explain why they should be critical components of your business plan.
How Does Digital Marketing Work?
Digital marketing refers to a group of online marketing techniques. Businesses can pick and choose from these techniques, developing a strategy that meets their requirements. The most commonly used digital marketing strategies include:
Business owners can work with a digital marketing consultant to develop a bespoke strategy that matches their business objectives.
How Does Search Engine Optimisation Work?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most common terms you will hear when discussing digital marketing. Although it sounds complex, it really isn’t. SEO involves sending signals to search engines, showing them that your pages are worth including in search engine results.
You are ‘proving’ to Google that your site is valuable for people using their search engine. Once you prove the value of your website, Google will reward you with a high ranking that produces a lot of visitors!
So, how do your ensure website is valuable? Search engines want to rank websites that are high-quality, trustworthy and have authority. In simple terms, that means:
Search engines like Google actually use extremely complex algorithms to determine a website’s quality, trustworthiness, and authority. That’s why businesses usually turn to SEO professionals to optimise their website and fulfil the ranking criteria that search engines apply. Some of the techniques that SEO professionals use include:
Why Does Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation Matter?
Here are a few of the reasons why digital marketing and search engine optimisation are absolutely crucial for your business:
We hope you enjoyed reading Marketing Strategy and SEO: How It Works and Why It Matters? If you want to discuss how to use digital marketing or social media effectively for your business, please contact us today!
You’ve got a great idea, you’ve set up your business and started reaching out to your target audience. You’ve had a number of inquiries and interest and converted a couple, but its just not getting off the ground and its making slow progress.
First of all, do you really have a great product - have you researched and refined to ensure it has a place in the market and a need, is it different from anything else out there and why? Is it priced and pitched perfectly to your audience? Most businesses fail because they either haven’t done this well enough or they fall into cashflow problems, so make sure you are continuously asking these questions about your product or service.
Next up is your audience, your target audience needs to become your best friend (even better if it is your best friend!) you need to know them inside out, its no good saying its men and women aged 20-65 and living in the UK, that’s not enough to know them. You need to research them, ask these questions and start to build a persona:
You should do some field research too if you can which you could do through your own personal or professional network if you can’t employ an agency. You can use simple Survey Monkey creation tools to build your research or run focus groups. Either way put preparation time into what you want to achieve from the research and design your study questions accordingly, and remember if you are doing it yourself its impossible to get a large data set so you will have to take the results on face value not relying too heavily on the results. For instance on a basic level, if you ask 5 people if they like the colour pink and 4 say yes its a very different result to asking a 100 and 60 say yes –would you base the whole of your next marketing campaign around pink?
Knowing your target audience gets us to the point of this blog post, their journey. This quite simply is the journey or process they go on to buy from you.
The traditional consumer journey worked like a funnel, attracting from a large pool and then building a familiarity with the potential customer allowing them to choose the brand they have most affinity with and then purchase, and repeat purchase if they are satisfied.
Image courtesy of McKinsey & Company
Things changed when retail went online and now we have seen a shift in the journey as customers are more informed, researching and reviewing from one place to the next and in one place to another, checking reviews and then prices on their laptop and then on their phone. Brands need to know where their customer is and what they will look at, and be in all of these places at once – much harder to achieve!
Image courtesy of McKinsey & Company
You need to now understand that your customer wants a 2 way conversation, that you need to learn every step of the purchase process and what barriers will stop them from converting and what they are looking for, a high percentage of abandoned carts is a lot down to the fact that people get all the way to entering their card details and then, ‘oh let’s just double-check the price on google’. If you do win the sale, your process doesn’t end there it just starts a new stage, after-care and loyalty plus brand advocacy kicks in.
Profiling the identity and personalising your messaging is all about understanding where your customer is within your process and addressing their needs and barriers at this point with exactly the right answer and messaging.
So consider the emotional and rational barriers people face making the decision to hire you or buy your products then map out when they will have these questions and how they will solve them, where they will look to seek answers. Then look internally at how you can solve these with the benefits of your product and incentivise them to continue their purchase with you. Do all this planning before you do any advertising to ensure that you are creating much more effective, targeted ads and you will see a better ROI.
If you want any help mapping your consumer journey or building effective digital marketing campaigns get in touch for a free consultation here.
If you Google ‘video content marketing’ and under the sponsored ads are the Forbes and Guardian articles declaring Video Marketing as the future of content marketing. Bold statements, but video isn’t new to anyone so why is it now getting the attention and most importantly what does that mean for you as a small business?
First here are 5 facts for you:
A video on a landing page will increase conversions by 80%
Video in an email campaign leads to 200-300% increase in click through rate
80% of users recall a video ad 30 days after watching it
You’re 53 times more likely to show up first in Google if you have a video embedded in your website
76% of businesses say video has a good return on investment
Ok so why is it so effective?
Your potential customer wants to understand what’s on offer and build trust with you, a video enables that connection to happen. It can deliver the personality behind your brand and typically users will be more likely to spend longer watching a video than just reading text on your website.
A video can help answer the both rational and emotional barriers your customer has to converting in a quick, effective, and friendly way. If they have any doubts such as how to use the product – both practically or inspirationally, the dimensions or quality or just how the process will work video is a great way to address these.
People are consuming video on a regular basis, in fact 1/3 of online activity is video so they are wanting and expecting to see your video too. YouTube report that mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year and smartphone users are now much more likely to want to watch video ad content from brands, and not only that but expect a choice on the content they view from that brand on their device.
Video is social, with 76% of users saying they would share an interesting and entertaining branded ad video with their friends. Now there is Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, Instagram’s Stories alongside YouTube and that goes to show the trend shift in itself, that these social networks are investing in the medium.
They also offer several ad video formats for brands, so bear in mind a few tips when creating your ads –The content objective could be launching a new product, addressing customer queries, building brand awareness, it could be anything really but make sure there is a specific objective and goal in order to deliver that result. Tell a unique story and make it clear, simple, and interesting and entertaining– you can even do this for the dullest of subjects! Capture them in the first 10 seconds - your video doesn’t need to be long to achieve results, the first 10 secs will deliver the best ad recall results. You don’t need to spend vast amounts on your video but do make it professional and of good quality – if you can’t do this yourself employ someone who can help you. Make sure there is clear branding and call to action so that the video delivers you the results you are after.
If you are looking to create videos for your small business sign up here to find out more about how we can help you develop an idea, produce the video, and get it out to your social networks to drive conversion for your business.
The last week has been filled with a lot of website design work and it got us thinking on the best platforms and structures for different types of small businesses and thought we would share some of our research with you.
First up, which platform do you choose?
This is such a tough choice with so many website platforms out there, as a small business the choice can be a bit overwhelming, having done a lot of research into this for different requirements the top choices in our opinion are:
This is a big daddy ecommerce site, much more expensive than its competitors but offers the longevity and size to cope with a growing business, if you are serious about your online store and possibly have played around with Shopify/Wordpress before and are now ready to increase your product range this is the one for you.
100s of creatively aesthetic off-the-shelf templates to choose from to make your store look great, although beware you may end up looking like everybody else so it is good to get a designer to create a customised bespoke template just for you. Simple to use and offers plug in solutions to cope with a lot of extras you might need, this is good to set up a small shop with, the blog is a bit basic though and Shopify need to get this up to par. Shopify also has everything included in one price so you are ready to go.
If you already have a Wordpress site and are making the jump to a store this could be a good option for you, as it takes the design theme of your existing Wordpress site. Great SEO options and a really simple platform to use, particularly if you have already used Wordpress. The pricing of WooCommerce is not as straight-forward as Shopify, in that you have to purchase the setting up separately (hosting, domain etc.)
For a comparison of all the features that come with Woocommerce compared to Shopify this is a great article to read - http://ecommerce-platforms.com/compare/shopify-vs-woocommerce-comparison
If you are just wanting a ‘portfolio’ website, i.e. you are not selling any products, there are a couple of other choices. The most obvious is;
Wordpress. This is the most widely used as the themes are open source – which means that lots of people can edit and customise to create a unique style for your website. However, its is not a ‘drag-and-drop’ website, which means if you want to add a video and your template isn’t set out to have a video you will need to edit the code to do this – so you will have to go back to your developer to request this. There are loads of plug-ins and resources available to help you customise to what you need, but if there are upgrades to the platform bear in mind this will affect your plug-ins and some may not update in line, this could lead to added expense later to revise your website. The cost of building a Wordpress site is relatively low, but remember all the add-ons – hosting, custom templates and additional plug-ins, this means it can work out more expensive than the standard Weebly plan.
www.weebly.comThis platform uses the drag-and-drop functionality which makes it the most easy to use website builder on the market right now. It is our preferred choice for simple websites for small businesses as it means you can hold the reins after its gone live and upload video, edit text, change images quite easily yourself. It has hundreds of templates to choose from but is a little less flexible than Wordpress regarding editing the style, and its very much more of a ‘closed network’ what you see is what you get. The pricing is based on different tiers, and the plan you choose will include certain functionality indicative of the monthly fee.
The Wix platform is also drag-and-drop but has around 500 templates to choose from, and some really nice designs set up for certain businesses. Their templates are pre-populated so you just switch out their content for yours, although bear in mind if you change your mind and wish to change the template you will lose your content and will have to start over!
You can drag and drop literally anywhere on the site, unlike Weebly which forces you to drag and drop in certain areas. If you choose the lowest fee plan with Wix you will see their ad in a visible place at the top of your website, to avoid this you have to upgrade the plan so it can work out a bit more expensive than Weebly.
Next consider your brand plan.
Whenever we get a potential client approach us asking for a new website, we always say, we won’t be the cheapest but you will have better results for longer if you go with us, as we always do the hard work first.
You need to put together a marketing strategy before you do your website, not after. The strategy will tell you important stuff like, what your objectives are, what your values are, who your target audience is, what your competition looks like and how you are going to meet those objectives. Having this knowledge will assist you to put a website together that delivers – making it clear who you are, what you are offering your potential customer and why that is so much better than your competition.
Then think about your brand identity, if you don’t have a logo this should be designed along with some brand guidance such as colours, fonts, image style. Again, do that before you design the website.
Then get your images together. A website is only as good as the images you put in it so consider spending some budget on professional photography to start you off. But then you can probably start to do some yourself. We interviewed, Jon Holloway at Dyslexic Photographer who runs private, tailored photography tuition for start-ups and small businesses, to get his top tips on doing your own photography in-house
4. Framing - do you need to get closer or further away? Up or down? Around to the side a bit? Your feet are an incredibly effective zoom, use them.
5. Accessories - A large bit of white card can work wonders for reflecting light.
6. Think of a photo like the copy on your website. You wouldn't write a sentence once and think that’s the final thing. You need to keep working at it until it is right. Only then will it get better.
Once you have your images, you will start to see your brand really coming together and you are now ready to start designing your website. Start with thinking about your consumer journey and how your site should be structured, it needs to be simple and easy to navigate with a few key features. Avoid too much clutter, people need to get to what they want quickly and easily.
If you have an ecommerce store, get them to feel part of your brand lifestyle through the images and language you use. Video can really help engagement, with over 80% of customers more likely to convert after they watch a video on a landing page. You want them to spend time on your site looking at your products and offer them options they may not have considered to up-sell or cross-sell products, and then the important part is that they can navigate effortlessly to basket and through the checkout process in a few simple steps.
If you have a portfolio site, consider what your target audience mindset is when they land on your site. By that I mean, if you are an electrician they will need the contact number bold and easy to get to and be able to click from their mobile to call you. They may like to see pricing clear and simple before they call too. If you are an interior designer they will want to see a large gallery of images showcasing your work and drawing them in to entice them on what you have to offer and how you can help, you may want to drive them to sign up to your newsletter to capture interested clients and target them through your email marketing.
Key features to consider:
There is lots to consider when creating a website and this is only the very start, designing a website is a very important step for you and your business and must be well-considered, it is your public face to the world and needs to represent you in the best possible way. If you want to get in touch to discuss designing your website we always love to have a chat about a new business, just give us a call.
If you want to know more about Jon’s photography workshops to achieve your goals, from lighting your products to camera and equipment advice. You can get in touch with him at email@example.com or go to dyslexicphotographer.com
Recently we have been doing a LOT of networking, attending events and organising them, to get to know how this benefits a small business and if it truly can help grow your business.
As a small independent local business ourselves we share the same understanding of running a business and what advice and support is needed. We felt that networking could be a really good avenue to become part of the local business community and let people get to know us and what the company offers.
We thought we would share some tried and tested methods to help you boss small business networking like a pro...
1. Get out of your comfort zone
It can be super daunting walking into a room of strangers and talking confidently about your business, however after you do it once you will see that everyone is in the same boat and its always way easier than you think. You leave punching the air (metaphorically speaking hopefully) and feel you are a more than capable and confident.
2. Do some prep
Look at who the networking is aimed at and the potential attendees, prepare an ‘elevator pitch’ about you and your business. Make sure you have lots of business cards and any marketing materials on you. Think about what you hope to achieve from the session and be open about that if given the opportunity.
3. No one likes a hard sell
Yes this is a great opportunity to find new potential clients, however no one wants to feel they are being sold to. When you meet someone, introduce your self and firstly enquire (and actively listen!) about their business. Find something you have in common or something you know about their industry and ask questions. Once you have built a good conversation flow, ask the question ‘is there anything I can do to help you’ or ‘what could you do with my help on?’
4. Evening networking
Drinks help. Just don’t go crazy. Stop at one.
When you meet someone and it becomes clear they don’t need your services, think about other people (or potential clients) you know who they might benefit from knowing them and put in an introduction. Giving away free advice and sharing contacts helps build trust and even if they don’t need you now, they might need you in the future or know someone else who does. If you have helped them in a small way you will be remembered favorably.
6. Moving away
Let’s be honest, you are speaking to someone and its clear the conversation is exhausted and you see a really interesting potential client getting her coat on to leave you need to move away sharpish – how do you do this and not be rude? Just say ‘Do you know xxx, could you introduce me’ or ‘it’s been great talking to you, do you mind if I just catch xxxx before she leaves’. People are not there to make lasting friends and won’t be offended so don’t feel you have to be very ‘British’ about it all!
Good luck, the more you do the better you will be.
If you are interested in attending our local business networking events in East London and West Essex drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org