blog The easy way to build your 2017 marketing budget <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="business 861327 1920" width="600" height="450"/>So, 2016 is nearly done. A year which has undoubtedly been one of the most contentious, eye-opening and, at times, downright depressing (RIP Bowie), will soon bid us farewell.</p> <p>There has been some good stuff, though. As always, there’s lots of impressive stats to draw from SEO this year, but one in particular stood out for us - the fact that <a href="" target="_blank">more than half of all searches on mobile devices lead to a purchase</a>.</p> <p>In fact, there was another from the same study that put just as wide a smile on our faces: it’s estimated that 78% of searches for local businesses on mobile resulted in a purchase.</p> <p>This again proves that the power of marketing really is in the hands of the business owner. There’s no such thing as a free meal online, but with hard work and persistence, you can make yourself heard and ensure your products and services end up in front of the eyes of a huge audience.</p> <p>So, with 2016 ducking out and a fresh, new year ahead, it’s time to tackle that marketing budget again. Here’s how to do it easily, in five simple steps:</p> <h2>Step 1: Set revenue goals</h2> <p>Before you plan anything, work out what your revenue goals are. How profitable do you expect to be next year? What’s the target sales figure you’re leaning on the sales team to produce?</p> <p>Once you know how much revenue your marketing effort needs to produce, you can start to look at return on investment (ROI) required to reach your goal. That may sound obvious, but it’s all too easy to get lost in a whirlwind of other metrics while planning a budget.</p> <h2>Step 2: Assess your target audience (again)</h2> <p>Even if you’ve been in business for a significant number of years, it’s vitally important that you continually assess your target audience. Assuming it never changes in terms of demographics and behaviour will put you at serious risk of lagging behind the competition and becoming entirely irrelevant.</p> <p>Re-visit your buyer personas and review recent orders. What’s the story behind your audience these days? How is it likely to change in 2017? How big (or small) is it now?</p> <h2>Step 3: Work out the cost per customer</h2> <p>Once you’ve reacquainted yourself with the target market, sussed out your revenue goal and therefore worked out what each customer is worth to you, it’s time to calculate the cost of acquisition.</p> <p>There’s a simple equation you can use here: just take your total marketing spend and divide it by the number of sales it’s expected to produce for each persona or type of customer. Hey presto - you have a nice set of figures that tell you how much it’ll cost to successfully market to each customer persona you target.</p> <h2>Step 4: Build the budget</h2> <p>Think this is the hard bit? Think again. Here’s what you need to do:</p> <ol><li>Multiply your revenue goal by the percentage of it you want to come from each type of customer. E.g. Customer type A: 60% (£40,000).</li> <li>Divide the resulting figures for each customer type by their revenue-per-sale. E.g. Customer type A: £40,000 / £600 revenue-per-sale = 67 customers</li> <li>Multiply the number of customers by the acquisition cost. E.g. Customer type A: 67 customers x £150 per customer = £10,050 of required ad spend</li> <li>Add up all of the ad spend for each customer type. The resulting figure is your advertising budget. Simple!</li> </ol><h2>Step 5: run it by someone else</h2> <p>This is easily the most important step of the lot. If you’ve built your marketing budget entirely on your own, it needs another pair of eyes.</p> <p>So, take a deep breath, ready yourself for critical feedback and send your marketing budget onto some trusted advisors. Act on their advice, and you’ll be sure of a budget that’s fit to take the world by storm in 2017.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Image credit</a></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:14:46 +0000 Preparing your PPC campaign for the festive season <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="advent 80125 1920" width="600" height="450"/></p> <p>Yep, it’s time to mention the ‘C’ word. And, while you may want to do anything <em>but</em> think about Christmas at this time of the year, now is the perfect time to ready your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign for the festive season.</p> <p>Leaving it too late, or - even worse - not doing anything at all, may leave you at a big disadvantage when you could be increasing click-throughs significantly.</p> <p>Don’t worry - it doesn’t take too much effort, and to prove this is the case, we’re going to list six simple things you can get started with today to ensure your PPC campaign is ready for Christmas.</p> <h2>1. Review last year’s analytics</h2> <p>Whether or not you did anything to you PPC campaign this time last year, analytics from the previous Christmas period will give you a great insight into what you need to do to make the most of the opportunity this time around.</p> <p>Look at keywords, goal conversions and audience demographics. Is there a spike in visits from a particular age group? Did one landing page in particular perform better than the rest? Use the knowledge gained to focus your attention on the right areas this Christmas.</p> <h2>2. Schedule around key dates</h2> <p>If you work in retail, there may be specific dates on the lead up to Christmas that are best suited to certain product types. For example, perhaps that overtly-festive knitted jumper is likely to fly off the shelves in early December due to the number of Christmas parties taking place at that time.</p> <p>Review news stories from last year that hint at the biggest shopping days come December and focus your PPC schedule around those peak times.</p> <h2>3. Get ready to increase your budget</h2> <p>There’s no getting away from it - you may have to spend a little more on PPC at Christmas. But that’s fine, because if you heed the first two pieces of advice in this list, you’ll be set up for more leads and, ultimately, higher sales figures.</p> <h2>4. Festive-ify your ad copy</h2> <p>It may seem a bit cheesy, but there’s no harm in adding a bit of Christmas sparkle to your PPC ad copy. Words like ‘festive’, ‘Xmas’ and even ‘ho, ho, ho!’ are all worthy of inclusion if your advert is to stand out at this time of the year.</p> <h2>5. Don’t be afraid to automate</h2> <p>To some SEO professionals, ‘automate’ is nothing but a dirty word. But that’s nonsense; automation in SEO and, most notably, within the realm of PPC, can be incredibly effective - particularly during the festive season.</p> <p>By working on your Christmas campaign now and setting up automation rules for later, you can let Google Adwords do the hard work come the time of the year you’d rather be winding down and enjoying the odd glass of port.</p> <h2>6. Try remarketing</h2> <p>If you’re yet to experiment with dynamic remarketing, now’s the time to give it a go.</p> <p>For the uninitiated, remarketing is a way of invoking adverts that follow people around the web long after they’ve visited the website from which they originated. Setting it up is relatively easy, and at Christmas, you can use the technique to create fresh, festive ads that attract the attention of potential customers, no matter where they happen to be.</p> <h2>Wrapping up</h2> <p>If you’re going to run some form of pay-per-click campaign at this time of year, now is the time to get cracking (if you’ll excuse the pun). You don’t need to employ every tip above, but just one may help you increase sales at this crucial time of year.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Image credit</a></p> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:13:26 +0100 These social media posts deserve a place in your content calendar <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="tree 200795 640" width="600" height="423"/></p> <p>Anyone who actively manages the social media accounts for a business will know just how tricky it can be to remain inspired. The best social media strategies, after all, feature regular, daily posting, and keeping those posts fresh, engaging and relevant is very challenging indeed.</p> <p>If you've hit a bit of a social media brick wall, fear not, for we've got 7 social media posts that should absolutely have pride of place in your content calendar.</p> <p><strong>1. The question</strong></p> <p>Want to gain some engagement with your social media effort? There are few better ways to incite a response on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (to name but three networks) than to ask a question. Don't be afraid to be pointed or mildly controversial (within reason), either. "What's the biggest mistake you've made this week?" is a great example of a question that will likely result in some very re-tweetable results.</p> <p><strong>2. Re-purpose blog content</strong></p> <p>If you're blogging regularly, you have a wealth of social media content right at your fingertips. Blogs live long after their initial publish date and there is absolutely no harm in reposting them when the time is right. Give it a week or two and send that great content back out there - you may well start to see engagement with the post itself rise and begin receiving the odd comment, too.</p> <p><strong>3. Comment on a trending hashtag</strong></p> <p>Find a popular hashtag that relates to your industry and put your spin on it or offer some commentary. You'll immediately place yourself in the mix of the discussion. Get involved!</p> <p><strong>4. Ask followers to contribute</strong></p> <p>User-generated content is powerful and can be leveraged considerably on social media. Invite your followers to send you photos, thoughts or opinions on your business and promise to repost the best. People love being in the spotlight and user-generated content is usually of more interest to the people that follow you than company-produced material. </p> <p><strong>5. Try video</strong></p> <p>Most social media platforms now enable you to embed video within your posts. Try it. Video remains one of the stickiest forms of content on the web and people are almost certain to press the 'play' button on yours. Just keep it short and sweet. A brief tour of your offices or snapshot interviews with staff could work wonders in terms of engagement.</p> <p><strong>6. Re-post news articles from 3rd party sources</strong></p> <p>At first glance, this may seem lazy, but by re-posting relevant news articles, you will start to position your business as an all-seeing eye within its industry. Clearly, you're up-to-speed with the latest trends and news and if you include hashtags relevant to your sector (e.g. #GardeningNews), you'll pick up new followers. You may even become their preferred source of news for the industry!</p> <p><strong>7. Fill in the blank</strong></p> <p>This is fun and almost certain to increase feedback from your followers. Post a statement and leave part of it blank, asking your audience to fill in the blank. For example: "The worst mistake I made in digital marketing was ________" or, for kicks: "If I was allowed to be head of state for the day, the first thing I would do is ______". Due to the nature of social media, not every response will be repeatable, but you should end up with some fantastic user-generated content you can re-post.</p> <p>We hope the above content ideas prove useful. Experiment and don't be afraid to recycle old ideas; social media moves fast and if people don't spot something the first time you post it, they may later down the line.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Image credit</a></p> Sat, 24 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0100 10 Link Building Techniques To Boost Your Authority <h3>1. Piggyback</h3> <p>Research your competitors - see who's linking to them &amp; 'piggyback' off their success. Use a tool like Ahrefs to do this, creating a CSV to keep track of where you've been and who you've contacted.</p> <h3>2. Profile links</h3> <p>Sometimes when you sign up to a forum or website, you are asked to make a profile to easily identify you when you post comments or make purchases. Often there is an opportunity here to add your web address in the information. On some occasions (probably a lot!) the links will be nofollow, meaning they won't pass any link 'juice' across, but worth exploring.</p> <h3>3. Encourage people to link to your content</h3> <p>Create link snippets using plugins or extensions to your CMS or store that allow readers to quickly grab the url to your site with the anchor text that you've already pre-populated ;) Then, share the hell out of the pages that you feel have most value.</p> <h3>4. Link to other sites</h3> <p>No, really. Don't be stingy with the links. Other companies will notice your links to them within their analytics and you'll build a digital relationship with them meaning they're more likely to share the good stuff you produce if they see that you're shouting about their products and services too.</p> <h3>5. Analyse and Edit your internal links</h3> <p>Go through your own website and analyse each page. See where there are opportunities to create links to your other pages within blocks of text. There may be one or two words you could highlight that relate to something else you offer elsewhere on the site. These links only strengthen the index of your website. Be sure to vary the words and links throughout to keep it feeling natural.</p> <h3>6. Bitesize your content</h3> <p>If you've created a 'monster guide to XYZ' and know it has value, why not cut out chunks that are still relevant on their own, create an infographic or image with it and market each section to various niche/segments of your market. Obviously you can then include a link to the full 'monster guide'.</p> <h3>7. Create an RSS feed</h3> <p>Simple but effective. These RSS feeds are a great way for blog owners to keep their site fresh using plugins, so having your own RSS feed is a surefire way of featuring multiple links on other sites.</p> <h3>8. Blog</h3> <p>Blog about industry news, products, current issues that affect more than just your business. Make sure you link out to the sources that are likely to notice and let them know you've included them! There are tonnes of strategies for creating good blog posts, this is just one way of getting noticed by the websites most likely to reciprocate.</p> <h3>9. Build digital relationships</h3> <p>There are many benefits to connecting with other businesses through social media and even the odd phonecall! Help each other out by retweeting each other, commenting on their posts, asking questions and helping them solve their problems. Take it one step further - go to conferences, business breakfasts, Google hangouts or visit them in person. These are by far the best relationships you can have and show that you're more than just out to get links.</p> <h3>10. Ask for a link</h3> <p>While this can be a pretty boring and dreary, old hat way of gaining a link to your site, sometimes it can pay dividends. Maybe you've already got a relationship with someone else who has a business website, or you know someone who blogs? Asking for a link or better still, a featured article. If their site has a good Domain Authority and you send them a link with the correct anchor text, it can dramatically boost your site's authority, all just for asking!</p> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:49:23 +0100 Picking up the pieces when SEO goes wrong <p>Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes you get over-aggressive with your SEO tactics and end up making mistakes. You may even have paid an SEO outsource to do some work for you that has damaged your rankings.</p> <p>So, what do you do to recover?</p> <h2><br/>First, find out what the problem is.</h2> <p>Take a look at Google Analytics and see when the dropoff occured. Check google console (formerly webmaster tools) to see if there are any notifications you need to take notice of. These are usually a good indicator as to where you may have gone wrong.</p> <p> </p> <h2>Types of SEO issue</h2> <p> </p> <h3>Manual penalties</h3> <p>You'll usually receive a good description of what the issue is, typically it could be any of these:</p> <ul><li>Site-wide link penalties (content has little or no value)</li> <li>Partial link penalties</li> <li>Thin content penalties</li> </ul><p>Your next steps would be to:</p> <ul><li>Determine the cause.</li> <li>Remedy the problems.</li> <li>Submit a Reconsideration Request to remove the penalty.</li> </ul><p> </p> <h3>Link Penalties</h3> <p>If you've received a manual link penalty or have been hit by one of Googles many algorithms (the Penguin update seemed to hit links substantially), then you'll need to start disavowing some of the inbound links that are hurting your search engine rank position (SERP). Google likes natural, editoral links and when it discovers links that seem paid-for or unnatural in their placement (like in comments strewn across the net), it will hurt your site! Every link back to your site is a vouch for it's importance, and those add up.</p> <p><strong>How to remedy link penalties:</strong> Gain some high quality backlinks to counterbalance your negative ones. You should generally be asking your clients, customers, partners, associates, contractors for a link whenever you can to further boost your sites authority. It doesn't take long and the value you get from clients linking back to you is immense.</p> <p> </p> <h3>Poor Content</h3> <p>Google doesn't like:</p> <ul><li>Thin Content - eg. loads of pages with a single line on each one.</li> <li>Curated Content - snippets of other people's work, all brought together to make a single article.</li> <li>Syndicated Content - too much syndicated content can damage your page authority. limit what feeds you have from other sources.</li> <li>Scraped Content - Ugh. Just don't do it! Scraping content is a technique that just doesn't hold any value. Automated bots, plugins or apps that pick content up off other sites will harm your</li> <li>Doorway Pages - do it properly. create proper LANDING pages for your business that focus on specific areas of expertise, niches or demographics.</li> <li>User Generated, Unmoderated Content - having guest posts on your blog is great, but make sure they're moderated. Often they'll be dotted with links, poorly written advertisements.</li> </ul><p><strong>How to remedy poor content: </strong>Ditch those catalogue descriptions and write unique content for your products if on e-commerce, don't just change one or two words. Get user reviews, create content worthy of a google rank. Add images, video, assembly instructions, dimensions, potential uses for your product or service.</p> <p> </p> <h3>Cloaking</h3> <p>Serving different content to the user than you serve to google. REMEDY: Check your source code to ensure you're not using 'hidden' divs for anything other than mobile friendliness.</p> <h3>Hidden Text</h3> <p>Filling your page with keywords to try and rank for them all won't wash with the search spiders. Keep your content relevant at all times.</p> <h3>User Generated Spam</h3> <p>If you're accepting UGC on your site, you may find a message in your console warning you of bad content. Make sure you screen any submissions to avoid your site looking like a spam haven.</p> <h3>Unnatural Links</h3> <p>Buying links is bad. Why? Becase a link to your site is a vote, a vouch, a virtual thumbs up to the search engines to say that it's worthy of a good position. The more links back to you the better, unless they're spammy. Use the disavow tool in google to remove any unnatural links, whether you bought them or your dodgy SEO guy did. Try and get editoral content pieces written about your services by other website owners. They will serve you much better.</p> <h3>Hacked Site</h3> <p>Google is pretty clever in tracking bits of code that are only there to service their creator. There are many ways your site can be compromised, so keep your CMS up to date and use security extensions and plugins to further boost your site's security.</p> <h3>Dodgy Free Hosts</h3> <p>Many free hosting sites will give you a great deal in return for advertising on your site. While the concept seems fair, it can be detrimental to your site's authority if Google deems it too spammy! Opt for a host where you get full control over your content. 123-reg or uk2 offer some good shared starter packages.</p> <p> </p> <p>Spend some time going through console to ensure you're following best practise for SEO. Create high quality content. Ensure every page is unique to you and your product/service and get rid of those spammy backlinks! Good luck!</p> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 16:23:23 +0100 Is SEO important any more? <p>Recently we took on a new client who needed to transform their website. Their current website was old, badly coded and kind of cobbled together, the strange thing was - it ranked.</p> <h2>How Does It Still Rank and Why Should We Care?</h2> <p>Their site was designed and coded by one of their staff with a little technical knowledge, and was a mixture of HTML, inline CSS and a few old jQuery bits too. My own analysis of their current site revealed a hodgepodge of layout issues, SEO no-nos and a UI guy's worst nightmare:</p> <ul><li>images with text headings in,</li> <li>menu and search scripts that overlapped other items</li> <li>non-responsive pages</li> <li>duplicate pages</li> <li>no clear structure </li> <li>no calls to action</li> <li>no soft capture</li> <li>no H1s</li> <li>duplicate H2s</li> <li>inline styling</li> <li>tables for layout</li> </ul><p>More so, what was behind the content was the code. Inspection of the source code revealed a blackhat technique of keyword stuffing. Adding every given phrase to your keywords list in order to try and rank for them all is a technique that we assume no longer works. It was part of a range of 'black hat' techniques that SEO guys used to use in order to manipulate the search results for their clients to appear higher. This is rather following today's best practice of just adding a handful of relevant phrases to your business or service. This was before the dreaded <a href="" target="_blank">Google updates</a> of the early 10's that meant their alogorithms would penalise any sites using these questionable methods. Blackhat SEO is an entire topic on it's own, so I won't detract too much. Here's a great resource if you want to find out more: <a href="" target="_blank">Black Hat SEO</a></p> <p> </p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="stuff" width="600" height="242"/></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h3>Here's how long their keyword list was:</h3> <p>Their site was designed and built by one of the staff a few years back, who had some technical knowledge and in all fairness to them, their site ranked really well. Now, maybe it wasn't keyword stuffing if they were all relevant? Maybe it was done before google outlawed these so-called blackhat techniques but favoured them because of the relevance that all the keywords actually had?</p> <p>Either way, with revenue of over £500k per year it'c clear that it didn't matter. </p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="wordcount" width="545" height="66"/> </p> <p> </p> <h3><span style="font-size: 10px;"> </span></h3> <h3>It must be their urls then, surely?</h3> <p>It's been well documented that URLs featuring the key phrases you wish to rank for, help your page to get that top spot in the listings. Coupled with the right combination of page title, H1, H2 and meta tags with a fair amount of copy and you're in with a good chance.</p> <p>Nope. Wasn't that either.</p> <p>Their URLs were all fairly disappointing, (and hard to remember when trying to write a redirect list too!).</p> <p>Most were of the format 'page' + 'number'.html</p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="pageurl" width="370" height="38"/></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h3>Yeah, but i bet they're on social media every day!</h3> <p>Not really. They do post regularly, and it's all relevant, interesting content that relates to their products, shows they're attending, ideas they're working on. It's not overly popular though and their stats don't show a big social referral rate.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="social3" width="912" height="38"/></p> <p>So, that can't be the reason then can it?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h3>How did it rank? What was it's authority?</h3> <p>It didn't look too bad on Moz:</p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="moz2" width="886" height="25"/></p> <p>Ok, domain authority isn't massive, but it's got a few high DA links back to it from reputable sources which helps establish it as a legitimate business and not a hooky web scam. Further investigation (via good old Google) reveals over 2,260 results for their domain name, meaning they've spent time building relationships with other businesses and have gained high quality backlinks for their efforts. This particular client manufactures and sells equipment for a specific industry and it was pleasing to see so many results for their business from companies who had recommended their products as part of their white papers, included links in training manuals and featured on many governmental websites. Bingo! High quality backlinks! From this we can assume that theire homepage has some of it's authority from these links back. But what about their subpages? Many of these were badly designed, badly coded and didn't follow web standards. How are these ranking so well? In 'the olden days' it was quite easy to rank your subpages just by buying links to your homepage, and including a link on this to all of your subpages. This would pass authority across the links and your child pages which would end up ranking just as high. Google was meant to change this, and it did to some extent. Various algorithm updates have taken place over the years to prevent webmasters (!) from just buying a load of cheap backlinks. The reality is, this method still seems to work for this client. How? We're not sure! We wouldn't recommend it as a strategy for any new business, but it could be related to the domain age (14 years+) giving some sort of kudos to websites that have stood the test of time.</p> <p><br/><br/></p> <h3>What else helps your page rank?</h3> <p>Cooler Insights states the 'trinity of digital marketing' as thus:</p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="1468340945 coolerinsights" width="600" height="416"/></p> <p> </p> <p>Creating good content, getting on top of your <a href="[sitetree_link,id=112]">SEO</a> and remaining active on <a href="[sitetree_link,id=11]">social media</a> are still the best methods at building your domain authority. Content is king. Sharing it and marketing it will dramatically transform your site from a brochure into a resource. Brian Dean of suggests some interesting methods for creating high quality backlinks, along with his 'skyscraper' <a href="" target="_blank">method of writing content. </a></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 13:57:09 +0100 How will Brexit effect Digital Marketing? <p>Well what a week we have had!</p> <p>That has to be the understatement of the century.</p> <p>Whether you were for Remain or Brexit you will surely be in agreement that this has been one of the most dramatic weeks in British Politics for a very long time and possibily ever.  What ever happens next the face of British Politics and the landscape of the United Kingdom will never be the same again.</p> <p>So what does this all mean for you if you are running a business on-line and looking at improving your visibility, traffic and interaction through Google and in particular if you are or hope to be reliant on the European Market place on line now or in the future?  Since we currently work within the Eurpean Market place serving customers in UK, Ireland, Germany, Greece and Sweden we have a vested interest in understanding what all this means.</p> <p>I have read many articles over the past few months, weeks and days.  There are lots of different opinions out there, lots of scaremongering (both sides of the fence) and to be brutally honest, lots of nonsense being written and said.</p> <p>The actual truth is at this stage no one knows for certain.  However, it is possible to make some sensible and logical assumptions as to what is most likely to happen over the coming months and the impact if any this is going to have on the Digital landscape.</p> <p>Over the coming weeks I shall be adding to this article to provide our view as to what impact the recent referendum is likely to have on the Digital world.  I shall also be providing a Common Sense guide as to your priorties over the next 12 months, call it your own tick list of what you should ensure you have done (if you have not already).</p> <p>Please feel free to contact anyone of us at NeSEO if you would like to enquire about a one 2 one teach in with one of our Digital Consultants.</p> <p><a href=""><em><strong>HELLO@NESEO.CO.UK</strong></em></a></p> <p> </p> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:45:43 +0100 40 Ways to sell boring products using social media <p>If your business is selling, and you know your product or service is a yawn-inducer, you probably don't see the point in setting up social media profiles.</p> <h3>I mean, who's going to like a page about <strong>board rubbers</strong>? Well, that depends on how creative you can be!</h3> <p>While this list isn't going to guarantee your business fame and fortune, there's an old saying i'm sure along the lines of 'doing something is better than doing nothing' - maybe it was my dad that said it, but hey - who cares? He's right!</p> <p>Scouring the internet for ideas on creating a new strategy for one of our clients (no, i'm not saying who!) and I came across various lists, strategies and best practices, but when you've worked in digital marketing for a while (or even a short time like me), there are a number of recurring concepts that we just shouldn't ignore. Here's 40 of them to inspire you and get you thinking 'outside the box' a little when it comes to promoting your product or service in a new way. One of the most common new strategies when it comes to marketing businesses, is finding a niche that doesn't directly sell your product, but supports it in a way that's relevant, fun and more interesting than a boring sales pitch.</p> <p>Let's say our fake company sells the most amazing board rubbers, but the monthly searches for board rubbers is, frankly not worth the effort. 20 searches per month.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="Screen Shot 2016 04 07 at 11.57.13" width="100%"/></p> <p>So, with our fake company selling board rubbers, there are a tonne of avenues you could explore - do a mind map and come up with some ideas:</p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="Screen Shot 2016 04 07 at 11.50.31" width="562" height="177"/></p> <p> </p> <p>See which of your ideas is most popular - use google keyword tool just to see if the topic has much traffic. While we're not aiming to be #1 for such a loose term, we can further target our niche once we know there's a potential marketplace that our product can fit into.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="Screen Shot 2016 04 07 at 11.53.39" width="100%"/></p> <p> So, Maths has a fairly huge chunk of traffic, <strong>74k monthly searches.</strong> So, how can we tap into that, and start selling our product around something that IS popular?</p> <h2>40 Ways to sell boring products using social media &amp; content marketing</h2> <p>1 <strong>Ask questions</strong> about your product and answer them! - people love facts<br/>2 Respond to questions and <strong>comments</strong> in good time on your social pages and profiles - it's good customer service<br/>3 Show your <strong>personality</strong> - don't feel you've got to post business stuff all the time. - people like people<br/>4 Add <strong>unpredictability</strong> to your posts - don't fall into the trap of using the same format<br/>5 Update your <strong>facebook cover photo</strong> at least once a month - use it as an ad or have fun with it<br/>6 Publicly announce a '<strong>fan of the week</strong>' and use it as a chance to make someone's day - it's all about customer delight<br/>7 Decide which social media platform gets you the best results, and then master just that one - <strong>quality over quantity</strong><br/>8 <strong>Run a competition</strong>, offer a prize, create a buzz. - people love freebies<br/>9 Create <strong>events</strong> and use them to shout about what you're doing well, involve the staff and your customers.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="teach" width="100%"/></p> <p>10 Have a look through <strong>Quora</strong> and find out what your potential customers really want - help them.<br/>11 <strong>Create a podcast</strong>. If your product is boring, don't be afraid to ridicule it, have fun with it, think of an angle.<br/>12 Avoid posting promos and ads all the time - <strong>use the 5/3/2 method</strong>. 5 shares of other peoples links, 3 of your own, 2 personal statements<br/>13 Avoid asking for likes - no-one buys into self pity.<br/>14 Actively <strong>engage your customers</strong>, fans, followers and ask them for reviews or photos of them using your board rubber!<br/>15 Create some <strong>posters</strong> or correx cutouts encouraging check-ins when people visit your premises - there's still a place for traditional marketing too!<br/>16 Write a list of what you're going to do on social every month - planning is the key!<br/>17 Host a webinar or <strong>Q&amp;A</strong> session<br/>18 Take a look at <strong>Pinterest</strong> and see what photos you could create that would be funny/interesting<br/>19 Avoid being super-negative. It's ok to have a laugh about being boring, but you should always put a <strong>positive spin</strong> on it</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="boringboardrubbers" width="100%"/></p> <p>20 Post about things happening around you, as they happen<br/>21 Post on <strong>twitter</strong> daily, even if it's just once<br/>22 Talk about things happening in <strong>your community</strong> or niche<br/>23 Create <strong>videos</strong> or even 15s clips of you, your product, your staff, funny stuff, interesting stuff<br/>24 Show your business is real and has real customers - <strong>post pictures</strong> of them!<br/>25 Set up a <strong>referral program</strong> and encourage people to sell for you<br/>26 Use "<strong>Promoted Posts</strong>" to re-engage with lost fans<br/>27 Post on facebook between 1 and 3pm monday to friday for b2b and 1-5 saturday sunday for b2c<br/>28 Shout about the great reviews and <strong>testimonials</strong> you've had<br/>29 Encourage your team members to get involved and have them post things too</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="testimonial" width="100%"/></p> <p>30 Engage with experts in the same field as you, respond to their posts, <strong>make 'friends'</strong><br/>31 Creat a <strong>Facebook Group</strong> around your niche product - make your customers feel priveleged<br/>32 Start a <strong>blog</strong>, post weekly and shout about it<br/>33 Add share buttons and <strong>CTAs</strong> to your blog posts, make sure it's easy to share<br/>34 Talk to those same experts in the same field again, ask them to comment on your blog posts<br/>35 Interact with <strong>other businesses</strong> who have fan pages too, comment, ask, engage. Don't spam.<br/>36 Use <strong>Facebook pixel</strong> to remarket people who may have visited before<br/>37 When sharing other people's content, <strong>add a comment</strong> and make sure you add opinion.<br/>38 Write "<strong>How to" posts</strong> related to your product - even if it's as simple as how to get it out of the box!<br/>39 Create <strong>infographics</strong> about the industries that might use your product - inform and intrique<br/>40 Start using <strong>slideshare</strong> and turn your presentations into a marketing tool</p> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 16:01:39 +0000 6 Steps towards a successful social media strategy <h2>1. Choose a channel</h2> <p><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="" alt="graph icon" width="120" height="120"/></p> <p>It may seem necessary being on every social media channel going, but it can also create a lot more work for your SEO guy. The trouble is, you can quite easily schedule posts to go out across facebook, twitter, linkedin using the same snippet with a picture and a link, but they display differently on each platform. A large rectangular image that fits perfectly on your facebook profile could end up cropped in twitter and unreadable. A common problem with LinkedIn is that it doesn't seem to conform to the standard image size that tends to just 'work' on all platforms, so it'll look messy if not done right. The second, more important point here is that different types of people choose different social media channels.</p> <div>The younger generation are geared more towards Instagram and Snapchat, whereas casual socialers would have a quick skim of twitter or facebook on their lunchbreak. Going back to our image problem, the inherent issue with creating a single bit of content and posting it to all your accounts, is that it will undoubtedly display differently on each news feed. So, watch your channels over a few months (and not just at the start and end!) and decide which one gets you more interactions, likes, shares, conversations and choose that one. Better still, ask every customer which social channel they use! Then the guesswork is taken away. A simple poll on your checkout page or an extra sentence at the end of every phone enquiry is all it takes to start collecting the data.</div> <div>Once you've chosen a social channel that works for you, that really connects with your buyer personas, make it your primary focus. Create content specifically for it, content that displays well, is posted at peak times and offers open-ended questions or has a call to action on. Don't giv</div> <div>e up on your other channels, you can still use these too, but focus all your energy on making the most likely lead-generator work. You can build your other channels once you've mastered one.</div> <h2>2. Hire a professional</h2> <h2><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="" alt="professional" width="120" height="120"/></h2> <div>The fabled work experience boy (or girl) is great for making cups of tea on demand and photocopying reports, but not great for being the face of your company. Businesses often overlook the importance of an 'SEO guy' thinking it's just someone who 'updates the twitter and fa</div> <div>cebook'. Yes, we do that, but we do so much more. We make coffee too. Seriously, here's the steps i've taken so far, as I write this article:</div> <div> <ul><li>used <a href="" target="_blank"></a> to research what articles have gained traction on this topic before</li> <li>found a suitable article to influence and support my post</li> <li>searched <a href="" target="_blank"></a> for a relevant photo (sometimes this can take forever!)</li> </ul></div> <div>and i'm yet to:</div> <div> <ul><li>format the content</li> <li>create images to split each section into manageble chunks, so there's not mountains of text clumped together</li> <li>create social media images in different sizes for each channel we use (twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+.. )</li> <li>view the sharers of the original content and message them with links to our new, updated post</li> <li>schedule social media posts for today, tomorrow, next week and next month with UNIQUE posts with the same link</li> </ul></div> <h2>3.Interact</h2> <p style="text-align: left;"><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="interact" width="120" height="120"/>Create conversations with the people you've contacted. Ask your followers questions, get involved in their lifes, help them solve problems, offer them solutions, avoid the hard sell. Think about how you feel when you know someone is trying to sell you something. It feels cold and intrusive. That cold-call you get at work distracting you from your job just annoys you, makes you angry and disrupts your flow. Don't be that guy! Imagine if someone rang you up, said 'i've noticed you're having trouble with _____ and wondered if I could send you ____ for free?'. Ok, you'd be a bit dubious at first, but c'mon -it's free! And when it arrives, the shock and surprise continues.. 'hey george, this guy sent us x for free have you seen this? Suddenly that guy starts to become a little more important in your business life and the next time you speak you'll make a point of giving him your time. You might even change the tone you use when he calls back. It could be you doing this. So, you're giving stuff away for free. So what? What's it costing you? What are you gaining from it? I'm going off a bit here, but interaction is the key and solving problems is the easiest way of doing that. Make someones day.</p> <h2>4.Involve the team</h2> <h2><img class="left" style="float: left;" title="" src="" alt="teamwork" width="120" height="120"/></h2> <div>If you could multiply your successes by 10 you would right? So work out a formula that's super easy to follow and get the whole team posting. If you have 10 team members all shouting about the article you just wrote or the video you just uploaded, it's acheiveable. Make it part of their routine. Hide alarm clocks in and around their desk with a "please share something on social x" post-it note on. They'll see the funny side.. eventually. Failing that you might lose a few friends at work.</div> <p> </p> <h2>5.Connect</h2> <div><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="connect with peopl" width="120" height="120"/>Who are your competitors? Find them, interact, start a conversation. Find out what they do differently. It will help you develop a niche area. Even if your business does something boring as hell, there will be 1 element that you do much better than anyone else. Do more of that. Who are your customers? Find them, follow them, ask them stuff. "What did you like about your last purchase?", "what could we do better?". Of course if you've got any incentives here such as 10% off deals or freebies, they'll help get those important interactions and they'll be one step closer to being a brand ambassador.</div> <h2>6.Delight Customers<span style="font-size: 10px;"> </span></h2> <p style="text-align: left;"><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="delight customers" width="120" height="120"/>If you've done all of the above, this should be easy. Hubspot often talks about 'customer delight' which is part of their inbound marketing strategy. It's about going above and beyond on social and content level. Being the customer service rep you may not have, being the first point of contact for when things go wrong, and improving the way you react to social media. This is one of the reasons the tea-boy shouldn't be the 'facebook updater person'. They know nothing about your business, your customers or what you have at your disposal to make sure customers stay satisfied. You do. Your team should too. Your SEO guy should be an integral part of the team who knows everything about your business so he/she can respond to people online like you would on a phonecall or customer visit. Automate your email process, make sure they've a reason to come back and make another purchase. There are a tonne of metrics out there that tell you at what point in your sales funnel offers and tasty treats should go out, but that's another article right there..</p> <div>Hopefully you've got a clearer idea of how to run your social media from this. Don't just hope it brings you results. Monitor your stats daily and keep on top of things. Better still, <a href="[sitetree_link,id=3]">hire us</a> and we'll do it for you. Cheeky plug there.</div> Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:18:55 +0000 6 Ways to boost your lead generation <p>Inbound marketing is one of the things we do best. It's a complex strategy of delivering great content, highly targeted landing pages, a great user experience and the social media presence to go with it.</p> <p>It's all about attracting strangers, converting visitors and delivering a customer delight! But where does it start? How can it be improved? What lets your site down? Let's take a look!</p> <p>Here we've put together 6 ways you can improve your lead generation with some simple tweaks to your user experience.</p> <h2>1. Move Your Calls-to-Action (CTA)</h2> <p>Install a heatmap and see which areas are the 'hottest' on your site. A great tool we found when needing to do a little research was <a href="" target="_blank">Lucky Orange</a>. They give you a 7 day trial of their software which 'records' the mouse movements of every visitor to your site, show you how and where they scroll and lets you 'view' what they were doing as if you were right next to them. This is great for improving UX and not too expensive if you want to continually monitor the user journey and keep tweaking. Of course, there is also google tag manager which can do the same sort of thing, the different being that you'll have to spend ages setting them up. This was by far the easiest way we've seen it done and with measureable results. General rule of thumb says that CTAs should be 'above the fold' and the first and last items of your sidebar, but hey - that might be different for your site. Stick them just before your users click-off. Watch your lucky orange videos and jot down the exit points to create an overview of which areas bore your viewers.</p> <h2>2. Add CTAs to Each Blog Post</h2> <p>What a great idea! Not much to say here on this. One of the things to remember is that the blog is often the most updated part of your site, so it's naturally going to gain a lot of hits much quicker than the rest of your site if you're providing fresh new content every day, week or month. With that in mind, you should be utilising your blog posts to your full advantage. Add share buttons too! Make it super-easy for people to help you.</p> <h2>3. Improve the Positioning of the Form</h2> <p>Forms. Tthe sad truth is that only 2% of website visitors even bother to fill them out. So when we add them to our sites, let's make them sexy. Bring them to the top or that trigger point where people click-off and try and capture theit details before they leave. Having a form right at the bottom of your page means they'll have to scroll all the way down to see it. Having a form in a lightbox or popup could work, but as a frequent web user myself, I tend to close them instantly without even reading what they're for. I know the marketing tricks, I know you want to capture my data, but i'm really not interested in getting your newsletter. I'm here for research and i'll probably never return. It's different for other industries though. Someone looking for fence panels and discovering a garden website with great deals may very well want to stay updated with your offers of patio slabs or furniture, because hey - they've spotted some great offers already on your site. Timing of these popups is also essential too if you ask me. One thing that annoys me and makes me click-off is the instant pop-up. Give me time to decide whether I like you first! </p> <h2>4. Add Images to Demonstrate your offer</h2> <p>If you're selling holidays, show images of people on holiday having a great time with clear seas, cocktail in hand and a big wad of cash that they've saved right next to them. Or maybe something more subtle? Images will help you sell the dream every time. If you're selling ladders you could show a photo of your ladder.. or you could show the ladder being used in the kitchen as someone climbs up it to put a saucepan away in a high cupboard. Take some time to think a little about the mindset of the person visiting the page and what the benefits of your offer are.</p> <h2>5. Emphasise the Benefits of the Offer</h2> <p>Oh, look at that.. it lead us straight into the benefits of the offer. One of the things i've learnt about sales and marketing is that you should never just try and sell the product on it's features, but sell the benefits of the product. What will this product do for me? Let's look at some examples features vs benefits and from this you can tweak your text a bit.</p> <table border="0"><tbody><tr><td><strong>Product</strong></td> <td><strong>Features</strong></td> <td><strong>Benefits</strong></td> </tr><tr><td><strong>E-cigarettes*</strong></td> <td> <p>Nicotine inhalation device,<br/>£20 <br/>No Smell</p> </td> <td> <p>Healthier than traditional cigarettes*<br/>Cheaper than smoking,<br/>People will like you again for not smelling like a bonfire</p> </td> </tr><tr><td><strong>Bluetooth Headphones</strong></td> <td>Wireless Connectivity,<br/>Adjustable Volume Control,<br/>Red in colour</td> <td>Enables you to walk around the office or home without tripping over wires,<br/>Protects your hearing,<br/>People will think you're sick. (apparently that means 'cool' these days)</td> </tr><tr><td><strong>A flat cap</strong></td> <td>Hand stitched,<br/>One size fits all,<br/>Black in colour</td> <td> <p>Longer lasting than machine produced (because it's hand stitched),<br/>Your whole family can share the same hat,<br/>Goes with anything. Or doesn't go with anything. Either way it works.</p> </td> </tr></tbody></table><p>I'm not advocating the use of these, even though I use one myself. Make your own mind up.</p> <h2>6. Optimise your Thank You Page</h2> <p>Let's assume people have visited your site, a particular landing page in fact and they've signed up for your newsletter. Great! Now what? Show them a 'thank you for giving us all your details' page and that's it? </p> <p>WHOOOOAAAH there horsey. Why not optimise this page with some offers, CTAs and products? If you sold to them straight after contacting you or signing up, BOOM your boss would instantly love you and probably put your wages up by 20%. Or at very least you'll have got them to the end of your funnel with zero effort. Let's be honest, lead-generation sites are just lazy e-commerce sites. They're still there to sell stuff, just in a more relaxed way. So, if everyone knows that, why not buck the trend and hit them with an offer they can't refuse after they've shown an interest? This isn't just about shoehorning a cliche gangster quote into my article, it's about surprising, delighting and making people love you. If you've every used Vistaprint you'll remember the excitement you experienced the first time you saw their 'time limited offer' at the end of the checkout process. OMG HALF PRICE CARD HOLDER THAT I'LL NEVER USE!! I NEED IT!! So you buy it. Great marketing trick, just at a different point in the sales funnel.</p> <p>Thanks for reading, now sort your site out and get some more leads!</p> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 12:13:39 +0000 The things we still hate on the internet <h2>Clickbait</h2> <p>Why are advertisers still creating this drivel? Because curiosity is our worst enemy online. I've become immune to clickbait. I know that not a single story you're going to try and sensationalise will entertain or inform me, and your miracle cure or get-rich-quick idea will be no different to the millions we've seen elsewhere! Look out for words like 'loophole' and 'diet pills' as your nonsense indicators.</p> <p>Here's the top 3 phrases we're sick of seeing:</p> <ul><li>"Doctors don't want you to know about (insert miracle cure)"</li> <li>"Find out what mums in (insert your region) are doing to make £785 a week"</li> <li>"Knock off 10 years with this one simple trick"</li> </ul><p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="click bait" width="770" height="447"/></p> <h2>Splash Pages</h2> <p>Come on guys, it's not 1995! Even are still using these ridiculous quotes before letting you onto their site. What's the point? At least utilise them to capture newsletter signups. <a href="" target="_blank">Troy Hunt</a> spotted this one. (in fact, his post was the influence for writing this).</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="forbes2" width="770" height="401"/></p> <h2>Multi-page top 10 lists</h2> <p>You've clicked an 'interesting' link on Facebook and you're now reading about the top 10 most shocking photos of Beyonce, but you have to navigate a minefield of adverts to find the 'next' button, which loads another page full of adverts, which you have to navigate for the next image.. Oh forget it. We've clicked off. This one was about how celebrity kids looked like their parents. Notice the click bait too..</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="uberhavoc" width="769" height="646"/></p> <h2>Disguised adverts</h2> <p>So you need some freeware app to unzip some files or FTP in to your website, and end up on a software download page. 'Click here to download' it says. Click.</p> <p>Next page.. 'Select mirror' .. ugh.. clicks any..</p> <p>Next page ... 'Download now' , 'download for free' 'download here'</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="download" width="769" height="142"/></p> <p>Just give me the damn file! And no i don't want to install your download manager app. I'm quite happy to use the standard protocols for downloading a file off a webpage.</p> <h2>Massive cookie warnings</h2> <p>Hey BBC, we're looking at you. This whole cookie disclaimer business is getting a bit old hat now. We're not sure who really reads all the cookie disclaimers, but i'm sure they've not changed much since the last time we clicked. Why not have an icon that shows you a site uses cookies in your browser instead and do away with these massive page-hoggers? The whole 'secure site' thing has been revolutionised by many modern browsers. Why not do the same for cookies?</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="bbc cookies" width="770" height="573"/></p> <h2>Delayed popups</h2> <p>SO annoying. I was pleasantly surprised to get to a page that was well laid out and didn't bug me to sign up as soon as i started reading, then i scroll down a bit and BOOOM. BUY OUR STUFF. I'm reading about films, why would I need a cottage in Chelsea? Someone's wasting far too much budget on useless advertising. I hate you already.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="cinema blend" width="770" height="616"/></p> <h2>Clickable backgrounds</h2> <p>If you're an experienced internet/computer user, you'll know by now that computers don't intuitively know which window you're looking at. You have to click into the window to make it active, then you're free to scroll and buy crap. But, finding a bit of space to click on that isn't linked or smothered in ads these days can be a task in itself. It's CinemaBlend again - the idea is that they use the whole background as one giant clickable ad. Nowhere to click without being whisked away anymore! STOP!</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="cinema blend fullscreen" width="770" height="376"/></p> <h2>Infinite Scroll</h2> <p>This was groundbreaking when it came out! What? i just scroll down and more items appear? That's amazing. It's also annoying and it's terrible for bookmarking, add more pages instead.</p> <p>Social media is the worst for this. How far do I want to actually go back in time?! Just show me the most recent and add some pagination. Here's Sony's Google+ page.. i tried to beat the scroll and won.</p> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="infinity" width="770" height="609"/></p> <p> There are still loads more out there, but we thought we'd cover the most popular (unpopular)! Hopefully it will make you think about how you adopt adverts on page, calls to action and where you're spending your budget on display network ads.</p> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:05:29 +0000 Adwords app for iOS finally arrives! <p>The long awaited addition to any marketer's toolbox is finally here. Monitor your Adwords campaigns on the go, raise and lower budgets, give your ads a holiday break and monitor Impressions, CTR and Clicks all in one simple yet well designed app for the iPhone.</p> <p>The app lets you contact an Adwords rep directly if you need support, receive notifications when budgets are low and receive suggestions on current campaigns all from your phone (or iPad).</p> <p>With the addition of this app, it now means that there Bing and Google apps that work on both Android and iOS giving you full mobile management of your marketing campaigns. If you're an entrepreneur, small business or just a manager who likes to know what's going on - this is a great way to keep an eye on your online performance.</p> <p><img class="center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="" src="" alt="adwords app for ios3" width="600" height="404"/></p> <p>One of the great features we like is the ability to choose which columns display on landscape view. We tested it out on one of our iPads and found it much easier to use. </p> <p> </p> <p><img class="center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="" src="" alt="unspecified" width="600" height="450"/></p> <p>The only features we noted weren't available were some of the setup tools you'd use on the web-based site. The keyword planner for example, would have been great for those times when you suddenly have a eureka moment and want to check traffic for a specific phrase. Still, it's another addition to the marketer's bag and we're glad it's finally here! Means we can take our iPad into meetings and highlight key information without a tonne of tabs and logins to remember!</p> <p>You can download it on the iTunes app store here: <a href="" target="_blank">Google Adwords App for iPhone</a></p> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:38:20 +0000 7 Steps towards a successful SEO strategy <p>So, you're ready to start your online marketing campaign, you've got all your data from last year ready and you know your competition. Let's jump in and take a look at your rivals, because hey - if they're your rivals then you must feel like their marketing is a threat to yours right? It is if you're not listed for terms you'd expect to be!</p> <h2>1. Run a keyword analysis</h2> <p><strong><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="keyworld analysis" width="381" height="285"/><br/></strong></p> <p>Create a list of your top 20 keywords, and don't forget a keyword is more of a key phrase these days - and every minor change to a phrase counts as a new keyword eg: <em>Widgets in Northampton</em> is different to <em>Widget in Northampton</em> so spend some time on this. Look at long-tail search terms too which are even longer phrases that might have traffic.</p> <h2>2. Look at your competitors websites</h2> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="competitor analysis" width="381" height="285"/></p> <p>See what they do well, and make notes on what works visually. If your target audience is similar to theirs, you can get a feel for the style and language used and compare this to yours. You'll be surprised how much psychology goes into marketing, and making sure you're aiming for the right people is key to any conversions.</p> <h2>3. Optimise your website</h2> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="analyse your code" width="381" height="285"/></p> <p>Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a term used quite broadly that means digital marketing, however it's self-explanatory meaning refers to the process of making your website 'readable' by the search engines. The search engines are just pieces of software, and quite complex ones at that, but they 'read' your site and look for particular elements. They don't see it how you do, they inspect the code. Making sure you've got the right bits in the right places is part of this process. The algorithm for each search engine changes periodically, favouring different elements and discreting some to keep the results competitive. There are a number of tools and websites out there that will give you an SEO report, however we'd suggest a <a href="[sitetree_link,id=133]">website audit</a> which will include some analysis and suggestions based on experience too.</p> <h2>4. Create great content, regularly</h2> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="create blog content northampton" width="381" height="285"/></p> <p>Blog posting may not be for you, it takes time to research new ideas or collate your skills and knowledge into concise and helpful articles which is exactly what i'm doing now. Currently, this blog post has taken me 26 minutes to write. I've had to come up with a title, research the areas I want to talk about to ensure correctness and then present it in a way which is engaging and informative. If that's not something your business can afford to spend time on, you should consider hiring a <a href="[sitetree_link,id=116]">content writer.</a></p> <h2>5. Share your passion</h2> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="social media" width="381" height="285"/></p> <p>Once you've spent time and got into the routine of creating great content, you need to get it noticed. Talk to people on twitter, facebook and linkedIn and don't be too pushy with it. A friendly 'hey i've written this, would you mind taking a look?' can often get you the shares you need to create a buzz around your ideas. If social media is the local pub of marketing, remember people are out there just trying to enjoy their pint. Don't go shouting in their faces! </p> <h2><strong>6. Perform a link audit</strong></h2> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="google disavow" width="381" height="285"/></p> <p>If you're not using google analytics and google webmasters, you should be. You can also sign up for who have got some pretty good tools. Work out who's linking to you and whether it's negatively affecting your site's rank, disavow (using Google Webmaster tools) any that you'd rather not be associated with.</p> <h2><strong>7. Work out your budget.</strong></h2> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="marketing budget northampton" width="381" height="285"/></p> <p>Digital marketing packages start from £350 per month and go upto thousands depending on the size and profit margin of the business. The more you spend, the greater your impact but it won't necessary speed the process up. <a href="[sitetree_link,id=3]">Talk to us</a> about how best to utilise the budget you have set aside. Digital marketing budgets can include on-page seo, off-page seo for social networks and links or PPC campaigns and regular content creation. Get a tailored packaged based on what you know works, choosing the mediums your research shows works best.</p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:53:44 +0000 Aren't social networks all looking similar these days? <h2>Yup.</h2> <p>I could just end the article with that one word, but where's the fun in that? In the ever-expansive social media network, there are increasingly different ways you can interact with your followers, friends and business folk, but are they all slowly morphing into similar apps?</p> <p>With the recent update to the LinkedIn app, it's apparent that the user interface looks ever more like Facebook, with the splash screen eminating the old Facebook splash and home screen featuring those ever popular 'write' and 'photo' buttons just underneath your status box. Yes, status box. It seems many social sites are now mimicking one another and following design trends that are proven (by their competitors) and because of it seem more intuitive.</p> <p><img class="left" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="" src="" alt="social apps2" width="100%"/></p> <p>The five buttons at the bottom seem to be a regular occurance across the big 4, and maybe this isn't so much about the social media platform, but more the medium in which we use it - smartphones. Remember when Apple sued Samsung over the swipe lock button idea? Look how far an intuitive design has come- it's practically on every touchscreen smartphone we use these days, and mostly because it seems the most logical way of interacting with a touchscreen device. Ok, there are a some variations like pattern selection or swiping up instead of across, but it just seems to fit, right?</p> <h2>Like &amp; Love</h2> <p>Like buttons and love buttons are a big part of social media, and an approval from friends and colleagues that what you're posting is on the same level, or that they value your thoughts and advice. The LinkedIn thumbs up looks awfully similar to Facebook's though! Surely a universal notion such as giving a thumbs up or using a heart to show approval or affection can't be copyrighted thought? Let's hope not. Things could easily get out of hand as the battle for social media preference continues. However, if you're anything like me, you'll have different sets of users on different sites. Facebook has my close friends, a few colleagues and more importantly family. It's a place we share photos, memories and 'meet' albeit virtually and over a few different countries. LinkedIn for business connections and industry news. Twitter for my weekend activities as a DJ let's me interact with customers and other performers to feel like part of something bigger than just the venue I'm in. I use Instagram for the artist in me. Adding filters and effects and creating short videos of the things that are important to me or the experiences i have on a daily basis. It's also a great inspirational tool when you search the hashtags you've included in your own posts, and see how they've been interpreted across the world.</p> <h2>Direct Messaging</h2> <p>The ability to direct message has been improved across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, with twitter increasing their character limit to 10,000 for direct messaging and Facebook jumping on the emoji bandwagon and adding 'feelings', gifs and the hashtag trend that Twitter made famous. </p> <h2>Photos &amp; Videos</h2> <p>Adding photos &amp; videos has come a long way on Twitter, with the ability to add both now effortlessy it's hard to remember the days when using services like twitvid and twitpic were the only way to share multimedia. One thing that instagram has stuck to in it's evolution is the 15 second limit for video clips. Plenty long enough and sometimes too long! If you think that Vine offers just seven second clips and has launched many users into the mainstream through the creativity needed to shine in such a short blip in everyone's timeline - it's quite amazing. LinkedIn is the only one lagging behind a little with video, although I like having a newsfeed that's not jammed with other SEO guys' stuff tips and tutorials!</p> <h2>Marketing &amp; Social Commerce</h2> <p>Sponsored posts are possibly the biggest commercial venture any social network can make, and the four discussed here today all offer sponsored posts. This is a major resource for business in digital marketing and not something to be sniffed at. Facebook advertising is one of the most popular, as there is more space to view the advert and you can included video and promote just a single post instead of a page. Twitter and Instagram offer newsfeed promoted posts that slot in between the updates of the people you follow. LinkedIn now also let you sponsor an update which for people who got onboard with it early, and who have made many connections in the industry they work, this could be a turning point for changing the way you interact and are perceived by other professionals. For b2b, this is a great opportunity.</p> <p> </p> <p>I guess the overall feeling is that while different social networks attract different types of people, the interface and layouts will inevitably follow the same path, much like the development of any product or service - it becomes tailored towards ease of use, familiarity and common sense. Whatever your choice of social, there are certain features that will remain unique to that app for years to come, but the addition of every other site's functions will soon creep in, whether you like it or not! Look at how Facebook has evolved, and from a time when Myspace had way more features!</p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 10:14:47 +0000 How to be more productive with your email <h2><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="email" width="870" height="225"/></h2> <p>In the ever-daunting task of checking emails, there are a few tools out there to help you be more productive, read less, and better use your time!</p> <h2>i) Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe</h2> <p>Many people ask themselves how they can reduce the number of emails clogging up their inbox, distracting them from potential leads, customer enquiries and sales. The answer is simple - clear out all your subscriptions for a start! There's a really cool site call, which is totally free. It scans your inbox and lets you easily find out who's email lists you're signed up to, and with a few clicks, you can reduce the number of newsletters you receive.</p> <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="Capture" width="600" height="300"/></p> <h2>ii) Keep replies brief</h2> <p>Set up a portion of your email signature to include 'kind regards' and then your name as part of the signature. That's the whole point really of an email signature! Spending ages writing something elaborate just to say 'yes, that's fine' or 'we'll have a look and get back to you' wastes so much time. Just be polite, brief and to the point. People will thank you for it. You can also use pre-written replies or 'canned responses' - set this up in Gmail if you use it too. Go to 'settings', click 'labs' and find 'canned responses' at the top. To do this in outlook, you just create multiple signatures, and choose which one to use when you reply. So that 'kind regards' one we just set up could also have 'yes, thats great, thank you' in it for example.</p> <h2>ii) Use CRM software to automate and schedule your own broadcasts</h2> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="infusionsoft" width="600" height="249"/></p> <p>Another one of our businesses uses a great tool called InfusionSoft. It's a Customer Relationship Management tool that allows you to create email lists for broadcasting newsletters, updates and so much more. Not only can you set up a month's worth of newsletters in a day, and schedule them for every week of the month! using scheduling, but you can track all kinds of metrics and monitor your relationship to better calculate what times of day they respond, what kinds of emails they open and all the KPIs you need to turn them into more valuable customers.</p> Sun, 17 Jan 2016 15:31:36 +0000 Letting your customers do the marketing <p><img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="marketing" width="870" height="225"/></p> <p> </p> <p>In <a href="" target="_blank">an interesting article from Duct Tape Marketing</a>, George Ryan explores the strategy of letting your customers do the selling for you.</p> <p>An important part of marketing your business is focusing on one particular element at a time. If your business offers many services, it can be daunting trying to sell yourself as a multi-faceted service provider, especially when you want to wisely spend your budget and get the most out of pay per click.</p> <p>Ryan outlines 6 steps to enable your customers to do much of the marketing for you, and let's be honest, much of today's SEO successes come from building great relationships - both with influencers and customers alike.</p> <p><strong>1. Focus</strong></p> <p>Focus your efforts into one avenue - this can be one campaign for example, focusing on one service. Getting your website in order and making sure it's easy to navigate, flows well and gives the customer the information they need without 'filler' is essential to creating a good customer experience. Use your current leads and customers as a feedback tool to work out what can be improved and which bits they found distracting. Get into the mindset of your customer.</p> <blockquote> <p>"<span>You should always strive to be a company that you would want to be a customer of."</span></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>2. Have customer service to be proud of</strong></p> <p>Respond to emails quickly, provide FAQs or email response templates for enquiries that ask the same question, further streamlining your response time and allowing you to focus less on admin, and more on your product. Use your customer feedback to make changes and improvements, and let them know when you've implemented them. Feeling like you've influenced a company in any way, lets them know that they're important and you value their opinions and requirements. </p> <blockquote> <p>"Everyone should have an amazing experience"</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>3. Make it easier for customers to provide feedback</strong></p> <p>Give them a tool, a portal, a forum or at very least a survey to complete at various stages of their journey</p> <blockquote> <p>"If you never ask, you'll never know"</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>4. Make sure what you're doing is to the best of your ability</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>"Do what you do, but do it better than anyone else"</p> </blockquote> <p>It sounds like an obvious statement, but no-one wants a mediocre service - or expects it for that matter. Even the cheapest of services comes with expectations and customers won't hesitate to complain, even if they're paying peanuts and your margins are low. At this point in your analysis, it might even be worth changing your price point to reflect a service that has more value. There's a whole other analysis on price-points, and the metrics involved, but we'll leave that for now.</p> <p><strong>5. Offer incentives and rewards</strong></p> <p>Who doesn't love a 20% off deal for being a loyal customer? Or even a freebie? It's an age-old concept, but it could be what maintains that relationship with previous customers that gets them checking your website out again. As an SEO exec, my inbox is bursting with subscription newsletters and updates from companies i've maybe used once in the past, and sadly many of them get ignored. However, as a prime example of great email marketing i recently noticed one from a company who offered me a free 3 month trial of their latest product. One that i could actually make use of. I clicked and took them up on the offer, and although it wasn't what i expected, I noticed another great tool on their website that was perfect for me. Sometimes, just getting people to your site is all it takes for them to regain an interest in what you're doing.</p> <blockquote> <p>"It's ok to reward people"</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>6. Happy customers sell your products for you</strong></p> <p>Once you're happy with the customer journey you offer, and more importantly once they're happy too - you can give them a multitude of tools to let them become an ambassador for your brand. A simple 'click to tweet about us' button or a quirky 'share the love' prompt that gets you a facebook like or review can improve your reach and the easier it is to do this, the more likely they are to shout about you. </p> <blockquote> <p><span>"have your existing customers be the marketers for your website"</span></p> </blockquote> <p> </p> Sun, 10 Jan 2016 17:34:22 +0000 Why do you need landing pages? <p>You might have heard the term 'landing page' bounced around and not really know what one is or how it can help you target customers on a more personal level.</p> <p>Let's take a look!</p> <p>A landing page is pretty much any web page that a visitor or viewer can 'land' or arrive on after searching for x y or z. It's often focused towards a single mission, product or service that provides a concise and funnelled journey towards your main goal. The goal itself can be anything from newsletter signups, to data capture and lead generation. Knowing what the purpose of your landing page is, and having content ready to populate this page is key to it's success. There are a tonne of wireframe templates out there that can help you structure your landing page in a way that sells it directly, without feeling too pushy, without the distraction of other products and services.</p> <h2>The Structure of a landing page</h2> <p>This will vary depending on the type of business you run, the product or service you sell and the demographic you're aiming at, but some of the principles remain the same. Keeping calls to action 'above the fold' is important, along with selling the benefits of your product first. The features come later. Take a look at our mockup for an idea of where to start.</p> <p><strong><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="landing page mockup" width="870" height="870"/><br/></strong></p> <h2>Types of landing pages</h2> <p><strong>Click-Through</strong></p> <p>These types of pages are set up specifically to funnel users into a purchase on the main page, by offering them a detailed description of the benefits of the product and service, it's features, a case study or three and once the user has been sufficiently 'warmed up', they click through to a product page ready to complete their purchase. It's effectively a big pre-sell on a single item. </p> <p><strong>Lead-Gen</strong></p> <p>These are slightly different in that they don't forward through to your businesses main site or a product page. Their purpose is to capture information for future marketing campaigns by offering a 'freebie' or discount in exchange for their email address. The freebie in this instance doesn't have to be something of monetary value, so don't be fooled into thinking this is a giveaway. It can be something as simple as an ebook, free trial, advanced notifcation of a product launch or a consultation. The importance here is to make sure that the page has enough value to warrant the visitor parting with their precious details. A form is usually the capture point here, with anything from name and email to dropdowns that enhance your knowledge of the campaign such as 'where did you hear about us?' or 'what region do you live in?'. Helpful insights that can further improve your campaign or target your products using different styles and methods based on the results. Don't get distracted with this too much though. The key here is to capture their data quickly. If you're building an email list, name and email will do.</p> <p><strong>So, is this just for products?</strong></p> <p>Landing pages are primarily for the purpose of lead gen or soft selling, however you can often create them for a/b testing or directing your services towards a particular demographic, area or need which would then allow you to focus on one key phrase or or keyword for that one page. </p> <p>There are some great examples of click-through pages at</p> <p>And some lead generation ones at</p> Tue, 22 Dec 2015 11:30:01 +0000 5 Things to think about before spending your marketing budget <p> <img class="leftAlone" title="" src="" alt="how to allocate your marketing budget seo" width="870" height="225"/></p> <p>If you’ve got budget to spend on marketing, we’re here to tell you that it’s not just about ‘SEO’. We’ve worked in many sectors and our Director Pete Halsey has been involved in Marketing for a number of years, and not just digital. This is why we’re good at what we do. We know that good digital marketing is not all about social media posts and h1 tags. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should be considering when allocating your budget to Digital Marketing.</p> <h2>Website Structure</h2> <p>Analyse your website. Make sure it’s structured well BEFORE you start your campaigns. After all, the campaigns are driving traffic to your site, so when people get there it needs to be relevant and informative. A great user experience is all part of ‘SEO’ and will engage your visitor and improve the time they spend on your site (*reducing bounce rate too). A responsive design is also critical these days, as around 40% of web traffic is on mobile or tablet. Responsive design ensures that when your site is viewed on a smaller screen, it fits the width correctly and often shows an uncluttered view, removing any unnecessary elements that might hinder that purchase process. An SEO health check could help you identify which areas need attention.</p> <h2>Digital Marketing</h2> <p>Once you’ve got your site looking good, optimised and with calls-to-action in prominent places, you can start planning for search programs that not only bring traffic, but visitors that are actually searching for what you’re selling. Identify your key phrases and compare them to your competitors. Engage in pay per click advertising to help your site gain some momentum and create shareable content. Pay per click is great for immediate exposure and offers a range of keyword combinations through different styles of advertisements. From here on, you can use social media to shout about what you’re doing and encourage shares from customers and readers who value your information.</p> <h2>Testing</h2> <p>All this is nothing without some testing, and let’s be honest much of marketing is about testing. Seeing what works, what’s most effective, what targets the demographic of your customer best, and what style of content engages them and encourages shares? After setting up your website structure, checking for on-page issues and creating campaigns, it’s important to start monitoring the responses you’re getting and look at improving lead generation. Use A/B testing on similar campaigns with different landing pages and see what works best. It’s all about fine-tuning and being bold enough to create landing pages that use a different style of language or imagery to better understand your results.</p> <h2>Remarketing</h2> <p>What’s the best way to keep people on your page? You might’ve done all the above and still visitors hit your site and leave without filling in a contact form or even delving into your products area.A great way to remind visitors about your company and get them to come back to your site is through remarketing.  If you’re using PPC, there’s often an option to leave cookies with visitors to your site. These are great tools for remarketing as they let you server up ads to them next time they’re online and searching for something. It’s like a ‘friendly reminder’ that you’re there and they should check you out again. For this reason, it’s good to keep your site fresh and updated regularly so that when they return, there’s something else for them to learn about.</p> <h2>Email Marketing Newsletter</h2> <p>Not only do these still have a big impact on sales, they let your previous customers know that you’re still alive! You’re still doing business without them, which shows you’re successful and passionate about what you do. If you just send them an occasional update with new products, ideas and the odd discount or promotion, it’s much more likely they’ll stay subscribed if they don’t feel like they’re being bombarded with marketing tactics. Creating a good customer relationship isn’t easy over email, but there are some great tools out there to help.</p> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 09:48:08 +0000 SEO is all about the Marketing <h2>SEO is part of your Digital Marketing which is part of your Integrated Marketing Strategy</h2> <p>Today I found myself reading an article posted from a so-called SEO agency. I was very disappointed to read the negativity towards other SEO agencies and also the clear lack of knowledge and understanding about Marketing.</p> <p>The whole article focused on what other agencies are apparantely doing wrong.....20 Lies.....SEO mention whatsoever of Marketing, Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Customers, Sales, Profit......Sadly it is the agencies like the one 'claiming' to be honest that are giving Digital Marketing (SEO if you like) a bad name.</p> <p>We are seeing more and more agencies like this pop up.  The premise has nothing whatsoever to do with Marketing and the people running the agency (owners) have no knowledge or experience of what marketing actually is.  Unfortunately it is these guys that are the shady operators and these guys that are failing the market, their customers and their customers customers.</p> <h3>SEO &amp; Digital Marketing - The Truth</h3> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="lies seo marketers tell" width="100%"/></p> <p>Digital Marketing / SEO and all that it embraces is a tool or tactic if you like.  These new agencies that claim to have your best interest at heart have no understanding or thought as to why you actually may have contacted them in the first instance.  You have a business.  Your business has a online presence.  You want to increase the presence of your business on line.  Be that more sales, more leads, more conversions, more customers, more profit, more brand awareness or maybe all of these.  You have chosen to speak with a 'digtial marketing (seo) expert' as you are unclear on the best way to achieve your goals.  You may already be experienced in marketing offline but confused how to market online.  Whatever your reasons, it frustrates the hell out of me when I read bullshit from non marketeers.  Your online marketing should be totally integrated with your offline marketing.  Be that outdoor, TV, radio, print, other media or just plain face to face selling.  </p> <p>Enough of my rant.  We at NeSEO are here to share our marketing knowledge and expertise.  We are here to understand your business, your market, your customers, your goals, your aspirations and then together see how best we can help.  We may not be the right fit for you and you may not be the right fit for us but we will always provide you with a open and honest assessement of what we believe is the right approach for you to take to deliver your objectives, be that online or offline.</p> <p>To close, if you've read an article or heard an advert or listened to an employee from a potential supplier that used the word 'lie' more than 20 times do you think you would, or indeed should buy?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:12:38 +0000 The importance of posting fresh content on your website <p>One of the biggest problems with business websites, is that once they've been built, they often get forgotten.</p> <p>Updating your site not only shows your customers that you're a great source of knowledge about your industry, but it shows that you're operational!<br/>Websites that get the most traffic are the sites that offer tips, advice, industry news and product highlights to their visitors, which are great ways to encourage return visits and bookmarking too.</p> <h2>We've compiled a list of the top 3 reasons to keep your site updated.</h2> <p><img class="left" title="" src="" alt="shout about your business" width="100%"/></p> <p><strong>3. Customer Profiling</strong></p> <p>You can easily build a customer profile based on your most popular news posts. Using google analytics you can monitor which news pages are the most successful and even try some A/B testing to see which images and presentations have the best impact. This allows you to build a clearer picture of the types of people finding your site which is useful in future promotions. Think about what competitions, offers and lead magnets would appeal to your audience and improve your lead generation from the data you've collected.</p> <p><strong>2. Creating reasons to return</strong></p> <p><strong><br/></strong>Return visits can often convert to leads if you're offering content that visitors find a valuable asset. A cost calculator for a specialist service or an infographic on the decision process of finding the right product could be bookmarked and become the decision factor between a visitor just being a reader, and becoming a customer.</p> <p><strong>1. Improved search engine rankings</strong></p> <p><strong><br/></strong>Search engines are most likely the first port of call for searching for product and service information for most web users, but it's important that users are able to find the most relevant information to them fast. A metric often used by search engines to determine which sites have more value to the search is 'frequency'. If you're reading the news from your favourite Sunday newspaper, you wouldn't want to read the same news the next sunday, so a great deal of emphasis is put on how often the site is updated as to whether it's relevant to the user. We've seen plenty of websites that have adopted the 'there it is' approach where it's created and left, and until a digital marketing plan is in place, their blogs and articles are quickly out of date. </p> <p>Of course, it's not just blogs and news articles that are important to update, products, offers and layout changes can also make a big impact. Keeping the site fresh shows your visitors that you're thinking about them and their experience. It's like changing the display in your shop window, it needs to attract the passers-by and show them how your services are relevant to the events and issues ocurring locally, nationally and how they can benefit them.</p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:13:15 +0000