Is Your Brand Becoming A Publisher?

Is Your Brand Becoming A Publisher?

Is Your Brand Becoming A Publisher?

content marketingAccording to a new study conducted by econsultancy nearly three quarters, 73%, of all digital marketers surveyed stated that their brands are becoming publishers.* And becoming a publisher means you need to produce quality content to market.

Content as a form of marketing has been around forever. You walk into B&Q and you can pick up handy “how to” manuals on nearly everything that could possibly need doing in your house. Instructions and of course all the B&Q tools you need to do it. At Tesco when you are packing your shopping into your bags there are hordes of the latest magazines with new recipes and style ideas showcasing all of their products.

The focus of content marketing by businesses is to unlock the buzz about their brands by producing work that is:

  • Relevant: Putting them on the customer’s radar. After all if you are not on the radar screen then you can’t cut into their consciousness.
  • Accessible:  If your brand is not targeted at the right audience then however good the message is you will struggle.
  • Different: Being the same as everyone else is not enough. The internet is flooded with new content on a daily basis so make sure what you produce is buzzing with originality.

What Types of Content Can be Produced?

On the internet there are many forms that content can take and also many platforms that content can be published to. This gives businesses a great opportunity to increase awareness and reach out to as many targeted people as possible. Content can be published in the form of:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • News or feature articles on your own website
  • Press releases
  • Blog Posts
  • Videos

The graph below shows the types of content which both in-house marketers and agency clients use to spread the news about their brands.

What Prevents Effective Content Marketing?

Ask any business owner if they had an extra hour or two per day to design, create and distribute content and you would be met with a snort of derision.

Creating content is not easy and requires resource, however all content that you create and promote online is an asset for your business. It will always be there and will always be available for you to repurpose and place on other platforms.

Even if you only have time to produce one piece of content a week over a year that is 52 pieces of content that could be on different platforms linking back to your business and highlighting your business to new and existing clients. Keeping your brand current and alive in their subconscious for the next time they need your service.

Business owners, brands and advertisers are realising that by creating their own content they don’t need to pay for advertising space, there is greater control over how their brand is portrayed and ideally the opportunity to create a more in-depth and involving interaction between the consumer and their brand.

With more devices connecting to the internet each and every day giving consumers a greater opportunity to connect with businesses and brands, content marketing is only going to become even more popular. So the question is, is your business going to be a publisher?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Source: Content Marketing Survey Report

Digital Just keeps on Growing – Are You Taking Advantage?

Digital Just keeps on Growing – Are You Taking Advantage?

Digital Just keeps on Growing – Are You Taking Advantage?

digital advertisingAccording to the latest advertising expenditure report from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), conducted by PWC, advertising on the internet and mobile phones increased by 12.6% to a record six-month high of £2.59 billion in the first half of 2012– up by over £294 million from £2.30 billion in the first half of 2011.

 

Here are some of the stand-out numbers:

  • UK digital ad spend grows 12.6% to £2.6 billion in first half of 2012.
  • Video ad spend is up 43% to £69.8m.
  • Mobile ad spend is up 132% to £181.5 million.
  • Mobile Search grew like-for-like by 152% to £131.6 million – accounting for 72% of mobile ad spend.
  • Banner use or Display advertising in social media is up 36% to £134.2m
  • FMCG joins Finance as biggest digital display advertiser – the two sectors combined now account for nearly one third of the UK digital ad spend.
  • Paid for search marketing such as pay per click, increased 15.9% to 1,527 million from £1,318 million.

Yes, we are all aware of how economically the UK (and it seems the rest of the developed world) is still on its knees, however these figures show that people and businesses are investing in growth  by leveraging technology and the growing consumer demand for social and commercial interaction with businesses on line.

 

The dramatic growth in advertising spend could not and would not occur if the demand and the results were not there. Big businesses are capitalising on these trends and that is reflected by the fact that the FMCG has joined Finance as the big spending sectors.

 

As a small business owner you may be thinking this is not relevant to you in the slightest, but in fact it is. If large FMCG and Financial Services firms are investing heavily in advertising online it means it is working. Not just working, but providing results and a healthy return on investment or else they wouldn’t be doing it at all. In the past businesses may have shied away from online advertising, but with increasing reach and more and more analytics available to test and track results there is no excuse why businesses shouldn’t be making the most of a route to market that has still got a long way to grow.

 

Digital advertising such as display, mobile and search, keeps on growing and as the consumer becomes increasingly more connected it is likely to keep on growing, becoming more and more profitable for those that are taking advantage of this massive trend in consumer behaviour.

3 Benefits of SEO Services for small businesses

3 Benefits of SEO Services for small businesses

Three Benefits of SEO Services for small businesses

benefits of seoLet’s consider for one moment what it would be like if nobody could find your business. You have built an impressive store front, you have invested heavily in stock and nobody is walking through your door.

Let’s take it one step further, what if your phone is not even ringing? It’s likely that it wouldn’t be long before you went out of business. What would you do?

This may be a little extreme but the point is this: you might have the best looking website on the planet but if nobody knows you are there then the chances of you earning a healthy profit from it, or even getting any leads, are very slim.

In order to guarantee that your website gets visitors that lead in to sales then you need to position it in front of the relevant search traffic. So how do you do that?

You can target a local audience

You may have been in business for 10 years but you can’t just rely on your regular customer base. Without fresh faces popping their head through the door you will not continue to grow and be around for another 10 years.

Search engine optimisation allows you to specifically target your local community and make sure that when they need your services you are their first point of call.

The chances are that very few people dig out the yellow pages or go through the local paper when they are looking for services and that is why you need to be positioned in the search engines to benefit.

You can Attract Highly Qualified Visitors

There are many online advertising methods that small businesses can use to drive traffic to a website however they are not all created equal.

There has been much said about “click happy” people who click on pay per click or blog adverts just to see what is on the other side with no intent to go any further, purely because they want to see what is at the end of the trail.

Sure, if you have a solid conversion optimisation strategy in place then you can increase the number of leads or sales. However the conversion number could still fall short of the number you could achieve via natural search engine optimisation.

When a user sees a listing in the search engine results pages they automatically feel comfortable that the information presented will be relevant to their needs and therefore only click when they have a specific interest.

You Can Increase Word of Mouth Marketing

In order to benefit from high organic search listings your website needs to have social signals e.g. people need to be talking about, recommending and sharing information concerning your business.

The more this happens the more the search engines believe your website is of high quality and will increase your position in the search rankings, resulting in a greater amount of traffic and sales.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. What does matter is that you are properly represented to the online world through effective search engine optimisation.

Marketing Your Business is an Investment Not a Cost – 9 Top Tips

Marketing Your Business is an Investment Not a Cost – 9 Top Tips

Marketing Your Business is an Investment Not a Cost – 9 Top Tips

marketing your businessNo matter how good a sales force your business has there are always benefits to Marketing your business. If you still see marketing as a luxury that your business can’t afford to invest in then you’re probably not going about your marketing efforts the right way. Whatever the size of your business, these 9 Marketing tips should ensure your marketing campaigns don’t go to waste.

9 Straight Forward Marketing Tips for Your Business

1. Have a budget.

Marketing needs to be seen as an investment in your business, it’s not an expense you can do without. That being said you shouldn’t blindly spend money that you can’t afford. Start off with a budget for each campaign and forecast what you expect to make as a return. Monitor your spend closely and if you are way behind on forecast it might be wise to change the campaign or pull it entirely. On the other hand, if you’re making far more than expected then think about investing more.

2. Have a goal.

Do you want to get 30 new customers? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to grow interest in future projects by collecting people’s names? Whatever you aim to get from each campaign, be specific about it, otherwise it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important and you could end up either overspending, or advertising your business in the wrong areas. Give each campaign an end date or have a timeline to check progress.

3. Do your analysis.

Measure the success of each campaign as accurately as you can. This could mean asking customers where they saw your advert, or asking them to provide you with a code. Many online marketers can set up a unique funnel for each online campaign, so anyone who clicks through a certain advert will be tracked. You could even set up a phone number for important campaigns so that you can see exactly how many people have called as a result of seeing a particular advert. Be honest with your analysis. It might appear that your marketing budget is being well spent if you see a sudden increase in business, but is that increase directly down to your marketing expertise, or is it a seasonal peak, the sales team working harder, or is it an old campaign finally paying off? Make sure you understand where your customers come from!

4. Build your Brand’s personality!

Use your marketing to build up your brand image, so that there is a recognisable trend, face or logo across everything you do. This means that people who come across your business in different areas, such as on Facebook, or in a newspaper advert recognise your business and grow to trust you. For many small businesses this brand personality may be very closely tied to the owner’s own image or personality. If this is the case, make sure that the person that your customers find when they get in touch matches up to the image that your marketing has projected.

5. Understand what your customers want to see.

To run a successful campaign, you need to understand who you are trying to reach. Build a “straw Man” of who your typical customer is. What does this person like? How do they want to consume information? How do they like to interact with others? Once you know this you can tailor your campaigns to target your ideal customers, for example although you might prefer to interact with customers via your blog, you might realise that you’ll get a better response by marketing through LinkedIn or Twitter.

6. Make Your Point.

People are busy. Even if a potential customer is looking for the type of services you provide they probably don’t have all day to do it. So, make sure that you don’t leave people guessing or searching for clues. Spell out what you offer, make it obvious how they can get in touch with you, or how they can find out more information.

7. Find your own niche

No-one can excel at absolutely everything, so don’t try to. If you spread yourself too thinly your message will be diluted and have less impact in each area. If you find that you are good at communicating with people on Facebook, then keep that as your main platform for updates, don’t try to replicate your Facebook personality on Google Plus just because you think you have to.

8. Make sure you deliver what you promise

Anyone can offer the best product or the most amazing service, or the greatest discount, very few can actually do it all. Nothing will ruin your reputation faster than letting down customers who have fallen for your marketing hype. If you want to make outrageous claims as part of your marketing campaigns then great, as long as you know that you will beat the expectations of the customers who come looking for you.

9. Get help when you need it.

Spending money on marketing campaigns that you don’t know how to get the best results from can be a disaster. Likewise, having money to spend but not knowing where to start could send you down the wrong road. There are plenty of agencies who can offer advice, or help you set up campaigns either online or offline.

What are your “must know” marketing rules? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Is Groupon a fair deal for business owners?

Is Groupon a fair deal for business owners?

Is Groupon a Fair Deal for Business Owners?

local business marketing manchester

Groupon took a simple idea – deal coupons – and turned it into a social media phenomenon. For those of you not already familiar with the what Groupon does, they sell discounted products or services for clients. Once a certain agreed sale threshold is reached then Groupon splits the revenue from the deal with the client. On the surface it’s a win – win scenario: Groupon earns money for being the middle man, their clients get a whole string of new customers that they wouldn’t have been able to attract normally, and the people buying the offers get a great discount on the product or service they all buy.

But who really benefits from Groupon? The consumer, the business owner or Groupon?

Let’s take a look at all three.

The Consumer.

From the consumers point of view, they get a great deal. They are lured into buying something that they didn’t necessarily want or need, but saw an offer that was so good they had to have it. The pleasure they get from getting a deal means they are more than likely to tell their friends and family, but the pleasure is all in the deal, not the experience that the business owner has given them. Their friends and family are more than likely going to go rushing to Groupon to get the same discounted deal, or to see where else they can find an offer.

The downside of this for the business owner is that if the customer has come for the cheap deal, they are unlikely to want to pay for the same service at full price.

Groupon.

Groupon launched in November 2008 and went public after three years. In December 2010 Groupon reportedly turned down a Google buyout offer of $5.3 Billion1, before working the Google numbers into a $12.3 Billion IPO a year later. 2

Groupon has 83 million subscribers, with 16 million of those having bought a deal3

On the surface, Groupon is doing very well, however there are rumours flying around that Grupon is going to collapse due to over saturated local marketplaces, high competition from the likes of LivingSocial and reports of poor accounting 4 . Whether or not it is here to stay, it’s here now and has access to an eye watering amount of customer data and payment details, all of which could be put to use for other purposes if they find a suitable niche to leverage.

The Business Owner.

Groupon encourages businesses to offer highly discounted rates. This is to entice would be buyers in; after all, everyone loves a bargain! Businesses who get involved with these offers need to make sure that the numbers stack up, otherwise they could be looking at a loss leader, or even worse committing to provide services that they really can’t afford.

Let’s look at this example: You offer your business services through Groupon for a 70% discount. This leaves 30% which has to be split between you and Groupon. If Groupon takes half of this, it means that you’re only getting 15% instead of 100% from the customer. The equivalent of £15 for a £100 service. Remember that this 15% needs to cover your own costs as well, so unless you have very generous margins you may struggle to break even, let alone make a profit. Now imagine that you sell this offer 200 times! Could you afford to do this and break even? Could you afford to make a loss?

Click here to Get 10 Great tips to Sky rocket your local business marketing

Is the deal on?

local business marketing manchester

Every business is different, and there will be businesses who want new clients whatever the cost. If that’s you, great. Otherwise, if the Groupon model appeals to you, you need to find a way to make it work for you without it breaking the bank.

One way to do this could be to put certain caveats in the offer, for instance you will only accept the discount bookings out of peak hours, or between certain dates of the year. You might want to only accept a certain number of bookings, or maybe only bookings that come online.

To combat the customers who only come for the offer, try cross selling alternative offers to attract them back as repeat business. Try and get them to sign up to your own mailing list, not just Groupon’s, or offer further incentives so that they remember your business, not just the Groupn deal.

If you want a high number of incoming leads and great exposure for your business then Groupon could be exactly what you’re looking for. Groupon is a super affiliate, offering their marketing clout of millions of subscribers to businesses who want paying customer leads without an initial outlay.

The most important thing as far as you the business owner should be concerned though is using the Groupon system to your own advantage and making sure that you’re not just getting a fair deal, you’re getting a great deal!

Click on the the following link to learn more about how you can leverage Google Plus Local to switch on your local marketplace.

Sources:

1 Read Write Web, 2 Read Write Web, 3 Business Insider, 4 The Guardian