Why Content Marketing Will Educate Your Prospects And Produce More Profitable Sales.

Why Content Marketing Will Educate Your Prospects And Produce More Profitable Sales.

As a small business owner who is looking to increase sales via the internet you will recognise that most of your competition is already investing in one form of internet marketing or another and in some cases will have a well structured online marketing campaign in place that is consistently driving new and repeat business.

 

 

In order to implement an online marketing campaign you need to invest in quality content that speaks directly to the problems that your target audience face.

 

Without that compelling content getting in front of the right people at the right time, your voice will not be heard, your business offerings will go unnoticed and you will watch as your competitors thrust open their doors to new clients that could and should have been yours.

 

Articles, videos, blog posts, pillar content, follow up emails, social media updates, presentations and proposals: the list is endless!

 

To many business owners it may seem daunting or even off putting to have to produce an array of meaningful and compelling content on a regular basis that empowers your target audience to reach out and connect with you, and trust me it is.

 

But the truth of the matter is without the commitment to truly encapsulate your audience, online marketing will never see the results that you may have been promised or dreamed off.

 

But we already have a website!

To say that you have a website is not good enough. It is not.

 

A website on its own is NOTHING. It is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back and not knowing how to pull the chord. Useless.

 

cost

 

In fact it is less than useless, your website becomes a cost that sucks cash from your business instead of becoming an investment that adds to your bottom line on a monthly basis.

 

The content that you create is the means to attracting those profitable clients. Both on your website and on other targeted websites across the internet where your audience may be visiting. When your content creation dries up or doesn’t even get off the ground in the first place you will get fewer eyeballs looking, less subscribers and even fewer sales.

 

Content drives the internet and quality content engages your targeted audience, arouses their interest, creates a desire and encourages them to act.

 

4 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

1. Highly Visible Social Proof

If you claim to be the biggest, the best or the most efficient in your niche or industry then you’d better make sure there is evidence on the internet to substantiate those claims.

create social proof

 

It is not difficult for anyone to search the internet to find out information about your business. One simple search in Google of your business name will bring back search results highlighting the most relevant pages on the internet about your business.

 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have not put anything on the internet about your firm that no one else has done it either. There are so many ways that people can talk about your business: Social media, local business directories, blogs etc that you should implement an online reputation management strategy to keep informed of how your business is being represented online.

 

If you are the best, then social proof will occur naturally to support these claims and then you will have some great third party generated content that you can use to market your business and win more customers with.

 

2. Be seen as a Thought Leader.

 

Pick up a trade magazine and look at the expert opinion articles, those people are providing interviews, writing articles relating to their niche and adding insight around topical issues that may confuse potential clients. By taking time to put that content out there they become a thought leader, the “go to” person in that industry, and when that happens opportunities and business relationships come your way.

The same thing happens on the internet, in fact, the very same content or remarkably similar content to the trade magazine article will be converted into a blog post, a video, an article on an industry related website, an email through to your existing database.

 

Staying in the spotlight at the top is not easy. It requires attention to detail, original ideas and of course, constant updating.

 

TIP: Sit down once a quarter and brainstorm a list of topics that you would like to cover and jot down at least 3 bullet points for each content piece so when you sit down to produce that content you have a starting point. Knowing what to produce is often the hardest part.

 

3. Improve Search Engine Rankings.

improve-search-engine-rankings

Having your business website listed in the top of the search engine rankings for your business niche, the products or services you offer or even the problems that your services solve is a great way to increase sales in your business. In the majority of niches there is fierce competition for the top spots in the search engines.

 

Google is continually updating they way they rank websites on the internet, one of the key areas they look at is the content both on and off the website. Is it related to the niche, is it good quality, is it being shared by other people, does it have third party comments, does the content get linked back to or linked out to other informative content.

 

 

All of these factors and many more are used to make a decision on the relevance and quality of your website and where it sits in the search rankings. Ultimately none of these factors can be taken into consideration if you do not have any content or create content on a regular basis.

 

The more QUALITY content you produce which is related to your core competencies, the easier it is for you to place in context links and also get your articles published in leading sites within your niche, which again helps your content marketing strategy by raising your profile.

 

 

  1. Content Allows you to sell the next step in the relationship.

Not everybody will buy from you the first time they come across you. In fact according to a study by Salesforce it takes between 6 and 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead.

 

But content is not just about getting the first sale, it is more than that it is about developing a relationship where that potential client or existing client comes back to you time and time again for further services or different products. By continuing to drip feed content after the initial purchase you increase the prospects confidence in you, enhance the trust factor, educate the individual on how you can help them and sell that next step in their personal customer journey.

 

 

Content marketing alone is not a quick win strategy. It will not bring a horde of new business tomorrow but it certainly plays a significant part in setting your business apart from your competition, highlighting you as a thought leader and the go to player in your industry and educating existing clients on how you and your services can help them achieve their goals.

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

 

How much does your website contribute to your business goals, success, or income? What’s the return on investment (ROI)? How does it compare to your competitor’s website? Maybe you’ve already asked yourself and many others these questions regarding your website but did it lead to change and improvement? If you want to ensure success, then make these six questions be the catalysts to turning your website into a leading business performer. If you struggle to answer these questions, then you might just realise why your website is a liability and not the asset it should be.

 

What Problem is Your Website Solving?

 

what problem does your website solve

 

Your website should verify your position as an expert, as THE expert, the one person or business that can solve the particular problem that someone has. What is that problem? What is the purpose of your business?

  • A dentist’s purpose would be to encourage and practice great oral hygiene while providing a person with a winning smile.
  • A driving instructor would want to get nervous drivers qualified in a stress free, practical environment, in as short a time as possible.
  • A family law firm wants to ensure the security of the children during a marital breakup.

 

Ultimately your website should highlight the problem your business solves as that is why people are looking for your business or service. When people find you, provide them with relevant information that matches their needs.

 

Who is Your Website Solving it For?

 

who is your webiste for

There are far too many people in this world and online to make your website for everyone. Your website is not there to attract 2bn people; let companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon worry about that. Your website it is there to attract a select group, a micro niche of people, who would qualify to receive your products or services.

 

The criteria may be:

 

  • That the person lives within 30 miles of the physical location of your business.
  • Divorced women over the age of 50
  • Men aged between 18 and 35 with income of £30,000
  • Pet owners who take more than 5 holidays a year
  • Retired couples with savings of £250,000+

 

As you can see the groups are completely different. Could you imagine sending a retired couple to a small business website designed for men aged between 18 and 35? By then the days of fast cars and even faster women are usually well behind them. The point is the website content needs to be relevant to the targeted group of people that you are looking to service.

 

Take the time to work out exactly who your ideal customer is.

 

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where are they located?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What websites do they use?
  • What do they buy online?
  • How do they find new products or services?
  • What words would they use to find your website?
  • What device do they use to search?

 

If you know your customers well enough then you can answer these questions yourself. Otherwise, create a questionnaire and send an email to ask some of your loyal customers, customers who you would like to replicate, to complete the survey so you have the real answers.

 

How are you solving the problem?

  how does your website solve the users problems In other words what is in it for me, for the ideal client? People don’t look at websites to hear about how your business has invested in a Wide area network for your regional offices. That means nothing and it does not solve the prospective user’s problem.

 

If your business solves the problem of giving people winning smiles. Show it to them. Show what the smile was like before and after and what the patient had to say.

 

For nervous learner drivers, show your pass rate, show a video testimonial of a previous learner who failed with another instructor then came to you and passed first time.

 

If you are a pre eminent divorce lawyer who represents high earning females then highlight a successful case where you have done just that!

 

Your business website should have these results front and center for everyone to see, what practices you put in place, what safety measures are in place, the qualifications that you have. Everything on your website should be there to reinforce you as the best and ONLY person qualified to help them solve their problem.

What’s the most important thing people can get only from you?

 

stand-out-from-the-crowdLet’s not kid ourselves, in most towns there is always more than one choice for a service provider and with the internet, location often does not matter as searchers can access a pool of resources from all over the world. So what is it that makes your business stand out? What is the unique picture that places you and your business head and shoulders above the competition, resulting in them picking up the phone and calling you?

 

That is what you want to highlight: your unique selling proposition. It should be front and centre so that everyone in your target audience, can see exactly why you are the very best at helping them solve their problem.

 

What is your primary conversion goal?

convert-to-new-customers Each business website page should have a different conversion goal or call to action. It could be;

  • to sign up for an email newsletter,
  • click on an advert,
  • share on social media,
  • pick up the phone and call,
  • make an appointment,
  • place an order.

 

Whatever that goal is for the website, the content, structure and design of the website should support that end goal. Why? Because if you have an end goal then you have something to measure against. If your goal is to get people to join your mailing list then you may have a goal to start with of 2% of visitors sign up to your email list. If after a set period of time you assess this and find that less than 1% of people are signing up then you need to make changes to improve on the conversion goal.

 

Websites are living, breathing organisms and are a fundamental part of your marketing arsenal. If you don’t have conversion goals then the website is pretty worthless. Set a goal and test and track your website against that goal. If your website does not meet this goal then think about making changes so that next time it will.

 

How can your ideal customer find your website online?

 

how do you customers look for your website in google

 

With all the effort that goes into developing a website to capture the attention of  a specific target audience, you want to make sure that the key demographic who you can help, can find your website easily. This means that you have to consider how your website is represented and indexed online. This refers to search engine optimisation.

 

Your website helps the user solve a problem, when working out who the ideal target audience was you should have a clear idea of the questions they would ask. For example somebody looking for a dentist might be entering into the search engines;

  • toothache remedies,
  • fix broken tooth,
  • dentist in (YOUR AREA HERE),
  • teeth whitening procedure.
  • price for clear aligners

 

There are hundreds of individual search terms that could be relevant to your business. The keys are;

  1. select the ones that are the most relevant to the problems that you solve,
  2. have a good number of people looking for them
  3. choose those that are commercially feasible to target.

 

By getting your website in front of the right people at the right time it means the chances of that individual impacting your conversion goals are much greater.

 

It is absolutely crucial to establish the marketing significance of your website so that you can plan & execute a strategy that provides results for your overall business goals. You also need to make sure it is consistent with your marketing efforts so that the overall business message or brand is seamless.

 

Just like running a business, maintaining a website is an on-going effort, not a one-shot deal. The sooner you realise the commitment, the sooner you will reduce the chances of being disappointed and increase the chances of success.

If you are looking to at least, double the number of leads and sales your website produces, what this video now.

3 Online Website Tips to Build Trust and Win More Sales.

3 Online Website Tips to Build Trust and Win More Sales.

 Improve the User Experience

 

If you had a shop and the only way customers could access this shop was by climbing three flights of stairs, knocking on the door, then waiting for 30 seconds to be allowed to enter. Then when they finally gain entry they have to fight their way through a complicated maze to reach the check-out. Your shop would probably have very limited footfall, a low sales conversion and very few customers who would come back or recommend you.

 

Clients don’t want to climb up stairs, knock on doors, wait, fight through a maze or see unrelated information.

 

Today’s Clients want exactly what they were looking for, RIGHT NOW!

 

As a business owner, getting targeted visitors on the Internet can be easy. However if you don’t know where to start it can also be very difficult and at times, costly.

 

When you put so much effort into attracting visitors to your website, the last thing you want them to do is to leave before following your call to action, either because they didn’t like your content, were confused by the layout or it simply wasn’t clear what they were supposed to do next.

 

Google’s goal is to provide the user with the most relevant and best search experience possible.

 

When a user lands on your site, courtesy of a Google search, will they be satisfied? Will your information be relevant to that search term? If over a period of time people leave your website prematurely then your Bounce Rate will increase.

 

Google is inclined to believe that a web page with a high bounce rate is not answering the users’ search queries, so the search engine will eventually move your page further down the ranking and replace it with another page that it feels can provide a greater experience for its customer.

 

Develop and Implement a Content Markting Strategy

 

content marketing

 

On the Internet the content you create is the fuel for your website. Without the creation of fresh and relevant content that attracts readers, ignites conversation and encourages social media sharing, then both users and search engines will lose interest in your site and go somewhere else.

 

Think of it like this, would you continue visiting the same cinema that showed the same movie over and over again? No, you wouldn’t. And neither would anyone else, they would simply move on to the next cinema to see the latest Blockbusters.

 

The same goes for your website, if the information is stale and out of date people move on. As a business owner it is not easy to produce content on a regular basis but the truth is you should be or you should have a content marketing strategy in place where a member of your staff produces a piece of content each week in line with the theme and brand of the company. Just think about the most common questions that your clients ask and use that as your basis of a content marketing plan.

 

However you decide to create content, whether it’s yourself, staff or outsourced, it doesn’t matter as long as the content is of high quality and relevant. The greater the quality of the content then the greater the chance of the content getting Liked, Tweeted, +1 and generating extended visibility and SEO benefits via social signals.

 

Build and nurture relationships

 

Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. Therefore you need to make sure that your website speaks directly to that golden 4% that are ready to buy right now but you do not neglect the 96% who may be in need of your services in the future.

96-percent-of-website-visitors-are-not-ready-to-buy

 

 

Take a proactive approach to capturing leads through a variety of appealing offers that target customers at different stages of the purchasing cycle. Make sure your calls to action lead to a congruent lead capture page so that you can gather their email address and begin a lead nurturing campaign.

 

In order to generate new leads and sales send an email, or a series of emails, to your existing database- or invest in a mailing list so you can inform those that have shown interest in the past, or people who fit your targeted demographic, about your expertise.

 

Make sure that you follow the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations:

  • Have the person’s permission to send the email
  • Provide a means for the recipient to unsubscribe from future mailings.

 

Email should be an integral part of your marketing campaign, as such there should always be a method for new visitors of your website to sign up to your mailing list so they can learn more about how your business can help them solve their problems and position you and your business as the experts to do it.

 

A good way to incentivise this is to provide a free giveaway; this could be a series of videos, a report or an eBook that would be of value to your potential clients and in the process help highlight your expertise in your field.

 

Online marketing is more than setting up a website, putting up a few adverts and sending a couple of promotional social media messages. Online marketing is about providing an excellent online experience, and establishing your company and employees as experts to increase your value to customers and make them more likely to buy from you.

banner-for-4-online-marketing-tips

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

content marketingAs a small business owner who is looking to increase sales via the internet you will recognise that most of your competition is already investing in one form of internet marketing or another and in some cases will have a well structured online marketing campaign in place.

In order to implement an online marketing campaign you need to invest in quality content that speaks directly to the problems that your target audience face.

Without that compelling content getting in front of the right people at the right time, your voice will not be heard, your business offerings will go unnoticed and you will watch as your competitors thrust open their doors to new clients that could and should have been yours.

Articles, videos, blog posts, pillar content, follow up emails, presentations and proposals: the list is endless!

To many business owners it may seem daunting or even off putting to have to produce an array of meaningful and compelling content on a regular basis that empowers your target audience to reach out and connect with you, and trust me it is.

But the truth of the matter is without the commitment to truly encapsulate your audience, online marketing will never see the results that you may have been promised or dreamed off.

But we already have a website!

To say that you have a website is not good enough. It is not. A website on its own is NOTHING. It is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back and not knowing how to pull the chord. Useless. In fact it is less than useless, your website becomes a cost that sucks cash from your business instead of becoming an investment that adds to your bottom line on a monthly basis.

The content that you create is the means to attracting those profitable clients. Both on your website and on other targeted websites across the internet where your audience may be visiting. When your content creation dries up or doesn’t even get off the ground in the first place you will get fewer eyeballs looking, less subscribers and even fewer sales.

Content drives the internet and quality content engages your targeted audience, arouses their interest, creates a desire and encourages them to act.

3 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

Highly Visible Social Proof

If you claim to be the biggest, the best or the most efficient in your niche or industry then you’d better make sure there is evidence on the internet to substantiate those claims.

It is not difficult for anyone to search the internet to find out information about your business. One simple search in Google of your business name will bring back search results highlighting the most relevant pages on the internet about your business.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have not put anything on the internet about your firm that no one else has done it either. There are so many ways that people can talk about your business: Social media, local business directories, blogs etc that you should implement an online reputation management strategy to keep informed of how your business is being represented online.

If you are the best, then social proof will occur naturally to support these claims and then you will have some great third party generated content that you can use to market your business and win more customers with.

Be seen as a Thought Leader.

content marketing through thought leadership

Pick up a trade magazine and look at the expert opinion articles, those people are providing interviews, writing articles relating to their niche and adding insight around topical issues that may confuse potential clients. By taking time to put that content out there they become a thought leader, the “go to” person in that industry, and when that happens opportunities and business relationships come your way.

The same thing happens on the internet, in fact, the very same content or remarkably similar content to the trade magazine article will be converted into a blog post, a video, an article on an industry related website, an email through to your existing database.

Staying in the spotlight at the top is not easy. It requires attention to detail, original ideas and of course, constant updating.

Top Search Engine Rankings.

Having your business website listed in the top of the search engine rankings for your business niche, the products or services you offer or even the problems that your services solve is a great way to increase sales in your business. In the majority of niches there is fierce competition for the top spots in the search engines.

Google is continually updating they way they rank websites on the internet, one of the key areas they look at is the content both on and off the website. Is it related to the niche, is it good quality, is it being shared by other people, does it have third party comments, does the content get linked back to or linked out to other informative content.

All of these factors and many more are used to make a decision on the relevance and quality of your website and where it sits in the search rankings. Ultimately none of these factors can be taken into consideration if you do not have any content or create content on a regular basis.

The more content you produce which is related to your core competencies, the easier it is for you to place in context links and also get your articles published in leading sites within your niche which again helps your content marketing strategy by raising your profile.

Content marketing alone will not bring a horde of new business but it certainly plays a significant part and it will help your online presence and build you online reputation, set your business apart from your competition as a thought leader and position you as the go to player in your industry.

Are You Maximising Your Email Marketing? 8 Top Tips!

Are You Maximising Your Email Marketing? 8 Top Tips!

Are You Maximising Your Email Marketing?

email marketing tips

 

Email updates and newsletters aren’t a new idea, but they’re still very effective when used correctly. The great thing about email is that it’s fairly unobtrusive; people will click in and read if they are interested or the message could stay in their inbox and act as a reminder of who you are for when it’s more relevant.

But how do you ensure that your emails are being read rather than ignored, and not just read but actioned?

Make sure people can opt out!

When email marketing for small business purposes it’s crucial to only market to people who have opted into your messages. When people opt in to receive your emails let them know what they’re subscribing to, how often they’ll get updates and always give them the option to opt out! See the guidelines from the Information Commissioners Office

Keep emails relevant and brief.

People don’t usually want to spend all day reading emails, so keep your updates short and to the point. If you want to include more information then link it back to your blog. This way the readers can choose the level of information they get, and you know that those who click through are likely to be more interested in what you are offering. Also make sure that your email is interesting to look at, so even if you’re only using text rather than images keep the paragraphs short and well spaced to make it look short and easy to read.

Provide value.

Don’t just send emails for the sake of it. Make sure that if you are trying your best to get someone’s attention that it is worth them giving you their time. If people recognise that the mails you send them will be interesting and add value to their day then they’ll be glad to open them, on the other hand if your mail is useless spam then you’ll have so many unsubscribers that you’ll soon have no-one left to email! Try including industry news, special offers, links to useful resources, blog updates, competitions or surveys.

Make it personal.

Even if you are mailing multiple subscribers at once try to keep the tone conversational as if you’re only speaking to one person. If possible use their name; many mailing packages can do this automatically.

Be Exclusive.

email marketing tips

If you want people to sign up to your emails then make them feel special! Offer them things that they can’t get elsewhere to entice them into signing up, and then keep the offers coming to keep them interested. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, just something unique that you can offer this customer and nobody else can. For example, a 20% discount to the first 10 people to respond, or a free service voucher to anyone who refers a friend. Be creative!

Use a catchy title.

The title is usually the only thing you can guarantee someone will read, so take the most of that advantage and  make your subject lines as catchy and interesting as possible. Mix up your titles as well; if you only ever put a special offer in the title then people will get used to thinking that you always have special offers and will be less inclined to open them. Try using questions, facts, statistics, jokes or extracts from your blog, really anything that might provoke curiosity and get the reader to open the email. Just make sure the title is relevant and in keeping with the rest of the email!

Never overdo it.

Never ever bombard people with mail after mail. No one wants to receive dozens of mails from the same company. The right frequency might be different for each company, but it would be hard for anyone to justify more than once per day. Some businesses might find the right balance is once a week, or only every month. Stay tuned to your feedback and stats to see how many people are reading your updates and adjust accordingly.

Always include a call to Action!

If you want people to do something, you have to ask them. Make your calls to action easy to understand and easy to do: Phone this number, click this link, complete this questionnaire. Each marketing email that you send should have a measurable call to action.

As a final note, make sure that your emails are spell checked, you have included all your contact details, and any links that you include work. You could also include yourself on the campaign just to ensure that you see everything the way your customers see it.

What are your top tips for email marketing?

Leveraging Internet Search Engine Optimisation to Grow Your Business

Leveraging Internet Search Engine Optimisation to Grow Your Business

Leveraging Internet Search Engine Optimisation to Grow Your Business

If you are responsible for marketing and developing an online lead generation strategy through leveraging your website and other online property, you already know that targeted clients don’t just appear out of thin air. You have to help people find your site. In fact, you have to work pretty hard to be found. While there are many ways to do this, nothing brings as much traffic to your site as internet search engine optimisation.

What is Internet Search Engine Optimisation?

Internet Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making a website or page more relevant to search engines for a particular keyword phrase. When you improve SEO the desired result is to get your page to appear higher up the organic search rankings. The higher a website or a page ranks in the search engines, the larger the chances of that website being visited by targeted searchers and converting to leads or sales.

If you look at a standard Search Engine Results Page, down the left-hand side of the page you will see what are known as the natural or organic listings. These are the search results that the search engine thinks are the most relevant to the search term that you typed, in descending order of importance.

These listings are free, as opposed to the Google Pay Per Click adverts on the top and right hand side of the page, and if your website is deemed relevant and of high enough quality your business website could appear naturally in the search results when a potential customer enters their search criteria into the search bar.

Why is it important to rank higher in the search engines?

It makes sense to appear as close to the top of the organic search results as possible as statistics show that:

  • 66.7% of all users click on one of the top three links.
  • 93% of all Internet traffic is generated from search engines [Source: Forrester Research]

Click on the following link to get ten more shocking statistics that highlight why SEO is Fundamental to your online lead generation strategy.

Imagine your website appearing at the top of the search engines for a major keyword relevant to your industry. Think about what benefits that would have on your business growth, and by understanding and incorporating internet search engine optimisation strategies into your online activity, over time your business could benefit from a larger number of visitors to your website, more leads and increased profitability for your business.

The most widely used search engines are Google and Bing and it is widely recommended that you submit your site to these search engines. It is a simple process that should take no more than a few minutes and it is important because if the search engines do not know you are there then they will not consider your content for inclusion in the search rankings.

There are many other actions that you need to take in order to fully optimize your website for search engine results such as tailoring your content to be specific to the search terms that users are looking for with relation to your product, brand or service and having the correct site layout so that the search engines can crawl over it to get a complete image of your site and content.

The opportunity that exists from leveraging search engine optimisation could be dramatic for your business. If you plan to build an online presence that generates targeted leads then you have to include SEO in your marketing plan. There are thousands of books and websites out there where you can learn for yourself and of course you can invest in working with an internet search engine optimisation company to get your site moving up in the search engine rankings, commanding higher online visibility, generating more leads and winning more business.

Call us on 0161 850 4413 today for a FREE consultation to show you how your website could be one of your greatest business assets.

Improve SEO and Get Highly Targeted Visitors

Improve SEO and Get Highly Targeted Visitors

Improve SEO and Get Highly Targeted Visitors

Small businesses often make classic mistakes with their websites, assuming that having built one, even a custom designed solution, that they will instantly appear highly in Google and win loads of new business. While this can be the case in some situations, it is far more likely that you are going to have to put in some work to improve SEO.

With an average click through rate (CTR) of 36.4%, you’ll benefit from more than a third of clicks from a search engine if you can rank a keyword term in the first position. The top three listings take 58.4% of all the searches! That is why seo is something that all business should take very seriously. [Source Optify CTR Study]

5 Tips to Improve SEO and Rise to the Top!

To make your website rise to the top you need to follow these tips.

improve seo

1. Keyword Selection

The keyword phrase (a term longer than one word, for example “Employment Solicitors Manchester”) that the user will enter into the search engine is hugely important and sits at the very foundation of getting top search engine rankings.

Think about the term your ideal client will enter into the search engine when they are looking for the results that your service can provide.

Your company name and your location are good for brand awareness but it is not addressing the scores of people that don’t yet know about you.

2. Quality content that is keyword optimised

In order for Google to fully understand what your content is about, it first of all sends a spider along to crawl your pages. The spider looks at pre defined areas of the page that help it translate the content and report back as to what the content is about.

The areas that you need to consider are:

  • Page Title
  • Heading
  • Sub headings
  • Alt tags for images
  • URL of the page

All of these elements of the page are considered by the search engines when indexing your content in the correct place so that your ideal visitor can find it. But remember that if your page is over optimised, in other words you are writing for the search engines, then it may not be easily decipherable for a human reader. Think about the user experience first.

3. Internal Linking

Internal linking is about how and where you link a page or post to other content that is relevant within your website. The point being that the search engines want to provide the user with the best possible experience they can.

Continuing with the “Employment Solicitors Manchester” search term earlier, it would be of benefit if you could then link to pages containing information and references to employment tribunals, constructive dismissal cases, and workplace discrimination.

By doing this you are providing greater detail for the user, which will help them make a judgement on your suitability to help them and the search engines will also appreciate. If the internal linking is managed correctly it will contribute to improving SEO, edging your content closer and closer to the very top search engine rankings where all the clicks happen.

4.  Attracting Inbound links.

Google and the other search engines rely highly on other people linking to your website in order for them to establish how popular your website is. The more popular the website, the higher your return in the search results.

The goal here is to create highly valuable, unique, entertaining, thought provoking, controversial content that people want to talk about and share.

The more people that link back to your site signifies to the search engines the popularity and value of the piece of content. Over time generating more links back to your content will result in greater search engine traffic. However, this does not mean that all links are equal; the quality and relevance of the link is highly important too.

Google takes into consideration where the link has come from. If your content is about employment solicitors then a link from the law society is a valuable link. If you receive a link back from a Comedy Club blog then as complimentary as it is that you have received a link it is less relevant and holds less authority.

5. Have a Social Media plan

Social signals such as being liked, tweeted or +1’d now impact your search engine rankings.

That is why you need to have a social media plan that includes identifying which social channels your customers frequent, tracking social conversations, trending topics, managing your online reputation and developing and sharing optimised content.

By ensuring you can easily create and post relevant content to social channels on a regular basis, you will not only improve your search rankings, but reach more potential customers when your content is linked to, liked, or shared.

Search engine optimisation techniques are constantly changing. What doesn’t change, and in fact becomes more prominent, is the fact that if you invest the time creating quality content that has value with the readers on a regular basis you will be able to improve seo and find your site and pages getting top search engine rankings, driving more clicks and ultimately converting to a higher number of sales.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

Some businesses and industries lend themselves more easily to having beautiful pictures on their website, for example Floristry or Cupcake making. Even if your business is an accountancy firm, or a Solicitor it’s worth figuring out a way to include visual content into your marketing mix, as the statistics below prove just how powerful online imagery can be for capturing a customer’s imagination.

1) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

visual content

2) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

3) 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

4) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source:AnsonAlex)

5) Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz)

visual content

6) Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured)

7) On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links. (Source: Dan Zarrella)

8) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources:comScore and Nielsen)

9) Over 72 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on YouTube.com. (Source: YouTube)

visual content

10) 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. (Source: YouTube)

11) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

12) Mobile video viewing increased 35% from 2010 to 2011. (Source: Nielsen)

13) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos)

visual content

14) Mobile video subscription is expected to hit $16 billion in revenue by 2014, with over 500 million subscribers. (Source: Ooyala)

15) Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)

So what are you waiting for? Get your creative juices flowing and brighten up your website and add pictures and video to your content marketing strategy! If you’re stuck for ideas then look out for my follow up article, a Visual Marketing brainstorming session.

You Are What Ever Your Clients Say You Are!

You Are What Ever Your Clients Say You Are!

You Are What Ever Your Clients Say You Are!

With the ever increasing amount of messages that each individual customer is exposed to, buyers’ expectations are rising and it is becoming harder to earn audience trust. Without trust there is little chance of building long term profitable business relationships. That is why being customer focused should not only be at the heart of your marketing but also at the basis of everything that you do.

This next sentence may shock people; in fact it might even offend some business owners!

Nobody cares what you think about your product, your service or your business because to all intents and purposes that is a canned and measured response.

What people want to know about your company is the stories people tell about it!

The sooner you accept that what other people say is far more important to the success of your business than what you have to say, the better for your business and the easier it will be on your finances.

If the word surrounding your business is positive, then great! Capitalise on that buzz and attract as many targeted people as you can to witness that buzz for themselves so they too can become interested in what you do, how you do it, how they can become a part of it and share it with those that they know.

On the other hand if the general consensus is that your business is poor and does not deliver on what it says it does then STOP!

stop sign

Take a step back, listen to what people are saying, assess where the problem is and put things right. Then ask people again to judge you on how you are doing?  When the feedback comes back positive then you can look at growing once again.

People need to see for their own eyes what others are saying about your business before making a commitment to become a business partner. To help people make up their mind you should think about the following steps that can improve the return on your marketing investment:

Know your customer – The more you know about your customer, the easier it will become to provide that personalised message. If you have an image of what your customer looks like, what books they read, what makes them happy, where they live, or what industry they work in, then attracting that prospect to become a lead or a customer will be far easier and over time will cost less as conversions will be higher.

Consistency – When a prospect is considering joining your business there is no doubt that your sales and support staff will be there to allow that person to feel a part of how your business runs. If this changes, i.e. the point of contact is no longer available, support staff are currently always engaged or not available at all, then your client is soon going to be disgruntled.

Be consistent with your offering to the client and manage expectations from the outset as to what the client can and should expect from your business and stick to it.

Communicate – Don’t just talk to the customer, make the relationship a two way street. Many people don’t like the idea of giving power to the customer. The truth of the matter is that the internet has given the power to the customer anyway, so deal with it by giving them great things to say about you, and often.

Businesses are now more transparent than ever, honesty and openness is expected so embrace it and allow your business to thrive on it.

Always be listening – Review sites have given the consumer many more options to get their opinions heard. It is no longer in the power of the business to send out a periodic questionnaire as a customer can now go on Yelp, Google+, Qype, Touch Local, Twitter or Facebook and express an opinion. This can happen 24/7/365 and the results mean that  anyone searching for information about your business will see consumer generated content, comments, opinions and real life experiences of working with you and your business.

listening

Have a system in place where you can constantly monitor what is being said about your business and your online reputation, and be prepared to deal with negative criticism when they arrive.

You cannot please everybody, but how you resolve the situation with those that are unhappy when the eyes and ears of the world are on you can impact how prospective clients view your business both in a positive and negative light.

Act Decisively – In the past if you had a problem with a product or service you would go to the customer service desk, ask for the manager or perhaps fill out a customer complaint form to get an apology and a promise from the manager that the issue would be investigated and resolved. What would happen after that is anybody’s guess!

Now it is a completely different kettle of fish. The public nature of the social web means that when somebody has something negative to say about your company you need to act decisively as in the digital world things can quickly escalate.

By embracing the voice of your customers in the digital world your business will be available and responsive to your ideal client’s needs which are essential to building great customer relationships.

If you don’t treat your customers with the trust, respect and care they deserve and bought into when signing up with your business, there is a string of eager and dedicated competitors that will be more than happy to take those clients from you.

5 Keys to Effective Small Business Content Marketing

5 Keys to Effective Small Business Content Marketing

5 Keys to Effective Small Business Content Marketing

small business content marketingPublishing quality content is a great way to support your lead generation tactics, develop a magnetic presence online and give the user more reason to reach out, connect and ultimately convert more prospects into clients. However the series of actions needed to achieve this increase in targeted clients: planning, creating and distributing content can be overwhelming for many small businesses who have limited resources.

With the right plan and commitment, a prominent and effective content marketing plan is possible for all small businesses. By following these keys you can put content marketing to work for your small business growth.

1. Clarify your budget.

Yes, you are going to need a budget. It might not be monetary but you will need to commit resources to it, whether that’s your time or a percentage of your workforce’s time. Perhaps include producing one piece of content per month per employee into their contracts. If you have ten employees then suddenly you have 10 pieces of content each and every month!

Setting a clear budget for content will help you spend your marketing budget wisely and narrow in on the techniques that will be most effective for your business.

How much should you spend on content marketing? According to a recent survey from econsultancy*, companies surveyed are spending 36% percent of their total marketing budgets on digital. While according to the content marketing institute report**, B2B marketers dedicate approximately 26% of their total budgets to content marketing initiatives.

Do you have a content marketing budget? How much do you commit?

Of course there is no hard and fast rule as to what a business should spend as ultimately it comes down to what you are looking to achieve from your online marketing initiatives. But having a clear figure in mind before you start developing content in house or looking to outside providers can help you stay focused and spend wisely.

2. Know your customer.

Your content marketing has to be customer-centric to be effective. Content marketing isn’t a promotional brochure. It’s a way to connect with your audience and help them solve their problems while building a relationship of trust and positioning yourself as the go to business when they need you.

Your goal with content is to provide the information that your customers are looking for that helps them satisfy their needs in a way that is attractive to them.

For example, if your customer does a search for “Vintage Cars” and you have developed and published an article titled “5 Things to Look For in Vintage Cars” that is ranked highly in the search engine results pages, they find your article easily, read it and are impressed with your expert insight. They explore your site and sign up to the exclusive glossy 12 page Magazine on the 1955 Mercedes Gullwing. They then receive your weekly newsletter with more informative articles and regular special offers on vintage cars. Then they fall in love with 1965 Aston Martin DB5 and they become a business partner.

Apply the same strategy to your own business. Figure out what your customers need to know, what they want to know and create content that addresses those needs.

3. Repurpose the content you create.

small business content marketing repurposeOne article on one site is not content marketing. In order to reach as many targeted user as possible you need those users to find you wherever they may go.

The same 12 page Glossy Magazine that was used to entice people to give you their email address and contact details can be broken down into 10 different articles that can be posted on 10 different sites.

Now along with the original article you have 11 other articles pointing back to your site and attracting users from all over the web. Use the images that are inside the glossy presentation and record sound over them, of you reading the information that was in the magazine and then publish this on video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo and post them on Facebook.

One piece of great content can go a long way. By investing in great content you are giving your marketing department fuel to create more and more interesting and inspiring pieces to attract people back to your business.

4. Curate cleverly

Many people will follow you as they see you as someone who is interesting with relation to a certain topic or field. Therefore it is better to supply quality content with relation to that field than not supplying any content.

Rather than your followers or readers migrating to other sites to find good content bring the content to them. If there are great articles, videos or blog posts that you find interesting and are related to your field then share them.

By sharing other content and adding your own take on it, people get an insight into what makes you tick and gives the reader an opportunity to connect with you.

Don’t send so much varied content that you start to make your audience forget why they followed you in the first place. Your audience should know what to expect and trust from you and the content should be worth them spending their time consuming.

5. Promote your content with social media.

A piece of online content cannot be GREAT unless it gets consumed, liked and shared.

Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. You need to support your content marketing plan with regular social media usage.

The promotion of your content is just as important as the content creation. Every time you publish an item you need to mobilise your brand evangelists to passionately share the content for you. But you need to be proud of the content and be willing to share through the social media and digital spectrum.

The more eyeballs that see your content, the greater the chance of someone following through and connecting.

Develop a following on Twitter and Facebook, Google+ Linkedin, and then update your fans and followers when you post new content. Constantly look for opportunities to post your content on additional sites or providing articles or guest posts to niche related sites.

Small businesses are using content marketing to support multiple business goals, brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention. Get clear on what your customer wants to know and then publish, curate and share great content that will market your business for you.

*Marketing Budgets Report

**B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Budgets Benchmarks and Trends