Author Archives: Marie Allen

Taking Your Business Online

 

BT and ITV have collaborated on a series of adverts designed to help viewers through the Coronavirus crisis.  They include tips on working from home with Clare Balding, and how to download podcasts with Rylan Clark-Neal.

The one I want to highlight is “Taking your business online.” This short video is fronted by Jake Humphrey, a presenter who sports fans will be very familiar with!  In it he explains very well the things business owners need to think about to get their business noticed online.  It is definitely worth a watch.

Watch Jake Humphrey’s 3-minute Taking Your Business Online video

Three things to pick up on:

Email – if you’re going to email your customers as suggested, either do this individually or, if you email them as a group, make sure you use the BCC (blind copy) feature so that they don’t all see each other’s email addresses. This would be a major breach of GDPR!  This is where an email marketing system (Mailchimp, Aweber etc.) comes into its own.

LinkedIn  – if you want to set up or improve your presence on LinkedIn it’s very important to get your Profile and its headline right. Make sure your headline includes the keywords you want to get picked up for in searches.

Bespoke content  – this is key to getting your message out online.  Jake talks about writing helpful content such as ‘How to’ guides and blogs. If the idea of writing your own content scares the life out of you, do get in touch!  Or check out my post “How to create blog posts that will attract new clients” to get started.

Is this the right time to revive your email list?

 

Many small businesses are seeing a big reduction in visits to their website as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic. But there is another way to reach potential customers, which has nothing to do with your website and the vagaries of Google! Your email list.

Email lists are proving soooo valuable to many businesses at this time. An obvious example is the exercise instructor who is now offering online classes instead of in-person sessions.  If they have an email list it is super-easy for them to contact lots of their clients, past clients and potential clients. So that they can quickly move their business to an online model.

Emails are also a great way to keep in touch with potential customers, even if money is tight and they’re not able to buy from you just now. Keeping alive that relationship with them through the hard times, will pay dividends in the long term. It builds trust. When they are in a position to buy what you offer, you will have the edge over other businesses who haven’t shown the same commitment.

But I don’t have an email list!

If you don’t have an email list, tools like Mailchimp make it easy to set one up.

And if you’ve got a list but haven’t sent an email for ages, don’t worry!  We’re living through strange times and the chances are people will be delighted to hear from you!

Here are some of my blog posts on the subject of email marketing to help get you started:

The Power of an Email Newsletter

How to create emails that get results

Why GDPR is good news

Or check out my email newsletter services.

The Power of an Email Newsletter

woman receives e-mail on mobile phone

Marketing research consistently shows that email is the most effective form of online marketing.

Email marketing is effective because you are talking to people who already have an interest in your business. They are your ‘Warm Leads’ in marketing-speak. And you are reminding them about your business, and how you can help them, on a regular and consistent basis.  So that, when they are ready to buy, you are top of mind. And ahead of your competitors!

90% of your potential clients are not ready to buy immediately

When potential clients first come across you, whether online or face to face, 90% of them are not ready to buy immediately.  But they are often happy to keep in touch and get to know more about your business over time. An e-newsletter gives you the opportunity to build relationships with your most likely purchasers.

The Money is in the List!

A list of past and prospective clients is an invaluable marketing asset.  Make full use of all those valuable contacts from networking meetings! If someone expresses an interest in your business, invite them to join your list.

You can make this more attractive by offering something of value in return for their email address. For example, a discount voucher, or a free e-book with useful tips and information.

An Email Marketing System will help you

An email marketing system like Mailchimp makes all this possible. And it helps you meet General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) requirements too.  Mailchimp, and other email marketing systems, will provide an Unsubscribe option on all emails, which is a GDPR requirement.  You also must have the consent of anyone you add to your list, and you must display a Privacy policy on your website, explaining how you use the data which you hold about your subscribers.  More about GDPR and email marketing

If you think that writing and emailing weekly or monthly newsletters is too much of an overhead, why not start with a bi-monthly or quarterly newsletter?  Or get some help. Check out my email newsletter packages.

If you’d like to get started with or improve your email marketing here are a couple of other articles you may find of interest.

How to create emails that get results

How to create a successful e-newsletter

Get in touch if you’d like some help with an e-newsletter.

We look at email newsletters in more depth at my 5 Steps workshop.

Keyword Research for Dummies

If you’ve ever looked into doing keyword research properly, you will know that the tools which are out there are expensive. And complicated.  But there is a tool which is free, and simple to use. In fact, you already know how to use it!  

Google Search Suggestions Can Help!

Whenever you do a search on Google, it will suggest different options for you to choose from. These options are based on Google’s own research into the most popular search terms used.  That’s pretty authoritative!

 If you’re not sure what keywords you should be using for your website and social media content, have a little play around with Google Suggest. You might be amazed at the ideas and the quality of the information you get from it.

 

Atomize Your Online Content!

atom image for atomize reference

What Is Atomizing?

“Atomizing” is the latest marketing idea to hit in the States.  The term “Atomizing” was coined by online marketing expert Todd Defren.  It means thinking about online content differently. Using your existing, high quality content in as many different ways, and reaching as many different audiences, as possible.  Forget the constant struggle to come up with new blog posts!  Focus on the really good stuff you’ve already got.  And promote and share it for all it’s worth!

How To Atomize

“Atomizing” takes things a few steps further!  It means breaking the content down into pieces and putting it back together in a meaningful way each time you post it. 

So it’s not about cutting and pasting the exact same words in lots of different places. It’s about using your content intelligently. Tailoring each piece of content to the platform, and to the audience who you think will see it there so that you get maximum value from it.

Some Atomizing Ideas

Jay Baer, another online marketing guru, has come up with 47 Tactics to Atomize Your Content Marketing!  A print article can be a series of tweets. A LinkedIn post can be a podcast.  

Check out my earlier post for 5 ways to use one piece of content to Get Full Value from it.  Newsletter article, social media posts, networking ’60 seconds’, LinkedIn post, video. 

Has this got you thinking about some different ways you could revive and reuse some of your existing content? 

How to Plan a Successful Christmas Marketing Campaign

christmas gift box with pine cones and cup of coffeeChristmas is a peak sales time for many businesses. Here are a few tips to help you maximise the effectiveness of your Christmas marketing.  Now is the time to start planning.

  1. Schedule – first of all put together a schedule of key dates and work back from those. Black Friday, Christmas Day, last day for Christmas orders……
  2. Be a helpful resource  – your customers will be bombarded with promotions and sales-y emails during the pre-Christmas period.  Be the voice of calm!  Write helpful, relevant social media posts and emails.  Whatever your audience will find useful and of interest. It’s worth putting some time and effort into creating quality, helpful content. People will remember you for it.  This will depend on your business but some examples would be:
    • Advice on planning a Christmas party
    • Shopping ideas for those ‘difficult to buy for’ people!
    • Ways to minimise stress during the festive period
  3. Make the most of the personal. One of the advantages of being a small business is that you can come across as more real and relevant to people’s lives than a big business.  Make the most of personal experiences, whether about your clients or about you, to promote your products or services. Do you have photos, videos or stories from previous Christmasses that you can use?

Use your experience and your imagination to come up with effective, relevant and attention-grabbing ideas!

And Finally…..  These Online Marketing Principles Work All Year Round!

The three key principles  –  Scheduling, Relevance and Personal Connection –  apply all year round, to all types of business. They’re not just for Christmas!  So, even if yours is a business that isn’t focussed on Christmas sales, you can apply these principles very effectively to any online marketing campaign.

Happy Christmas Marketing!

Seven Power Words to Grab Your Readers’ Attention!

Words Have Power written on post-its on cork boardThere are some special words that can make a real difference to the way your readers react to your written content. Words that will encourage them to move from passive reading to action! You can use these words in your emails, web pages, blogs and social media posts. Wherever you want your readers to engage.

Here’s the list of simple, highly effective, ‘Power Words’:

  1. Now – this creates urgency. “Don’t put it off” it says. Be sure to make it very clear exactly what action you want your readers to take.
  2. You / Your – makes it personal. Helps your reader visualise the impact your offer will have on their lives or business
  3. Thanks – this adds a human quality to your content. Thank them for reading, for buying, for subscribing. It builds customer loyalty and helps to create trust. Everyone likes to be appreciated!
  4. New – implies fresh, up-to-date. It’s human nature to want the latest, shiny thing.
  5. Easy – human beings are naturally lazy! They will always look for the easy way to do something. Also, perhaps they are a little scared about making the first move and actually contacting you. Reassure them that you are there to make things easy and pain-free for them.
  6. And – maybe your reader is teetering on the edge of buying. You can give them an additional push in the right direction by adding an extra related item to the deal you are offering. “And you will also get…..” TV shopping channels do this brilliantly.
  7. Free – everybody loves free stuff! Add a freebie to your offer to encourage a purchase. Or offer a free product or service to encourage your readers to sign up to your email list.

Think about how you could include these power words in your written content to help you attract more clients. Let me know how you get on!

Why Isn’t My Website on Page 1?

The Google rankings can seem like a bit of a lottery. Some business owners spend a lot of time and money on a stunning website, but it doesn’t rank well at all. Others build their own cheapie website, perhaps not the most attractive website, and it shoots to the top of the rankings within a few weeks.

A lot depends on how competitive the market is for your type of business. But equally, a lot depends on whether Google can easily find out what it needs to know about your business. Most importantly:

  • The product or service you offer
  • Your location

Your Keywords

These two things are your “keywords” (to venture into SEO-speak for a moment!) SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Google wants to see these keywords in your text, for example:

  • I am an accountant based in Dorking, Surrey……
  • I run a beauty salon in Crawley, Surrey
  • I’m a massage therapist based in Horsham, West Sussex
  • Visit my office/salon/studio in Location
  • Free parking at my office/salon/studio in Location

And Google especially likes to see these keywords in your headings, for example “How We Help Businesses in Location.”

If you want to rank well in local searches use the Location word throughout your website’s text, wherever it fits in a natural way. For example, if you post case studies or testimonials on your website, include the location as well as the name.

Your Website Pages

Have a different page for each product or service you offer to make it clear and easy for Google, and your website visitors. And so that you can load up each page in a natural way with the right keywords for that page. So, the beauty salon’s website would have a separate page for Nails, Facials, Body Treatments etc.

If your website’s not ranking well on Google check through your text and headings to see if your keywords are appearing often enough. Be aware that if you make any changes it will take a few days for Google to pick them up.

Do you need an SEO Audit?

Still struggling to get noticed on Google? Get in touch for an SEO audit of your website.

How to Create Emails that Get Results

Whatever happened to Google+

 

Do you remember when Google+ was the next “Big Thing.”  The mighty Google had created a new social networking product that was going to overtake Facebook and Twitter because it was newer and better. And well, it was Google. Things didn’t quite work out like that, and now Google+ has been consigned to the digital scrapheap. The consumer version is being shut down over a 10-month period.

Which is a shame, because it had some really good features. It’s difficult to pinpoint why Google+ failed while other new products have taken off, like Instagram and Snapchat. But fail it did, despite having the backing of one of the most successful digital companies in the world behind it.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because it demonstrates very clearly that you can’t rely on social networking products for your marketing. If you are one of the unfortunate businesses that invested a lot of time and effort in Google+, sadly that is now wasted. The connections you made in your Google+ ‘Circles’ as they were known, the content you posted and shared. All lost.

To avoid the loss of your content and connections make sure that your website is the focus of all your online marketing. Don’t rely on social media.

Your content is safe if it’s on your website.Your connections are safe if they are on your e-mail marketing list. You own your website. You own your email marketing list. But, at the end of the day, your Facebook friends and your Twitter followers are owned by Facebook and Twitter. So are all your posts and tweets.

Here’s what the Online Copywriting blog Copyblogger says:

“Anyone can create content on sites like Facebook, but that content effectively belongs to Facebook. The more content we create for free, the more valuable Facebook becomes. We do the work, they reap the profit.”

Social media can be a great marketing tool. But use it wisely and, when you can, point your social connections to your blog and website. And encourage them to sign up to your list. Then you can be sure that they won’t disappear!