Author Archives: admin

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!

 

A Major WordPress Update is Imminent!

If you have a WordPress website you need to be aware of an imminent, and quite major change to its editor.

The next WordPress update will include a brand new editor, called Gutenberg, replacing the current one with a ‘drag and drop’ style editor. In the long term this will make editing your WordPress website easier and more flexible. In the short term however, it may cause some problems.

  • The look of your site may change, probably for the worse
  • Plugins – pieces of code specifically written to provide added functionality on WordPress websites, may not work as expected.

Most websites are updated automatically by the hosting company. Regular upgrades are necessary, mainly for security reasons. It is not clear when the upgrade will take place. It could be any day from now on.

How to Avoid Problems

Speak to your web developer and check they have made the necessary adjustments for your website to be “Gutenberg ready”

OR

You can install a plugin called the Classic Editor. Activate this and your website will revert to the old editor that you are used to. Instructions below.

Websites built using standard WordPress themes and widely-used themes, for example Divi, should not suffer too many Gutenberg-related problems. Websites that have bespoke WordPress themes may not fare so well.

Instructions for installing the Classic Editor plugin and updating other plugins

If you are confident about installing plugins and have Admin access to your website go to your WordPress Dashboard and select Plugins. Search for the Classic Editor plugin, install and activate it.

If a plugin no longer works correctly check in the Plugins section of your Dashboard (as above) that you have the most recent version and, if not, update it. It may have been updated for Gutenberg. If it still doesn’t work you will need to find another plugin with the same functionality. Not great.

If you do not have Admin access, or if you are not confident about making these changes, contact your web developer.

There is a full explanation of the Gutenberg upgrade on the WordPress.org website. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

I hope your WordPress upgrade goes smoothly. Fingers crossed!

Get Full Value from your Online Content!

The great thing about marketing your business online is that mostly it’s free. Or should I say, it seems like it’s free.

  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – your account is free
  • Adding blogs to your website – free
  • Email marketing with Mailchimp. For lists of up to 2000 subscribers it’s  free

So what’s the downside?

Two things:

1. Eating up your precious time!

  • Social media is highly addictive.You can easily waste many hours having fun on Facebook!
  • Writing high quality content for web pages and blogs is very time-consuming
  • Email marketing systems like Mailchimp are very powerful. But learning how to use them takes a while 

2. Coming up with new ideas for content is stressful and difficult

It’s easy for new business owners to dive straight in, full of enthusiasm. They start to use lots of different online marketing tools to get their message out there. But, after an initial spurt of activity they quickly run out of steam. Short of ideas, and exhausted trying to keep up with it all while running a business! 

Time to go Back to Basics

Have a Plan and Get Organised!

Plan Ahead

Work out the topics you want to cover in your blogs or emails in advance. Ideally for the next 6 months. Then there are no last-minute panics because it’s time for another blog post and you’ve no idea what to write about!

Get Organised

With the right system in place you can get lots more value from each piece of content you write.This is called Repurposing your content. Here are some ideas for repurposing a blog post:

  • Use it as the main article in a newsletter
  • Take “snippets’ from it and use them as social media posts
  • Use it as a networking “60 seconds”
  • Adapt it into a LinkedIn post
  • Turn it into a video! Check out video creation platform Lumen5 

Make sure you include links to your other blog posts and to pages on your website. That you are making full use of every piece of content you produce. And encouraging prospective clients to buy from you as they get to know, like and trust you.

I hope some of these ideas work for you. Let me know how you get on!

Why You Need a ‘Feel Good’ Website!

Neuroscience is becoming a key part of marketing theory. Research demonstrates that we tend to make decisions based on subconscious choices, rather than on a rational basis.

This means that your potential customers are making their buying decisions based on the way they feel about your service or product rather than on a reasoned analysis of its features and benefits.

The hugely successful online mattress brand, Eve Sleep, provide a good example of this. In their marketing copy they focus on how you feel in the morning after a good night’s sleep. More alive, more productive, more fulfilled. They don’t mention springs and mattress fillings!

It’s all about being part of the Eve “Morning Person’ Club and living a balanced, healthy lifestyle based on a good night’s sleep. This is how you will feel if you have an Eve Sleep mattress!

What does this mean for your business and your marketing, including your web copy?

Think about the positive effects your service or product delivers. How do people feel after they’ve bought from you?

  • Bookkeeper – Relieved that this is delegated to someone they trust
  • Life coach – Less stressed, happier
  • Chiropractor – Free from pain

This is what should be on your home page. Less about the details of what you do. (That can go on other pages which you can link to from the home page.) More about making people feel better.

Back this up with glowing customer testimonials and case studies. And you’ve got a winning formula

Have you got a “So What?” website?! 

So you’re happy with the look and feel of your website, but you’re disappointed with the amount of business you get from it.

Lots of websites look nice and contain interesting information, but they don’t really grab their visitors’ attention. Visitors leave the website thinking “I’ll remember that business. I’ll come back later.” But usually they don’t!

They get distracted by other things. When they do get round to making a purchase decision they will have forgotten all about you.

You need a Call to Action!

Most of the people who show an interest in your service or product are not ready to buy now. Over 90% of them are just looking around and checking things out. The secret is to keep in touch with these potential buyers so that when they are ready to buy, you are the first person they think of.

That means that your website needs to grab some contact details from them, so you can keep in touch. Every page of your website needs a Call to Action.

You offer them something of value for free in return for their email address. This is called a Lead Magnet. Your offer can be a free:

  • E-book 
  • Checklist
  • Hints and Tips sheet
  • Email training course 
  • Discount voucher

Once they are on your email list keep them interested with a regular feed of high quality information in an easy-to-read, accessible style. You can use video too. 

The Money is in the List!

It’s a marketing mantra that “The money is in the list!” These interested website visitors are your warm leads. Don’t lose them! Get them on your list with a compelling Call to Action and Lead Magnet.

Encourage interested website visitors to follow you on social media as well. Make sure your social media icons are in a prominent place on very webpage. Even better, plugins are available for WordPress websites to display your recent social media posts. 

Contact me for a free ‘Call to Action’ consultation.

How to create blog posts that will attract new clients

 

How can you make sure that your blog posts get picked up, read and acted on?

  1. Choose your topic with your audience in mind. Write about something that your target clients are interested in and give them lots of useful information. Show that you are an expert and that you are happy to share your knowledge. Demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in helping them.
  2. Give your blog a catchy headline. It needs to stand out so that people notice in in their search results and want to click on it. Get ideas from looking at the headlines in tabloid newspapers and glossy magazines. ‘How to’ blog posts and lists e.g. ‘3 ways to…’ are always popular. 
  3. Make it easy to read on their phone, ipad or laptop. Break up your text using headings, sub headings and bulleted lists (great for the search engines too) and short sentences and paragraphs. Leave lots of white space (or breathing space!) Keep your language simple and cut out any unnecessary words. Short and sweet does the job!
  4. Don’t forget your Call to Action. Make it easy for your readers to take the next step, whether that’s to call you, make a booking, sign up for an offer…. 

How to Get Your Blog Picked Up by the Search Engines

It’s all about your keywords and keyphrases. Firstly and most importantly use them in the blog title. Then put them in your headings and subheadings and in your content. But don’t overdo it. Keep it natural. 

 The search engines are looking for:

High quality content that matches the search terms entered and answers the question being asked

 Not sure how to start? Or you started a blog but now you’re stuck? Get in touch. I can help!