Category Archives: Web Clarity

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!

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!

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!

Why GDPR is Good News

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into effect next month on May 25th. They are designed to give individuals more control over their data and how it is used.

From a small business point of view this should be seen as good news. For two reasons:

  1. You will no longer receive annoying emails from people who met you briefly at a networking event and then added you to their email list without asking you first.
  2. If you use email as part of your marketing mix, GDPR gives you an incentive to review your list and make sure that you are using it in the best way.

Email Marketing and GDPR

If you send marketing emails to clients and prospective clients you need to be aware that under GDPR there are two main criteria among others (6 in total) under which it is acceptable to hold personal data for e-marketing purposes:

  1. Legitimate interest – holding the personal details of past and present clients should fall into this category. As long as your emails are related to the product or service they have bought from you.
  2. Consent – it is OK to hold the details of individuals or companies who have given you their explicit consent. You need to be able to prove this. If you are using an email marketing system, such as Mailchimp, this should be stored and accessible on your account. If you have added people to that list without their consent, or if you are not using an email marketing system, you should contact those subscribers and confirm they are happy to continue to be on your mailing list.

Two further important points:

Unsubscribe

Anyone on your mailing list must be able to unsubscribe easily.

Privacy Policy

You must have a Privacy policy displayed on your website explaining what data you hold and how you use it. If you gather data on your website you must also have a Cookies policy. This can be included in your Privacy policy.

If your mailing list has evolved over time and you’re not sure how some of the names on it came to be there, GDPR is the event you need to carry out a tidy up. Use this as an opportunity to reconnect with potential clients, and to stop emailing people who are no longer interested. See it as a way of giving your mailing list a Spring Clean!

If you are using a recognised email system, and all your subscribers have actively opted into it, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. GDPR is simply enforcing an ethical approach to email marketing which we should all welcome.

If you hold personal data for reasons other than email marketing a Data Audit is advisable. For example, if you employ staff there are other considerations regarding holding personal data which you need to check out with a HR specialist.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website has all the information about GDPR. If you have any worries or need further help and advice speak to a legal professional.

Summertime Tips for your Online Marketing

As we move into the lazy, hazy days of summer hopefully you will have the opportunity to take your foot off the gas and recharge your batteries.

Summer can be the perfect time to take a fresh look at your business, and maybe a fresh look at your website and online marketing too.

Looking at things from a slightly different perspective can bring new insights and fresh thinking.

Here are a few ideas to help you get the benefit of a relaxed, summertime perspective:

Imagine visiting your website for the very first time

As someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t know your business:

  1. How easy is it to find your contact details?
  2. Visit your About page. Does it read like a rather dull CV? Or does it brim with personality and explain why you are uniquely qualified to help the website visitor with their need or problem?
  3. Is it clear what people need to do if they are interested in what you offer? Or is it a website they leave without giving you the opportunity to follow up with them. Even if they loved it!

There should be a Call to Action on every page? Phone me or email me. Even better, an email signup box  so you can add them to your email list and keep in touch with them.

Simple things but simple things that can make a huge difference to the success of your website in bringing you new clients.

Have you been thinking about blogging?

Blogging can:

  • Build your reputation as the expert in your field
  • Provide standout content for social media
  • Boost your SEO and bring more visitors to your website

The summer break is the perfect opportunity to think about content for your blogs and put a plan together for the next few months. Once you know what you want to write about and give yourself a schedule, a regular blog is no longer a big stumbling block but an achievable target.

Maybe incorporate it into an email marketing strategy too? (If you’re feeling ambitious this summer!)

Never got a handle on Google Analytics?

So you don’t know

  • How many people are visiting your website
  • How they found your website
  • How long they stay on your website

This information is invaluable in deciding your online marketing strategy. Otherwise you are working in the dark! There are lots of tools available to get hold of this information in an accessible format. Native Google Analytics data looks pretty scary! Talk to your web developer when you’re back from hols. Or check out my blog post “Get Started with Google Analytics.”

 

7 Ways to Capture More Clients Through Your Website

Simple ways to generate more business from your website. Implementing just the first one is proven to increase your conversion rate (from website visitor to potential client) by 30%!

Write for the web. People scan websites. They don’t read them so:

  • Short sentences and paragraphs
  • Simple easy-to-understand language. No acronyms or tech-speak
  • Headings and bulleted lists
  • Avoid large chunks of text which are offputting to new visitors. If you want to provide detailed information add it to subpages which your visitors will go to once they feel comfortable with your website
  • White space – leave some clear space to let your website visitors breathe

Call to Action – You don’t want a “So What?” website. A website your visitors like but then forget about. Sprinkle Calls To Action throughout. At least one per page. Call me, email me. Or ideally set up a lead magnet where they give you their email details in return for a free report/product/ebook.

Images – Use images that complement your text. A professional headshot is essential.

Contact details – on every page. Ideally top right. Provide email, phone and social media contact details for the channels you use. Different people like to make contact in different ways so make it easy for them by providing as many ways to contact you as possible.

Benefits – your website should not be about you. It should be about how you can help your potential clients. Acknowledge your website visitor’s pain or problem and explain how you can fix it.

Trust – show that you can be trusted.  Your ‘About’ page is crucial here. It’s usually the second page website visitors look at. They like what they see on your home page and want to find out more about you. Build trust with a helpful and friendly writing style, details of your experience and qualifications and…..

Testimonials are online golddust! The best websites have a testimonials page, rotating testimonials snippets on every page (in a footer or sidebar) and include them in their website text too.  Credible testimonials are the most powerful converter of casual visitors to clients.

 

 

Can your website be trusted?!

The website experience you give your visitors should be all about getting them to like and trust you. Building enough confidence in you to take that crucial next step and buy your service or product.

Three ways to do that:

About Page with passion and personality!

Make your About page interesting and professional, with a little bit of your personality, so you come across as a real person, not a faceless organisation. You don’t have to list all your jobs and qualifications, just those that are relevant to what you do now. Be sure to get across your passion for what you do, and how you can help your website visitors.

A professional headshot photo is essential so people can relate to you on a personal level. A short video is also great – the next best thing to actually meeting you!

Concrete Contact Details

Your Contact page should include your postal address and a landline phone number. Both these give your website visitors the sense of an established business.  Also an email address linked to your website – avoid gmail and hotmail etc. which look amateurish. Most web domain providers offer up to 5 email addresses as part of the package.

Google likes these “concrete” contact details too.

Testimonials – Online Golddust!

Testimonials are absolutely crucial in persuading website visitors to buy.

Some experts say that, if all a website had on it was a bunch of strong testimonials, it would still be a very effective website!

Have them on every page of your website, in a sidebar or footer, and include some in your web copy. Also have a separate page listing them all. Include full name, date and business name, and a photo if you can. Video testimonials are great too!

Implement these three things on your website to ensure that it projects a professional and trustworthy business image.

 

Improve Your Website 124%!

So you’ve done the hard bit of getting a visitor to your website. Maybe you’ve spent a fortune on search engine optimisation, or spent hours crafting tempting messages on social media. Don’t waste all that money and effort by taking them to a website that no-one wants to read!
“People rarely read web pages word by word; instead they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.” Jakob Nielsen
Websites with large chunks of text, no headings and a lack of white space overwhelm their visitors, and send them scurrying off to the next website on their search results list.
But you can improve your website’s readability and usabiity by 124% if you follow these guidelines:
  1. Be concise cut the waffle! Give your visitors the facts they want to know. Be ruthless. Less is more!
  2. Make your text scannable – use headings and bulleted lists to break up your text and make it easy to scan, so people can easily find what they are looking for. Keep your sentences short too, so there is lots of white space to make your website easy on the eye.
  3. Use objective language website visitors want facts, not marketing fluff and hyperbole. Include statistics and reference authoritative sources to give your website credibiity.
These guidelines have become even more important in recent years with more than 50% of website visits now on smartphones.

Stand Out in the Search Engine Listings!

You’ve probably noticed that Google’s search engine results pages have changed, giving more prominence to paid-for ads.

The good news is that this makes a little more space available in your listing – to promote your business!

There are now paid-for ads at the top (usually 3) which are repeated at the bottom of the page. The ads on the right hand side have been removed.

Losing these ads means that the page is wider, giving more space for your website’s page titles and descriptions. Precious real estate on a key web page. Make the most this opportunity to grab people’s attention and persuade them to click on YOUR website!

You can control the wording that appears under your website’s name and url, known as the Google “snippet.” This wording comes from your web page titles and descriptions, which you can edit through the WordPress editor, or other content management system.

You can make your business really stand out by making sure that your page titles and descriptions are clear and compelling. Put out a strong message about the benefits your business offers. Include a “Call to Action.” Maybe include your phone number.

If you don’t have specific page descriptions in place Google will pick up some text from the relevant web page, normally the first line, which may or may not get the right message across.
So don’t leave it to chance. Take control of your search results listing!

Note: If you make changes to your page titles and descriptions you will need to wait until Google next visits your site for them to be picked up