Category Archives: engaging content

Best online marketing tips for your business in 2016

Magnet attracting drawing pins

Marketing tips for small businesses and SMEs

Are you feeling quite chirpy about your business and what you’ve achieved this year? Or are you sobbing into your festive cocktails about a lack of clients?

Online marketing for small and medium-sized businesses will continue to grow in 2016 and if you’ve been sticking your head in the sand and operating without a website, social media or email newsletters, you’re missing out on hundreds of potential new leads for your business every month.

Best online marketing tips for your business in 2016 

A good website is a must

This is a no-brainer in any industry because even if people don’t find you this way – and they should – potential customers will want to check out your online credentials before doing business with you. What is a good website? A relatively simple design which is mobile responsive with good navigation. You want it to be search-engine optimised for relevant keyword phrases and it needs a blog page and sign-up form to your newsletter to help capture the email addresses of potential clients. Don’t waste your money on flashy websites that cost a fortune. Read my guest post for Talented Ladies Club about 8 questions  your MUST ask  your website designer before you have a website designed or updated.

Update your site often

Blogging is the easiest way to do this. Static websites are ignored by Google, so it’s important to add new content on a regular basis – and it goes without saying that the content has to be interesting and relevant for your target audience.

Don’t ignore social

Being active on social media is not only an important way of engaging your audience, but also gives you Google juice, which helps with the ranking of your website. Don’t overdo it or make it complicated. Choose 2 channels e.g. Facebook or Linked In which you know are regularly used by your audience and post relevant, entertaining information on a consistent basis.

TIP: Keep selling on here to a minimum – the whole point is to get people interested in what you have to say and lure them to your website – where they’ll find your offers or newsletter sign-up and enter your sphere of influence.

Grow your database

If you don’t yet have a newsletter – get one! Even if you only send out a newsletter every other month – you have a golden opportunity to get offers and other information to people who are already warm leads because they’ve agreed to receive information from you. Have a prominent sign-up form on your website and Facebook Page and offer people something of value e.g. a discount, video or e-book for FREE to persuade them to sign up.

Use great images 

Always include images on your newsletters and blog posts – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net is a good source for free photographs – but remember to follow their guidelines for crediting the photographer and company.

Use free design software

Canva.com is a great tool to design fantastic headers for your social media pages, already customised to fit the space you need it for. You can also use it to design your own business cards, email newsletter headers and advertisements – no design costs involved!

Do experiment with Facebook advertising

Facebook advertising is the new Pay-per-click! Pay-per-click advertising on Google can be very expensive and you can lose an awful lot of money quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing. Facebook Advertising on the other hand, is simple, quick and very affordable and can target very specific audiences – e.g. women between the ages of 30-40 in a certain geographical area whose interests are beauty products and fashion.

Have a plan

One of the biggest mistakes I see, is people frittering away money on advertising or other forms of marketing, without having a clear strategy of who they’re targeting and what they want to achieve. Setting goals and measuring your marketing activities on an ongoing basis is the only way you’ll know if what you’re doing and spending your money on is worthwhile.

I’d like to wish all my lovely clients and anyone reading this post a wonderful new year with lots of success for your business.

If you need help with your online marketing or PR, take a look at my small business packages and let’s have a chat about how I could help your business to grow in 2016.  

Contact me here or call me on 0041 079 901 3020.

 

Writing copy that sells – 6 top tips

Book and pen

Writing copy that sells: Engage the reader

You’ve crafted what you thought was the perfect homepage, newsletter, blog or flyer – and you’re feeling pretty chuffed with yourself right now.

But it soon becomes clear that the only person who got excited about your masterpiece was you. So what are you doing wrong?

Good copywriting is not just putting words onto paper. Writing copy that sells is a skill that can make a real difference to your business.

The principles of good copywriting predate the Internet and apply to print and online text – the bottom line is – you’ve got to engage your reader!

Here are some copywriting tips to get you started:

  • Who is your customer? You can’t write anything worthwhile unless you know your customer. Think of some-one specific whose business you’re keen on getting and try to get into his or her head. Does he like Arsenal? Does she love expensive handbags? What makes them lose sleep? Call up a mental image of this person and imagine talking to him or her in the pub or over a coffee when you’re writing.
  • NEVER write for groups  Even if you’re writing something that you hope will be read by lots of people, you need to write as if you’re only ever going to have ONE reader. People switch off when they read phrases such as: “Many of you.” “Some of you.” They want to feel special.
  • Write the way you speak Lawyers and businesspeople often shake their heads at this point, assuring me that this type of writing doesn’t apply to their special customers. Not so. Even the wealthiest, snootiest potential customer is human and responds to good copy in an emotional way. There are not many people who’ll be persuaded to do something by someone who speaks as if he’d escaped from the pages of a Charles Dickens novel.
  •  Planning Before you reach for your laptop and start typing, take a piece of paper and a pen, pour yourself a glass of wine and jot down a plan for the blog post, newsletter, homepage, flyer. Start with a goal – what are you trying to achieve? Do you want your customer to call you, visit your online sales page or fill out a survey?
  • What do you want to say? Once you’ve nailed your goal, think about what it is you want to say – and here it’s important to think more about your reader’s needs rather than your own. So, you want your reader to know that you can sort out his finances? Think about how this will make life easier for him. For example, you could write: Do you want to spend more time on the tennis court or golf course and less time trying to stay on top of your finances? Why not let me take care of your finances, so you can work on your serve or improve your handicap.
  • Don’t forget a call to action  Tell your reader clearly what you want him or her to do now that you’ve persuaded them you’re the right person to contact. Link to your contact page or a page with more details of the offer you’ve talked about or the service you described.

I hope these tips will inspire you to experiment with your own copywriting – you’ll be amazed at the difference even these basic tips will make to your business communications.

Of course, if you’re rather be spending your time doing something else – why not let us help you work out who you want to talk to, what to say and how to write copy that sells.

Find out more about our new small business package here – designed to manage your online presence (and media presence if you need it) so you can focus on what you love to do.

Photo credit: Free Digital Photos.Net : Tiramisustudio

 

 

How to raise your online profile and become an authority in your field

Ask an expert

Use your online profile to become known as an expert in your field

The other day at a networking meeting in Buckinghamshire I met a financial adviser who told me he didn’t need an online presence because he gets all his customers through word-of-mouth referrals.

A decent website with basic SEO

After a bit of probing, I discovered that he did have a website – no-one can have their heads that deep in the sand – but that he only got it because “everyone else had one” and some slick website designer made him a good deal.

With a bit of luck the designer may have thrown in basic search engine optimisation tactics into the bargain, which means his company name will not be completely buried if potential customers search for a financial adviser in Buckinghamshire.

No, he insisted, that doesn’t matter, because most of his referrals come from networking breakfasts and nights out in the pub.  He doesn’t need any of that.

I nodded and tucked into my bacon and eggs, because I know a lost cause when I see one.

Why your online profile is crucial for business

But, for the record, he is seriously mistaken.

Even if not a single customer ever arrives at his door via his website, a well-managed online profile is crucial for his business.

Testimonials, biography, services 

When was the last time you used anyone’s services –  without checking out their website first?

It’s the first thing you do. And when you’re clicking through, are you just satisfied to see a list of services or do you actually take time to read the biographies of the partners and testimonials to see what other clients say about them? Do you compare their services with competitor websites in terms of value for money and professionalism?

Informative, engaging blog posts

If you’re looking for a financial adviser and there was a blog post on the site with tips for first-time investors or how to save money on your household bills – would you stop to read it to see if the author knows his or her stuff?

Linked in, Facebook and Twitter

I suspect my breakfast neighbour probably has a thin and stale profile on Linked In, which doesn’t do him any favours, but I’d be very surprised if he’s gone anywhere near Twitter or Facebook.

Not only is he missing out on valuable opportunities to reach out to potential clients in his area, but if he should ever have an unhappy customer who happens to be more social media savvy than him and started dissing his business online, he’d be blissfully unaware of this reputational damage.

Journalists could be looking at this very moment for someone to quote on financial issues and he would be none the wiser. An opportunity for great exposure missed.

Guest-blogging – a real opportunity to build your reputation

Trying to explain to him how guest blogging has turned two of my clients into experts with near celebrity status in their respective fields through posting of informative articles on sites read by potential customers, would go way over my friend’s head.

E-mails, vlogs, e-books, podcasts, webinars – show off your knowledge

Neither would he be open to discussing the power of email newsletters and vlogs – or video blogs, e-books, webinars or podcasts – as a means to attracting visitors to his site and becoming known as a real authority in his field.

At the end of the day – this is a man who’s decided to turn his back on the future and will refuse to see the writing on the wall until it’s too late.

Stand out above the competition

Yes, his company may be able to survive without a decent website, blog, social media and email newsletters for a while longer, but if he really wants to reach his potential and stand out above the competition – a strong and strategic online presence is at least as important as buying rounds in the pub.

Contact me for more information if you need some advice on how to build an effective online profile for your company and yourself.

I create online communications and social media strategies for companies in Buckinghamshire, London and internationally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create engaging content – tips for businesses

A computer screen bursting open with engaging content

Engaging content grabs eyeballs

Something’s really been bugging you lately.
Every time you click on a local website or even some national news sites read by thousands of your potential customers, your competitor’s face pops up.
And you know for a fact that she is definitely not better, prettier or more intelligent than you.

So what is she doing that you’re not?
Most probably she (or someone on her behalf) has spent quite a bit of time and effort creating nifty blog posts offering advice, writing engaging guest posts about industry trends and chatting up potential customers on social media.

What is engaging content and how do you create it?
Engaging content grabs eyeballs or stops people in their tracks – it gets online readers to stop and then get involved – subscribe to your newsletter, enter your competition, fill in your survey, load something in their virtual basket, comment on your blog or contact you.

3 tips for creating engaging content

  • Have a plan:

A local council appointed an IT company to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts a year ago.  They’re axing the company’s services because the council’s not seen any engagement on these forums.
Well, I’m not surprised. Letting techies loose on the council’s target audience of local residents without any clear strategy linking to the council’s overall goals, is a complete waste of time.(and taxpayers’ money)
Social media is one tool in your company or organisation’s communications toolbox and it needs regular, engaging and planned content.

  •  Find stories about your company

I’m willing to bet that the council has a wealth of stories that would interest local residents. Maybe they’re fighting a controversial planning application that is ruffling feathers locally.
A lively blog post – written in an engaging tone and inviting comments or a video interviewing a planner about the impact of the development, could boost SEO, attract media attention and be amplified on social media.
There’s no such thing as an unsexy industry. If you don’t believe me, send me an email and I’ll come up with 10 story ideas you can use to create engaging content.

Tip: Subscribe to top industry blogs to find out about the latest trends and then add your own fresh angles or simply comment on them in your own content.

  • Good writing:

Most people think they can write, but often they can’t. It’s a skill and it takes practice.
It starts with a good headline and an intro that grabs your reader’s attention – although headlines can’t be too clever or ambiguous online.

Identify keywords – what will your potential customer be searching for on Google – use those terms in your title, subtitle and sparingly throughout your copy.
Have a light touch – don’t overwrite, don’t overcomplicate or use jargon and don’t be afraid to let your sense of humour and character shine through.

Don’t waffle – get to the point quickly and have a call to action – what do you want your reader to do now he or she has read your post.
Let me know how you get on.

If you need help to identify ideas for engaging content, draw up an editorial calendar or communications plan or do some writing for you, contact me.