If you are searching for ways to increase sales in today’s competitive environment, there are 5 steps you can take to start generating enquiries.

infographic1.Website performance
Your website is the hub of all your online activity.

Even if you are advertising off-line using press ads or mail drops, the first thing most people will do is go online to check out your website and research your business before taking any further action.

Like a lot of things from designer clothes to product packaging, image and design are important and will create the first impression visitors will have of your business.

Quality of build is also important. What determines how successful your website pages are at being found by search engines will depend on how the site has been constructed, how engaging the content is and the relevance of the keywords used.

It takes the skills of a good designer and web developer with an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to provide a sound foundation for your website to develop and grow as your business goes forward. With the right management, continuous SEO work and generation of new content, these skills will help you achieve a page one ranking on Google over a period of time.

A good website is an investment and you will reap long-term rewards if you take time at the beginning of the project to work with your developers to give your website the best chance of converting visitors into clients.

2.SEO
Assuming your website has been developed with SEO in mind, this will provide a good starting point to monitor and improve the rankings of your most important keywords on the main search engines.

A new website will take around 6 weeks to settle and start providing the keyword ranking information needed to identify where to concentrate efforts on improving page content to move keywords up the page rankings.

New content and improving existing content are amongst the most important factors in SEO. Having a Blog on your website and regularly posting informative articles will help improve your keyword rankings.

We already work with a select number of our clients to achieve page one rankings. First, we carry out a review of your keywords and competitor activity. Then, if we think we can achieve results for you we would recommend a programme of work to achieve success. We will be honest with you if we think SEO is not the best way for you to achieve results and we consider one of the other steps below to be more cost-effective for your particular business.

3.Social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of the most popular social media sites. For small businesses with limited time, I would recommend focussing on one social media platform and spend your time there. Social media can be very time consuming if you want to generate quality leads and increase your connections with the aim of sending them to your website or taking the conversation off-line for a more detailed discussion. Call me to find out how.

4.Advertising
Developing a successful advertising campaign will bring a constant supply of leads into the business.

Choosing where to advertise and creating the adverts for a campaign that will generate enquiries will need research into your products or services. Price comparisons, competitor research and an understanding of your target audience will help decide where to advertise and what to say in your adverts.

Online advertising such as Google Adwords can drive traffic to your website immediately. Campaigns can be set up and tested very quickly to find out what works using conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of click-throughs to your website.

Social media paid advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn is relatively new and can be very effective for some businesses. Like Adwords, adverts can be tested and refined to maximise response rates and conversions to provide a constant supply of enquiries to your website.  

Press and TV advertising are still relevant for some businesses; however, it is more difficult to track responses to justify the cost unless you can direct readers to a specially developed landing page or unique phone number to record visitor numbers.

Whichever route is best for you, your website will be the hub of the activity.

5.Email marketing
Sending regular emails to your clients and prospects, providing you have their permission, is still one of the most effective ways of getting your message to your audience.

If you are writing a regular blog article for your website, as well as sharing on social media, send a link in your email to the article and continue to remind subscribers of your products or services.

Further reading
You will find more information about each of the above steps in some of our previous articles and I will be writing in more detail about each of the above in future articles. Alternatively, visit the Marketing Services section of our website.

Call 01584 890725 to discuss how you can use these and other marketing techniques to grow your business.

Mark Langston.
 
 
 
 
 

23rd March 2018
Clients often tell me that the hardest element of putting together information for their website is writing the content.

Understandably, clients want to write the content themselves because they know their business and it saves the cost of employing a copywriter. However, what they often overlook is the time and effort that is needed to write copy when you are not a regular copywriter.

This time can often be better spent developing ideas to generate more traffic to the new website and therefore increasing sales. Good copywriters can save you a lot of time and can often bring a more constructive view of your business to the content.

There is another important reason why copywriting website content should be left to the experts; keywords and key phrases. These are the words and phrases that describe your products or services and are being used by your customers on search engines to find what they are looking for. If you have not done research to find out how many searches are being done for your keywords, your pages will not be attracting the most valuable searches.

Copywriting_website_contentKeyword copywriting and content marketing
Do you know how many searches are being done on your keywords or what keywords your competitors are using?

If your competitors are being found for high performing keywords and are above you in page rankings, these are the keywords you need to incorporate into your own pages.

Using industry standard software, we can find out a range of information such as:
  • Where your competitors are positioned for the most valuable keywords.
  • What keywords they use to rank on Google.
  • What keywords they consider to be important.
  • How competitive the keywords are.
The software also provides us with invaluable information to help optimise your web pages.

When you write your content, you should include your keywords on the page in a balanced way; too many repeated in a small amount of copy and you will be penalised for spamming. Your copy should be interesting and easy to read; write for your audience first, then for the search engines.

If you want to (or must) write the content yourself, subscribing to one of the many proprietary software tools provides you with a definite advantage over your competitors and will make your time spent at the keyboard more productive.

Alternatively, save the subscription and the time and pay a content marketer to do it for you.

Give me a call on 01584 890725 to find out how to get a better return on your time and invest in content that will help grow your business.

Mark Langston
 
 
Google_AdwordsAre you already doing Google Adwords or thinking about giving it a go?

Are you getting enough additional sales to cover the ad spend?

Are you getting the results you expected?

You could be wasting a lot of your hard-earned advertising budget if your campaigns are not performing as well as they could.

I have been running successful Google Adwords campaigns since they started over 15 years ago and can make sure that your campaigns are set up correctly to achieve a steady stream of targeted leads to your website.

By carefully researching the keywords your customers use to find your products or services, your advert will appear in front of them on the first page of a Google search.

You can target the geographic area you want to cover. A business may want to target customers within a 30-mile radius, the whole of the UK or the whole world.

If you have not used the Google Adwords interface before, some of the most important factors in setting up a successful campaign are:

Keyword research
Do you know which keywords generate the most searches?
Using Google’s keyword tool and putting in a generic seed keyword, you will discover lots of other variations which may cost less than a generic search term.

Ad groups
Each set of keywords you discover will be allocated to an ad group. You may have multiple ad groups set up with relating keywords. Use the relevant keyword in your ad to improve the relevancy and click through rate. Use the same keyword on your website’s landing page to achieve a good quality score.

Quality score
There are many factors Google uses to assess a keyword’s quality score. Scores range from 1 (poor) to 10 (good). Google will assess the relevance of the ad to the content on the landing page. If you have a higher quality score on your keywords compared to your competition, your bid price will be lower than theirs.

Adverts
Write and test more than one advert in each ad group and continually trial new ads against the old ones to keep improving the click through rate. This will help maintain a high position for your ad on the page without having to bid higher.

Negative keywords
A negative keyword is a word that is related but not relevant to your product or service. Always add negative keywords and continue to add more as your campaign progresses. This will minimise the risk of a wasted a click.

Google remarketing
Whether you're looking to drive sales activity, increase registrations or promote awareness of your brand:
  • You can reach people on your remarketing lists across their devices as they browse over 2 million websites and mobile apps.
  • Show ads to previous visitors who are actively looking for your products or services on Google search.
Will it work for me?
Before we start, I will do some research to find out if Adwords is right for you, free of charge, no commitment, nothing.

If you already have an Adwords account, I can check to see if is performing as it should, again free of charge.

I just need to know some information about your products, your competitors and your target market to find out if Adwords will work for you

If you think Google Adwords can help your business or you need help with an existing campaign, give me a call or request a call back by hovering over "Contact us" in the menu.

Mark Langston

 

Website-planningOver the years we have gained many clients who have contacted us because their website was, in the words of one, "a bit of a mess".

It’s a sad fact that many businesses spend a lot of time and money on their website and get poor results or worse, websites that don’t work properly.

From our experience, the 10 mistakes to avoid are:

1. Trying to Build your own website
You can use website builders to produce your site; however, if you have not used the interface before, it can be a long process and the results you get are still not great. Your time would be better spent selling your services or products and increasing sales.

2. Getting a friend of a friend to do it in their spare time
This will seem like a good idea at the time but you may find they are not available to keep your site maintained, or even contactable in the future.

3. Not considering security and hacking
Where your website is being hosted and what software is being used to build it is paramount to the security of your website. Off-the-shelf open source products such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are well known to hackers. A bespoke CMS (Content Management System) is more secure because it is unknown and the code is not publicly available.

4. Thinking all domain name hosts are the same
There are hundreds of domain name hosting companies. Selecting the cheapest is not always the best option. Either you or whoever builds your website will need access to change settings and possibly transfer the domain to a new provider in the future. Some control panels are not very user friendly and other providers charge for transfers. Support can also be limited, so it is wise to go with a reputable supplier.

5. Writing your own words
If you find it laborious putting finger to keyboard to write about your business, then you should probably get a copy writer to craft the content for your web pages. It will save you time and they will be more objective about what your business can offer.

6. Not thinking about how your visitors will navigate your site
Your website needs to have impact and hold visitor’s attention to get them to a point where they can act. UX design (user experience), page layout, calls to action and photographs can all help to improve conversion rates.

7. Not taking time to plan your site
Your website is your shop window and can have a direct effect on sales. Visitors will
make up their mind in seconds whether to stay on your site or jump off to one of your
competitors. Taking time to establish your goals and develop a wire frame before design and build starts will pay dividends in the long term.

8. Not researching your target market
Do you know whether your audience will be more likely to visit your website using a mobile phone or a desktop computer? Age and profession of your customers may determine how your website needs to look and perform on a variety of devices.

9. Ignoring advice from the professionals
Web developers, like any other professionals, are experts in their field. If you ask for something that will not work across all browsers and devices, a good developer will explain why it won’t work and provide alternative solutions. There are usually very good reasons that you may not have considered. Always check your web developer’s credentials and their own website before you choose who to work with.

10. Not considering how you will market your website after launch
Build it and they will come no longer applies in our crowded online market place. You need to think about how you will deliver traffic to your website.

For more information, download our FREE Guide to web design and online marketing at the bottom of the page.

These days there are not many businesses that do not rely on their website for generating new leads.

Whether you drive traffic to your website using offline advertising such as adverts in magazines or digital using online advertising, your website will be the first point of contact for new prospects.

Indications are that digital advertising spend will continue to grow during 2017 and with mobile ad spend overtaking desktop in 2016, it is clear where media budgets are going to be focussed in future.

Online advertising provides many benefits over traditional press, radio and TV:
 
  • Online-marketingTargeted to your particular market sector
  • Higher conversion rates due to accurate targeting
  • Measurable results, cost per click and conversion rates
  • Geographic areas can be selected from local radius to worldwide
  • Immediate delivery of traffic to website for information, services or product sale
  • Cost effective, usually pay per click (PPC), pay per action (CPA) or pay per view (CPM)

Online advertising includes social media websites that now incorporate advertising and offer multiple choices of ad formats depending on what you are trying to achieve.

As with the selection of traditional media in the past, choice of digital advertising media depends on your target audience, the business sector you are in, what you want to achieve and your budget.

The digital advertising platforms that are currently leading the way are Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn. Other platforms include Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest and Snapchat.

Overview of the most popular online marketing channels
Google advertising
  • Page one position on Google for your most effective keywords
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
  • Write, change, test and monitor your adverts
  • Set up negative keywords
  • Target your advert to a geographic area or specific radius
  • Set your daily budget
  • Remarketing through Google’s display network
  • Turn campaigns on or off at any time
Facebook post boost
  • Flexible advertising formats depending on your goals
  • Goals include page likes, post likes, offers, show products or services, clicks to your website
  • Measurable results
  • Choose your audience by geographic area and demographic
  • Set your budget and duration of advert
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
LinkedIn advertising
  • New, so fewer competing adverts
  • Ability to target specific job titles, functions and industry sectors
  • Variety of advert formats
  • Set your budget and duration
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
Print vs online
Print advertising is still relevant and can have a place in your overall strategy as the web becomes more crowded and competitive. However, the flexibility, speed and ability to track conversions makes online advertising so much easier to justify and demonstrate a return on investment.

Mark Langston
 
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