Monday, 17 June 2013

Hiring A Marketing Consultant: What To Consider

In today’s competitive marketplace, business owners can no longer expect to be able to manage every aspect of their business themselves. Indeed, it’s considered intelligent to outsource particularly important functions to experts. Marketing is a case in point: every company today needs a solid marketing strategy in place, but this is by no means as easy to develop as you might think. There are now so many different techniques for marketing a business that it often requires a specialist in the field to do it properly. But what do you need to consider if you’re looking for a marketing consultant to get your company noticed by your target audience?

Identify Your Goals: Before you start interviewing any potential marketing consultants to hire, you need to decide exactly what you want to achieve. This way you will be able to communicate your needs effectively. For example, do you want to increase your visibility online; are you looking to break into new market sectors or do you want to expand your sales network further afield. As with any kind of service, different consultants will have different specialist skills so your needs will help to dictate who you choose.

Get Referrals: You will be able to find plenty of consultants in your area if you do an online search, but how do you know which are worth your time? The best thing to do, once you have a list of possibilities, is ask around your professional network to find out which ones people have used and which brought them real results. Word of mouth really means something in this field, so you should use it. You can try looking at online reviews as well, although it’s always best, when possible, to get the opinion of someone you know and trust.

Interviewing: Once you’ve completed the above steps you should have been able to compile a shortlist of at least three consultants. At this point you can make an appointment with each one to discuss your ideas for your business and find out how they could help you.

There are several points you should remember to bring up during these talks: what experience do they have in your particular field; what kind of strategy might they employ for you; and do they have any contacts with business networks that could be useful to you? You should ask them to describe their processes in a way that you can understand, and ask to see examples of previous projects they have worked on. They should be able to show you some concrete results that prove they have enhanced a company’s reputation or visibility.

Be Aware: Finally, you should know when it’s best to avoid a certain consultant. Anyone who makes you unrealistic promises or offers you a ‘foolproof’ strategy is not to be trusted. Any good consultant knows that successful marketing takes time to implement and not everything will work every time. You should also make sure that you discuss and confirm costs before you sign anything so you can be sure you are not going to be charged for any undisclosed ‘extras’ further down the line.

Friday, 14 June 2013

6 Hassle-Free Ways to Unearth More Sparkling Blog Content

Ever started a blog and deserted it after six weeks because you ran out of topics to write about? This is far from an unusual situation. In fact a recent study found that 64% of small businesses featured cited ‘a lack of content ideas’ as a major problem they faced on a weekly basis.

And for the visitor, there’s nothing as underwhelming as clicking onto a blog only to find there hasn’t been any postings for the past three months (unless it’s a competitor’s blog of course!)

Content marketing can be incredibly daunting and time-consuming and it is worth considering outsourcing your requirements to local marketing companies or freelance creatives.

Meantime, here are 6 hassle-free resources and ideas you can use to find relevant content topics for your website or blog:


Want to know what’s trending in your industry across all the major networks in real time? Bottlenose is a free resource that will keep you in the loop, so you can write about the latest developments on your blog. And definitely check out the handy ‘Sonar’ tab as a way of finding sub-topics in your niche too.

2.Customer Questions

If you’re selling online I’ll bet you get lots of questions from customers your other customers could benefit from too. Keep a list of the best ones and answer them once a month on your blog.


Imagine a giant online chat room where people hold scheduled get togethers to discuss particular topics. In this case we’re talking Tweetchats on Twitter – why not drop by and join in the conversation?


If you’re searching for facts, opinions and humorous content on a particular subject, Quora is the place to hang out. You can even republish material from the site providing you include a link back to Quora.


Another interesting platform which allows you to search by theme across the various social networks and you can also set up email or RRS alerts for topics which interest you.

6.Industry Blogs

Subscribing to blogs within your industry is a must, firstly for keeping up to date and getting different perspectives on what is occurring and secondly for giving you lots of ideas for topics for your own blog.

And don’t forget to set up Google Alerts for your company, main competitors, industry and product ranges, so you’ll know what people are saying about you online!

For help with generating relevant and engaging blog posts for your target audience, marketing companies have their finger on the pulse when it comes content creation.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

SlideShare Marketing . . . Better Than LinkedIn For Bringing In New Business?

Yes you did read that headline correctly.

It seems that the under-utilised and underrated SlideShare is proving a more effective option for getting products and services in front of key decision makers, than the much revered professional networking site, LinkedIn.

According to ComScore – SlideShare – dubbed the ‘quiet giant’ of content marketing, attracts around five times the traffic of other social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and indeed – LinkedIn.

SlideShare offers a convenient way of syndicating your blog and website content, (in fact any content your company produces), for wider audience engagement and better SEO results.
What’s more, syndicating content through SlideShare is really easy to do and your preferred marketing consultant will be pleased to assist you.

6 Tips For Marketing Content With SlideShare:

Your Title Must Entice

Bland, boring and genetic titles are out! Your SlideShare titles need to be bold, exciting, intriguing or controversial to ensure they get attention.

Use Teaser Content and a Call To Action

Who says you have to tell the whole story all at once? Try providing a flavour of the content in your SlideShare – a taster of what your prospects will get if they go to your landing page or website and sign up to your list. (This works well if you provide say the first 25 slides of a 100-slide document, but isn’t so effective for shorter works).

Leverage Other Audiences To Build Your Own

Let’s say your company’s blog has just launched and you are looking for increased exposure to get more potential clients on board. The solution: guest blogging. Blog owners are always on the lookout for exceptional content and your SlideShare content could be just the thing to get your business noticed.

Data-Driven Content is the Key to Engagement

SlideShare’s fans are professionals seeking quality information and helpful solutions for their businesses. As such, they are seeking informed content and statistics (think: charts, graphs, infographics) – and plenty of them!

HubSpot’s Dan Zarella found that contrary to other types of social media, the longer the SlideShare presentation the better it performed (60+ pages ideally).

Design Matters (a lot)

Whilst it could be misleading to suggest that design is more important that content it is certainly of equal importance when it comes to persuading browsers to click on your SlideShare over other people’s. An impressive design coupled with well-crafted content adds up to an irresistible SlideShare.

Get More Sign Ups on the Spot!

Because you are able to embed links into your SlideShare presentations, SlideShare allows you the potential to get more followers on board right away. (SlideShare Pro users can even embed a contact form into their document). And because SlideShare is a multimedia production there are no concerns about incurring penalties for duplicate content as with the written medium.

So now you’ve had a flavour of what online marketing’s ‘quiet giant’ could do for your business, it’s time to get to work. If you would like expert help and guidance to kickstart your SlideShare marketing campaign, your friendly online marketing consultant is just a phone call (or email) away.
It’s no exaggeration to say that using SlideShare to ‘buzz your business’ and connect with more potential clients could be a very smart business decision indeed. What’s the betting your competitors haven’t discovered it yet?

How To Achieve More Through Facebook For Business

Has your social media marketing strategy been letting you down? Are you beginning to feel sceptical about whether or not Facebook can even do anything for your business? Do you feel as though you are wasting valuable resources on social networking for very little gain, or have you taken bad advice from poor SEO strategists in the past?

If so, you may feel like giving up on Facebook – but don’t. Go back to the beginning, and if you put the right strategy in place it really can help you take your small business to the next level. Social media marketing is all about sticking with it and building up follower base.  After all, Facebook currently has over 400 million members and chances are a large number of those are amongst your target customer groups. 

Here’s how you can make Facebook work for you:

Home Page: The first and most important thing to do, if you’re going back to basics, is to create a unique home page that really sells your business as soon as a person looks at it. Your profile picture should be bold and include your company logo. The text next to your image should be kept short, snappy and to the point for those reading it on mobiles: try to sum up what your company is about in a couple of short sentences. Then further on down the page you can go into more detail about the background of your company, what you do and what makes you unique. Make sure you include an obvious link to your website to increase traffic, and if you have offline shops then it’s vital you let visitors know where to find you.

Maintain a Presence: You need to make the most of your Facebook page as, if you do it right, it can help you create a solid brand identity. Make sure you regularly share images, links, useful blog posts or videos that will be relevant or interesting to your followers. Also, don’t be afraid to be funny or a little irreverent with your posts: social media platforms such as Facebook are a chance for you to be a little more informal with customers – something you may not be able to do in day-to-day business transactions. 

Special Offers or Competitions: A great way to keep other Facebook users interested in your business is to offer regular incentives. Hosting competitions is a fun promotional exercise and there are plenty of tools to help you do this easily, such as Shortstack. Your Facebook page is also the place to advertise any special offers you may have on, with links to your e-commerce site so users can buy straight away before they lose interest.

Advertising and Promoted Posts: If you have some of your advertising budget set aside then Facebook, with is many millions of users, is a good place to invest this. With promoted posts, for example, you will pay a flat rate in order for a single post to reach a certain number of users. If you want to guarantee that your followers will see an important post, even if they are not on Facebook very often, this is the way to do it. If you want to boost your visitor numbers significantly, you also have the option of a standard ad in the side column of the Facebook site which include an image, copy and click-through link to the destination of your choice.