Saturday, 5 December 2015

What Are The Benefits Of Business Blogging?

Despite the number of successful bloggers out there, many people still aren’t convinced of its benefits for online marketing. After all, they say, all you are doing is writing articles – you are not actually ‘selling’ your product so how can this grow your business? The answer is that you are selling the image of your company – the idea of yourself as a brand. And in this oversaturated global marketplace, this is a crucial differentiating factor. If you’re still not convinced, here are just some of the many key benefits of business blogging: 

Increasing Client Base: It’s hard to attract new clients if your website isn’t regularly updated because your search engine rankings will fall. A regularly updated, well-written blog is a great way to keep your site fresh without having to spend a lot of time changing the graphics. Furthermore, if your blog addresses specific problems faced by your customer base then they will come to trust you as an expert in your field and are more likely to be converted into paying clients rather than casual visitors.

Increasing Your Writing Prospects: If you are already running a business but want to become a published author in your field of expertise to boost your personal brand then a blog is a great way to start. For one thing, it’s a regular discipline that helps you to become a better, more fluent writer. If you engage with customers by encouraging comments it will also help you to discover what people like to read and what they don’t. By the time you come to write your book you will have gained a lot of knowledge of your customer base and hopefully also built up a ready-made audience to buy your book. A large number of online followers always sits well with potential publishers.

Building A Network:
If your blog is well written then hopefully you will start to build up your own online network to engage with through both your website and social media platforms. Not only will this hopefully increase your client base, it also gives you access to other experts with whom you can share advice and information. It’s good to have this kind of mutual support in today’s competitive market environment.

Improving SEO: Contrary to what many believe, search engine rankings are still important. After all, search engines are still there to deliver results that will be useful and relevant to their users. If you write valuable articles around a particular topic to a consistently high standard then search engines will recognise this and your search engine rankings will rise accordingly.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

How To Make Article Marketing Work For You

When it comes to article marketing, it’s important to have high quality, unique content.  Simply submitting content to article sites will not do you any favours unless it offers a new viewpoint, addresses a genuine issue or offers useful advice.

There may be links to your website from poor quality articles, but this is no good if nobody bothers to read till the end. In fact they can do you more harm than good: if the article is very badly written it will tend to reflect badly on your company. Here, then, is what to do to ensure that your article marketing has the effect you intended:

Writing Quality Articles: This is the most important rule to remember: before you start posting your content onto articles sites, test it out on your own website first and see how customers respond. If you are writing pieces that are useful to your website visitors then you can be fairly confident that potential customers who have not yet seen your website will also find them helpful. And don’t just hide them away in your ‘blog’ section (many customers won’t bother clicking on that), display them prominently on your home or product pages with catchy titles that will get people reading.

Getting Article Ideas: If you are struggling with the above because you simply can’t come up with any strong article ideas, don’t panic: this is a skill that can take a while to master. A good way of generating ideas is to do a search using the most relevant product or service keywords for you and seeing what kinds of information people are looking for. You could also look in forums related to your industry sector and find out what the big topics are at the moment or what kinds of problems people are struggling with: you can then base your article around this.

Make It A Collaboration: You may find that you don’t have the time to write all the articles yourself, and this is not a problem either. In fact, it’s good to get another perspective from time to time if you’re running low on ideas. You can encourage your employees to contribute their own articles. If they are heavily involved in marketing and selling your products then they will probably have plenty to say. You could even ask your customers if they would like to contribute content, along the lines of ‘tips on how to use these products’. Finally, if you’re really struggling to produce enough content, you can hire writers in to create it for you. Just make sure they have knowledge of the subject and can create engaging content.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Top Tips For A Strong SEO Strategy

We’ve all read the articles telling us that SEO is dead and we should be looking at other ways to promote our businesses online. The truth lies somewhere in the middle: yes, it’s becoming increasingly important to create high-quality content rather than playing the keywords numbers game.
But SEO is still an important part of your online marketing strategy – you just have to think about it in new ways.

Here, to give you some idea of what this might involve, are some of keys to successful SEO in today’s marketplace:

Headlines: You may have a well-written post, but it’s useless if the headline doesn’t make people click through to it. It has to strike the right balance between being interesting and truthful at the same time: people are getting more savvy about click-bait headlines these days so if they go through to a link and the article isn’t actually about what the headline suggests it is they will quickly navigate away from the page. So pick the most salient points, make the headline snappy, clever if possible and ensure the phrase appeals to your target audience.

Original Content: SEO is no longer just about getting any content at all up there as long as it contains your keywords: the aim is to create original, engaging and entertaining content. Remember that to build your brand you want people to share your posts and they won’t do this is if they’re read it all a thousand times before. Thinks of new ways to present your information, use images and present answers to common problems your target audience may have. That’s the way to get a post to go viral.

Inbound Links: Creating your own content is important, but you should also have plenty of other tools in your online marketing arsenal. Bear in mind that there are plenty of other ways to get inbound links to your site and you should be exploring these. Guest blogging has been a popular thing to do in recent years, although you need to be picky and find someone who adds value to your brand. You can also try using content delivery networks such as Taboola, which can also be instrumental in bringing in more traffic. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, this is a kind of automated service that places your content on sites that reach your target audience. Some companies like to share content with links to their site on community platforms such as Reddit.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

How To Save Time In Online Marketing

There is only so much time in the working day and most companies – especially smaller ones – have limited resources to spend on online marketing. But nobody could deny that it’s a vital part of business development today so the most logical thing to do is employ some time-saving methods. You don’t have to spend hours and hours a day to implement an effective marketing strategy.

Here are some things to bear in mind:

Automate: You may think it’s cheaper to try to do everything manually rather than invest in software, but you may be pleasantly surprised to find out how affordable it can actually be – particularly when you factor in the savings to your manpower. To give just one example, if you invest in software for essential weekly and monthly market reports to be generated you will soon notice the difference. Many software programmes can even compile lead generation reports and carry out competitor analysis.

Hold Onto Customers: It’s no secret that it takes far less time to develop ways of building up long-term customer relationships than to start from scratch every time. There are many ways you can ensure clients don’t stray: for example, send them regular emails with special offers tailored to their individual needs, or surprise them now and then with free gifts. Also, make sure your website is always easy to navigate and works perfectly so customers have a positive experience every time they come back to buy something.

Organise: When you’re running a business there are so many different balls to be kept in the air that sometimes communication between your marketing department and other areas can break down. This is a problem, because in order for your online marketing strategy to be effective, everyone in the company has to know what is going on so they can promote your key objectives. The best way to keep things organised today is to use Google Drive, which allows documents to be viewed and edited from multiple devices. Even if you are on the move you can keep an eye on what’s going on and everybody else can stay up-to-date too.

Updating Content:
To keep your online marketing strategy fresh it is essential that you keep updating the content of your website on a regular basis. But sourcing content can be time-consuming so you need to come up with a workable system. There are platforms available, such as Buzzsumo, with tools to help you find the most popular content and highlight influencers on social media sites. Well worth investing in if you want to stay ahead of the trends when it comes to content generation but don’t have much time to invest in it.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

How To Generate New Leads Online

Have you tried all the traditional marketing routes but still can’t seem to generate the volume of new leads necessary to take your business to the next step?

If so, you may not have spent enough time looking into all the possibilities the Internet has to offer when it comes to winning new business. Luckily for you, there are literally hundreds of methods at your disposal. To help you get started, here are just some of the simplest and most effective:

Newsletter: Releasing a regular newsletter is a great way of staying in touch with customers – but it’s also a way to reach new ones. If you make sure to include a newsletter sign-up link in several places on your website then your number of new leads is sure to increase. Once people have signed up you will have their details and a captive audience. All you have to do then is make sure the newsletters are packed full of useful information, special offers and so on – they shouldn’t just be a tedious brag-fest about how wonderful your company is.

Social Media: If used the right way, Facebook, Twitter and so on can be a constant source of new leads. After all, any existing followers can share your posts with all their followers so if your content is fresh and exciting the potential market is huge. Think different with your posts, making them witty and thought-provoking. And of course, it’s not just about your own posts. You can seek out your own leads by following potential customers and getting into conversations with them. Just remember not to be too pushy – this is a big no-no for social media.

Blog: This is another one of the simplest and best lead-generating tools out there because it gives you a chance to establish credibility. You have complete control over the content of your blog posts, so if they are well-written and address genuine issues or problems within your sector in an informative way then you can quickly build up more interested customers. And of course, there should always be a newsletter sign-up link located close to your blog.

Webinars: More and more companies are recognising the benefits of hosting their own webinars – and it doesn’t have to be too much of a hassle. Having cottoned on to this, there are now many providers that will allow you to broadcast your webinar quickly and surprisingly cheaply.  Just make sure you ask around first to find out which are the most reliable. All you have to do then is come up with a great idea that is going to generate a bit of buzz and promote it using social media and your newsletter. Encourage your followers to share it with their followers and you have a valuable new source of leads.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

How To Build A Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a strategic approach to promoting your business online, focusing on creating valuable, relevant and above all consistent content to attract your target audience. It’s not about selling – it’s about communicating with your customers and establishing a bond of trust. But whilst this can be an incredibly effective tool for growth, it’s a skill and it does take time to get it right. If you’re new to the world of content marketing, here are some steps you can take to go about putting together a coherent strategy:

Establish Goals: You will only be able to keep an eye on your progress and track your ROI if you know exactly what your content marketing goals are from the outset. Whether you want to bring in more leads, increase your website traffic or boost your social media following, all of the following steps should be tailored towards this.

Connect With Customers: You should remember that your content marketing strategy begins with making a personal connection, so make it social. For example, use social media platforms to start a conversation, draw attention to trends in the industry or simply offer an entertaining article. People are far more likely to be drawn to and want to read content that makes them laugh or cry. People are far more likely to share your content with their own followers if it resonates with them on a personal level.

Be Informative and Consistent:
With your content, you should aim to make it valuable and to really tell your customers what they want to know. Think about common problems your clients might face, or particular trends that are of interest. Can you build an article or blog post around these? You will find that the more relevant your content, the more likely it is to interest your target audience. Also, be consistent: people tend to trust things more if there are no surprises. Make sure you update your content on a regular basis and don’t vary your tone too much. If you’re going for informal and it seems to be working, then stick to that as far as possible.

Make It Accessible: Ensure that your entire team is aware of the strategy you have set out and that it is easy to follow. This doesn’t just mean your marketing team (if you have one). All employees should be able to participate, whether that is sales, human resources, admin or anybody else. Encourage the use of social media to promote your key aims, for example, and welcome any suggestions or feedback that anybody may have.

Measure Your Success:
Whatever your goals might be, make sure that you know how to track metrics so you can find out whether your strategy is working or whether it needs a tweak. If you’re not sure how to do this, think about hiring a content marketing expert for a short time. They will be able to show you how to measure your results accurately on a monthly basis.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Making the Most of your Marketing Budget

If you’re a small business or a start-up then you’re likely to have a very limited marketing budget. As such, any success you have in this area may well reside in your ability to develop a creative marketing strategy that makes the best possible use of your resources. This involves identifying your core strengths, understanding the importance of customer relations and knowing when to outsource and when to do things in-house. Here are some key things to think about when you’re planning your marketing activities for the next year:

Trade Shows: It’s important to keep networking in order to build new business contacts, and one of the most efficient ways to do this is to attend trade shows. At these events you will be able to meet large amounts of potential customers in one single place, as well as finding out what your competitors are up to. But in order to make the best use of your budget, you have to do your research thoroughly first: look at which shows have the best attendance, who will be attending them and make sure they are definitely relevant to your particular niche.

Online Marketing: One of the best things about taking the time to develop a really well thought-out online marketing strategy is that many of the avenues available t you here are completely free. Twitter and LinkedIn, for example, are great ways to extend your network or reach out to new customers. Think of them as just another weapon in your marketing arsenal – a chance to communicate with your audience on a more informal basis. You might also want to consider thinking about SEO, online advertising and blogging.

Email Marketing: As an extension to the above, it’s worth spending time on your email marketing. Again, it’s about working out a strategy rather than any large outlay which is great for those with a small budget. The most important thing to bear in mind when sending out marketing emails to those on your mailing list is that they should be targeted to their needs. To this end, you need to break your clients down into separate categories so they aren’t being bombarded with emails that have no interest for them.

Know Your Weaknesses: Another aspect of cost-savvy marketing is understanding when a certain amount of outlay is appropriate in order to get the best results. In short: outsourcing where necessary may save you money in the long-term. For example, it’s well worth paying a professional web design company to put together a really well-functioning website to begin with. Your website is one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal so it’s something that shouldn’t be rushed.
Measure Results: Lastly, in order to make sure you are spending your marketing budget wisely you need to make sure that every campaign you put in place can be tested for results. For example, with your email marketing, keep track of the responses you get so you can begin to build a picture of what works best and for which kinds of customers.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

5 Essential Tools Your Business Needs To Boost Your Online Presence

Let’s face it, if you are still not marketing your business online than you are not reaching at least 80% of your total potential customers. With the internet evolving every day and most people having internet access, you cannot afford not to market your business online. By building a good online presence and building your brand, you can reach millions of customers from all parts of the world! It’s time to get educated! Read on…

You absolutely need a website!
It all starts with your own company website. You can easily register a domain name for your website and preferably use your company name as the domain name. Showcase your company brands and services offered on your site. Give more details and information about your company and make sure your contact details are on your site for potential customers to be able to reach you.
Your website will enable you to even sell your products online. Just add a shopping cart and online payment processer on your site and you are good to go. Your website can make sales for you 24 hours a day, while you sleep!

Once your website is up and running, it is important to update it regularly. You want to encourage your website visitors to be repeat visitors and to do this you need to always have new content on your website. Whether you update your site with your latest products, latest company news, products specials, related articles, anything! Just make sure you always have fresh new content on your site to make people come back for more. You want to use your site to build a loyal reader base that will later convert into customers.

Add a Blog to your site!
A blog is a great way to add fresh content your site. You can add just about any content in a blog, preferably articles relating to your company and products. The great thing about having a blog is that it allows reader engagement and allows your readers to comment on your blog posts. This interaction will help build a relationship with your customers and increase repeat visitors.
Not only will this be good for returning customers but this will help you get new customers. The more your online presence improves, the more likely your website will start appearing in search engine results such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Just make sure your blog is easily located on your website so that your readers know where to access it. Similar to your website, make sure you add fresh new blog posts on a regular basis to your blog so there is always new content for your repeat customers.

Add Social Media to your site
Make sure that you add links to social media accounts of your company on your website. Yes, you have to create social media accounts. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram. They all work in building your brand online. Create these accounts using your brand or company name so they can easily be found on these sites.

For Facebook, you will have to create a Facebook page with the same name as your company. The content on here will be similar to a blog and very simple to run. Social media is powerful as it allows people to share posts and content. This creates the possibility of information about your company going viral. Your company will be reached by more users on these platforms.

More importantly you will be reaching potential customers who are using mobile devices. As technology is evolving, people are becoming more comfortable in using their mobile devices in buying products online. By aligning your business with social media you are tapping into those customers that do not use computers to access the internet. This places you 10 steps ahead from your competitors.

Go Viral with YouTube
Like social media, YouTube has also become very social. YouTube videos get shared everywhere! From blogs, tweets and Facebook even on instant messengers. Did you know that YouTube has over 1 billion users? How many customers do you think you can reach on YouTube…Thousands!
Make sure you create a YouTube channel with your company name and upload videos on a regular basis. Upload cool videos that people will like and share. Even YouTube videos end up in search engine results. This will boost your online presence.

Email Marketing
Email marketing on its own has been a successful way of converting leads into customers. There is no reason why you cannot take advantage of this. By adding an email submit form on your website, you can easily build a database of potential customers who are interested in your service or products. You can send them regular newsletter about your latest products, special and useful information. Just make sure that you do not spam them.
Building an online presence may seem like a difficult task for any small business but by implementing these 5 tools, you will be known to the world sooner than you ever imagined!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

How To Improve Your Online Customer Service

Good customer service isn’t restricted to face-to-face interaction: these days it is important to ensure that your online customer service is just as professional. After all, your website is your virtual shop window so you want any customers to go away feeling they have been treated well – just as you would if they visited your premises in person.

There are many different areas you can work on to ensure this is the case, some of which are as follows:

Allow For Self-Service: You don’t need to patronise your clients: yes, you need to make the process of using your website as simple as possible for those who are less confident online; but just as you find self-service check-outs in most supermarkets today, you also need to offer the option of online self-service. Make sure you have a comprehensive FAQ page to enable users to find the answers to common questions so they don’t necessarily have to contact your customer service team about every query. You should monitor and update this regularly to keep up with changing demands.

Clear Contact Info: You should always make it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you: failure to do so engenders mistrust and they will very likely go elsewhere to buy what they’re looking for. The best sites will offer multiple contact options so you should too: give telephone numbers, email addresses, instant chat options and so on. Include several links to all of these to show demonstrate transparency. Making your contact details easy and accessible will show that you are serious about providing excellent customer service.

Encourage Feedback: In addition to providing contact details, it’s also important that you allow customers to leave feedback on your website. This will show that you have nothing to hide. You can do this however you like: via a dedicated ‘feedback’ link, specific product reviews or through allowing visitors to comment on your blog posts. You should then try to engage personally with your customers by responding to these comments.

Deal With Complaints: Every company, however good it is, will now and then have to deal with customer complaints. It’s simply a fact of life in the business world. What is important is how you respond to and deal with these complaints. The most important thing is to act quickly: if someone has posted a negative comment on your website, respond publicly and always apologise for any inconvenience they may have had. If you’re at fault then don’t argue the point – just admit to it and offer recompense. An example would be if a product is damaged in transit and arrives broken: don’t quibble, just send them out another one and even offer a discount if they have been very inconvenienced.