When was the last time you picked up The Yellow Pages? Or a hard-copy Local Directory for that matter? Five years ago? Six? When you needed an electrician or a plumber when did you last look in the back of a local paper? The same can be said of your customers too. The percentage of marketing that was digital (ie online) stood at 25% in 2013. Last year it was 75%.
In my role as Co-Founder and Head of Content for marketing consultancy, Magnificent Stuff I must have met upwards of 250 business owners over the past year or two. At risk of generalising they do fit a certain demographic: normally male, normally between 48-55, normally heading up an established SME. In those two years I have met only a handful of business owners who’s digital marketing could be described as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. It’s no coincidence in my mind, that these people happened to be in their 30’s.
The so-called ‘millennial’ generation have grown up with digital marketing and advertising. In simple terms they ‘get it’, however it can be a steep learning curve for those of us who grew up in the seventies and eighties.
It’s not my place or intention to be alarmist, however the next generation of business owners, our ‘millennials’, are way ahead of the game here. They are tech-savvy, digitally aware and ambitious.
Take social media, for example. Which of us would not like our Facebook or Twitter presence to generate leads and clients? To engender enthusiasm and customer loyalty? Every MD knows that they should be using social constructively for the benefit of the Company, but do they? Chances are unless the Business Owner is under 35 social media not being used effectively or used at all. Why? Three reasons. Firstly, we don’t know how to. No-one’s actually shown us. Secondly, we do know how to but we don’t know what to say and, thirdly (and most commonly) we simply haven’t got the time or resources. Have you got an extra two to three hours per week to spend on social media management? Do you have enough time to blog fortnightly? To create newsletters? Do you even consider such marketing to be useful?
In 2016 digital marketing is not simply important but – in my view – intrinsic to business growth. But then, I would say that wouldn’t I? Here are a few stats:
- 80% of customers do “a lot” of online research for considered purchases.
- 46% count on social media when making such decisions
- B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog
- The average return on an e-mail marketing investment is £29.14 for every pound spend
- 93% of marketeers use social media for business
Of course every business is different but ultimately without digital and content marketing of some type, your company will be missing leads and clients. If you’d like any advice on how to make digital marketing work for you please get in touch, we live and breath content.
Steve Chew is Head of Content at Magnificent Stuff Limited, Old Harlow. You can contact Steve via the link above 0r on 07723024865.
Anything Other Than Magnificent Simply Isn’t Acceptable
Is blogging really a necessary element of running a business? Are you swaying towards the YES vote, but deep down, as an SME owner, you don’t feel that you have the time or the skills to regularly post any interesting, high quality, original content?
The sinking feeling starts and the procrastination kicks in; surely you’re thinking there are ‘more important’ things you could be doing to grow your business (apart from currently doing a sterling job in talking yourself out of starting a regular blog?). Hmmmm, sounds to us like you are firmly stuck in the blog bog; totally stuck about what to write.
Blogs give customers an inside look into your company as well as an overview of your brand, your aims and values. Your customers feel valued that you want to connect with them, whilst building your brand, client trust and giving your business some seriously free PR. In fact, according to a recent HubSpot survey, 60% of businesses who regularly blog win more customers.
Here at Magnificent Stuff, with wellies at the ready, we can quickly pull you out of the blog bog. How? We blog for you! Simply put, we do everything – we create strong editorial content, research topics and industry articles that are of interest and turn them into content-rich blogs on your behalf. We can magically turn bits of your existing website into bite-sized, easily digestible, useful blogs that keep you relevant and present. Even if you choose to blog about a specialist topic, we have a team of content writing professionals who we can outsource even the most complex blog briefs to.
So, now there really is no excuse not to start blogging and just to help you a little more (apart from all the ‘techy’ bits) we have a few magnificent facts that might help you realise how effective blogging actually can be:
Fuel your Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines recognise valuable content and reward you for creating it, by helping you climb up the results ladder. Adding another indexed page to your website offers you a better chance of showing up in organic listings and driving traffic to your site, which in turn generates new leads and revenue.
Support your social media initiatives
Blogs keep your social media pages active and popular. It’s all well and good sharing other people’s posts, but you need to publish your own content and drive the interest back to your own site. It also opens up an opportunity for dialogue through comments on social media channels as well as saving you time creating separate social media posts when you can utilise snippets of your blog content. Blogging demonstrates that your business is alive, well and very much loved by you.
Be an expert and be human
Blogging is a perfect way to give you the spotlight – your time to shine. Let your audience know that you are confident and knowledgeable in what you do and establish yourself in your chosen field by offering useful and informative content. Your website may be an all singing, all dancing top-notch bit of design, but by posting a regular blog you can add a human voice to your site, bring to the fore your brand, your character and your professionalism.
Blogging for business just makes sense. With minimum financial investment or even effort if you let us take on your blogging requirements, you can rapidly build credibility, boost search engine rankings, increase traffic, be heard and build stronger relationships with your audience. Blogging is a marketing tool that creates opportunity after opportunity and everyone should be doing it.
Definition: adjective [before noun] UK /ˌɔːl.weɪzˈɒn/ US /ˌɑːl.weɪzˈɑːn/ Always On – available or operating at all times.
The media landscape can be an intimidating place for SMEs. Primarily because they are greater in number (representing 99% of all EU businesses) and therefore face more competition from peers, but also because they lack the vast budgets and ability to generate the standout and market recognition larger organisations can. An Always On strategy should be considered.
An Always On strategy – where small amounts of information or content is delivered constantly rather than a more traditional “campaign” model, is ideal for smaller businesses on a financial level, as it is easier to spread the cost over time instead of crippling your bottom line with a major fiscal hit every few months. It also means that your message is continuous rather than being reinvented each burst.
A further advantage of Always On content is that it engages you and your audience in an ongoing two-way conversation, a key driver for building your customer base. Your audience, like the rest of us, live in a world where they have become accustomed to constant information- when that drops off at the end of a campaign, a lot of that engagement can be lost. Of course attracting their attention in the first place is important, but equally crucial is being able to retain it. An Always On strategy can help to develop a relationship – keep them coming back.
“A good analogy would be with web browsing – getting people to click on your page is one thing, but what you really want is for them to bookmark it”.
Allows you to be both reactive AND proactive
Always On is key when it comes to maintaining relationships because it enables you to be nimble, and adapt to changing circumstances or customer feedback on the fly. A campaign which is generally more proactive, is a commitment, and if poorly-judged can be very difficult to come back from and can even be damaging.
“To summarise, with Always On marketing, even if you are using it in combination with campaign marketing, you will have much less trouble turning the ship around if you reach choppy waters!”
If you would like help with an Always On strategy for your business please email email@example.com or visit our CONTACT page
In today’s increasingly overcrowded digital marketplace, search engine optimisation is now more important than ever before if you want your site to stand out from the crowd. Video content is a great way forward.
Whereas in the past a handful of keywords would do the trick, increased broadband speeds and the popularity of streaming media (an estimated 100 million people a day watch online video content) mean video is now one of the most important additions you can make to your marketing arsenal. This has as much to do with advances in the search engine technology itself as it does with the changing nature of the marketing landscape – a process which is only going to continue, making it vital that you jump on board now rather than find yourself left behind.
When you consider the advances being made by Google Labs in pattern recognition, the necessity of using video content becomes obvious for anyone wanting a boost in the markets of tomorrow.
Of course, search engine page ranking is just the beginning of your target audience’s engagement with your site. Once you have them there, you have to maintain their interest, and what better way to do that than with a slick video presentation? According to the Cisco Visual Network Index, by 2019 80% of all internet traffic will be video, making it the ideal way to connect with your customer base. And as a means of measuring how effective that connection is, video has a lot to recommend it over text. Of course, you can see how many pages a visitor has looked at but there is no way of telling how much of each of those pages they have actually read. Compare this to video, where information about how far through a piece each visitor has played is far easier to collate, making it equally useful as a tool for market research and refining your strategy.
If a picture can be said to paint a thousand words, the power of video is exponentially larger. It has a substantial effect on click-through rates, page rankings, audience interest and deal closures. If you look at the research, as well as the tangible benefits gleaned by those businesses who have already joined the video marketing boom, there really is no good reason not to get involved yourself. It’s not just sound business sense, it really is the future of online marketing.
From testimonials through to promotional videos and training produced, directed and edited by experienced, qualified experts. Increase your customer engagement and improve your search engine listings with bespoke, quality video content produced to your specifications. Contact Steve at Magnificent Stuff via e-mail or on 07723024865.
Marketing Support for organisations of all sizes.
We like to think we can help with most business objectives, just a few of the areas of marketing support we specialise in include the following:
Content marketing strategy
Small agency consultancy support
Market research – surveys, questionnaires, focus groups Subscriptions and distribution
Loyalty marketing/membership marketing
E-commerce setup and management
Readability/tone of voice
Contract Publishing – B2B and consumer
Print and publication management – full service offering (inserts, magazines, brochures, catalogues)
New business development/strategy
Commercial consultancy – advertising sales support/setup/management Subscriptions management
Distribution management/targeted placement
Search engine optimisation
Social media strategy
This list isn’t exhaustive but covers the type of work we do. For costs and more information on marketing support in-house or offsite please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Steve on 07723 024865
The registered charity Mike’s Den, is a community based social club encouraging people of all abilities to come together on equal terms based in Potter Street, Harlow.
The charity was founded by Harlow resident Neil Crouch who has run the club for several years on a shoestring – with the help of his family and a few dedicated volunteers who selflessly give their time. The club aims to give members of all abilities a few hours of fun per week. This might include Disco’s, Zumba Classes, Bingo, Quiz nights, Pool and much more. Neil also takes the group on subsidised theatre and panto trips and small breaks away to the coast when funds allow.
In it’s present form however, Mike’s Den is in rather dire need of funding. Income is currently limited to the occasional donation and to the £3 per week ‘subs’ paid by the members for use of the facilities. At Magnificent Stuff we feel that this is a wonderful (if neglected) local charity and that Neil, his team of volunteers and the members they support deserve a little more, even if it’s a just few bob to fix the pool table, buy a new Bingo set or some extra stock for the Tuck Shop.
With that in mind we have put together this unapologetically blatant request for support from all our friends who have local businesses in Harlow, Sawbridgeworth and West Essex. If you lovely, generous people can spare a donation, anything from as little as £5 per month, we’d be eternally grateful. In return, you not only get the (enormously heart-warming) satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing something truly generous for the local community, but you get to put this….
lovely logo on your website/creds/paperwork. Your own logo will also appear on Mike’s Den’s website, our monthly newsletter and any promotional literature (flyers, ads, brochures etc). How good is that?
It really is a wonderful little charity which would be hugely grateful for even the smallest assistance.
So, if you are interested in sponsoring Mike’s Den, or would like to come for a look round/visit on one of the Wednesday evenings please contact Steve at email@example.com or on 07723 024865, or you could PM the club via Facebook.
Thanks for reading.
Here’s a great blog post by Amy Wallace for Brain Traffic from 2012. She illustrates a typical (and difficult) problem encountered by Content Marketeers. A company wants content for their blog or website but has no idea what information you – the writer – will need to progress.
We hope this helps – click here.
As we’ve discussed before there are 5 main reasons that most businesses use social networking and blogging. It’s useful to have a think about how many of these reasons apply to your company’s posts…
- To Promote
To give your business a voice, a personality and an opportunity to shout about its benefits.
- To Inspire
Inspiration gives us a push to keep going, try harder or aim higher. Inspiring messages are shared to create a ‘feel good’ feeling amongst followers
- To Entertain
If you look at our piece on The Power of a Smile you’ll see how important and cathartic smiling and laughter are for wellbeing.
- To inform
Whether it’s the latest in news, the current trend on or a nearby event social media has become an integral medium for information.
- To connect
When I joined Facebook nearly ten years ago the immediate draw for me was that it kept me in touch with friends I no longer saw in person, due to our various relocations around the globe. It instantly added a layer of valued connectivity to my day to day activities. Now I use social media and my content to connect @Magnificentstuf with other similar organisations and to help establish our brand.
Given that you and many other businesses will have ticked only number one, you might now begin to appreciate why social media can seem a very noisy, overcrowded place, and also perhaps why many tweets, posts and updates are ignored. The savvy social media user amongst us knows that appealing to points two to five on the list is the way to get noticed…so –
1) When promoting your business don’t rerun the same post advertising your service or product. Think about smarter ways to promote, use case studies, promotional offers, testimonials.
2) Look to inspire if that is your strength; people love to absorb the wisdom of Jack Canfield first thing in the morning as they start their day, and I’m sure they’ll love your wisdom or shared insights too.
3) If humour comes naturally don’t be afraid to inject comedy into your posts (just think about how your brand may be perceived – non-offensive and clean may leave a better impression!)
4) Share information that people can put to good use. One of our most successful posts to date is ‘9 natural ways to keep spiders out of your home’ – this post has nothing to do with Magnificent Stuff… It’s not in any way marketing related but it’s interesting and informative and topical. People liked and shared leading to a positive impact on Magnificent Stuff’s reputation.
5) Support and assist your community in the same way that you would your own circle of friends. Going the extra mile for others counts for an awful lot. Follow, like and share others posts. So long as it’s not a direct competitor it’s nice, good practice and reflects well on your brand to engage publicly with others.
I usually spend an hour or so on a Sunday planning content for the week ahead. I set myself a goal of writing a split percentage across each of the 5 types of content listed above and set about researching and brainstorming posts.
Some tips for content creation:
- Google national or global calendar dates so you can use these as posts.
- Design cool graphics to accompany your posts using canva.com.
- Keep or pin inspirational quotes and posts you’ve seen during the week so you can retweet or share them.
- Integrate your social media so they work succinctly (writing a post in Hootsuite that will post across all of your channels together) but me mindful that audiences will differ so sometimes the message will need to be changed, also the display of posts changes from channel to channel.
- Ask your followers what they would like to see more of.
- Review your insights to see which type of posts have been successful and generate decent levels of engagement.
For more tips, advice and content ideas contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The use of effective content has become increasingly important – here are a few tips to help you achieve better search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Use smart headlines you can grab attention – remember, short, succinct and interesting.
- Commit to a content plan/calendar to keep content regular and varied – we can help you with this!
- Use real stories about real people to create unique and engaging content – if something has made you laugh, cry, feel inspired or provoked a reaction in you it’s worth sharing… so long as it sits comfortably with your brand and enhances the customer experience.
- Sense check: is your content worth sharing? Would your reader see value in forwarding it on?
- Make sure your content answers the kind of questions being asked on Google or other search engines. If your content resolves someone’s quandary then it’s beneficial, useful and shareable.
- Sense check: why should your reader care about your content… What value does it offer them? Is it teaching them something, amusing them, giving them something or adding value to their life?
- Tap into your organization for customer-relevant content marketing ideas. Case studies or anecdotes, documented real-life situations are far more interesting, especially if you can solve a problem/answer a question.
- Repurposing existing content to make it suitable/fitting for the audience is important and cost/time efficiency, but remember, Not all content is transferable between mediums. Is your advertising copy really suitable to tweet without a rewrite?
- Don’t forget to include a relevant call to action, encouraging readers to do something as a result of reading the post, feature, piece. You could also use a tracking code to better understand where people are coming from and what works well for you.
- Think about catering for your audiences needs, and who your audience is. On Facebook we have a very local audience, predominantly small business owners, on Twitter our followers have a strong US bias.
At Magnificent Stuff we pride ourselves on working with our clients to understand their audiences and deliver effective and brand appropriate marketing communications. If you’d like a free, no obligation chat about your comms. Please contact us at email@example.com or tweet us @magnificentstuf (yes, there is only 1 ‘f’ at the end!)