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.
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
Professional Marketing Support.
You may be spending loads on marketing your business already or you may be considering advertising and are not sure of where to invest. Magnificent Stuff are running a limited promotion giving local businesses access to jargon-free, professional marketing support with London agency expertise – helping you to attract more customers for minimum costs.
You know that you need to market your business, knowing how to is a different matter entirely. Let Magnificent Stuff take that burden off your shoulders so you can get on with what you do best.
As a business owner you should be able to focus on what you’re good at – using your skills and acumen to work in, develop and refine your business product or service. At Magnificent Stuff we pride ourselves on being good at what we do too – we let your prospective customers know that you’re there, leaving you to focus on your day job.
That said we also realize that proving a Return On Investment, (that your marketing is actually working) can be difficult, especially with regards to marketing, and that’s where our Promotional Offer comes in.
We will sit down with you, formally or informally and discuss the objectives of your company – where you are, where you’d like to be (in three months, six months or five years), your visibility and your target market – and will put together a digital and hard copy of a mini marketing plan that will produce results for you. This strategy will be tailored specifically to your company and designed to maximize exposure – and hence sales in your chosen marketplace and will cost only £60.
If you like us, and want some ongoing assistance from us we will give 50% of the offer fee back to you. If you want to manage the plan yourself, that’s ok too, because we’d have worked on it together you will be able to confidently look after the marketing for your business knowing you’re reaching the right people in the right places.
So whether its social media, advertising, directory listings, market research, emails, blogs or brochures Magnificent Stuff are on hand to work one-to-one with you whether you’re a plumber, a solicitor, a dog groomer or an accountant.
For more details please contact Steve or Emma at email@example.com, by phone on 0772302485 or you can tweet us @magnificentstuf.
Magnificent Stuff are affiliate members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and have nearly 50 years industry experience.
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.
These days, it’s easy to create a website for a relatively low cost. That means all businesses, from startups to well-established organizations, are up against an ever-increasing amount of competitors when selling products and services online.
This crowded marketplace combined with search engines pushing organic search results farther down the page makes it tough for businesses to get noticed online without paying for it. So what would a local Internet marketing company suggest for how to get traffic to your website? A lot! Here’s the deal on the 10 easy steps you can take right now to improve your search engine ranking—and your bottom line.
Increase Website Traffic in 10 Steps
Choose your keywords wisely.
What’s the key to improving search engine ranking? Keywords! Think about your target audience and build an understanding of the words they might use to look for a business like yours. Then, be sure to pepper them throughout the copy on your website or blog. An Internet marketing company would say the optimum keyword density should be 1 to 3 percent. Using a keyword more than that could be considered search spam. So for a page of about 550 words, your key phrases of four words would be repeated two to four times. Try not to jam your keywords and phrases into the copy in an unnatural way. And remember that search engines evaluate all text on your pages, so be sure to include your keywords in headers, footers, meta data, advertisements, and content. This will greatly improve your search engine ranking and increase website traffic.
Develop more content.
One of the simplest things to do when considering how to get traffic to your website is to create fresh content for your website or blog regularly. Doing this will attract more visitors and give you the chance to utilize your keywords more frequently. Most search engines pay more attention to sites that are rich in content and updated consistently.
Speaking of consistency, the search engines don’t like inconsistent business listings. That means you must be consistent when you list your business details. Your business name, your physical address, your phone number—every letter and number should appear exactly the same across all websites. Use the same details on your website, blog, social media profiles, local directories and review sites, and you’ll have a better chance to increase website traffic.
Everyone’s on social media these days, and that includes businesses. Not only is it a great way to connect with your consumers, but as any local Internet marketing company will tell you, having profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can help you attract new ones. Real-time communication helps make happy customers, which in turn builds brands. It helps establish your business’ personality and give your brand a human voice that people can relate to. You can also answer questions promptly, manage or build your reputation and positively influence sales. Make sure your profile is listed as a local business.
Everyone knows that mobile communication is here to stay. And when it comes to local Internet marketing, your business has to be there when your customers are on the move. You also have to provide the right information when they’re looking for you on their devices. The best way to do this is to make your website is responsive—so that your customers have the right viewing experience no matter what device they’re on. Pay even closer attention to important sections like your contact page, your product or services page, or your restaurant menu appear on mobile devices. Be careful about technologies like PDFs or Flash, which can complicate the process.
Link to other sites.
Your search engine ranking will vastly improve when you expand your presence through linking. Do some research. Find similar blogs or industry websites that post quality content. Check the page for information on linking or contact the owner. Linking helps to these sites will draw visitors that are already interested in your topic, so they’ll be apt to read your content. Check out Open Site Explorer or Google Webmaster Tools to see who is linking to you now and to find new places to grow your exposure. You can even use Open Site Explorer to “spy” on your competitors and see who’s linking to them and potentially link to same websites!
Invite reviews. Reviews can go a long way for your reputation—and your search engine ranking. The best way to encourage your customers to write you good reviews is to engage them from the start through email, be responsive to their feedback and stay on top of comments on social media. This will give the impression that you’re worthy of praise, and that consumers stand behind your product or service. It’s really about being visible at all times.
Get your business on Google Local
Have you heard of Google Places for Business or Local Google+ pages? If not, it’s time to get up to speed. Google Places for Business helps control what information is displayed in a Google Search and on Google Maps so people can easily find you. Local Google+ pages add social interaction to your listing so there’s two-way communication with your customers. You can respond to reviews and post updates. When it comes to local Internet marketing, utilizing these two tools is a cheap and easy way to gain exposure.
Create local listings.
Any Internet marketing company would advise you to create listings on local directories or review websites. Why? Each listing represents a “citation” or mention of your business—a crucial element used in the search engine ranking algorithm, not only for Google, but also for Bing, Yahoo Local, and others. Visit GetListed.org and search for your business. You’ll see your existing citations and which listings you may be missing.
Track and analyze.
To make the most of your local Internet marketing and SEO efforts, do yourself a favor and set up tools to track and analyze results. Start simply by monitoring your keywords. Online tools like AWR Cloud or Moz Analytics make it easy to track keyword rankings from mobile search results. Check out Google Webmaster Tools weekly to keep tabs on the impressions and clicks on your keywords. Use Google Analytics to analyze the organic traffic and see if it’s improving. Chances are you’ll see a traffic increase within a few weeks. While you don’t have much control of these numbers, monitoring the trends can keep you moving in the right direction.
What are you waiting for? Now that you know how to get traffic to your website, you can start today! It might look like a huge task now, but you don’t have to get it done in one sitting. Schedule some time each day, or even each week, to focus on your search engine ranking, and you’ll increase website traffic in no time!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @magnificentstuf (yes, there is only 1 ‘f’ at the end!)
“What is it you do, exactly?” Over the last week we’ve been asked this question a number of times so it is clearly necessary to write a post explaining. I think the smartest and most concise summary would be in ‘elevator pitch’ style. So here we go…
MAGNIFICENT STUFF is a marketing consultancy with a focus on customer retention, loyalty and acquisition.
In a nutshell, we help you acquire and keep customers. We cover all aspects of marketing from research and planning through to evaluation and strategy. Anything an in-house marketing team takes care of we can manage. Basically, we’re offering small businesses and enterprises a marketing department on a consultancy basis. We work with clients who want to grow their customer base, promote their product/service and drive sales. We are NOT social media strategists, nor web designers, design agency or advertising agency. We do help clients with their social media, websites and advertising and we also work collaboratively with these specialists if it is necessary to meet a client’s brief. Our experience lies in branded content, editorial and account/project management. We have worked with some of the Worlds biggest brands. To give you an idea of the scope of work we do,
- We are currently working on developing a publishing programme to generate sales in the South-west,
- Supporting a creative supplier to the arts industry with marketing expertise,
- Writing editorial style copy for a publication to promote a number of very different businesses,
- Managing the social media accounts of two sole traders,
- Writing/selling a sponsorship package for a large charity event.
So, in layman’s terms, we are developing the strategy and setup of a profitable magazine, working as marketing department and project management consultancy to an art installation supplier, writing specialised ad copy to generate revenue, running the social media marketing for clients and putting together a sponsorship package to sell. Hopefully this explains things a bit, but if you’re still unsure please fire any questions to email@example.com and we’d be delighted to help. If you’d like to tap into some of our skills then please don’t hesitate to contact us too. We start with a free, no obligation, meeting, where we’ll learn about your business and understand your needs to identify what (and if) we can help with.
Business Blog Posts
According to Ignite Spot, 77% of Internet users read blogs, 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites, and 12 million people blog via social networks. Here’s a brief guide to creating great business blog posts.
Blogging is not going to go away. As marketers, blogging is essential to our jobs – but it’s not simple. We have to come up with a subject, write in an engaging matter, optimise for SEO and take a ton of other steps to make sure we are writing the best possible post we can to make it stand out. Against 6.7 million people
Though blogging is not a science there are certain steps you can follow to make sure it has the essential components necessary to perform well.
Here are 8 steps that can get you on the right path to blogging like a pro.
1) Understand your audience. Having a clear understanding of your audience is vital. What is their demographic? Are they computer literate? What will engage them? Consider what you know about your customers’ personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for the blog post.
2) Have a topic and a working title. Before you do anything, you need to choose a topic for your blog post. It can be pretty general, but it is essential to come up with a few topic ideas to get you started. After you choose one to run with, you need to create a working title. What’s the difference? A topic is general, while a working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.
3) Write an introduction (and make it grab the attention). Grab the reader’s attention as soon as humanly possible. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs of the introduction, they will stop reading. Full stop. Thereafter explain exactly WHY the reader should continue with your post – how you will entertain with a story or explain away a problem. Make it succinct.
4) Organise your content. Sometimes a post can contain a huge amount of information. That said, even if it is a short, precise piece the trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content or receive the content in the most convenient method. The organisation can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organised! Remember attention spans are short and probably getting shorter!
5) Write your content. Use the outline you created in step 4 and fill in the blanks – you can do as much research as you need. Having some writing skills here is useful but not imperative. Writing is learned with experience and even the most seasoned bloggers had to start somewhere.
6) Format! Tags are imperative as they act as keywords and help readers find your blog post with ease. Meta Description is a snapshot subtitle which should inform the reader exactly what to expect from the article. Then you must consider the visual elements. A graphic is not always necessary but it will be included in any social media post or tweet you post. The layout of the text is imperative as it can easily deter readers before they start.
7) Include a Call to Action. At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and, eventually, you get a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your blog post — they’re going to click on the CTA if they enjoyed your blog post and want more information on that particular topic. A great article on CTAs can be found here.
8) Optimise for Search Engines. So many articles have been written on this subject it is easy to become overwhelmed. We have a whole series of posts we will be publishing ourselves soon. For now why not try here?
With thanks to Rachel Sprung at blog.hubspot.com
So you understand the need for content. You know WHY big companies use content to market their business and keep their customers engaged. How do you go about deciding on a content marketing strategy to suit your company’s needs?
It is quite possible to become confused by the myriad of information available on this subject. To help here are some simple questions to help you decide.
1) What do I want to be known for? 2) What do my customers want? 3) What kind of content will they consume? 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? 5) Where should I publish my content? 6) How often should I publish? 7) What business results do I want from my content? 8) How do I know whether my content is working? Let us assume, for example, that you run a gardening firm that has progressed well and you’re looking to improve your visibility on-line through content marketing. If we address these 8 questions sample answers might be:-
1) What do I want to be known for? – Quality plants. Stylish landscaping. Promptness of service. Originality. Customer service. 2) What do my customers want? – All of the above plus assurance of professionalism,. Value for money. Peace of mind. 3) What kind of content will they consume? – Videos. Articles. Photography. 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? – By using personal knowledge. By researching trends and fashions. 5) Where should I publish my content? – A website? Blog? Social media? 6) How often should I publish? – Weekly? Bi-weekly? Daily. At which point do I risk over-saturation? 7) What business results do I want from my content? – More customers and MORE sales 8) How do I know whether my content is working? – By periodically checking traffic stats and sales since commencing content marketing.
It is not a panacea but if you apply these simple 8 questions you should be able to see a clear path towards a successful content marketing strategy.