Category Archives: Online Marketing

Nicola Peaty

Top tips on how to raise your search engine ranking.

By Nicola Peaty

search_engine_rankingWhere would we all be without Google these days?! As such a major force in our digital world, we have to play according to the big search engine ways in order for our online presence to be found by our target markets. Below are our top tips on how to help raise your website’s search engine ranking.

 

Start with your research: In order to really know how to attract your target visitors to your website, you need to know what search terms they are using when looking online for products or services which match those relevant to yours. You would waste a lot of time guessing or assuming certain terms and then finding you attract the wrong type of audience who immediately bounce back when they realise your site is not what they’re looking for. Wordtracker and Google Adwords are useful tools that will help you discover the exact words and phrases your potential customers are inputting to search engines. This kind of insight gives you real intelligence into how your market is searching and consuming relevant information to your company, so use it wisely and keep checking and updating accordingly.

Specify your search terms: Based on the keyword research, you will have a list of words, terms and phrases to form the basis of your SEO strategy. Make sure you use these keywords to match your company, products/services, but also where possible, specify the terms by using additional words to attract the absolute target audience. By this, we mean adding locality, product details and company information, so that a. your audience can see upfront exactly what they will view on your site and whether it matches their needs and b. you will avoid generic terms used by the big gun sites who will most probably rank higher and have paid for these terms through PPC.

Keyword your metadata: Use the list of keywords found by your research within the metadata on your website. The title metadata shows the page titles you can see in the web browser. The description metadata is your chance to give a succinct marketing push about the content visitors can find on that particular page. The keyword metadata is where you can use the research list of terms. It will also mean these pages appear by matching the terms searched by your prospective visitors and stand out with their relevant details compared to competing generic sites. Just don’t cram the titles full of keywords as this could well have the reverse effect and be completely ignored, so key the words concise but relevant.

meta-description-tag

Quality not quantity: Content is king as we all know in the online marketing space. Spiders love new and relevant content so keep updating and refreshing the information on your site. Use the keyword research on a regular basis to keep terms applicable and reflect in your content. Blogs are an obvious way of updating content and using social media to push this content out will hopefully then drive traffic back to your site. This increases the relevance and authority of your site. Monitor your content and know which is working and attracting the most views and comments, which can help you plan future content.

Online PR: Another way to get your content viewed and in turn raise your ranking, is to write and push out quality press releases. Again the word quality is used here, as the release has to be topical, insightful, have that grabbing ‘hook’ in order for journalists, other sites and viewers alike, to want to pick it up, link to it and view it. Value in your information will in turn give you value for your website and search engine ranking.

Links: Both inbound and outbound links play an important part on the authority and trust of your website, but again we have the quality not quantity rule to apply. Making sure you have fewer links that are all totally relevant and especially from other authority sites, is far more valuable to your ranking than hundreds of non-related small sites. It’s obviously easier to control outbound links from your site, but you can track inbound links from a range of programs such as SEOmoz and Google Analytics. This will give you an insight into who is coming to your site and where they are coming from. Another useful tip is to use specific and descriptive link tags which explains what content is to be found within the link, instead of generic terms like ‘click here’, which has no search engine value beyond the attached URL. If possible, you could contact these sites and ask them to do the same to help push relevant traffic your way.

Alt tags: Finally, once you’ve managed to drive visitors to your site, you want to keep them on there as long as possible. Therefore, use a variety of multimedia to keep their interest such as images, videos and infographics. Just make sure you don’t miss an opportunity by describing your media with alt tags (alternative text description). These can then be found by search engines and add a unique source of relevance to your audience. Below is a great example of how to post and tag images in an ongoing cycle which helps increase your links, add authority from other sites and keep your visitors engaged.

alt tag example

 

Nicola Peaty

How to create effective email designs.

By Nicola Peaty

Emails are still one of the many tools in the vast array found within the marketing toolbox. However, like all other marketing channels, emails must be carefully planned and thought-through to stand out among the competing messages and images sent to our inboxes. Recipients have a split second to decide whether to delete, view, click or share. So, you have to know your market, know your brand and be clear on your message in order to get the desired response from your email marketing. Here are some useful tips on what to consider when planning your email design and message together with some illustrative examples. Give Blood: We start with a great example of a striking design that you cannot ignore once you’ve opened this email. Perfectly laid out, your eye is drawn to the focal image and immediately to the call to action to make an appointment. Should you require additional information, there are three neat boxes at the bottom to supplement your needs and give you supportive facts and details. give blood email Apple: Due to the well known brand, Apple can afford to tease with simplicity, minimal branding and yet still attain the objective of a new store opening. All the details you need, albeit few, are present and correct. Clean and effective. apple email ASOS: Now that over half of us our opening emails on mobile devices, it would be madness to avoid tailoring email designs to suit mobile compatibility. See ASOS who have streamlined the images accordingly. Asos_Mobile2 New Look: Calls to actions play a major part in generating a response to emails. If you elect for a link or button, ensure they stand out among the background images. New Look have achieved this so well with two clear buttons for their two audiences. The message is also short but to the point, with the images giving examples of their World Cup clothing. It just shows that you don’t have to include reams of copy to communicate your message. new_look_good-blog-full Stitcher: Inviting interaction is always a clever way of drawing in your email recipient. The Stitcher email has plenty to click on to either listen, watch or even share. Plus they’ve been extra clever by tailoring the content for each recipient so that they feel Stitcher has taken time to select and personalise the email especially for them. Personalisation is key to emails so that recipients don’t feel spammed, so make sure if you include their name, the content must be relevant, otherwise you will lose their trust and interest. stitcher-email-example Cooksmart: This email demonstrates how to present a lot of images and information without cluttering and confusing the recipient. The list of daily recipes is complimented by the supporting images below and invites us to click on one of them to see the details. It also includes extra little links which draw us in to watch a video, download a menu or find out more about a particular ingredient. Plus, the additional calls to action ask us to post on facebook or forward to a friend. The overall design works well together and the clever marketing hooks are all there to entice the viewer. cooksmart-email-example Ballard: This design had to be beautiful in order to reflect well on the brand. Your eye is cleverly drawn down to the final and important call to action with a 10% discount. Simple and yet still effective. ballard email H&M: If you simply have a promotion to push, then H&M shows the bold and direct way to go about a less beautiful, but nonetheless effective, type of design. Two colours, minimal branding, clear message and call to action. Tick, tick, tick and tick! h_m_good-blog-full



How to grow your business with social media



Nicola Peaty

Understanding the Fundamentals of Marketing Analytics

By Nicola Peaty

“If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.” Words from the Marketing Director, which will stay with me forever since my days in a centralised marketing department. Gone were the times of ‘how can we spend this money on hospitality, glossy brochures and a few events?’. Now it’s all about accountability, budget justification and ROI.

Analytics have become the solution, largely thanks to online data. So every marketer should be equipped with the facts and figures, which hold the answers to all marketing activities. Every activity should be measured, monitored and assessed for its performance compared to its objective.

Before you immerse yourself in the vast world of data, take time to stop and decide what you fundamentally need for the business. What data actually matters and is meaningful to you? There is so much available you could spend a lot of wasted time tracking the number of everything, when potentially you may need to know the WHO rather than the HOW MANY. This is vital so that you can then set up exactly what you need in terms of data collation, the reporting process and the ongoing analysis to then understand implications and implement improvements.

Marketing activities: Website analytics are of course fundamental in understanding every part of activity that occurs in the main hub of your online presence. Understanding the effectiveness of your website will help feed into the all other activity you carry out online. Every company should have a definitive list of KPIs they require for their website. But when it comes to marketing analytics, the list of marketing KPIs can run on and on. See example:

web vs marketing

So it’s important to decide from the outset, which marketing analytics your company really needs. That comes down to the requirements of the marketing plan. Activities and their analytics should inevitably be chosen to meeting your company’s specific goals.

The next question is, does each activity have a target and if so how? Is this based on previous activities or are they aspirational figures. Setting realistic measures is vital for all concerned. Then you have a genuine basis to compare your data results.

Finding out as much as possible before launching into any activity will ultimately help you get the best results. Assessing all previous marketing will give you the insight to shape and determine the specifics of any campaign. For example:

* If you have set up an SEM campaign, maybe to a specific landing page, what are your aims in terms of traffic or a call to action? Who responds best in your market and what incentive or hook will trigger the required action?
* If you have an email campaign planned, do you know the optimum ways of getting the best results eg type of message to type of audience, sent at the best time of day, to get most response?
* If you are launching a competition via social media, which platforms will you include to draw the best response and interaction?
Knowing the answers to the above questions really build marketing intelligence and thereby demonstrates the importance of choosing the right analytics.

Market analytics: Understanding important data related to your market will also give you useful facts about your audience. Profiling your customers into the highest buyers and most valuable clients will allow you to focus different activities on them compared to lapsed and new customers. So looking at your data, or gaps in your data, do you know the following:

* who is visiting your site
* who is actually purchasing form your site
* who is the most interactive on your social media
* who are the advocates and share your content
* who prefers face to face meetings
* who complains to customer services
* who likes to receive emails
* who unsubscribes to promotional emails

Knowing your market also includes the competition. Research and market share can give the analysis to understand whether the market is shifting, if there are any new opportunities or potentially any loss or gain in certain products/services. Plus it’s important to gauge their marketing activity and online presence and what type of campaigns they are implementing to attract certain customers.

Put this type of data together with your customer profiles and you have yourself some powerful intelligence to keep your company, and marketing, ahead of the curve and of the competition.

The holistic review: A lot of time can be spent analysing the finer details of certain data, but it also has to be assessed as part of the bigger picture. This means pulling together the findings of everything that you have decided is important for your business and learning from the implications this includes:

* the marketing performance across all activities,
* the marketing performance across all channels,
* the response from marketing campaigns across all departments involved eg sales, customer services,
* the performance from past to present marketing,
* the response from segments in your market,
* the activity from the competition,
* the response of the market from activity from the competition.

All the above will feed into your future activities, plans and strategies. You can then test and evaluate new and existing ideas, based on solid facts and figures, and build on these as you develop more and more intelligence.

Process: The final part of the analytical equation is implementing the process within your company. Everyone involved must be briefed into their part of the process and how they feed into the overall data collation and objectives. Dedicated staff are now employed to handle data analytics, but other departments play their part such as sales, customer services, market research and even IT and accounts.

Technology is so advanced in helping with data collection, analysis and predictions, but you obviously need the experts to help manage and decipher the findings. You can use anything from Google analytics to content management scoring and predictive conversion rates to planned ROI. As long as you know the following, you can establish a basic but comprehensive marketing analytics action plan:

* exactly which data you need,
* how best to collect the required data,
* how to report on the findings of the data,
* learning and Implications of data findings for the business.

Here’s a useful infographic about the analytics based online marketing and how it works:

analyticsbased-online-marketing--how-it-works_50291ccca42e5_w587

How to grow your business with social media



Nicola Peaty

How to create a successful landing page.

By Nicola Peaty

Landing pages have become a great tool for marketers, created for specific marketing objectives. The two main purposes for landing pages are 1. a funnel path to convert leads and 2. data collection within a lead generation campaign. Both require simple but effective pages in order to achieve the desired results. Below are some tips and examples of how to create successful landing pages:

* Eye-catching headine. As with all things online, you don’t have much time to grab visitors’ attention, so make sure your headline communicates exactly what you are offering. Whether it be a promotion for a new product line or the heading for a particular article, be bold and be clear.

GROUPON is simplicity at its best. They’ve used a striking block colour, with a bright contrasting image. The data capture shows how simple it has to be in order to collect basic details.

groupon-2

MAILCHIMP is a great example of a clear heading, catchy image and an obvious call to action.

MailChimp-Landing-Page-1024x760

 

*Keep the message clear. Visitors landing on the page should be able to quickly determine the value of your proposition. The main point is to give them compelling and succinct information which encourages them to click through or give their details. Use bullet points to list the main benefits so that it’s quick and easy for a visitor to scan and deduce why they should move closer to a consumer decision.

NETFLIX landing page shows how to communicate a lot of information is a neat and easy format. The visitor can see exactly how the process works with the short one word headings across the bottom together with brief copy with an exemplary image. The family photo, FREE TRIAL circle and simple data capture form pulls it altogether nicely, encouraging visitors to sign up.

netflix-landing
GIFTCARD is a beautifully branded and effective page. Four bullet points is all it takes to explain how it works and with an obvious, but not in your face, button to send a gift card.

gift card examples-of-great-landing-pages

 

* Funnel where you want them to go. This means avoiding too many links on one landing page, with different messages which could confuse and lose visitors. If you keep it simple then one or two effective ‘sign ups’ or ‘click heres’ should work and funnel the visitors exactly where you want them.

UK Digital Cameras landing page has quite a lot of content and yet it is still easy to understand there are two options which would funnel visitors according to their specific needs. You can either get a quote for an old camera or buy a new camera with an offer on a particular model.

UKDigitalCameras1

 

* Incentivise well. Competitions and prizes are great for landing pages. Make sure the offer is simple, clear and enticing. Know your market and create the design and impact accordingly. Using Facebook as your funnel through page can also build your social media audience.

The International Make-up Academy landing page is perfectly designed and branded for its target market with one striking image. ‘Enter’ and ‘Like’ are the two calls to action and the 500 voucher is stated clearly in the succinct copy.

FB comp-landing-pages-tima

 

* Be creative. This is your chance to hit your market with something compelling that engages them and convinces them to take the next step along their visitor journey. Knowing your audience will allow you to decide the appropriate tone and impact of your design and message.

Coca Cola created a page to attract youth apprentices. They added the bonus of a $5000 incentive for nominations. But they didn’t stop there. Possibly as this was targeted at a young market, they included a video of the ‘most outrageous way to share a coke’. I doubt many visitors resisted the urge to click and view and just have a bit of fun.

Cola landing pageimage

In summary, landing pages can be effective, without being complicated. Keep the message and design clear and simple and you will enhance the chances of achieving your required results. Know exactly what your objective is, your target market and match your proposition with creativity and purpose. Not forgetting to capture and funnel leads by simple calls to action.



How to grow your business with social media



Nicola Peaty

Pay Per Click Explained.

By Nicola Peaty

Between the importance of having a website and the power of Google, most marketers will be focused on driving traffic from the search engine to their online business. This can be done organically with search engine optimisation (SEO) via specific web content and/or with paid search marketing. This blog explains the basics of Pay per click and some tips to help especially for smaller companies.

Pay per click (PPC) is also known as Search engine marketing (SEM). This is when a company pays for specific search terms and keywords that people may enter into a search engine when looking for a related product or service to their company. The results of typing in a search term into Google, or other search engines, will produce a results page called a search engine results page (SERP). PPC results will appear at the top or right hand side of the page with ‘Ads’ next to them. The company then pays each time a user actually clicks on the link to their website for that particular search term.
See below an example for the term wedding cakes. You can see that Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have paid most for this search term as they appear at the top.

New Picture (6)
‘Wedding cakes’ would be a premium search term and most small to medium companies would not be able to compete and afford this as a PPC option. Therefore, smaller companies can be smarter about the terms they either pay for or include those terms on their website for an organic listing. You need to be as specific as possible to match the needs of the users looking for your particular business products.
See the below example. If the search term is refined to ‘small wedding cakes in London’ then companies who have matching content on their site will appear higher in the SERP such as 1st Choice Cakes. Companies who have paid for ‘similar’ terms will appear lower down, so Marks and Spencer have dropped to the bottom of the page and The Cake Store appears higher as a PPC listing.

screengrab

The Google ‘bots’ crawl sites to find the most suitable results to match the user’s search. So it’s worth taking the time to understand what terms people are using to look for your related products. It is then your choice, depending on your marketing need, whether you go down the PPC route or spend time generating relevant organic content on your website.

There are a number of advantages for PPC. Firstly, if, like the Marks and Spencer targeting wedding cakes, a company wants to raise brand awareness in a market, then PPC is a less expensive form of advertising. You have the advantage of capping your budget by only paying for an agreed budget limit on how many people click your Google Ad words. And as shown above, you can use specific terms to align with your target market.

It is also very straight forward and simple to set up once you’ve chosen your ad words, and then update as and when you need to. SEO obviously requires rewriting content on your site should new words and terms become necessary. This can take time, whereas Google ad words are immediately effective from the moment you set them up. This can be of real benefit if you have a timely event or promotion and need to quickly target your audience. Just ensure that your links drive traffic to the relevant landing page or you will lose paid-for users straight away.

You are totally in control of your PPC and can react and change as you feel necessary. This means trying and testing new campaigns and monitoring which works best. Having access to immediate results in terms of click through rates will allow you to track the performance of campaigns and assess ROI. The emphasis here is to stay on top of your PPC and keep a check on the SERP and whether any competition affects your listing as well as if users are finding and clicking on your campaign links. You may have to ‘up’ your bid slightly to guarantee top listing against a competitor or change your ad words if the market are using a new search term.

Finally, if done well, make sure you have conversion points in place when users reach the required landing page. This can be an online form, enquiry email link or for a sales rep to contact them. Any form of lead generation requires this essential part of the marketing ‘funnel’ and gives you the full picture to track you ROI.

 

Page 1 of 712345...Last »