Category Archives: Relevant Content

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

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.

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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.

 

Nicola Peaty

Top Tips for Successful Direct Mail

By Nicola Peaty

Think direct mail is dead? Well, think again. Yes, we have swung right over to digital marketing, but do not be misled in thinking that the DM channel no longer exists. Time for an Infographic to prove some results:

Direct-Mail-Statistics-2014-Ver2-WEB
Note the quotes at the bottom showing the benefits of direct mail: people are more likely to remember a message, direct mail is easier to take in than email and that it is a channel that shows value to customers.

So here are some tips to consider when planning and executing your direct mail to make it an effective channel in your marketing mix.

Quality data: No junk mail please! Just sending out a ton of leaflets to all and sundry and hoping that someone will respond, will not produce the best ROI. Using a carefully selected list of contacts to receive your proposed mail piece will give you the best chance of response. The best data is your own built up list from respondents who have previously interacted with your company together with intelligence details which allow precision targeting. If you have to purchase your list, it is worth being as ‘picky’ as you possibly can, to choose the criteria to meet your requirements.

Personalisation: As with most marketing now, customers want to feel like you are talking directly and specifically to them. So take the opportunity to include their name and tailor the message to meet their details. We all recognise blanket letters that have generic content which mostly end up in the bin. Be different and make yours stand out, it will always be worth the effort to get the respondent to engage with your message.

Creative: This leads nicely on to ensuring that the creativity also gives the right impact. The chosen font and colours should reflect the brand and tone of the message, but also be relevant to your target audience. That means considering the demographics (eg old or young, female or male) and whether it is consumer or B2B (eg beauty salons or financial services). The execution can be in many formats, be they brochures, letters or postcards. Just take time thinking through what will catch their attention and resonate most. Also, consider what the competition are doing and try to be original, but still relevant, to get the best response.

CTA: So you’ve reached the right customers, tailored the message and creative so that they’ve opened and read your mail piece. Now what do you want them to do? By including a call to action you will hopefully generate a response that you can monitor and drive the customer to the next stage of the purchasing funnel. Incentives like registering online to enter a competition or using a promotional code for a discount will allow you to track response but also give you the opportunity to engage with that customer.

Follow up: And engaging with your customer is what it’s all about. So once they have responded don’t leave them hanging. Follow up with your next point of marketing contact, whether that be by email, telephone or another direct mail piece. Keep the conversation going, move the customer relationship forward and build on what you have started. Just ensure to collate all customer details and actions on your database to build a useful profile.

Integration: One marketing channel is good, but it’s always more effective if a message is supported as part of a bigger campaign. So consider targeting the same audience with the same message via other means such as advertising, social media and email. It is vital to track each channel, and remember to use different channel promotional codes, to assess the overall campaign. Advertising could build awareness, while email notifies the customer to look out for the direct mail and social media could encourage discussion or get customers to post as part of the call to action.

Check, check, check: Never let any marketing go out before it has been through thorough checking, but especially a mail piece. With all the time and effort that has been spent on planning and execution, it would be a complete waste if there was a typo or the wrong details. Customers would lose respect and may disregard the message as a result. So ensure all branding, content and customer details have been verified and approved before anything is sent out.

For further tips and advice on direct mail marketing go to: http://www.dma.org.uk/

 

Nicola Peaty

Common email marketing mistakes

By Nicola Peaty

email-marketing-mistakesWe all log into our email accounts expecting to delete a load of irrelevant and annoying emails before we get to the ones that catch our eye and are of genuine interest. Those types of emails we will take the time to open and read and maybe save for later or click through for more information.

So email marketing can work and should not be ignored as an important marketing channel. Just try and avoid some of the common email marketing mistakes which will get you unsubscribed before you even started…….

Opt-ins only: Make sure you have built your database list of email contacts through consented permission, which has explicitly explained the purpose to the contact and managed their expectations as to what they will receive as a consequence giving their email address. It will save a lot of unnecessary bother plus time and effort in sending them a beautifully crafted email, only for them to immediately unsubscribe. Plus, make sure that you include opt-out and unsubscribe options, as everyone should be entitled and surely you only want to target those who actually want to receive your marketing information.

Test and check: You cannot test and check your emails enough. This means on the various devices now available including mobile. The appearance will look very different to how you want it to if you have not considered the interfaces displaying your emails. Chose text or html where applicable for your audience. And do A/B tests to assess the best results of various options, such as offers and CTAs.

Timing: You should research and find out when the best time of day and day of the week your customers will be most receptive to opening and reading your emails. It may be better in the evenings for some or Fridays depending on the type of content. Also, consider the frequency. Too often could get you unsubscribed, too little will leave you forgotten.

Relevance: Segment your customers and target relevant messages to their relevant segment. By sending the right information customers will appreciate the email and build that brand affinity. The more personalised you can make the email the better so that they feel you are really talking to them as an individual and that will help build a closer customer relationship. Keep your database up-to-date at all times so that any intelligence is captured and can aid the significance and power of your email marketing.

Track response: There’s little point in any marketing unless you monitor its performance. At least email marketing can be tracked with open rates, click throughs and like it or not unsubscribes. Therefore, you have no excuse not to track the response of your email campaigns to assess what is working and perhaps areas you need to improve. This links back to the A/B testing to give that comparison and try various options. CTAs (calls to action) are essential to give the email purpose, so ensure you have included either a link to a landing page, an email address, a concise enquiry form or a telephone number for a specific contact. All of which should be traced back to the email which generated the response. Include a promotional code to quote if necessary, but just make sure you have the optimum analysis to assess the email’s ROI.

Call-to-action-with-words

Subject line: We all know the words which we avoid in a subject line and delete the email as a direct consequence. Spam filters do the same. So don’t use the obvious buzzwords like ‘Free’, ‘Special offer’ or ‘Per cent discount’. Be concise but be clear, this is no time to be ambiguous as you’re fighting for a split second of attention. Hit them with relevant words that you know is of real interest to the customers.

Blocked images: Some recipients will have disabled their images, which means you have to rely on them to download images if they want to view them. This could significantly affect your whole email campaign and lose the purpose and message of your communication. Again, this goes back to test and checking your emails and having a plan B option so that you are not denied the full impact of your email.

When to share: What’s important to your customer may not always be the same as to what’s important to your company. Only share information via email when it’s of 100% value to the end user. There may be other channels such as social media which are more appropriate for certain messages. A new product launch is important and can be justified via email. Joe Bloggs in Sales getting married may be more suited to Facebook.

 

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