3 dating tips for marketers…incoming!

How do you feel about stalkers? Stupid question isn’t it. And I’m sure that your friends, family and customers would agree that stalkers really aren’t cool, right?

It’s time to take a look at your inbound marketing efforts because when reaching out to new people – regardless of context – shouldn’t we all be playing the dating game?

Continue reading “3 dating tips for marketers…incoming!”

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Mastering tone of voice

Do you dedicate much time and thought to the way you say what you say?

Contrary to popular belief, content isn’t everything. Not in isolation, anyway.

Tone of voice is crucial if you really want to stand out in your market – rather than just in it.

Continue reading “Mastering tone of voice”

How Google stays innovative – Dan Cobley provides top tips at JLA breakfast

This week, I attended a JLA speaker breakfast featuring Dan Cobley, former MD at Google UK, where we discussed the importance of innovation and how businesses like Google facilitate creativity.

Continue reading “How Google stays innovative – Dan Cobley provides top tips at JLA breakfast”

Marketing Explained: the differences between Copywriting and Content Marketing, and what YOU should be doing in 2015

‘Copywriting’ and ‘Content Marketing’; two phrases often used interchangeably and the topic of much debate and confusion.

So which is which, and what are you doing?

Or more importantly, what should you be doing?

Continue reading “Marketing Explained: the differences between Copywriting and Content Marketing, and what YOU should be doing in 2015”

Setting Your PPC Budget – OR NOT

One of the most common pay per click (PPC) misconceptions I come into contact with is the budget capping vs cost per acquisition (CPA) approach to bidding strategy.

Continue reading “Setting Your PPC Budget – OR NOT”

Marketing Explained – B2B Marketing Online

B2B Marketing – Should you be Online or Offline?

Think you know what works for your business? I’m sure you do to a large extent. But when did you last test existing versus new marketing approaches?

In my experience, most B2B businesses believe offline marketing techniques such as relationship marketing campaigns, face to face meet and greets, networking opportunities, industry events and word of mouth, present the only real way to win new clients in a business to business environment.

All this ‘online marketing talk’ about SEO, PPC, social engagement and content marketing is for fluffy businesses with big budgets and time to waste, right?

Wrong - marketing

It’s no longer about using offline and online channels as separate entities, but combining the best of both to generate positive return on investment for your business. This applies to both B2B and B2C marketing strategies.

How to Approach Your B2B Marketing Strategy (it’s actually easier than B2C)

Despite my observation above, B2B and B2C must be treated as distinct market categories. Certain channels or techniques that work for one won’t necessarily work for the other.

At first glance, B2B can seem the scarier of the two because more often than not, a client is worth much more to a business than a consumer, and traditional offline marketing approaches are generally more expensive and harder to measure. This is largely why in B2B marketing, the emphasis is on quality of leads not quantity. B2C companies tend to lean in the direction of very high volumes and low revenue per purchase – so enormous demand is usually necessary.

We generally understand more about potential clients than consumers, i.e. who they are, what their job is and typical buying behaviours. Therefore B2B marketing activities can be highly targeted, reducing the influx of unqualified leads thus increasing attraction/conversion rates.

B2B companies have been slower to embrace online marketing because of reliance on pre-existing knowledge and understanding of their clients and what has/hasn’t worked in the past. But things are changing.

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B2B businesses are starting to incorporate online activities into their marketing plans. These businesses are casting the net wider; identifying new opportunities and exploring new markets, whilst ensuring that they are catering to the ever-changing needs of existing markets where target audiences are moving online to justify purchasing decisions.

Getting Started with B2B Online Marketing – Top Tips

Tip 1 – Get Blogging!

In a B2B environment, you’re communicating with like-minded professionals so it’s essential that you establish yourself as a thought leader. By providing interesting, relevant content you will position yourself as an industry expert and gain respect from your followers.

Blogging is probably the fastest way to build traffic and inbound links to your company website. It’s simple – the more a company blogs, the more new customers it attracts. Switch from monthly to weekly blog posts and see the impact for yourself. By building a portfolio of good content on your blog, you become more searchable online and are more likely to appear on results pages when a potential client looks for information on your services.

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To start with, look at industry trade magazines to see what’s topical and monitor your competitors to follow what they’re blogging about. Why not write an opinion piece on new legislation, conduct an interview with a key industry influencer or put together a ‘how-to’ article that answers frequently asked questions.

And lastly, ensure your posts are topically diverse and be sure to get exposure across all social channels – get it out there!

Tip 2 – Get Linking In!

LinkedIn is the number one B2B channel. Every professional should have their own LinkedIn account irrespective of industry, and from this account, you should create a company page and/or group to encourage engagement and display your content.

Traffic from LinkedIn is generally considered to be of higher quality than traffic from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter are mass audience exposure platforms where volume is achieved over quality, and the audience is far more diverse in terms of what people are expecting to get from that particular platform (namely for fun, personal use).

LinkedIn is a professional network for business people, meaning that you are capturing an audience focused on corporate information sharing, networking and employment/partnership opportunities.

Remember to reply and engage with every group comment daily and include a link back to your website. Regularity of content promotion is key, whether it’s created or curated, and focus on addressing the needs of your client rather than selling your brand or product –the shift from self to consumer focus is paramount.

Linked in

Marketing Explained – Integration is integral

 Part 1 – Explaining Integrated Marketing

As a marketing professional, I am as guilty as any when it comes to using acronyms, phraseology and jargon to explain what is really, a very simple concept.

So I’m making it my mission to dispel the mythological language of marketing and explain the core meanings behind key industry terms.

Are you plagued by a particular marketing topic or expression? Send your queries to amy_haddow@hotmail.com and I’ll explain.

What do we mean by integrated marketing?

Simply put, it is the use of multiple marketing disciplines and channels to promote a brand or campaign. This is based on the belief that adopting different approaches will weave together the strengths and weaknesses of each format, and reach different audiences in their preferred ways, thereby increasing success rates.

integrated marketing quote

This can mean taking one piece of written content and turning it into an infographic, video, blog post, whitepaper or press release. Using one core piece of work and converting it into different formats is not only an efficient use of time (as the core content has already been created) but it also takes into consideration the fact that different audiences digest information differently. You are catering to a diverse online audience.

Tip: content should never be duplicated verbatim. Google penalises duplicate content which means it won’t contribute towards improvement of your search ranking position. So post one blog piece in one place only, and then tailor the content for the press release and turn it into a PDF for the whitepaper (for example).

Promoting your content

Let’s take the infographic. You can create these for free using easelly.

Firstly, host the infographic on your blog and upload to your Pinterest account like this, remembering to include alt tags.

infographic on infographics

Now promote the infographic using integrated marketing techniques. Using Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Linked In, create a summary sentence detailing the core message and where appropriate, use hashtags and include the image as a thumbnail. Use Yammer to promote the infographic internally and ask colleagues to share with friends and followers.

You should promote any new piece of content daily for around 2 weeks in my opinion. Schedule two posts a day for one week, and then reduce to one for the next. Measure the success of each channel in terms of click-throughs, page hits (on your blog) and shares.

Tip: The use of Google + is essential in improving online presence and increasing brand/product exposure. Be sure to create an author profile and links to your content to ensure it is indexed and wins those all-important search engine optimisation points. Check out my profile as an example.

So there’s a basic overview on how to ensure your marketing efforts are integrated. Create consistency and maximise your communications by adopting a multi-channel approach.

How to Nail Your Next Press Release

Picture it now. You walk into a crowded room – hundreds of people are shouting about their ‘fantastic company news’ all at once.

A sea of chaos – nobody can be heard or understood by the one person on stage – the object of all this commotion.

How do you stand out? You need to grab attention in a unique way.

Approach your press release writing and submission with this in mind.

Press release must stand out in crowd

First things first; who are you writing for?

  1. Research and identify your target audience, i.e. the people searching for your business, products or services
  2. Search for industry websites, national and local news websites and other places that would potentially host your press release
  3. Investigate the search engines that will find and display your content and research how they operate in terms of keyword optimisation; monitor competitors for guidance

What do you write about?

Be inventive, be relevant. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • New product or feature
  • A ‘though piece’ relating to current trends, events, studies or social issues
  • Events and awards
  • Employee promotions/new hires
  • Launching a new partnership
  • Survey results

Bruce Lee quote - to hell with circumstances, I create opportunities

Format

All the important stuff comes first. Remember that information should be succinct and attention grabbing. You have just seconds to engage.

1.       Headline

  • Provide interesting information and entice the reader to find out more
  • Include your primary target keyword
  • Demand attention – shock, be controversial, play with words

2.       Summary paragraph

  • Serves as a brief introduction to your business and topic
  • Include your company name
  • 1 or 2 lines maximum

Tip: By writing the headline and summary last you will make sure you capture the overall theme and don’t miss out important keywords.

3.       Dateline and lead paragraph

  • Who (main focus, person, group), what (event or project), where (location in question), when (day, date, time), why (the purpose of the event)
  • Keep it compelling, simple and factual. Provide critical information. Get your audience interested.

4.       Body

  • Elaborate on lead paragraph and explain how this event sets you aside
  • Include supporting information and proof in the form of quotes, stats, charts etc
  • Include relevant links

5.        Boilerplate & Contact

Always include a brief paragraph on standard company information, i.e. what your company does, its purpose and USP. Be sure to include company name, telephone number, website and email address.

what's your story

Unlike a press release, we save the best ‘til last

Follow these tips to ensure your release stands out:

Do…

  • Ensure that your headline and first paragraph stand out. Be relevant, engaging and informative. Evoke questions and offer a unique perspective.
  • Write professionally and clearly. Plain English means you won’t alienate readers.
  • Pick an angle – what is your ‘hook’? Articles that relate to current trends, events, studies or social issues will be snapped up by online media.
  • Use real life examples to illustrate how your company or organization solved a problem – position yourself subtly as a solutions provider.
  • Attach logos, head shots, product shots, photographs, audio files, video files, PDF documents or any other supplemental materials to support your release – as long as they are relevant.
  • Use anchor text and hyperlinks to point readers back to your site where relevant.
  • Be factual. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations. Command respect and authority through honesty and back it up.
  • Use active voice to bring your press release to life. Don’t be afraid to use strong verbs.
  • Eliminate unnecessary adjectives

Don’t…

  • Use slang/jargon unless it is relevant to a niche audience that will understand and relate to it.
  • Use exclamation marks excessively – nobody wants to be shouted at excitedly (remember the crowded room).
  • Use clichés or overly ‘salesy’ text. Readers will see through this and your content will not gain their respect.
  • Give away all the secrets – give readers a reason to click through to your site
  • Use “you”, “I” or “we” outside of a quoted statement
  • Include an email address or excessive links in body text. Be conscious of spam filters and the risk of being penalized by Google.

And lastly, always remember to proofread your work before you submit it for publication.

Have you developed an online marketing strategy for 2013?

Gone are the days when most marketing was conducted offline. Throughout 2012, many businesses incorporated an element of social media within their marketing strategy, but is enough attention being paid to online media as a vital marketing channel worthy of its own integrated plan? There are few businesses able to boast significant digital success without one.

A carefully constructed strategic plan based on thorough research can generate an influx of targeted traffic to your website, and improve online presence.

Your market

The online market is a competitive one, so the first consideration for you and your business is;

Do I have a great product or service and what is its unique selling point?

Without a strong answer to this question, your online activity will lack substance and worth. Remember, the market you are targeting is global so you need to adapt your online activity to meet the needs of different geographical markets.

Unsurprisingly, recent studies unveiled that 72.4% of consumers would be more likely to buy a product if information was offered in their own language, which is understandable. If you were expected to translate from Spanish into English to order a product online, you would probably go elsewhere.

Thank-you-in-many-languages

You must research trends and demands within your product’s market to understand what people want. If you can’t satisfy their demands your chance of online success is minimal. Online engagement is dependent on targeting the right people at the right time; offering a product or service to someone in need, at a time that is convenient for them.

Your website

Is your website Search Engine Optimized? If not, this should be at the top of your priority list. Websites act as the online face of your business. By ranking highly in search engines, you are significantly improving the likeliness of increased sales.

Consider localisation as a key business priority. Simply translating your site into another language using an online translation service isn’t enough.

There are approximately 518,512,109 internet users in Europe alone. Does your website cater to the cultural, literal and legal needs of these multiple countries? Certain colours, terms or images may be deemed offensive in a particular culture. Certain words change meaning from country to country and historic cultural sensitivities must be considered. We are operating in an internationally integrated market where national and cultural resources are interchangeable. In order to be successful, you need to adapt.

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Did you know 56.2% of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price? By investing in website localisation and SEO optimization now, you are highly likely to enjoy organic business growth and subsequent incremental profits in future.

Your online presence

This is such a huge topic most people simply do not know where to begin. I would always recommend social media monitoring as a first step to gain a greater understanding of your brand presence, competitive intelligence, industry share of voice and thought leadership.

There is no quick fix way to improve online presence. The key is simply this:

Engagement, Engagement, Engagement!!!

Get involved in industry discussions, contribute in forums, post news updates and ‘like’ pages that are relevant to your business. Write topical articles in a company blog and integrate with Facebook, Twitter and Linked In pages, as well as your website. Utilise all content created by your business and recycle content if needs be! A sentence from a press release could create an interesting Twitter discussion.

But don’t get carried away. Remember you want to be perceived as credible. Only post relevant and interesting content. Nobody in your industry needs to know what you had for breakfast.

Look into document translation services to gauge the potential value multi-lingual content could have for your business. Your product or service could satisfy overseas demands not currently met.

Through effective content marketing you can reach a broader audience and establish yourself as an industry expert.

Your online strategy

Your online strategy should of course be set with the intention of achieving your marketing objectives for 2013, which should in turn be aligned to your corporate objectives.

Remember, your strategy will create longer term direction whereas your tactics will satisfy shorter term objectives such as a boost in website traffic or increased Facebook ‘likes’.

Ask yourself; what do we want to achieve in terms of online presence? Who are we looking to target and how can we increase our share of voice? Are we looking to increase market share or increase sales?

Ensure your brand doesn’t become diluted by ensuring a consistent cross-cultural message. Engage experts to localise your website and help optimise your content to improve SEO.

The digital world is constantly evolving and your online strategy will need to evolve with these changes throughout the year to ensure your business is seen as innovative and current.

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