Digital Marketing Planning for Small Businesses

Digital Marketing Planning for Small Business

Now that we have identified the importance of Digital Marketing and some of the various channels available to you as a business, it is important to look at your approach to digital marketing planning and management to ensure you achieve your objectives and goals. Most businesses have had the approach of having digital marketing as a add on to their core marketing strategy and is often doomed to failure.  As the Digital marketing revolution takes hold it is important that you have a Digital marketing strategy that is appropriate to your company objectives.

You need to know how to implement your strategy

Strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal

It may seem strange to have a separate plan for digital and offline as a customer does not perceive your business this way, but they have very different attributes.  Before deciding on your strategy, it requires time and money to execute.  The time aspect includes SEO research, and building your website and money is required to execute advertising and invest in software and resources if required.  By understanding your business and your overall objectives, you will be able to find a way to meet your goals through the use of the multitude of digital channels available and the ones that are most effective for your audience.  Ultimately, your digital strategy has to make business sense and shouldn’t be undertaken just because its the new buzz word or your competitors are doing it.  Like any business decision it has to serve a purpose for your business and add value to the customer.

As most small businesses are new to the world of digital, by devising a digital strategy, it will help shape, guide and even transition a business from traditional to digital marketing.  The great thing about digital is that the possibilities are endless and your have a much wider audience due to the broad reach of it on a global basis.

Be Integrated

It is important that digital marketing is fully integrated to your business and not just an add on that is given little thought or investment.  It should be the one area of your business that you are dedicating more time and resources to due to the returns it can deliver.

digital activity

Know what your customers are doing online

Spending time online

Be aware of new trends

Digital marketing is changing at such a fast pace, not only in terms of growth of channels but software capabilities within them and how they can be used effectively to communicate with your audience.  The internet and digital marketing channels heavily influences peoples perceptions of brands and products and both their online and offline purchase behavior.  The biggest change has been the move from passive advertising to active engagement

paid to earned

Changing nature of Digital Planning and Strategy

As we move more towards digital marketing, it is challenging the overall marketing mix as it vies to get more exposure and it is a change in mindset.  The biggest aspect being that digital marketing puts the consumer more in control and allows them to engage and interact more openly with you as a business, giving a more integrated approach, but with the customer in control.

The following diagram highlights what the digital planning and management process entails:

planning process

1)      Identify current situation

Similar to how tackling a strategy process, you need to identify what the current situation is whether that be through a SWOT analysis, consumer insights, what competitors are doing, and how you are currently performing against your objectives

2)      Research

What are you business objectives ?
  • Sell
  • Serve
  • Sizzle
  • Speak
  • Save
What are you website objectives?
  • Brand awareness
  • Site visits
  • Increase sales
  • Increase conversions
  • Drive instore
  • Data Capture
  • Site Stickiness
Who are you customers?
Where are your customers  What social media channels are they using?

3) Create & Execute

Upon identifying who your customers are they will enable you to develop a clear strategy based against objectives and goals.  The most important thing is to set clear key performance indicators so that you have a benchmark to measure your strategy against and optimise it should you need to.  These can range from simply generating awareness to sales conversion and setting a percentage target against that.

Once you start fleshing out your strategy having segmented your market, you will need to have a clear channel strategy, deciding which digital channels to focus your attention on and that will ultimately gain the most exposure for you and help achieve your goals and objectives.

4) Measure and Test

By having SMART objectives set, you will be able to measure these at the end of your campaign or during certain time periods to ensure you are achieving your goals. Ensure you have clear measurement framework for each of the channel.  Digital Marketing is a constantly evolving process so will often involve you having to tweak either your content/message or else your channel.

I hope this gives you an insight into the considerations and aspects around Digital marketing planning, although there are many other elements to consider.

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Email Marketing – the forgotten Digital Marketing Tool

Email Marketing – the forgotten Digital Marketing Tool

email marketing3

With the advancement of technology and the availability of an array of Digital Marketing tools, Email Marketing is often the forgotten tool, despite it being one of the most valuable.  It is essentially the first marketing tool that diversified from traditional marketing into the online world with the move from Direct mail to Electronic direct mail.  With the increasing adoption of email software to manage email marketing campaigns, email marketing brings such benefits of higher open rates and a very favorable return on investment.

So what is Email Marketing?

We have all received those annoying emails from a company where you’re not sure if you subscribed to them or not, and you feel the content isn’t relevant to you.  Email Marketing is another way of marketing your business, allowing you to convey short, simple messages that have a specific call to action of the recipient.  Email Marketing is an extension of your website.  While a website tends to be passive, in that visitors have to go searching for information, Email allows you to actively make contact with your audience and communicate a message.

“The process of delivering relevant, engaging and timely marketing messages about your products and services to a specific group of recipients via electronic mail” – Digital Marketing Institute

The main difference is that you have a captive audience that have asked to be engaged with your website, and also allows you to direct people to specific landing pages of your website.  Each email should have a specific call to action, with most of them ultimately trying to generate traffic to your website or premises.  This form of marketing has seen resurgence in recent years due to the benefits it holds and most importantly the costs involved versus other forms of digital marketing. With the growth in tablet ownership and broadband penetration, its means there is great scope to reach your customers.  As we go through this post I will detail what it can be used for and the benefits, it is clear that this is a tool that should form part of your digital marketing plan.

What is Email Marketing used for?

–          Attracting new customers

–          Persuading new customers

–          Persuading repeat purchase

–          Encourage customer loyalty

–          Communicate about special offers or events

–          Building a company’s public image

–          Develop and nurture customer relationships

Email Marketing

To view the full Email insights report from the Marketing Institute of Ireland click here

What are the benefits of Email Marketing and why use it over traditional marketing?

What works well with email marketing is where data is used correctly to create a value exchange – a customer’s valuable information for your valued time.  Your subscribers need to know they can trust you and this is where the legal implications take effect.  The main benefits of email marketing are:

–          Cost: As a small business with a limited budget, email marketing provides a cost effective way to communicate with your prospective     customers and generates a valuable return on investment over traditional marketing mediums

–          Speed: Emails can be reactive to market conditions, allowing you to get emails out to your database very fast.

–          Design and easy to create: with the growth in email marketing software, the hardship has been taken out of design.  Many software applications such as mailchimp, exact target, to constant contact, all have pre designed email templates allowing the average business to take full ownership of their email strategy, they just need to decide what content to wish to communicate.

–          Personalisation:  A key feature that email has over traditional media is the ability to personalise to a audience based on the data they have already provided.  Airlines are a prime example of how this can be done effectively, where they tailor emails based on search requirements or previous purchases.

–          Measurable: email campaigns can be tracked using numerous software application from aspects such as read rates, click through rates, right through to conversion rates and the best time of the week to send emails to reach your audience.

To read more on how Alaska Airlines have used email marketing successfully, click here

 

Considerations for Email Marketing:

–          Consent: email marketing is heavily legalised in terms of data protection and what can be sent to subscribers.  Emails can only be sent when a person has given explicit consent to do so or you have obtained their personal contact details in the course of a sale and told them the purpose of gathering. All emails outside of this are referred to as Spam or unsolicited bulk email.  Ultimately, it is the recipient who decides if your are spamming by them not being familiar with your business, they forgot opting in or the content is irrelevant to them.

–          Building a list: there are numerous ways to start building your list, but you should always stay away from any business offering to sell you an email list and there is heavy fines if you send non permission based emails.

  • Segmentation – segment your list in order target messages for better engagement whether it be through gender, age, or geography etc.
  • Add a subscribe form to your website or  gather opt in email subscriptions by getting customers to sign up in store and make it easy for them to subscribe. You can also gain subscriptions through Facebook apps, competition entries or other forms or simply at trade shows or sales calls.

–          Design:  The main goal of email marketing is to drive people to your website and to convert them.  As you are emailing them it is important that quality of content and design is up to scratch.

–         Mobile: Ensure your emails sent out are mobile optimised and that   content can be read on various operating devices.

We hope you enjoyed the above post, feel free to leave any comments.

 

Web Analytics tools – how they can help to grow your business

Web Analytics tools – what you need to know to get started

 WEb analtices

There’s no point in investing your time and money in building a website and using social media for your business, if you are not taking time to measure how you are doing, that’s where web analytics tools come in.

Using the right tools will help you drive your websites performance and help you develop an effective online strategy based on reliable information.

What should you be measuring?

The short answer is everything! There are tools available both free or  paid that allow you to measure every aspect of your online activity from social media marketing, your website & landing pages, SEO, email marketing and even your business blog.

Analysing Site visitor patterns as detailed below is one of the first things to look at.

site visitor pattersn

This diagram shows the process you should follow when using web analytics tools.

web analytics framework

Check out the 11Best Web Analytics tools here.

For now, we are going to focus on two key areas – how to measure your website & landing pages and how to measure effectiveness of your social media marketing activity.

 Traffic to your website

How to measure your Website and landing pages

There are two main tools you can use to measure your website free Google Analytics  or a paid service like Hubspot.

Either tool will provide you with key information:

  • unique visitors – total number of individual visitors during a specified time period
  • new v repeat visitors – compares number of unique visitors to those who were returning
  • Traffic sources – how visitors got to your website – direct search, referred from another site etc.
  • Backlinks -other websites that are linking to your page and sending traffic to your site
  • most & least popular pages
  • Conversion rates – number of people who completed a specified goal you set, e.g. signed up for newsletter.
  • bounce rates – number of visitors who left site without going past first page

Armed with this information you will be able to make informed decisions about the structure of your site, its content, performance of keywords, how banner ads are working etc.

imagesCAWAKR3I

 

Google Analytics – Get started!

Google Analytics is a free service; follow these easy steps to get started, gaining valuable insights for your business:

  • Sign up for Google AdWords.
  • You will be asked to verify that you are the site owner.
  • Google will then provide you with a tracking code.
  • Place this code in the header area of every single page on your site.

Now you are set up for Google Analytics, and you can start to access the valuable insights it has to offer.

Google analytics have a helpful beginners guide available, there is even a You tube channel dedicated to google analytics, both are worth checking out, for lots more tips and information.

Here’s some more advice on how to make the most out of Google Analytics.

measure social media

How to measure social media

If you are using social media as part of your online marketing strategy you will need to know the basic information e.g. number of Facebook friends and fans, number of Twitter followers, how fast your audience is growing etc.

Social media platforms will provide you with statistics e.g. for Facebook users the Facebook Insights tool & for Twitter users, Hootsuite provides tracking and measurement information.

Once you have the basics you can look at measuring the overall effectiveness of you social media activity.

Social media examiner has a great article on determining your ROI in social media, its worth checking out.

The key metrics to look at for social media include:

  • Social audience growth and reach – total numbers engaged with you on Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Social media engagement – total number of interactions e.g. Facebook likes, page comments, retweets etc.
  • Traffic generated – total numbers of visitors to your website from social media
  • Conversion rate – total number of actual sales which started out on social media

Facebook insights

Facebook Insights

This tool provides two types of data to users –

  • User Insights: Total page Likes, or a number of fans, daily active users, new Likes/Unlikes, Like sources, demographics, page views and unique page views, tab views, external referrers, media consumption.
  • Interactions Insights: Daily story feedback – post Likes, post comments, per post impressions, daily page activity – mentions, discussions, reviews, wall posts, video posts.

Why is this information important?

Facebook can provide detailed information on demographics of your fans – age, gender, location, interests etc., this can be used to identify where your customers are and build a profile, from there you may want to introduce new products or services that will meet demand, e.g. open a new store in a geographical location where there is high demand but you have no presence.

For more on Facebook Insights for Small Business have a read of this article from mashable.com, they also have a really good beginners guide for Facebook Insights.hootsuite

Hootsuite provides information on Twitter, tracking users and measuring visits etc. Some other tools you can use to measure Twitter include Twitoaster & Viralheat.

Entrepreneur.com have lots more on measuring results from Twitter.

Here’s some more information on measuring social media for your business & for those of you interested in using Google Analytics to track tweet, Facebook likes etc this article will give you lots more detail.

If you’re interested in expanding your analytics into more in depth marketing analytics measuring things like leads, sales, traffic etc. this Hubspot article is a good starting point.

We hope you have found this post useful, don’t forget you can contact us with any comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Confused? What Social Media is best suited to your small business?

Social Media best suited to your Small Business

Small businesses can often feel over whelmed with the amount of social media sites available to them. They all guarantee to help you make a success of your business but the difficulty lies in trying to find out what ones are best for your business. I have picked three social media platforms, LinkedIn, You Tube and Pintrest to talk about and to give you examples of how you can use them to help raise the profile of your business.

LinkedIn

love linkedin

According to an Article on The Wall Street Journal http://goo.gl/6lkEa six out of ten small-business owners say that they believe social-media tools are valuable to their companys growth. Professional networking service LinkedIn topped their poll with 41% respondents singling it out as potentially beneficial to their company.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with millions of members. According to LinkedIn they can help a small business with the following:

  • Establish your professional profile and control one of the top search results for your name.
  • Build and maintain a broader network of professionals you can trust.
  • Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates.
  • Learn about other companies.
  • Leverage powerful tools to find and reach the people you need.
  • Tap into the knowledge of your network.
  • Discover new opportunities.

As Social Media platforms go LinkedIn is one of the easier sites to set up a business profile on and more importantly maintain that profile. LinkedIn have provided the small business with a dedicated page for small businesses called “LinkedIn’s Timeless Guide to Small Business Success”. A small business owner will find a number of videos broken down into six episodes with the aim of talking the small business through LinkedIn’s advantages and how to make the most of LinkedIn’s assets and use them to their advantage. http://learn.linkedin.com/small-business/episode-1

YouTube

Youtube-Logo-640x384

YouTube is not just used by the younger generation anymore. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine after Google. Over 128 Million people in the US and over 800 Million people globally visit YouTube at least once a month. http://goo.gl/OWgl6

According to an article on www.mashable.com there are a number of best practices that a small business should adopt when using YouTube:

Don’t expect your Video to go viral – There are about 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute! Do not expect your video to go crazy on YouTube but it is important to make sure that you are trying to reach the right customers.

Buy some Ads – Since your video is probably not going to go viral it is a good idea to consider buying some ads on YouTube. Rates are favourable against Google AdWords. It is important to make sure that your content is relevant to your search term. Google will base the ad’s position on that relevance.

Testing – If you are a large business using an ad agency they will probably want to use focus groups as a way to measure the success of the video. As a small business owner this form of measurement may not be available to you but there are other ways of measuring your video. There is a technology called Hot Spot and this will let you see when people are tuning in and out of your video. Google Analytics will tell you how much referral traffic you are getting from YouTube.

Get watching videos! – Do your research and watch videos on YouTube and set yourself a goal of beginning to recognise the good ideas.

Pintrest

pinterest-1345141049_600

Pintrest.com has created a lot of buzz in the US and according to www.comscore.com it is working its magic in the large EU Markets as well. Since May 2011 when it started to reach the minimum reporting standards for comscore.com the growth rate for visitors has been in the double, triple and quadruple digits.

The fastest growing market for the social network between May 2011 and January 2012 was Germany, where visitors to the site spiked by over 2956 percent, and in January 2012 the site had 67,000 unique visitors. Pintrest grew nearly 80 percent in the UK and by some distance it was the largest market for Pintrest.com with 245,000 unique visitors in January 2012. Between December 2011 and January 2012, visitors from France and the UK decreased slightly but engagement on the site rose by 1740 percent and 20 percent respectively. http://goo.gl/6Luz4

How can Pintrest.com benefit you as a small business?

The good news is that Pintrest.com have just launched their brand new web analytics. This means that small business’s can now gain some meaningful insight into how their audience is engaging with their content. Pintrest relies on a visual medium and it only allows its users to post images of interesting things.

Here are a number of Pintrest tips to promote your Small Business

Start by getting unique images – simple but beautiful images and pictures should capture what your business is and what your business offers.

Describe your pin – your images should have a description. Try to include a keyword or two to ensure that your page ranks for the right product or service.

Create many boards – Create as many boards as you want. You can have many different themes and creative and fun ideas to pull in your viewers. Walmart the Supermarket chain is a prime example of this as it has 73 boards based on food, clothing, recipes etc.

Focus your boards – It is a good idea to have about 10 to 25 boards with a minimum of 10 pins on each board. A consistent board with frequent pin updates will keep viewers coming back.

Last of all be Social! Pintrest is a social media website and that means that you need to network with other viewers. You can do this by following viewers boards, repining their images to your board, commenting on them and liking them. Of course if someone repins your images, don’t forget to thank them!

Growing your Twitter Followers

Growing your Twitter Followers

Twitter followers

Twitter Followers

While we know there is an array of social media tools available for social media marketing, it can be confusing to understand which one does what and what is the best one for your business.  This post is going to focus on Twitter, its benefits to your business and how to increase your twitter followers.

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media channels in the Irish market.  So what is Twitter and how do we understand all the lingo that is associated with it, from tweeting  to hashtags and everything inbetween.  Twitter as a social media tool essentially allows small businesses to build up an online persona, by sharing their ‘bite sized’ thoughts, news and infographics through tweets of 140 characters or less.  Twitter, essentially, is a micro blog, that allows you to communicate with your audience instantaneously.   One of the main benefits of using Twitter is that it is a measurable relationship building and maintenance tool, allowing you as a business to connect direct with current and prospective customers.  The benefits of using this social media channel for small Irish businesses are:

  • Connect with current and prospective customers
  • Measurable through such software as Crowdbooster which also maximises twitter reach by telling best time to tweet
  • Dialogue – Twitter allows interaction and engagement with your followers
  • People follow each other meaning business’ have a captive audience
  • ‘Now Network’ – Perfect for reaching customers on the move and in real time
  • Sharing of information to a wider network through retweeting
  • Tracking – Allows sharing of information to a wider network
  • Develop relationships with influential bloggers
  • Generate sales
  • Help in SEO ranking due to daily micro blogging
  • Ability to listen to what is being said about your business online

power of twitterTwitter

While Twitter can give your business great exposure, most don’t know how to utilise it effectively and gain followers.  The more followers you have the more exposure your business will have and the potential to be talked about, ultimately increasing revenue potential.  Adopting a proper Twitter strategy in line with your overall Social Media strategy will help you realise the benefits of using this micro blogging platform.  First things first, once you set up your Twitter account, what do all the glossary terms mean:

Twitter glossary

How to increase Twitter followers:

The most valuable asset you have is being able to create your persona for your business through the content you tweet about.  Whether it is engaging or relevant will dictate whether people follow you or Retweet your tweets.  However, while a business will start tweeting, they wonder why they don’t get responses to their initial tweets, they soon learn that they must develop a following.  While it is important to get the basics right of which the following guide will guide you through http://offers.hubspot.com/how-to-use-twitter-for-business

Let’s get Digital are going to give you tips on how to increase your Twitter followers:

1)      Find and follow relevant people

Most people will check out your profile before following you so like the same way you would present yourself for an interview or your business setting, it is important that your twitter profile is presented in the most engaging way:

–          Choose a memorable name or your business name

–          Upload a suitable profile picture that appropriately represents your brand

–          Use a striking and branded background image

–          Detailed bio: you have 160 characters to describe your business so its needs to be to the point

–          Location: As so many businesses are local now a days, the importance of your location cannot be underestimated.

Use Twitter search functionality

Twitter has a search function, and this is a good starting point to search for relevant people, businesses, competitors, customers, suppliers and brand champions as well as leading industry experts to start following.  Use of the search feature on Twitter can also be used to search for tweets using keywords, location or industry.  There are a number of third party tools that can be used such as Twellow, Tweepi and wefollow.   This is also a great way to engage with people who are relevant to your industry or capitalise on a marketing opportunity.  E.g say you are a coffee house and you search for what is being discussed about coffee houses in Dublin.  You could reach out to these people by engaging with them and mentioning your business and even offering them a discount if they try your coffee house.

Find and follow Twitter Lists

This is a great source for new people to connect with others through Twitter lists.  As long as these lists are made public, you can subscribe to them, and it is a great way to gain access to a captive audience relatively easily depending on the nature of your business.

2)      Tweet Interesting Stuff

The most important element in social media and not just Twitter, is to post engaging and relevant content to your audience.  People tend to be very visual and it is proven that posts get more engagement when they are more visual in nature.  Photos and videos are an effective way to engage with your audience.  Use photos to share news, activities or events, as well as some light comic relief.

The great thing about social media and in particular Twitter, is that it is a dialogue, your audience have the ability to interact with you.  It is therefore important to talk to your audience and not at them.  By using the search facility and knowing your audience, you will already know what they are talking about and it is a good way to get engaged in those conversations through use of questions, answer them, retweet and respond.  This element of twitter is becoming so popular that many companies are now using Twitter as their main customer service tool.

3)      Engage

Twitter is great as a monitoring tool, from seeing what your competitors are doing, to what is being discussed at an industry level and even about your own company.  This gives you the opportunity to get involved in these conversations and to try and engage as much as possible with current but also prospective customers.  See what conversations are being discussed and try and get involved and engage in these through comments or retweeting some of their links.  By being more engaged, it will get your business in front of more people and almost acts similar to the word of mouth principle.

Through the use of hashtag conversations, you can join numerous conversations and can add numerous followers provided you have something relevant and engaging to add to the conversation.

You can also engage and maximise your Twitter reach through the use of third party sites such as Hootsuite and Crowdbooster which allow you to send scheduled Tweets during certain time periods.

4)      Promote your Twitter account through Social Media plug ins

Whether it be through your existing business (i.e. retail shop) or online, leverage your following that you have built up elsewhere and through other channels by promoting your Twitter account.  This can come in numerious forms whether it be:

–          Talking up Twitter through promotional material in your business, social media plugins on other social media channels, website or blog.  There is the ability to include a “follow me on Twitter” call to action on all correspondence.

–          Include links on Facebook, Linkedin or other social media channels to gain as much coverage as possible and promote your Twitter page ultimately increasing your followers.  There is the possibility to sync all your posts, updates and tweets using a tool such as Hootsuite.

Now that you have an understanding of Twitter and how to gain followers, all that remains is to start Tweeting and grow your followers.  Another step to getting digital!

Importance of Keyword Research and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

Importance of Keyword Research and SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves achieving the highest position or ranking practical in the natural or organic listings as the main body of the search engine results pages (SERPS) across a range of specific combination of keywords (or keyphases) entered by search engine users. (Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick)

In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

SEO-learning

If you have ever browsed the internet you have undoubtedly used the search bar of your browser to search for information about your chosen topic. By entering words or phrases that you have entered onto your search bar.

The more browsers that see a link to your website from a search result the more people are likely to visit your site. The search engine is critically important as it provides website links to browsers enabling them to quickly obtain information about products and services that they are searching for.

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Bench-market Report – SEO Edition, 2, 194, B2B and B2C marketers who were surveyed found that in their experience SEO was directly responsible for a 57% increase in the traffic to their websites. 42% found that it helped increase brand and product awareness and 34% reported that it helped them in lead generation.

Google accounts for 97% of searched that are made in Ireland. It uses a spider or a bot that is also referred to as a crawler. This crawler-based service provides instant search results on a myriad of topics.

The Google toolbar, found in most of the popular browsers including Safari and Firefox, allows searching to be more convenient than ever. Google provide a number of features that allow businesses to increase their SEO ranking. One of the key features that allow business’s to do this is PPC Advertising also known as Google Ad sense. Advertisers can place their ad links in the search engine’s list on a pay per click basis. This will assist in raising your SEO rankings.

Other major search engines include Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com. However it is important to note that as a business if you have an international brand or if you are an exporter of goods and services that Google is not the number 1 search engine globally. Business when marketing internationally must also consider leading search engines in different countries e.g. Baidu which has about 75% market share in China, Yahoo which has about 56% market share in Japan and Yandex which currently has about 62% market share in Russia.

StatCounter-search_engine-ww-monthly-201203-201303

There are four main areas involved in creating natural listings for SEO; 

Crawling – The crawler or bot identifies relevant pages for indexing. The bot access web pages and retrieve a reference URL of the page for later analysis and indexing. The bot is a piece of software that runs on a search engines server which request pages, follow the links contained on that page and create a series of page references with associated URL’s.

Indexing – An index is created to enable the searcher to quickly find the most relevant pages containing the query typed by the searcher. Rather than searching eage page for a query phrase, a search engine ‘inverts’ the index to produce a lookup table of documents containing particular words.

Ranking – PageRank is what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page. It’s one of the many factors used to determine which pages appear in search results. The main factors to optimise on are keyword density, keyword formatting, keywords in anchor text and the document meta-data including page title tags.

Directories – These are website hosts that contain a lising of articles that a potential searcher may use. These directories are categorized according to topics, making it easier for the user to find an article that maybe of interest. By submitting to articles and being part of these positioning tools businesses can help to optimise their SEO ranking, directing more traffic and browsers to the site.

There are a vast array of websites that will provide loads of valuable information to you as a small business to get you started on putting your SEO strategy together. Google provide a lot of excellent guides and information. They have a Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide which will help you through the initial steps of SEO. http://goo.gl/JPjjt

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

seo

The Results are Low in Cost in Comparison to Ad words and PPC

Organic listings are essentially free. When you are listed at the top, you don’t need to pay per click or allocate a budget for advertising, one of the main benefits of SEO

Definite Increase in Traffic

With Analytics and reporting tools, you’ll see a clear cut increase in traffic. This is a definite way to maximize your business efforts. SEO will give you results (not immediately but rather quickly) and as soon as you start your SEO efforts, traffic will increase at a steady indefinite Increase in Traffic

Better ROI (Return on Investment) Than Normal Ads

When you buy 1000 visitors from a paid ad, 2% of those visitors might convert into a sale. When you get 1000 clicks from SEO, 4% of those visitors will convert into a sale, leading to a better return on investment. This higher conversion rate is just another one of the benefits of SEO that cannot be matched by any other form of marketing

Your Competitors Are Doing It

SEO is a rising field and it is gaining ground. More people are starting to realize that the benefits of SEO are extremely high. Your competitors know this and are starting to take advantage of it. If your competitors are using it then they will appear before you on Google and get all those hits that can lead to sales before your website will.

60% Of Clicks Go to the First Result

This means that only 40% of clicks are left for the second through the millionth result on google for the keyword. Securing that top spot on Google is a sure fire way to gain thousands upon thousands of visitors

 

 

 

How to use Facebook for Small Business?

fb for business

Get started guide – How to use Facebook for your Small Business

If you are a small business owner you may be wondering, How to use Facebook for small business? Read on for answers to all your Facebook related questions.
Facebook is a vital marketing resource for small business, recent statistics show there are over 2.2 million Irish Facebook users, that is almost 50% of the Irish population. According to Facebook, more than half of Facebook users log in every day, with the average user spending twenty minutes on his or her account, as a small business you cannot afford to ignore this unique marketing opportunity.

Facebook-length-of-visit

For lots more information on the rise and popularity of Facebook in Ireland check out socialbakers.com.

Read on for loads more on how to use Facebook for your small business, including the many benefits it offers, how to get started and a step by step guide to getting the most from your Facebook experience.

What makes Facebook such an effective marketing tool?

word of mouth advertising

 Word of Mouth Marketing

The main advantage Facebook can offer any business is word of mouth marketing, studies have shown that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations over other sources. This means that getting a Like on Facebook for your business is in theory more valuable than other forms of traditional paid advertising. According to mashable.com “Facebook ads, when used effectively, are able to benefit greatly from word-of-mouth advertising in a way that other ads cannot.

Benefits for Small business using Facebook
Here is some of the other benefits Facebook can offer small businesses:
• it allows you to connect with customers
• win new business
• run events & competitions
• complete market research
• build relationships
• provides businesses with unique insights and analysis for their marketing activities

Sign up for your Free Facebook page for Business
Business owners can sign up for a Facebook page for their business for free, start by clicking create a page button.

Here are some more helpful tips for setting up an effective Facebook page for your business:
• Pick a meaningful name – the page name is one of the main factors for ranking on Facebook search, so try to choose a catchy/memorable name
• Use photos/images to depict your brand – a picture says a thousand words
• Provide short concise information about your business in the info tab, make it compelling enough that visitors want to learn more
• Arrange your views and apps, to make the page visually appealing, avoid clutter
• Always change from the automatically generated Url http://www.12jjg8\$%gUK?fref=tto to vanity Url http://www.facebook.com/thecornerstore make sure to use your business name or other keywords in the url
• Customise your landing page to make it look attractive and engaging, helping to convert visitors into fans
• Post updates and content regularly keeping content fresh and interesting for fans and potential fans alike
• Use multimedia content for your page, post videos, product images, post and tag images from events and encourage your fans to do the same, ensuring variety of content
• Carry out polls to try to engage fans and encourage discussions
• Keep an eye on competitors pages, are they doing something you haven’t covered? If so take action
• Manage your page through admin panel, this will give you access to Page insights, allowing you to keep track of activity, and take action where needed.

Advertising on Facebook
Businesses can also pay for a targeted advertising campaign on Facebook. Given the level of personal information Facebook holds on its users, it can offer targeted advertising based on age, location, gender, interests, marital status, nationality etc. Facebook allows you to set a daily budget, helping you stay within your marketing budget, once you hit the daily limit the ad will stop showing. Costs of advertising on Facebook are relatively low when compared with other traditional print or media advertising, and can be easily controlled.
One major advantage of using paid advertising on Facebook is that it allows you to build a database containing in-depth information about customers and potential customers. This will provide your business with an invaluable database which can be used into the future. Another advantage is that you can target potential consumers who are pre-disposed to your product/service by virtue of the fact that you can target very specific segments e.g. females 25+ age group, living in Dublin who like gyms/Pilates classes.

Check out this short Facebook for Small business webinar, its full of helpful information on how to get started with lots of interesting ideas and resources to get you off to a good start.

Digital Insights have a really informative guide for small businesses that are new to Facebook, its well worth checking out.

Now its Over to You
Facebook provide a simple step by step guide to setting up your very own Facebook page for your business.

You will find lots more helpful information and tips on the official Facebook marketing page.

Stay tuned to Let’s Get Digital for more help getting your small business Digital marketing plans off the ground!

Let us know if you found this post helpful, would it encourage you to use Facebook to promote your business?

Write your own Blog – A Guide for Small Business

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How to write your own Blog – what you need to know for small business blogging

Writing a blog on your business website is a great way to communicate with your target market, it will help you get more traffic on your site, helps you keep in touch with customers and it’s easy to do once you know how. That’s why we have put together this guide on how to write your own blog, we hope you find it helpful.

What is a Blog?

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“Personal online diary, journal or news source compiled by one person, an internal team or external guest authors. Postings are usually in different categories. Typically comments can be added to each blog posting to help create interactivity and feedback” that’s the official definition of a blog, but as a blog is user generated content there are no hard and fast rules. A blog can take the form of a diary giving regular updates or it can contain articles with links to other websites etc. It all depends on what you want to use your blog for – to grow your business, as an interactive communication tool, sales tool, provide customers with information, build your network etc. the possibilities are endless.

How will writing a blog help your small business?

So now you know what a blog is, here’s some reasons you should start writing your own blog.

Website traffic – every post  you write will provide more content for your website and therefore give Google more content to index for its rankings, so the more quality content you have the higher up Google rankings your site will appear.

Build awareness –for your business and brand.

Sales tool – You can use your blog to promote your products/services and you can direct traffic back to your businesses website.

Allows you to keep in contact with customers and potential customers –and its free if you do it yourself.  Read on for more tips on getting your own blog started.

Helps you to build relationships and a network –you can benefit by linking your blog to that of similar businesses/professional blogs if they reciprocate it’s a win win both businesses benefit from the association, and it’s one of the easiest ways of attracting new readers to your blog. Also having a blog will help to build relationships with customers, it’s a way of getting to know your business for customers, and particularly in the online world makes the intangible more tangible, customers will be more likely to be loyal to a business they feel they know and have a connection with.

Opens lines of communication –your business blog will give readers the opportunity to respond to posts, it will encourage readers to give feedback and can provide key insights for your business. Also the more interaction the better your  Google ranking will be.

Create a list of prospects – ensure to include the option for readers to sign up for regular updates on your blog this will give you a list of qualified hot leads, they are people who have shown an interest in you and your business and there’s a strong chance they will convert into actual sales.

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Brings together all your social media tools – you can use your blog to expand on the information you post on other social media platforms.

For lots more helpful tips on Blogging and content marketing listen to this really helpful podcast from socialmediaexaminer.com.

How to get started?

There are lots of options available to get you started with your own blog, we are going to focus on WordPress.com 

Using WordPress means that you can create your own basic blog for free or you can upgrade to premium for $99 or business for $299. You don’t need to employ the services of an external agency, all you need is to commit to providing regular good quality content that will be informative and useful for your target audience.

To get started with WordPress all you need to do is register .

There’s lots of help and support to get you started including a getting started guide and video guide.

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What to write about?

The key to a successful blog is to keep your content interesting and engaging so people continue to read it and start to promote your blog within their own communities.

Follow these steps to get you on the right track for creating quality content:

Read other blogs and follow those in similar business to you, this will provide a great source of ideas and ensure that you stay current.

Use topical content – use what’s going on in the news that’s related to your business, post questions to encourage interaction with your audience.

Make a list – 10 reasons to, 5 ways to etc. are always popular.

Review something – product reviews for new products in your range.

Provide useful solutions – how to, will make your blog useful to readers.

Link to other related blogs – this will benefit you by providing useful content the reputation of your blog as a useful resource will improve.

Post exclusive offers/promotions – that are only available to subscribers to your blog.

Post questions or polls – can be used for market research and can help to get people talking about your company.

Promote industry events – helping to make you appear as a key player in the industry.

Post photos/video – displaying products, product tutorials, employee interviews etc.

For a really simple one page guide check out business blogging from simplybusiness.co.uk. It covers everything from how to choose your content to how to set up an editorial calendar.

lets get started

Time to get started on your own blog, let us know how you get on!

Why Digital Marketing is so important for Small Business?

Digital Marketing for Small Business

The Internet and digital media have transformed marketing and business since the first website (http://info.cern.ch) went live in 1991. There are over one billion people around the world regularly using the web to find products, services and entertainment. We have travelled a long way since the Internets first adoption and the table below gives us an idea of the timeline of online services which highlights the innovation of business modeling and marketing communications approach.

Internet-Timeline

The use of the internet and other digital media to support marketing has lead to a range of labels and jargon. For the purpose of this article I will use the term Digital Marketing, you may also come across Internet Marketing, e-marketing and web marketing but fundamentally all of these processes use the Internet as their platform to communicate and interact with online users. You may ask what is Digital Marketing and as per a definition from the latest edition of Digital Marketing Strategy, Implementation and Practice by Dave Chaffey and Fiona Ellis-Chadwick it can be quite simply defined as “Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies”.

As a small business you may be asking yourself the question do traditional marketing campaigns still hold value in this new digital era? The answer to this question according to a blog on www.smallbusiness.yahoo.com is yes they do. Small businesses should look at how the two marketing strategies can be intertwined. Digital marketing is based on short cycles, real-time execution and one-to-one messaging. Based on the results of Digital marketing campaigns your small business will be able to gain a more in-depth look at consumers activity, preference, location, buying behaviour and interests. Traditional marketing is based on the “4 P’s” of marketing commonly known as the Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. While Traditional marketing has the same goals as Digital marketing, traditional marketing use methods that involve longer planning cycles and run over extended periods of times for example Bill boards, TV, Radio and Telemarketing campaigns. As a marketeer for a small business your aim should be to ‘Bridge the Gap’ between digital and traditional media. TD Bank an American bank show a good example of how they have ‘bridged the gap’. When a customer accesses the TD Bank website their IP address is analyzed for location, which then results in a banner and video of local branches and management that customers can visit in person. TD Bank explain that this is their way of attempting to keep the narrative continuously flowing across all customer channels of influence.

As a small business when planning your overall marketing strategy it is important that every tactic and channel are leading and connecting with each other and are flowing in a constant loop. For example if you are running a radio or TV advert, as a call to action you can direct your audience to your Facebook page where you can continue the conversation with your audience.

The world of technology, digital marketing and social media is changing the way we do business and as a small business if you do not adapt to meet these needs your business is in danger of losing out!  Understanding the minefield of digital marketing and social media before deciding what is right for your business is a challenge in itself.  Many business owners are missing out on new ways to acquire customers, build brand loyalty and create communities simply because there is rarely any time left at the end of the day to experiment with new marketing methods.  Here at Small Business Digital Marketing Guide will give you advice and tips on how to build a simple digital marketing strategy and in turn create a digital presence for your business.

It’s easy to get lost in the seemingly endless number of options to market and promote your small business.  Perhaps you have heard about Twitter for ages, but you haven’t so much as tried to sign up for an account.  You might be using Facebook as a social medium to catch up with friends and family, but you haven’t thought of setting up a business page on Facebook to keep in contact with your customers and even more importantly find new customers. 

You maybe asking yourself at this stage ‘How much is this going to cost me?’.  The good news is that you don’t need a huge budget to start your journey in to the digital world.  In fact you don’t need much of a budget at all!  

  The landscape is widespread and therefore it is important to define your goals.  What are you trying to get out of social media?  Are you trying to generate leads, share content or create new relationships?  What platform fits your business the best?

SOSTAC

As a small business you might find it helpful to use a marketing model framework to help guide you in putting your Digital strategy together. SOSTAC was voted the third most popular model in the CIM poll on marketing models in 2011 because it is easy to remember and it makes it easy to structure plans for different planning activities. SOSTAC stands for

Situation – where we are now?

Objectives – where do we want to be?

Strategy – how do we get there?

Tactics – how exactly do we get there?

Action – what is our plan?

Control – did we get there?

 If your business is beauty based  or culinary you could benefit greatly from using Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Are you going to do the posting yourself?  You need to consider the time it takes to form relationships and build a following.  If your business is doing well maybe you will need to hire an expert who can dedicate their time to the many networking opportunities that revolve around social media.  There are many platforms such as Hootsuite that can help you manage your social media.

 Stay tuned and over the next few weeks here at Small Business Digital Marketing Guide we will help you to build a digital strategy which will help boost your businesses brand and awareness in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

Welcome to Lets get Digital…Get Digitised!!

Lets get Digital is a brand new blog focused on guiding and giving tips to small businesses on everything they need to know on Digital Marketing and getting your business into the Digital realm.  Our blog posts will focus on a range of different topics around Digital Marketing and current trends.  Check out our site, and don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.  Feel free to email and engage with us letsgetdigitalirl@gmail.comstaytuned