How To Be More Productive Working From Home

How To Be More Productive Working From Home

I have a virtual office in my nearest town in Mullingar because I prefer to work from home and I have been working from home now on and off for over 20 years. In fact, I was working from home before the term “remote working” was invented. 

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I don’t really need a virtual office to be honest but I have one because it helps my business rank number 1 on Google locally.

I have toyed with the idea of hotdesking but it isn’t practical as I am spending more and more time on video calls and I prefer to have some privacy for that. I could rent a self-contained office in Mullingar but the money would be better off being spent on my cash cow, Facebook ads because that generates new clients for me like clockwork.

It is fair to say that my feet are firmly placed in the working from home camp and it has only really been in the last few months or so that I have finally managed to get that happy work-life balance that so many people struggle with.

So here are my top tips to stay productive when working from home and you have probably heard of some of these before but I am sure that there are 1 or 2 that you probably haven’t even considered:

Get out of bed straight away

I was at the BizExpo in The Citywest Hotel in Dublin earlier this year and I listened to Donna Kennedy, one of the speakers, who is a business coach. She mentioned that if we managed to be 1% more productive than the previous day we would achieve so much more over the course of a year.

So I mulled this over for a few days and came up with getting out of bed straight away and starting 10 minutes earlier every day so now I get up at 5am and start working at 6am.

As soon as I wake up I count to 5 and I get up on 5. It gives me motivation and a sense of achievement first thing as I used to be a bit of a ‘hit the snooze button kind of guy’.

This simple tweak to my morning routine gives me momentum that makes me so much more productive because not only have I done a day’s work by lunchtime it feels like I have an extra 2 hours worth of work under my belt too.

I am naturally a night owl, but I could see the results early on so that encouraged me to keep it up.

So if you work from home and have a packed house starting early while the rest of the house is asleep really gives you a feeling of getting a head start on the day.

Don’t check emails first

Some people feel that they are productive answering emails first but the downside is that you actually get stuck answering queries for other people rather than doing your most important tasks first.

I check emails 3 times a day and the first time is at noon, then 3.30pm and one last check at 5.00pm to make sure that all incoming emails that are sent during office hours are replied to the same day.

Getting notifications every time an email arrives and answering it straight away is madness because it breaks your concentration in what you were doing beforehand and ruins your momentum.

Have an allocated room

If you have the space in your home try and use a room that you only use for work. Maybe you can squeeze a desk in a spare bedroom, or even buy a garden shed and work in the garden, I am serious! Or, you can pick up a converted 20ft shipping container for around €5,000 that would last you over 20 years. That works out at only €250 per year!

Once you have somewhere that you can close the door to after your days work you will find it easier to switch off.

Only use your desk or laptop for work

The novelty of working in bed with your laptop soon wears off especially when you get pains in your shoulders and neck.

What I try to do is use my laptop for work at my workspace only which is a spare bedroom that has been converted into a fully functional office and I use my phone to go online for personal use. Because if I start to use my laptop I get back into work mode and switching off from work is essential for that work-life balance that we are all looking for.

Get dressed for work

Every Sunday night like clockwork I iron 5 blue shirts. I got that tip from Gerry Duffy.

For those of you that have ever met me during office hours may well have noticed that I always wear a blue shirt. I do this because when I put on a blue shirt it gets me into work mode.

Sunday night’s ironing usually takes place while listening to a podcast that tends to get me back into thinking about work for the week ahead.

I also wear a back brace when sitting at my desk too because I slouch naturally when sitting down. I noticed a few years ago that I was walking with my head/neck leaning forward and that was because I was using a laptop at desk level and was leaning in to read it. So now I have a screen that runs off of my laptop at the right height.

The back brace serves as part of my ‘work uniform’ too.

Go for a walk at the end of the day

This really is a game-changer and 1 of my top tips.

I have never had a problem starting work because I really love what I do and I have stopped getting distracted as most people do by walking out to the kitchen, opening the fridge, looking in and then closing it again.

Come on, admit it you have done it too!?

My problem has always been switching off afterwards and I have often just gone back to tweak a website and been up to the early hours losing track of time and end up being wrecked the next day. So I found that getting changed out of my ‘office uniform’ and going for a walk not only clears my head but is a defining moment of the end of my workday.

An alternative to this is to take a shower because this also gives you closure.

Make your time accountable

When I worked in accountancy practices I had to fill in timesheets where every 15 minutes was allocated to a client or non-billable work. So I incorporate that into Gleeson Digital not just for my team but for myself too.

The advantage of this is that I can work out the time spent on individual projects which helps to highlight any areas that took too long so that I can train my team further and, be more accurate in pricing similar projects in the future.

Also, have you ever had a day where you have put the hours in but felt that you haven’t really got much done? Well, doing timesheets puts an end to that because it makes you more accountable.

Reduce face to face meetings

Video calls are more accepted now due to the Coronavirus crisis that changed the way we work since it reared its ugly head in March 2020, so try to schedule a video call rather than face to face meetings as much as possible it saves so much time.

I am seriously thinking of doing only online meetings Monday to Thursdays and leaving Fridays free for face to face meetings.

Travelling to and from meetings isn’t productive.

Listen to music when you work

I have found that listening to music makes me concentrate better. But if it is too overpowering it can be distracting. So I tend to listen to “easy listening music” through my laptop in the mornings on the radio using IE Radio. I find that listening to Q102 does the job nicely for me.

I don’t listen to music in the afternoons as I tend to be hopping on and off video and phone calls then.

Don’t use social media at all during office hours

It’s so easy to get lost down the rabbit hole that is social media and before you know it is lunchtime and you wonder where the day has gone.

I read recently that the average person is spending over 4 hours per day online on a personal basis and over half of that time is on social media.

I removed all my social media apps from my mobile phone as it was scary the amount of time that I was spending on the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin.

I check it on my laptop instead. Yes, I am one of the 2% of people that uses the desktop version of  Instagram.

Scrap the traditional to-do list

The problem with the traditional to-do list is that we cherry-pick what we prefer to do and other more urgent tasks take priority so certain tasks always remain on the to-do list and never get done.

I spend the mornings doing client work and leave my to-do list until after lunch.

I use this grid system to prioritise the most important tasks but I always start on the item that has been on the list the longest regardless of how urgent it is:

Then I slot these tasks into a diary between scheduled phone and video calls in the afternoon. If there are any items leftover they go into the urgent and important section for the next day.

I have tried all sorts of digital to-do lists but find that writing it down in this grid initially and then scheduling time for each task in an A4 diary that I leave open at my desk is the most effective way. Because once it is digitalised it is out of sight and out of mind.

Take regular breaks

In the offices that I have worked in, the only breaks that I ever saw people take were cigarette breaks and lunchtime, that’s it.

To be productive you need to take more breaks than that. Personally, I work for 55 minutes and then take a 5-minute break.

I leave my office/desk for those 5 minutes and either make a cup of coffee and start to drink it in the kitchen and finish it off at my desk or throw darts at a dartboard for 10 minutes.

As a result of this, I go back to my desk fully refreshed which allows me to work 10-12 hours a day without feeling exhausted.

As long as you leave your desk and do something completely different you will return fully recharged.

Start early

I am sure that you have heard of starting early before. But Mark Walberg takes this to a whole new level as he gets up at 2.30 am and goes to bed at 7.30pm. Now that isn’t for me but don’t knock it because it works for him as he was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood in 2017 earning $68M!

I have tried all kinds of hours but found the feeling of working early and getting a day’s work done by lunchtime is amazing.

I get more work done and have always found that if I kept regular hours I am not doing anything of any significance that will benefit my business after 9pm anyway.

Have a set routine

I work the hours that suit me so whatever hours that you decide that works best for you make sure that you always start at the same time.

If you don’t it is a slippery slope of starting later and later and your workload just will pile up.

This would be my routine for the week, assuming that I don’t have to leave the office on Monday – Thursday:

Monday – Thursday

05.00 – Alarm is set to go off at 5am but I am usually up before then. I am out of bed within 5 seconds of waking up, I write my goals/affirmations into my diary, drink a pint of water and head off for a walk where I listen to audiobooks. No breakfast, no meditation, no shower as now it is work time.
06.00 – I always do client work in the mornings as I am more productive and my concentration is much better then too. Plus there are no distractions such as phone calls.

12.00 – I reply to emails for the first time and chip away at my to-do list before lunchtime.

13.00 – I take no calls during this sacred hour that is all about switching off.

14.00 – Returning phone calls to clients, video calls & project management. I ask my clients to ring in the afternoon as I can’t always take their calls in the morning and they are fine with that.
15.00 – Check emails for the second time.
16.00 – Do small tasks as it makes me feel productive towards the end of the day. Plus I can usually feel my brain slowing down at this stage.
17.00 – Reply to any emails and call it a day. I leave the spare bedroom office just after 5pm and never return to it until the following morning at 6am. I never answer my phone outside of office hours or during lunchtime.
18.00 – Go for a walk to unwind and to think without my phone.
19.00 – Watch YouTube or Netflix (wearing white/blue light reduction glasses) or read a business-related book.

20.00 – I turn all screens off so that I can start to unwind for bed. I don’t watch TV Monday to Thursday and the only thing that I watch on TV is sport at the weekend.
21.00 – Bath and I write my goals and affirmations into my diary and do some visualisation before nodding off around 10pm.

Friday

Friday has like a half-day vibe for me because I don’t do any client work at all apart from returning emails. I go out for lunch every Friday as I want to recreate that ‘Friday feeling’ that is hard to get when you work from home.

I work on my businesses such as improving my website’s SEO (I have an obsession with it at the moment), marketing, working on getting new clients for the week ahead and checking the numbers.

I always schedule time to learn something new on a Friday otherwise it will get put on the long finger.

Saturday

I work on Saturday mornings before I turn into an armchair sportsman for the rest of the day at 1pm watching either darts or snooker.

Saturday morning is a bit like Friday with that half-day feeling where I either read, write for clients because I feel like I am writing against the clock during office hours.

Sunday

Yep, I work every day.

Monday – Thursdays is at full throttle but the other days are more laid back.

I read a business type of book for 30-60 minutes during the week and will aim to finish it off on a Sunday morning. Because that way I can make notes on the book and put a plan together so I can put into action what I have learnt to implement it into my own businesses.

Final thoughts

I work around 60 hours per week, not as a badge of honour but because I really love what I do and growing this business and my new business Gleeson Digital Academy is so rewarding, which can only be achieved by putting the work in.

I might have to go down to a 4 day week in January 2021 when I start a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing as that will take up around 15-20 hours per week. But by then I will have a project manager to ease my workload so I should be able to juggle everything.

These tips work for me and it took me a while to get to this stage where I feel that I am much more effective working from home rather than in a traditional office. So give a few of these a try and experiment as I am sure that you will find a few things that work for you.

If you don’t take a more systematic approach to your whole work-life balance you will be thinking to yourself “am I living at work or working from home?”

– Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website design & marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction).

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Why You Need a Good Content Marketing Strategy

Why You Need a Good Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of online material such as videos, blog posts and social media posts, to entertain, educate or inspire your target audience. It does not explicitly promote or advertise your brand but it is intended to stimulate interest in your products or services.

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If you want to win in today’s digital world, your success is going to rely on quality content that meets user intent. With every Google algorithm update, Google has stressed the importance of relevant content and improving content quality is the number 1 piece of advice.

To establish what relevant content means to your brand, you’ll need to know who your audience is and what queries they are typing into search engines. Based on the gaps in your existing content and that of your competitors you’ll need to develop content campaigns that are specifically designed to achieve your marketing goals.

Content marketing is a very measurable discipline that is essential in making your online presence generate the right results for your business.

What is the Difference Between Content Marketing & Sales Copy?

If you want to make the most of your content marketing, you’ll need to understand the difference between content and sales copy because all forms of written text aren’t equal. Industry experts, journalists and bloggers are less likely to share your content if it is too heavily branded that it is obvious that you are trying to sell your products or services as it wicome across as looking a bit spammy.

Sales copy is created for advertising and marketing purposes, and its aim is to sell. It is written to persuade potential customers of the value of your offering and convert them into leads. Sales copy may detail product specifications, calls to actions and unique selling points.

Content extends far beyond sales copy: it can tell a story, educate, help, inspire or entertain your target audience. Content isn’t just text, it can also be videos, infographics, images, graphics and many other digital assets.

The difference between sales copy & content is that sales copy aims to sell your products and persuade people to convert, whereas content aims to engage your audience and build brand awareness.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

So if sales copy sells and content marketing engages and builds brand awareness, surely sales copy is the more important of the two? Not necessarily, because good content marketing can increase your organisation’s expertise, authority and trust factors. It actually establishes your brand as an authority in your industry.

Solid content strategy can also win backlinks – improving your website’s SEO, domain authority and driving traffic to your website. However, unlike other strands of digital marketing, content helps you reach your audience in a non-salesy organic way.

Choosing Your Content Marketing Metrics

There are various metrics out there that can help you measure whether your content strategy is proving effective.

Try measuring on your website’s unique page views, the average time spent on the site and the number of social shares that your blog post have received assuming that you have a social share plugin on your website, if not we can install one for you.

To find out whether it helped your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you should monitor how your content ranks, how much organic traffic it receives and how visible it is in search engines. The number and quality of backlinks to your content page can tell you how well your content was picked up by your target audience, the press, bloggers and industry experts.

We can set-up Google Analytics for you if you don’t already have it installed on your website. We can then tell you whether your visitors performed any actions after engaging with your content such as visited other pages, what pages they viewed and if they performed any conversions. Even if your web visitors did not convert directly, all is not lost because accurate tracking will show you whether they returned to your website at a later stage to go further down your sales funnel.

Defining Your Content Strategy

Once you have defined your content strategy goals and decided on your KPI (Key Performance Indicator) metrics, it’s time to start the content strategy process.

Your first step is the research stage, in researching and defining your primary and secondary customer personas. Followed by persona mapping, social listening and search intent modelling to gain the necessary insights into your audience and the various opportunities. Don’t forget to analyse your best-performing blog posts and that of your competitors, that can help inspire you and identify content gaps.

Then it’s time for brainstorming. By now you should be armed with the results of your research that will give you ideas for creative content ideas.

Creating Your Content Marketing Plan

By now you should have some ground-breaking content ideas so a content plan is needed.

A content roadmap is the best way to ensure that your campaigns are complementing, rather than competing against each other. The best way to do this is to put links in a blog post that have similar content. You can also space out similar topics in your content timeline too. Timing is important as you might also want to look at key seasonal dates and events throughout the year to gain more traffic.

So if you have an eCommerce website that sells products that are ideal for gifts, perhaps crating content around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas time should work for you.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is a medium to long term strategy that is designed to build brand awareness. But you can’t bring brand awareness to the bank and cash it in whenever you want. So make sure that you have a short term strategy running side by side that will actually generate a consistent amount of leads every month for your business such as Facebook ads or YouTube video ads.

If you need any advice about content marketing strategy or a short term digital marketing strategy that generates leads for your business, get in touch with me. I am equipped to help you meet your marketing goals, no matter how ambitious they are.

– Gary

 

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website design & marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction).

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3 Reasons Not to Use Stock Photography

3 Reasons Not to Use Stock Photography

I understand that most of you don’t have the time to be taking pictures for every social media or blog post so using the many free stock photography sites is such a time saver.

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But unfortunately, there is a downside to them if you use them on your website or social media accounts.

3 Disadvantages of Using Stock Images Online

1) Google states that they are looking for unique content so that means images that haven’t been used online before. The more you toe the Google line the higher up your website will appear in the search engine results pages. So if SEO is important to you, stay away from stock photography.

2) Social media news feeds have algorithms too and if they see images that have been used before they will consider your post to be spam and show it further down user’s news feeds. If your business is on social media appearing high up your follower’s news feeds is quite important, isn’t it?

3) I see stock photography used time and time again on websites and I think they have a really unauthentic feel about them because most of them look cheesy & fake. Visually, I think they are OK for blog posts, but not your main pages. If I see a website that uses stock photography I can only assume that the website has been rushed.

The Compromise

I actually use stock photography for my main images in ALL my blog posts because like everyone else I don’t have the time to be taking fresh pictures or knocking up graphics in Adobe Illustrator. So I put a filter on them at around 80% opacity in Photoshop and in most cases that does the trick.

If you reverse search an image online you will find out if this has worked. So all you have to do is:

Visit www.google.com/imghp, then click on the camera icon.

Click on the “upload an image” option.

Then click on “choose file” and upload your image.

Wait for the results and in this case, you can see that my previous blog post image has only appeared on my web page.

Originally, the first layer of the image from my previous blog post was a stock image, then I added an orange layer on top of that with an 80% opacity and the final layer was the text.

However, I do have 1 image on my home page that hasn’t passed Google unique image test, despite using a filter, but it is only temporary. Because for now, it serves a purpose because the appearance of the home page is more important than SEO. I will be replaced in a few weeks or so when I will take a “real” photograph and use that one instead.

Final Thoughts

You have to be practical here and decide if having unique images that haven’t been seen before online is important to you or not. Perhaps you don’t have the luxury of being that pedantic with images and you aren’t that fussed about appearing higher up in social media news feeds or in Google’s rankings.

Personally, I think appearing higher up in social media feeds and higher up in Google’s search engine results pages is very important and is in fact what digital marketing is all about. So I will make the extra effort.

But at least you know the downside and you can make the decision that is right for you.

Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website design & marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction).

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What is a Search Engine Optimisation Audit?

What is a Search Engine Optimisation Audit?

So you have spent thousands on your website and you have just realised that your website isn’t generating that much traffic from search engines, so the chances are that your website needs an SEO overhaul.

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The best place to start is with an SEO audit that will highlight areas that can be improved upon so that your website climbs Google’s rankings.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation is the process of making a website or website pages appear higher up in search engines such as Google. The higher up they appear the more likely that users will click on these search engine’s links to your website.

The 7 key stages of SEO are:

SEO Audit

The great thing about digital marketing is that there aren’t many grey areas regarding how successful any type of campaign is and search engine optimisation is a typical example of this because everything is measurable.

The purpose of a website audit is to identify as many issues affecting organic search performance as possible such as:

  • Technical SEO problems
  • Website structure problems
  • On-page SEO problems
  • Current website domain authority 
  • User experience problems
  • Content gaps and opportunities
  • Website loading speed

So in addition to spotting current website issues, the audit also serves as a starting point where initial statistics can be compared to the statistic in the coming months or years to follow that will show how effective the search engine optimisation campaign has been.

Keyword Research

One of the first things that we do before we even design or build a website is keyword research. 

Keywords are terms or phrases that are typed into search engines which should be strategically placed in the website multiple times so that the website appears higher up in the search engine results pages. But please note that if this is overdone, which is known as keyword stuffing, Google will penalise your website for this as it sees this as spam and an underhanded way of trying to beat the algorithm. 

Using the right keywords is one of the most important components of search engine optimisation. 

On-Page SEO

Now that we know what your target market is searching for on search engines, it’s time to dive into on-page SEO which is the practice of creating web pages that answer searcher’s questions. 

Once we have the keywords or keyword phrases that search engine users are using we can amend the website accordingly to make it “Google-friendly.” We do this by updating strategically placing the keywords into the website such as amended content or text, updating page titles, changing the titles and alt tags of images; to name a few.

Technical SEO

Now that we have created valuable content based on our keyword research, it’s important to make sure it’s not only readable by humans, but by search engines too.

So as the name suggests this is the technical part. If I can compare on-page and technical SEO in an analogy, the on-page would be how a car looks and the technical search engine optimisation is all about the engine.

I will keep this section brief but careful attention is needed in the following areas for search engines:

  • Increase the loading time of a website & it’s individual pages
  • Optimise images so that they load quicker
  • Instruct search engines which website pages to index
  • Inform Google what the pages are about using schema markup & the canonical tag
  • Ensure the website is mobile-friendly

Blogging Using Keywords

This is admittedly similar to the on-page SEO that I mentioned earlier but blogging should be an ongoing part of your digital marketing & search engine optimisation strategies.

Blogging has 3 main advantages for SEO:

  • It can increase your domain authority
  • Google gives extra juice to websites that blog consistently
  • Your blog posts can reach a wider audience if it is done properly

A great tip is to keep the important content above the fold for desktop users so that they are encouraged to read the article. Above the fold means in the top part of a page before scrolling down.

This is harder to do for mobile as you have fewer characters to play with so make sure that the first couple of sentences are interesting enough to keep your viewer’s attention. 

Link Building & Establishing Domain Authority 

So we have created content that potential new customers are searching for, that answers their questions and that search engines can understand, but those qualities alone don’t mean that your website or website pages will rank. 

To appear high in the search engines results pages you have to establish authority. That can be accomplished by earning links from authoritative websites, building your brand and nurturing an audience who will help amplify your content by sharing it on their social media accounts and by commenting in the comments section of your blog posts.

Google confirmed that links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for search engine optimisation. Authority websites tend to link to other trustworthy sites and spammy sites tend to link to other spammy sites.

Measuring & Tracking Results

If you can’t measure something how are you expected to improve it?

It’s no different in SEO. We track everything from rankings and conversions to domain authority scores to help prove the value of SEO. Measuring the impact of our work and ongoing refinement is critical to your business’s SEO success.

While it’s common to have several SEO goals, establishing one specific primary end goal is essential. Then we can work towards that.

Final Thoughts on SEO

SEO should play an important part in your digital marketing strategy because it is a great way to generate the right traffic to your site. But don’t get hung up on the number of website visitors from search engines because quality traffic is much more important.

I tried not to get too technical in this blog post as some of the SEO jargon can take some explaining, but if you need any advice on improving your business’s SEO to grow, get in touch.

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website design & marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction).

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Trading Online Vouchers Worth up to €2,500

Trading Online Vouchers Worth up to €2,500

You’ll be pleased to know that since May 2019 the Online Trading Voucher is even more accessible to SMEs than ever before.

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Previously, businesses had to trade for over 12 months and the grant was mainly for website design & development fees. Now businesses only need to be trading for a minimum of 6 months and the grant covers other online expenses too.

About the Trading Online Voucher Scheme

Grow your business with help from this grant that is designed to assist small businesses. It offers financial assistance of up to a maximum of €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade successfully online.

Cutting the cost of developing your online trading capacity by up to 50% can make the investment extremely affordable. For example, if the whole project costs €5,000 you will only have to pay €2,500. 

What is the eligibility criteria? 
  • Limited online trading presence
  • Less than 10 employees
  • Turnover less than €2m
  • Businesses have to be in the same county as the Local Enterprise Office
  • A Tax Clearance Certificate is required for partnerships & sole traders
What are ineligible projects for this scheme?
  • Companies with charitable status & commercial semi-state companies
  • Trade associations and company representation bodies
  • Non profit organisations and social entrepreneurship applicants
  • Professional IT type services who are already capable of trading online
  • Conferences and Seminars
  • Projects which are contrary to public policy
  • Agencies of EU funded Operational Programmes
  • Projects with 10 or more employees
  • Projects that are not viable
  • Projects essentially comprising of importation and distribution
What the vouchers can’t be used for:
  • Development of brochure websites (non eCommerce websites)
  • Purchase of non-internet related software
  • Anything other than online trading related activity

The Trading Online Voucher is part of the National Digital Strategy that is being run by the Local Enterprise Offices throughout Ireland on a pilot basis. So don’t leave it too long to apply just in case this scheme gets axed!

The Trading Online Voucher can be used for:
  • IT consultation
  • Development or upgrade of a current website to an e-commerce website
  • Installation of online payments or booking system
  • Internet-related software
  • Online advertising (maximum of 30% of approved Voucher costs)
  • Developing an app
  • Development of a digital marketing strategy
  • Implementing a digital marketing strategy
  • Training specifically to establish and manage an online trading presence

As a Digital Marketing Agency in Mullingar, we can provide all of the services listed above with the exception of building an app.

Conclusion

Businesses that have already participated in the scheme reported that, on average, they saw their sales increase by 20%.

2,000+ small businesses have received the Trading Online Voucher and some of them could even be your competitors!

There is a 14-page form that needs to be completed beforehand and I know that some of you would rather visit the dentist for a root canal treatment than fill it in, so I would be more than happy to run through the form with you.

The Westmeath LEO is located in Mullingar and all their contact details can be found here and a list of all the Local Enterprise Offices in each county of Ireland can be located here.

I would be happy to advise you which areas to invest in that would prove most beneficial to your business after some initial research into your industry and provide you with a competitive quotation.

So feel free to get in touch with me here, if you have any questions as I am only a few clicks away.

– Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website design & marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction).

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Digital Marketing Hacks to Grow Your Business

Digital Marketing Hacks to Grow Your Business

If your business is really good at either selling a service or a product and it isn’t growing, there is a reason for this, your marketing isn’t effective!

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Digital Marketing channels are constantly evolving and if you are using the same marketing methods that you did a few years ago, they may well not be as effective anymore. With all the new digital marketing platforms popping up and trying to keep up to date with the ongoing algorithm changes is very time-consuming, isn’t it? It’s not just Google but the social media platform are tweaking their algorithms too.

I read somewhere online last week that the average small business owner only spends around 2 hours per week marketing their business. I’d hazard a guess that most of this time is spent on social media marketing.

As a startup myself, I intend on spending 6-8 hours of marketing per week. This may well sound excessive but I really need to get my name out there. I plan on doing this every week for the first year and I will schedule time to carry out this in my diary. If I don’t schedule the time it will just get pushed back to the weekends or even worse…ending up on the bottom of my to-do list 🙁

My main marketing method is content marketing which is designed to drive traffic to my website.

Here are some suggestions to market your business, in no particular order:

Video Marketing

Promotional videos are such a great way to market any business as they can be promoted many times across several digital platforms. Video content reaches more of your followers than image-based content in your social media newsfeeds. Plus they make great header videos on Facebook, but they can’t be any longer than 90 seconds.

They are also great to embed on your website and send out in digital email newsletters too.

Plus the audio can be used as the content for your podcasts.

Podcasting

Podcasting is one of the newer Digital Marketing channels where your followers can listen to you. It’s like having your own radio show but listeners can listen to you whenever they want.

Podcasting is growing in America and high net worth individuals prefer to take in content this way.

It is a great way to get to people that don’t use social media that much as they still want relevant content but they can absorb it in a different way. More and more people are taking to listening to podcasts whilst doing other things like running, driving, commuting and even the ironing!

You can set up a free account with Sound Cloud, but I will blog about how to set up a podcast account in the next month or so.

Email Marketing

With the explosion in social media in the last several years or so, email marketing often doesn’t get a look in and isn’t as popular as it once was. Also, after GDPR came into force on 25th May 2018 most business owners saw a dramatic cut in their subscribers and just thought that building the subscriber list back up wasn’t worth the hassle. The average open rate generally is currently only 20% which is way down from the 90s that had open rates of 80%+. But that 20% who open and read the email newsletters may well convert into customers, which really makes it all worthwhile.

I use and highly recommend MailChimp which is probably the most well-known email service provider where you can send out emails to up to 2,000 subscribers for free. I will be making a MailChimp Tutorial on YouTube in the next 2 or 3 months.

Social Media Advertising

Facebook is going towards a “play to pay” policy for business pages, so it looks like the “free lunch” with them is coming to an end. Yes, you can still post on there for free but less and less of your followers are seeing your posts. I see this a good thing because some of your competitors won’t pay, so you now have a better chance to target their customers!

Instagram, that is owned by Facebook, will be following suit. It’s not a matter of if, it’s more a matter of when.

So advertising on Facebook and Instagram where you can advertise to your target audience is a very effective way to market your business.

Social Media Marketing – Organic

Organic Social Media Marketing is predominantly the free posting on the likes of Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube. Yes, YouTube is often thought of a video platform but it is, in fact, a social media channel. Don’t forget that it is also a search engine too where people are searching for a visual answer rather than a typed one. That’s why Google bought YouTube back in November 2016 for $1.65B and if it was an independent stock today, it would value at approximately $75B.

It is not as effective as it once was so you need to be adding other marketing methods to your marketing strategy.

Networking

Networking is often not given enough credit in this digital age, but it still remains as effective as ever. Some people prefer businesses that are highly recommended from their own network rather than spending time researching for a suitable business.

So joining business groups and industry-related attending talks are always a great way to meet potential new leads.

Speaking Live at Events

Having a captive audience is a great way to show your knowledge and in turn, pick up some new leads that may well convert to customers. But you have to give your audience value and information that they want or need, rather than a sales pitch.

This isn’t for everyone, but it is something worth considering.

Google Ads

Using Google as the first port of call to search for something is still popular with many of us. For example, If someone is looking for a Digital Marketing Agency or Website Design Agency in Mullingar there is a good chance that they will ask Google.

I read on Gavin Duffy’s Twitter account about a year ago that he thinks that word of mouth is being replaced by Google.

SEO

So many businesses use social media marketing as their main form of marketing, but the smart money is investing in SEO. Yes, SEO isn’t an expense it is, in my opinion, an investment.

Search Engine Optimisation, which is getting your business to appear on the first page of Google, is essential for service-based industries.

Conclusion

Hopefully, I have given you 1 or 2 ideas that you hadn’t thought about before.

Online Marketing is a necessity for businesses that are serious about growing but don’t just take my word for it. Try this.

If you know someone that has scaled up a business, ask them how they feel about marketing and see what they say. Then ask a small business owner that hasn’t grown for a number of years what they think of marketing and I bet you will get a totally different answer!

Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website design & marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction).

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