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Digital Marketing Tips To Grow Your Business

Digital Marketing Tips 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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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 website designer or a Digital Marketing Agency the 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 to 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 web designer, videographer & digital marketer. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design.

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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 web designer, videographer & digital marketer. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design.

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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 web designer, videographer & digital marketer. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design.

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