SEO- Help Your Customers Find YOU!

If you don’t have a website set up yet, we highly recommend taking a look at our breakdown of the pros and cons of the top website builders and Content Management Systems (CMSs) before reading this article.

A lot of marketing strategy focuses on how to find and communicate with your target audience.

But what about the other side of the equation – how can you help your target audience find you?

What the heck is SEO?

You may have come across the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before. SEO is a technique for making sure that the original content you put up on your website makes it easy for people to find you through search engines.

For example, if you are a hair salon owner offering a colouring treatment unavailable anywhere else in your area, you want to make sure that someone typing the name of that treatment + the name of your area into their search engine sees your salon in the top page of results.

SEO specialists are marketing consultants who are highly trained in understanding the complex algorithms search engines use to sort results and prioritise those which are the best fit. 

If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is! But fortunately, if you’re a small business owner using a third-party CMS (like we recommend), this process becomes much simpler.

Four Main SEO Concepts

We’re going to quickly walk through the four main ideas of SEO for small business owners today so you can take some of these strategies and use them in your own content.

 

  • Technical SEO: If you’re a small business using a site like WordPress (as we recommend) for your CMS, you don’t need to worry about this – it primarily deals with how the website is set up.
  • On-site SEO: Make sure your site is well-organized and easy to navigate. Use the words you most want associated with your business in page titles (services offered, location, brand etc.). 
  • Content: Your website content should highlight your services and location, establish your credibility, and position you as an expert customers want to work with. Use the keywords you want associated with your business throughout your content consistently (but in a natural writing voice), and especially in your page titles. Using our hair salon example, we might want to write a blog post or have a page advertising new services – making sure to use the name of the treatment in a header or page title along with the information that you are the only salon offering this service in a given area. 
  • Off-site authority building: Incorporate links to other websites (within reason), for example, to share a relevant article. Our hair salon owner could, for example, share a write-up about the popularity of the new treatment on offer.

 

These tips should help you get started and hopefully feel less overwhelmed by SEO. 

Remember, think about what your target audience might search for to find you and try to make your website match those words/phrases. That’s a great place to start! 

For more advice on how to make the most of your custom content as part of your marketing strategy, you can contact us here or check out our article on Cascading Content here.

Design like a Pro!

Are you a small business owner trying to build your digital marketing strategy?

How you present your brand is just as important as what you say and where you say it.

Have you ever come across a website with clashing colours, difficult to read the text, or distracting images? How did it make you feel about the company who put the site together?

Online platforms are largely visual mediums, and your brand’s credibility can be helped – or hurt – by how well you take advantage of this fact.

Creating compelling images for your social media posts or consistent design themes across your newsletters and blog (for example) will present your business as a professional and detail-oriented outfit, helping build trust.

Making your own designs 

If you have some experience with design or more time than a budget for marketing, it is worth it to build your familiarity with online design tools.

We recommend Canva (we use it ourselves!) for ease of use and budget-friendly options. 

If you are trying to decide whether you need the free or premium version of Canva, check out our article discussing the benefits of each here.

Why we like it

We like Canva because it helps you avoid making common design mistakes like using low-quality images, poor proportions, or discordant styles, colours, or fonts. 

If you already have a logo, you can use this tool to get your brand colours and save those in Canva so they’ll be readily available every time you make a new design.

Canva also has dozens of templates that let you simply drag-and-drop your text and images in – it doesn’t get much easier than that!

Even the free version of Canva will give you access to a large library of professional photography to take your designs to the next level.

This can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but keep it simple – use the templates and don’t try to create anything too complicated and you will have some great designs in no time. There are also plenty of articles and other resources available online to learn more about designing on Canva.

Outsourcing your designs

Of course, not everyone has an eye for design or the patience to create their own designs. If this is the case for you, it is probably worth it to set aside a small budget to contract out your design work.

If you are just getting started: you can hire a graphic designer on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to help you create a logo and decide on your brand’s colour scheme, fonts, and style tone. You will then use this style guide for all of your future designs.

If you already have a style guide for your brand: finding a contractor is even easier – just send over your details and what you want the designer to create (e.g. flyers for an upcoming event, a banner and posts for your Facebook page, a template for your newsletter).

Tips on hiring freelance designers:

  • Read reviews and look at ratings
  • Saving a few dollars up front may cost you more in the long run if you need to re-do something
  • Communicate your expectations clearly and in as much detail as possible upfront

And that’s everything you need to take your brand’s image to the next level – substance AND style!

Need some help getting started? We offer Canva tutorials! Contact us here for next steps.

Attract New Clients with Events

 

Events should play a role in most marketing strategies for small businesses. Hosting an event is a great way to get your name out there and establish your credibility on a specific topic.

Events can be anything from free online information-sharing sessions to paid in-person workshops – whichever suits your business best.

How do small businesses successfully use events to drive sales?

The key to getting the most out of an event is to make sure that the amount of time and energy you put in to the planning pays off in the outcome. You can do this by:

  1. Delivering value to your target audience so they want to do business with you; and
  2. Minimising time (and headaches!) spent on event-planning logistics.

Let’s break this down in more detail.

How can you deliver value to your target audience?

    1. Be clear on your purpose (what you want to achieve – for youself and your attendees): Establish the purpose of your event. Have you noticed that many of your existing customers have similar questions on how to use one of your products and might appreciate training? Are you looking to build your name recognition in a new industry or area? Think about what your ideal outcome would be (e.g. gain new clients, build existing customer loyalty) AND what attendees will get out of the event.
    2. Objectives. Make sure you set some SMART objectives. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives come in really handy when you are reviewing the success of your event.
    3. Define your scope: This is where we consider our who, what, when, where and how. Making sure you have a great run sheet organised will help you not only with your list of resources, but also – consider what kind of budget you will need to run your event.  

 

  • Plan your event: Settle on a date, time, and location, leaving yourself at least a month to prepare. Create an invitation for your event and circulate it to your target audience.
  • Deliver! Prepare your presentation well in advance, be prepared to answer questions, and show up with a smile.

 

What is the best way for small businesses to market their events?

If you’re a small business owner, you don’t have time to spend hours on planning an event and worrying about poor turnout. Make sure you get the most out of your efforts by streamlining your event planning and marketing your event widely to get a good turn out.

We recommend using Eventbrite to create and manage your events. Eventbrite is an online event-planning site that will let you create a page for your event, register attendees, and even sell tickets.

Simply create an account and a new event. Eventbrite will walk you through a form to fill-in the particulars for your event (which you should already know from the steps above!). 

We recommend taking a little extra time to fill in some information about yourself or your business in an organizer page.

It is also worth it to include an eye-catching event cover photo, which you can create easily in Canva. For more information on what Canva can offer and its pricing check out our article on Canva the $Debate here.

After your event page is looking great, Eventbrite will give you a link which you can share with your target audience. We recommend sending an invitation to your business’s database at least 4 times during the month leading up to the event. We also recommend sharing the link across all of your social media channels.

So how does it measure up?

Eventbrite offers easy integration with Xero, Mailchimp, and Facebook accounts, among others – easy as!

Eventbrite charges 2.5% of the ticket price for each registration, plus $0.99 per ticket. If you use Eventbrite’s payment gateway (recommended), the platform will take another 3.5% of the ticket price. 

If you are using Eventbrite to host a FREE event there is no charge to use the platform.

If you get a little stuck you can always ask for a little support. We run training programs or can help with your event administration. Just contact us here. 

So what are you waiting for? Get event-ing!

Cascading Content.

 

Efficient Digital Marketing Strategy

We know from the Four C’s of Marketing that your messaging should be consistent, coherent, complementary, and demonstrate continuity. 

If you aren’t familiar with the Four C’s or are just getting started with building your marketing strategy, we strongly recommend that you get started with this article.

We know from our examples that this means your customers are seeing messages which reinforce each other across your different channels. But where does this messaging come from?

Enter Cascading Content, a strategy to share relevant information with your target audience and keep them engaged. 

Let’s break this down:

 

  • Relevant information is content that is interesting, informative, entertaining, or otherwise brings value to your audience.
  • Target audience is a group of people that you know are interested in your business, industry, or area of expertise.
  • Engaged means actively reading, commenting on, or sharing your content.

 

 

Why is Cascading Content important?

Most people are facing information overload, especially from online advertisements. 

What we want to avoid is gaining subscribers who forget about your company after clicking “follow” or, worse, are so annoyed by your posts that they unsubscribe. 

To gain (and keep!) subscribers, it’s important to demonstrate that you have something to offer. Cascading Content moves beyond just sharing essential business information (e.g. hours of operation, sales, services offered) to 

Treat each new member of your audience as someone whose trust you need to actively nurture and whose support should be rewarded – just like you would treat a customer in person.

How does Cascading Content actually work?

 

  • Pick a topic and a medium: this should be a topic which is relevant to your business/audience and (most importantly!) something you know about. Choose a medium (article, video, presentation etc.) you’re comfortable with and get creating!*
  • Upload your content: if you have a website, create a new page and add your content. You could do this by adding a blog, for example, making sure you have at least 4 key points in your piece of content. If you don’t have your own website, you could upload the content directly onto your page on a third-party hosting site like Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.
  • Share: this is where the Cascading happens! Using key parts of the content you have previously prepared, re-publish those key points in a different channel. You can even add extra info to support the message. For example, we could now make a post on cascading content, with a link to this blog!

Cascading content

It’s often a good idea to create a compelling image to accompany the link to your content to grab attention –we recommend using Canva. For more information on how to design images for social media and whether you might need to spring for the premium version.

Email Signatures

Emails, emails, emails, they exist everywhere in the business world. You love to hate them (especially when there are hundreds waiting in your inbox). But the reality is they are important and a great way to communicate with your customers! 

The average person sends 40 emails a day! Crazy right? Now think about the average working year, approximately 48 weeks, that means the average person is sending around 9,600 emails per year! That’s a lot of emails, and a lot of people reading those emails. Which is why it is super important that your email signature is professional and consistent to your companies’ brand.

When you don’t have consistent email signatures true to your companies’ brand it can lead to a negative and unprofessional reputation. You don’t want your customers having a negative perception of your business all because you have a sloppy email signature, especially when it is something so simple that can make all the difference.

Hence why we have decided to put together a few tips on how to get it right!

  • Firstly, when it comes to your corporate email @gmail.com or @xtra.co.nz is not ok! When you want to stick out from the crowd why chose something so common? You want an email address that will help your customers recognize you straight away. For example, yourname@yourbusiness.com.
  • Secondly, it is important to keep your email signatures consistent within your team. For example, if you keep the design simple with their name, contact phone number, and other important details included it is simple but effective. It also makes it super easy to update in the future if need be. Including the company logo will also make a huge difference and help you become more recognized.
  • Thirdly, you want your email signature to stand out, but you also don’t want it completely taking over your email. We think the perfect size is around 600px wide 150px high (you’re welcome!).

Professionalism and consistency go a long way in business, and it can often be the finer details that make all the difference. Email signatures don’t only provide the sense of professionalism, but it also provides instant brand recognition which will help your company in the long run. Think about you personally, what companies do you easily recognize and get drawn to because of the simple professional efforts they have put in to help their business stand out? We touch a bit more on consistency here.

Taking the time to create the perfect email signature really is well worth the effort. Trust us!