Small Business Online Presence A-Z

This is a LIVE GUIDE to help you work out what to include in your online marketing strategy. Over time I’ll add relevant links, to ensure the information is current and strategy suggestions, best practice. Comment and let me know if you have any queries or would simply like me to expand on anything.

Social Media is just one method of Digital marketing, an umbrella term for your online marketing activities designed to connect with clients and prospects. Other digital channels include websites, search engines and email. This guide is to help business owners understand some of the terminology, marketing methods and relevant research and statistics that influence marketing trends and best practice I might advise.

Alt-text

What is Alt-text? Alt-text or alternative text is the information given for an image on a website that tells viewers the contents of that image. This is inserted into the HTML of a page and helps screen reading tools for the visually impaired to describe what is in the image.

For example: The alt-text on this image might read: “Illustration in English showing Current Social Distancing requirements include a gap of two metres or six feet.”

Why is alt-text important? Alternative text also helps viewers to know what the image should be if a page fails to load properly. This is important for search engine optimisation (SEO) as it helps to improve user experience and accessibility as well as providing more accurate relevance for your content to search engines, helping to drive more traffic to your website.

Analytics

Analytics is the systematic analysis of data/statistics.  Google Analytics is a tool commonly used by business owners to measure advertising ROI as well as tracking Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications. Familiarising yourself with your analytics gives you the tools to better understand your customers.

Automation

Marketing automation tools (Customer Relationship Management) such as Hubspot,  help automate, streamline, and measure your marketing tasks. They also help with marketing workflows such as sending out automated emails, scheduling social media posts, and developing dedicated landing pages.

Blogging

And this is just the start of it… Blogging and posting relevant content will help gain visibility for your brand. You will increase traffic to your website and to your services, using keywords, titles and meta descriptions. Every new blog posted adds a new page to your website, which helps with SEO because it gives Google a reason to re-crawl your website and find new content to index. So if you’re not already blogging…

Bots

These are becoming ever more prominent, you have Alexa right? Perhaps Siri as well! An Internet (or web) bot, is a software application that performs an automated task over the Internet. It might perform a search, tell you the weather, set an alarm as well as a miriad of other tasks. The point is, the user doesn’t need to come into contact with a human.

Bounce rate

The percentage of people who land on a website page and leave without clicking anything or visiting any other pages on the site. A high website bounce rate may cause poor conversion rates as visitors to the website will not be browsing for long enough to engage with the content or convert by purchasing a product/service. (Related: e-amail bounce rate.)

The percentage of people who land on your website & exit without further browsing

Brand

This could well literally mean YOU if you are a one man band. It’s an intangible concept that helps people identify with an individual, company, product or service.

You can’t read a thing but you know exactly which brand of drink this is.

Brand Advocates

Your fans, the people who promote your offering by good old word of mouth. This is a really important part of your strategy and you need to get it right because people talk and they trust the opinions of others. You can leverage this by spending some time walking in the shoes of your customer’s and putting a system in place that rewards their loyalty and maximises positive feedback.

Brand Guidelines

Also called a brand style guide, are essentially the HOW TO communicate your brand. Effective guidelines will set out all of the visual details, as well as rules on tone of voice and messaging.

Campaign

Cohesion is key here. Whether you’re introducing a new product, expanding your services or simply wanting to attract new clients, a cohesive marketing campaign will not only do the trick but will also increase your branding. You want to present a marketing campaign that matches all your marketing media, so if you’re doing a direct mail marketing campaign, make sure your website also reflects and features your direct mail piece’s products or services. Without a fully functional marketing campaign in place, your business will suffer, culminating in wasted time, money, resources, and effort.

Case Studies

You know what they are but do you know why you need to do them? All great case studies start with research. Ask your customers to fill out a short form designed to highlight how you helped them reach their goals. Make sure the form is designed to provoke specific results. You can help them justify the time you’re asking them to spend by explaining that a case study will increase their brand awareness as well as yours. Done properly, an effective case study will build trust and reach a wider audience for both of you.

Here’s a case study video example from a brand you’re probably inhaling as you read!

Community

Content

Conversion

A conversion is where an online visitor responds to a call to action on a website/landing pages or social media channels. This metric doesn’t necessarily indicate a sale, it can mean that people are engaged and interested in content or a call to action.

CPC (Cost per click)

It usually refers to paid digital advertising such as display ads or Google and Facebook targeting. This is the cost you pay for every click through to your website using PPC (Pay per click) advertising. CPC varies between industries but a CPC strategy will ensure that you are not overspending on campaigns. It will also ensure that the return you receive on your campaign outweighs the spend. (Related: ROI Return On Investment)

Content Creation

Content curation is about finding great content and presenting it to your social media followers in a way that adds value.Content curation is a valuable strategy for all content marketers. More than simply re-sharing content, curation is a way to provide extra value to your followers while highlighting your own industry expertise.

Customer Centricity

Data

How do you manage it? First of all, you make sure that you are collecting the relevant data for your brand.

Email

Even with the growth of social media and content marketing, email is still one of the most effective ways to market digitally to your database of clients and prospects on a regular basis. Email has grown into a complex and sophisticated tool where 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies, according to Litmus.

Email marketing is, simply put, marketing that your business or organisation sends out to prospective customers through email. The aim of this could be more visitors to your website, or it could be to encourage more purchases on products you would like to push.

Email marketing is an incredibly useful tool for Digital Marketers as you have an audience who have already shown interest in your brand by signing up and are more likely to interact because of this.

E-mail bounce rate

This is a measurement of emails that are not delivered to a recipient. This could be because the email entered is incorrect or out of date. There are two types of email bounces. Hard and soft bounces which means that the email has bounced for either permanent reasons (a hard bounce) or temporary reasons (a soft bounce).

Emojis

Engagement

Facebook Advertising

Millions of people use Facebook every day. It is one of the main social media platforms and a great way to build a brand image, with important interactions with your consumer base. Facebook advertising can tap into this key audience using your target demographics to achieve your digital marketing goals.

Funnel

The purchase funnel is also referred to as customer funnel, the marketing funnel, the sales funnel or the conversion funnel. The funnel is a consumer-focused marketing model to illustrate the theoretical customer journey toward purchasing a product or service.

With digital marketing, the traditional stages of the funnel have changed. What used to be a theoretical linear path from leads to converting those leads into customers, the path is now a multi-faceted process that can start and stop in various parts of the funnel. The funnel has to come to a point where many are now re-thinking the digital funnel and to some people, the funnel has evolved into a digital ecosystem.

GIFS

Goals

In order to measure your digital marketing performance, you need to set goals. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time bound. Your goals should cover a range of different measures to help you set, review and manage your performance across all of your digital marketing activities. Goals could be to increase organic search traffic year on year. Or it could be to increase your click-through rate on social ads. Or improve email open rates by 10 per cent per quarter.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is Google’s own platform for measuring website traffic and conversions. It is an extremely useful tool for Digital Marketers as it can track how users interact with your site, where they came from and where they leave your website. Google Analytics contains a number of stats that are important KPIs for your site.

Graphics

Hashtags

No digital marketing guide would be complete without mentioning hashtags. Widely used on social platforms to enable conversations, gather information and opinions, they’re the difference between showing up for an audience and not. Including the use of hashtags in your overall strategy helps keep your content in the spotlight, boosting engagement and interactions with your brand. For example, you might have found me because I posted using #BusinessTips.

Hook

Your hook is how you bring people to your website, tempt them to consume the content and persuade them to click on your call to actions. Examples of great hooks are special offers, loyalty cards, discount vouchers, competitions, free downloads and consultations. Done properly, once someone takes the hook, you’ll have permission to follow up with them and let them know what else might be useful to them.

Images

Influencer Marketing

Infographics

Visual content that can communicate a bigger idea. Examples might be competition guidelines, how-to guides and data visuals.

Instagram

Interactive

Interactive content is like a survey, a calculator, or an interactive infographic that engages participants in an activity such as answering questions, making choices, and/or exploring scenarios. Overall, the interactive content provides the participants with some useful answers or results. Interactive content helps enhance the level of user experience on your website. Read 5 B2B examples of interactive content and 15 tools to create interactive content.

Javascript

Javascript is a programming language used to control dynamic website content. It is the information that goes into everything on your website and is key to users experience of your online brand. JavaScript can be used for everything from pop-ups to check forms and much more so is an important part of any digital marketing strategy.

Keywords

Keyword research is an important aspect of any digital marketing/search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Search engines help users find content based on links and keywords. To make it easier for your targets to find the content you need to understand what SEO keywords you want to rank for with search engines. Also, make sure you put the keywords in the title, URL, and headings of your content. Don’t overuse keywords, often referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

The main ways of tracking your digital marketing campaigns. These could be things such as the number of quality leads in the sales funnel or the number of weekly sessions on your website. The trick is to have a responsive campaign so that it’s clear to read the results depending on the activity. Helping you to know what works and what doesn’t.

Landing Page

A single-page website designed to receive traffic from different sources. It prompts the user to take action such as download a document, sign up for a newsletter, offer or join a group. Traffic could be directed via PPC, email or social media, among other digital marketing methods. A properly optimised landing page can boost conversions dramatically and is a powerful tool. There are two types of landing pages: lead generation and click-through landing pages.

LinkedIn

Memes

Mobile

Metrics

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” says the old management adage. In digital marketing, it’s important to measure and track the performance of your marketing efforts. These metrics could include cost per lead per channel and conversion rates for sales or leads.

Millenials

Metadata

Metadata is data on your website that explains all of the other data for the page. Your page metadata includes the page title and meta description, a short description of what your page contains. Search engines such as Google use this information to figure out what your page is about so that it can display the correct results on a search engine results page.

Monitoring

Native Advertising

Native advertising is an umbrella term to label advertisements that are content-led. They are featured on a website alongside other non-paid editorial content in the form of an article or video. One of the best examples of native advertising is BuzzFeed. Others consider media advertising on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram as native advertising.

No-follow

What are no-follow links? No-follow links are links that have a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag attached to them. This tells crawlers from search engines not to follow them. These can be useful for things such as comment threads on blogs to prevent spam.

Optimization

Optimization is the process of improving the marketing efforts of your company. In digital marketing, it is optimizing content, landing pages, emails, applications, web browsers, mobile devices, and ads to increase traffic, clicks, and conversions. Optimization has become required for successful digital marketers.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is any search traffic to your website that is not the result of paid advertising. Organic traffic is important because it can continue bringing traffic into your site long after you have created the content, without a continuous cost to you. As a key part of your digital marketing strategy, organic traffic helps to build up domain authority and consumer’s trust in your brand.

Pay per click (PPC)

PPC is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee for a click. Each time an ad is clicked on it takes users to your specific landing page, you are charged a specific rate per click. PPC is a way of buying visits to your websites instead of earning them organically with non-paid clicks. Search engine advertising or search engine marketing such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads is one of the most popular forms of pay per click.

Pitching

PPC or Pay Per Click advertising is a type of advertising most commonly used through search engine marketing in which you would pay per click on your online advert. PPC advertising can target specific keywords to make it easier to reach customers looking for your product or service.

Public Relations

Quality Score

Your quality score is a metric used by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo that measures the quality and relevance of your ads and keywords. This can influence the cost of your CPC advertising which in turn can affect your ROI for your digital marketing efforts.

Questions

The best digital marketing is where your digital presence is used to answer your client or potential client’s questions. Read a revolutionary marketing strategy: answer customers’ questions featuring Marcus Sheridan. When you use search using Google or Bing, you are looking for answers to a specific question. By answering questions about how your company can help people, search engines will serve up your content to people looking for answers to those questions.

Recommendations

Remarketing

Or retargeting is a form of digital advertising that uses a cookie-based technology to anonymously follow your audience around the web. The cookie helps marketers target users through paid search/ display ads as they visit other websites. This can help to keep your company top of mind. Just 2 percent of web traffic converts on the first visit so remarketing is a tool to help companies reach users who don’t convert immediately.

Reviews

ROI – Return On Investment

Aims to measure the returns of particular marketing efforts in terms of how much revenue is brought in compared to their cost. Without this knowledge a business owner will never fully understand which marketing tasks are working and which are not. Resulting in a spray and pray approach which can lead to the dreaded feast and famine cycle.

Scheduling Tools

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The process of optimising your website and content in order to rank in search engine results pages and increase organic traffic to websites. This excludes traffic gained by paid advertisements.

Snapchat

Social Listening

Social Proof

Social Selling

Strategy

Your digital marketing strategy is a plan of action based on your specific goals, targets, budget, and timeframe. One of your goals may be to generate ten percent more traffic to your website this year compared to last year. According to Smart Insights, 46 percent of companies don’t even have a digital marketing strategy, but it’s worth making the effort because it will help you with budgeting and decision making.

Team

Make sure you are using the right skill sets. If you need to specialists in specific areas, make sure they have a broad understanding of the digital marketing landscape and how different areas interlink.

Tone of voice

Tracking Code

A tracking code is something that is appended to your URL in order to track user activity through that link. It can track things such as where the person came from or whether they met conversion goals.

Twitter

Unique Visitors

A way of defining how many different people have visited your website as a separate measurement to the total number of visitors. This is because the total number may contain people who have visited your website multiple times, bumping up the total numbers. This can give you a sense of the total size of your audience.

User Experience (UX)

The impression a user is left with, having come into contact with your brand online. It’s hugely important in developing your digital marketing strategy.

User Persona

Fictional characters based on research to help you understand your users needs, experiences, behaviours and goals. Here is a great guide to building them for your brand.

Video

Viral Content

Viral content is content that rapidly spreads across the internet. This could be through shares on social media channels or multiple links to a piece of content. A common form of this is a meme as this is a very ‘shareable’ piece of content.

Visual

According to Kiss Metrics content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without. People engage better with visual content, be it images, videos, infographics or animated GIFs. Visuals are crucial to how your brand story is communicated.

Web Crawler

A web crawler (or spider), is an online bot that crawls your website through links to index it on Google and other search engines.

Website

Your websites reflect your brand and offers high-quality unique content. It should be a seamless experience, logical and easy to navigate. Read how to make your website more effective. Your home page should act like your front door and content pages should tell a story. Your website is critical because all of your other digital marketing activities should lead your users back to your website for conversion.

X-Factor

The X-factor is a special quality, essential for success and difficult to describe.

XML Sitemap

A text file that details all of the URLs on your website. This acts as a navigator for your website pages and ensures that Google is able to crawl and index them logically.

YouTube

The most popular YouTube channels have more than 28.4 million subscribers which makes for a huge market for those advertising on the platform. In combination with Google Ads, YouTube Advertising allows you to target the people you want to reach through various criteria and allows for a range of ad types depending on your needs. In some cases, you will only be charged when someone shows interest in your ad, for example by watching it for more than 30 seconds or clicking a call to action.

Z Gen

Zig Zag

Sometimes it pays to take a different approach. Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t always mean that you should too. Equally, staying on your toes and thinking about what’s next for your targets will help you to do what is relevant for them and not just stick to best practice.

Your Customer Journey In 6 Steps

Businesses come in so many different shapes and sizes, but mapping the customer journey is simply a case of identifying the various stages at which a customer may interact with you. Some of them will only ever encounter one or two elements of the journey depending on where they start but you must have all bases covered and ensure their needs and expectations are preempted and then met every step of the way.

Typical elements of the customer experience

1. Your website

It should be easy to navigate, fast loading and mobile friendly. In the third quarter of 2020, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 50.81 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the fifty percent mark since the beginning of 2017. (More statistics here.)

Is your website a sales or service tool? If your objective is sales, is the stock updated regularly? Are you showing opening times and making it easy for customers to get answers to their questions. Are you updating your FAQ’s every time a new valid point is raised? If on the other hand, you’re website is focused on service, do the internal links guide the customer through? Keep the navigation as simple as possible and minimise the number of clicks needed to perform a task.

2. End to end to journey

So your website is now seamless and optimised for mobile use. Now what? What about your stock levels, are there regular delays? And what happens with deliveries? Do you partner with a logistics company? Is the customer experience consistent with the expectations set by your website? If you have an in house installation team, are they trained to answer customer queries, resolve any issues and document that all important customer feedback? Miss this and you’ve missed a valuable opportunity to improve your customer experience and bottom line.

3. Your Agents

Whether you have a call centre or a chat facility, if there are long wait times you can bet your life it’s going to frustrate customers. Especially if you have a recorded message on repeat or awful hold music! When they do get through to a human is the experience related to where they are in their customer journey? Are your agents polite, friendly, properly trained, conscious that putting people on hold for extended periods will annoy them? Ultimately customers are looking to resolve issues in one short phone call/chat. If your agents don’t have the necessary tools and information to facilitate that, you’re adding another stage to the journey that will no doubt involve the customer being put on hold, transferred and having to repeat information. As you will no doubt know, that isn’t going to make for positive feedback.

5. environment

Are physical facilities accessible to all? Have you catered properly for people with additional needs? Does the style, character and cleanliness reflect your online branding and provide a consistent experience? Do customers feel feel safe in the current climate? Your staff should all be welcoming, knowledgeable and customer focused whatever their role. They all represent your business.

6. online presence

“As of January 2020, the global social media usage rate stood at 49 percent.” So it is perhaps of even MORE importance that your social media messaging is doing it’s job than your website. Are your channels updated regularly? Is your messaging consistent with your brand guidelines. Are you monitoring comments about your brand, both on and off of your channels? Responding appropriately in a timely and professional manner?

All of these elements contribute to your overall customer experience. If just one falls short of customer expectations, that can discredit any previous positive experience. For instance, it’s easy to forget how quick and easy it was to buy that childrens bike online if it arrives with no assembly instructions. (And yes that did happen, right before Christmas. Good job I’m not a last-minute.com person isn’t it?! )

For a business to improve on the customer experience, it’s simply vital that the focus is placed on what matters most to the customers. And that means asking them.

How to take the headache out of Social Media Crisis Management

   

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows when it comes to social media. You’re dealing with emotional beings in real-time. If they’re disappointed then everyone is getting to know about it. There will come a day when you receive feedback that may not be in your favour. There’s a chance that your brand may receive negative reviews, trolls or even bullies commenting on your posts. Don’t panic! It happens to businesses regularly. What you need is the right crisis communications strategy in place as part of your main social media strategy to help you manage interactions like these as they arise.

An effective strategy will address the fact that key people could be otherwise engaged when the worst happens so it’s important to have all aspects covered and decide on procedures to assist the person manning your platforms. Should an unusual situation arise, it’s helpful to have a strategy and response templates to refer to in order to respond in good time and avoid adding fuel to the fire. If responses have already been predetermined you’ll handle the situation with grace and hopefully a lot less stress.  

Soothed the agitated party? Resolved the issue? All done? Wrong!

Now you need to dissect the whole saga. How did the error get as far as the customer? What checkpoints and preventative measures need to be put in place on your customer journey? Time to turn a negative into a positive and improve your service.

#SmallBizSatUK reached 100 million!

The 2018 campaign also resulted in a spend of (approximately) £812,000,000. Want a piece of the pie?

This year Small Business Saturday is on the 7th December. So what’s next?

If you haven’t already done it, get yourself registered on the small business finder. You can then be found and promoted before, during and after Small Business Saturday.

Next, think about your #SmallBizSatUK offer. How can you stand out and capture the attention of your prospects?

  1. Promoting discounts is a great way to attract interest and convert prospects to customers.
  2. Sponsoring local events is the easiest way to involve yourself in your local community and should generate lots of positive social activity which will benefit all concerned.
  3. Tell a story. Your own! People get on board with this campaign because they want to support small business with all their little quirks. Tell them about you, why you’re in business, what makes you tick and why you LOVE your customers. Give them a reason to want to do business with you.
  4. It’s also a good strategy to countdown to the event on social media. Create a conversation by informing your followers about what you are doing to mark the event and ask them what they are doing themselves!
  5. Download your marketing pack from ‘My Small Business‘ and create your promotional social media posts using the logos provided. Don’t forget the hashtag whatever you do!

And, don’t forget to tweet me about what you’re up to. I love hearing about the different ways people promote their business!

Hey, I’m glad you’ve landed!

We’re here to help you be more sociable and grow your business online. We do that by keeping Social Media simple (and spotty!) and staying focused on the solution you provide.

Our work is completely focused on the wants and needs of your customers. We will help you to convey that you have the solution they’re looking for, by using clear, proactive and consistent messages.

How do we know we’re doing it right? By measuring.  We simply do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t. This means that your social media strategy will evolve as we learn more about preferences and effectiveness.

Being proactive about knowing exactly who you’re talking to and focusing on gaining their trust is smart social. Don’t be your industry’s best-kept secret because no one can hear you. Get out there, be social, get spotted! Your competitors already are.

Simple and hassle-free wins the day when it comes to your offering.
We need to make it a no-brainer for your prospects. Showcasing that via Social Media will keep you front of mind come decision time.

All of this takes dedication, strategic thinking, time and patience. Which is where we come in. As a business owner, you simply can’t do it all so it makes great sense to collaborate with someone whose sole focus is getting you great results by doing social media right!

GIF us a clue!

What’s the point of attaching a GIF anyway?

Well in our humble, they improve engagement by making people smile. That, in fact, is a good enough reason to attach a GIF to your posts where possible if you consider why we’re all here in the digital realm and what we’re trying to accomplish; connections.

If you make someone smile, you’re evoking an emotion. And that’s memorable for them. They might even follow you as a result – who doesn’t need a little humour in their lives? Heard of the singing dentist? Google him, you’ll see what we mean.

You might even realise that you already have footage that could be converted into GIFS that are personal to your brand. Even better! We tweeted about an article by Hootsuite that gives you the low-down on creating your own GIF’s. It also discusses whether it’s pronounced GIF (Gif us a clue!) or JIF (please!).  What do you say? Not squeezing you for an answer or anything…

Despite the clue in the title, it’s staggering how many people still treat social media as a broadcasting service. Being sociable on the platforms your prospects use is KEY to getting your message across in the right way.

  • Nobody likes to be sold to anymore. Did they ever, really? The internet means everyone is as clued up as Columbo (giving my age away there). They’ve already got access to all the information they need, to make a decision about any purchase.
  • So, an obvious sales message is likely to annoy and repel your audience. Remember, your social platforms are your shop window(s). But you do not want to be the shop with the annoying salespeople bugging the customers and literally driving them next door!
  • Instead, we are going to work out how to evoke an emotional urge to deal with you. Remember;

#SolutionsNotSales

  • We do this by presenting your target audience with the solutions to their problems. Some they’re actively looking for, some you’ll be educating them on. Because you’re standing in their shoes. Preferably one step ahead, already navigating their world. That’s why, whenever and wherever they come into contact with you online, what you have to say resonates.
  • And if we’re doing our job properly and using great strategies, your customers will perceive your offering as helping them reach their goals in life. This will inevitably turn them into your agents.  
  • Because people share opinions,
  • Especially on Social Media. 
  • In essence, adopting the view that Social Media is an ongoing PR Campaign is the right mindset when it comes to your strategy.
  • So, build trust by demonstrating transparency when it comes to your standards, ethics, team, and service.
  • Show evidence that you are inclusive, genuine and knowledgeable within your field.
  • And, over time, prospects will develop a bond with your brand. Meaning that when you offer to solve their problem they feel an urge to let you.

I partner with my clients on a long-term retainer basis, managing social media accounts on a day to day basis and running promotional and seasonal campaigns as part of an annual strategy that adapts as we learn more about the audience we are talking to.

This works by putting a written strategy in place and using a content calendar designed to appeal specifically to your target audience which is researched, profiled and revisited often.

You may be surprised by how much of your existing content I can repurpose to use initially. This can work well for busy clients during the early stages of working together, while we’re pulling together all of the relevant information that will form your ongoing strategy.

Monthly Retainer Options: 20 Hours £900  & 40 Hours £1600

Unscheduled requirements are charged retrospectively at £70 Per Hour