Types of SEO: Everything you need to know

Ever wondered what the types of SEO are?

Well, wonder no more!

In this article I’m covering every type of SEO you may have heard of, plus the ones you may know nothing about. I’ll give a brief breakdown of what they all are so you can get a basic understanding of the types of SEO and hopefully find out where to begin with your on website.

What is SEO?

If you aren’t sure what SEO is, the rest of this article might seem like gibberish, so we’ll start at the beginning. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is an umbrella term for any kind of work you might do to move your website up the ranks on a search engines result list (most of us focus on Google, but any SEO work you do for Google should impact well in other search engines too). When you type in any query into Google, the websites who appear at the top of that list have more than likely been doing a lot of SEO work in order to feature there.

Why do you need to know the types of SEO?

Whether you’re looking to do some DIY SEO, or you’d like to hire a professional to sort it for you, knowing the types of SEO that are available to you helps put you in good stead when trying to prioritise work and ensure the types of work being performed are in line with your future goals (and won’t damage your website long term). This article will give you a great insight to get started, especially if you’re trying to understand what your SEO marketer is telling you!

So without further ado, here they all are – all the types of SEO:

White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO

black white hat seo types

All three of these types of SEO include all kinds of different work that I’ll feature below. The difference between these terms are the intentions.

White Hat SEO is the type of SEO Google encourages; it’s all legitimate, nothing is hidden and everything is done according to Google’s guidelines. White Hat SEO often takes longer to work and see results, but will never damage your website’s reputation. If you’re looking for an SEO company, make sure to check they only use White Hat SEO techniques.

White Hat SEO includes:

Optimising content

Improving your site speed

Writing content that attracts backlinks pointing to your site

Black Hat SEO is a type of SEO that Google will punish you for. It’s where you use techniques to attempt to fool or trick Google into giving you a higher rank and goes against their guidelines. In the past, many of these techniques worked – and they worked well. But in the last 10 years Google has grown smarter and most, if not all, Black Hat SEO not only doesn’t work anymore, but could land your website in permanent trouble with Google – meaning even if you try and undo the trickery later, it’s an uphill battle to get back to where you started.

Black Hat SEO includes:

Spamming links in comments sections of other websites

Writing on page text in the same colour as your background so people can’t read it

Keyword stuffing

Grey Hat SEO, as the name suggests, lies somewhere in the middle. It’s the term used for techniques that might not be seen as ‘whiter than white’ but aren’t directly against the guidelines either.

Grey Hat SEO includes:

Paying for reviews

Buying old domains and linking to your website

Redesigning your website frequently

On-site SEO

on-site seo types

The beginning of any good SEO plan should address your on-site SEO. Think of it as the base of your SEO work; without good on-site SEO you’re not likely to get anywhere with the other SEO types.

On-site SEO, as the name suggests, is all of the work you might do to improve your rankings on your own website. And believe me, there’s a lot that can be done!

Text

One of the major types of on-site SEO is improving your text content. This will likely mean reviewing your current content and either tweaking it to optimise it for search engines or possible rewriting it all together. The important thing to remember is to write for your customers, and edit your writing for search engines. This editing might include adding or removing keywords (search terms you want to appear highly for), adding properly tagged headings, adding links where needed and ensuring the text is long enough (thin text, usually less than 300 words, doesn’t usually do well in search).

Get a complete guide on on-site SEO here.

Images

Your images aren’t just important for your website visitors – they’re important for your SEO too. Optimising your images will usually include reducing their file size (not necessarily their visual size on the screen) and adding appropriate title text to the image. This is the kind of data that usually only Google will read, much like metadata.

Metadata

Your metadata is the information Google will display in search results, like this:

metadata onsite seo types

It’s important that it’s optimised for both search engines (so they know what your page is about) and for people (so they are attracted to click on your link over others).

Off-site SEO

types of seo off-site seo

A decent SEO plan will also include off-site SEO. In general, off-site SEO is any work you do outwith your website that helps improve your search rankings. Of all of the types of SEO, off-site SEO is the one that is most focussed on a single goal – backlinks.

Backlinks

Backlinks are vital to your SEO efforts. A backlink is simply any link pointed to your website from another. Every backlink you gain is an indication to Google of a number of things, including content type and trustworthiness. As such, not all links are created equally – a hundred links from untrustworthy websites could more likely damage your website rankings than do any good, whereas just a couple of links for very reputable sources could hugely improve it.

Find out more about backlinking techniques here.

Content Promotion

Promoting your content, especially things like blog articles on your own site, is a great way to improve your SEO. Content on its own is unlikely to get very far; promoting it on social media channels, forums and other places will not only help gain traffic from those sources but should also help Google to notice your content faster and rank it faster too.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, in terms of SEO, is an off-site tactic. However, SEO-wise, I would mainly only use this to promote articles to your leads. Of course, other online marketing can be effective using social media, such as advertising and running offers, but in terms of search engine optimisation, the main benefit of social media marketing is the promotion of your search optimised articles.

Find out more about social media marketing here.

Technical SEO

technical seo types

Technical SEO is usually performed on your website, but is a step harder than the normal content optimisation work. It includes a wide variety of types of SEO, so I’ve listed a few of the most common below.

User Experience

User experience contributes to your ranking on Google. This includes things like the speed at which your website loads and whether people find your content interesting enough to stay on your website for a long time.

It can be technically challenging to make improvements to your site speed and you may need to get a developer on board to help – find out more here on what you can do to improve your site speed.

Internal Linking

The way you link to different pages and articles on your website indicates to Google how important that page is. It’s very important to not only get links from other websites to your website, but also to ensure your pages are well linked to on your own website.

Sitemaps

Sitemaps are crucial for Google to be able to ‘crawl’ your website properly. Google sends out what are known as ‘spiders’ to literally read through all of your pages (hence why onsite SEO is so crucial). It uses this information to figure out what each page and website is about and decide what searches that website might be relevant for. Creating and uploading a proper ‘sitemap’ makes it easier for the spiders to see your page hierarchy and to crawl those pages faster – especially if you upload your sitemap to Google Search Console.

Technical Errors

You can also be faulted by having errors on your website; such as duplicate pages and content or missing pages (404 errors) where there used to be content. Moving and redirecting pages properly and ensuring each of your pages has unique information should help avoid SEO penalties.

How to start improving your website’s SEO

All the types of SEO are important – but I hope this article gave you a good understanding of where you might need to begin with your own website.

If you’re looking to get started on improving your website’s SEO today, start with downloading the free pop content website marketing guide here. It’s packed with all the information you need to get your on-site SEO right and start getting your first backlinks. And if you’d like to get a professional to do it all for you, why not get in touch with POP Content today?

The BIGGEST B2B Content Marketing Mistakes (& How To Fix Them)

Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves creating interesting and helpful content (like blog posts, videos and podcasts) that attract clients to your business, gains you more website traffic and helps build a good foundation for a future relationship. B2B content marketing is exactly the same – except that your focus isn’t always to attract the end ‘consumer’, but rather, whoever is making the decisions on employing your services or products within a company.

There are some HUGE pitfalls I see companys fall into all the time – rendering their content marketing efforts completely useless.

Because I really want to stop cringing at the worst offenders, in this article I’ve highlighted the top mistakes AND the best ways to get it right.

Basic B2B Content Marketing Mistakes

b2b content marketing mistakes

Not selling to people

I’ve seen this time and time again and I can’t tell you how badly it holds businesses back. Yes, if you’re selling B2B, it can be seriously different to B2C. BUT – basic marketing principles don’t get thrown out of the window!

I’ve frequently seen content full of generic, beige material, that doesn’t target any individuals needs, and looks much like it was written to be just dull enough to be signed off by a committee of nervous-to-get-it-wrong people.

By not targetting a particular person, and speaking directly to them, you end up targetting nobody

And yes, this results in content that will produce exactly ZERO results.

At the end of the day, it will be real human beings deciding on whether to buy from your business – not a robot or one imaginary generic person.

Think about those decision makers that you’re selling to; what do they most want? A promotion? Bigger profits? Maybe they just want a professional to take it off their to do list?

Whatever it is, focus on the benefits that those real human beings want.

You can even be as direct as you like and use phrases like “Want to really impress your CEO at the next board meeting? Show him these stats”, or if you’re targetting further up possibly, “Want to bump your next quarter up by 30%? Here’s how.”.

Focus on what your target customer really wants from your company – what is that end goal they are looking for? What pain point are you addressing?

Tactics such as running deals with limited time availability, using messages that provoke an emotional response and tailoring messaging to suit your target market are all great ways to promote your business – and these don’t get thrown out simply because you’re B2B.

Using too many industry terms to try to sound smart

Eurgh. I hate this one.

We’re all guilty of it though – sometimes we get too wrapped up in the latest and greatest research in our industry and feel the need to share it with all of our clients. Or we simply use jargon forgetting that new leads will have no idea what we’re talking about, or worse, we think that it will make us sound more convincing – and smarter – than our competitors.

The truth is – that’s nonsense.

When you’re using B2B content marketing to promote your business, you should be trying your hardest to help your potential customers. And it doesn’t help to be bombarded with terms you don’t understand – in fact, it just confuses/bores people, making it more likely for a potential customer to go to another website that they CAN understand.

Afterall, are you really going to buy something that you have no understanding of? It’s unlikely.

Your job is to try and educate your clients with content marketing; not confuse them. Clients who feel informed will be able to make educated decisions and feel more reassured when working with you too.

Don’t confuse people with fancy terminology; impress them with helpful content and gain trust by being transparent about what you do. People buy from businesses they trust after all.

Not providing enough real information

Have you ever come across articles that claim to answer a question but when you read them – they don’t?

I have – and they’re a huge disappointment.

It’s not a great move if you’re hoping to gain clients from your content marketing efforts to write exciting headlines but not follow through.

And guess what?

Your article won’t appear on Google either.

Google favours useful information, using signals like the average time a person spent on your website as well as judging the overall content and links pointing to that page. If your content isn’t useful, it won’t gain links (because – who wants to point to a rubbish article?) and no one will spend much time reading it.

Moral of the story? Don’t waste your time writing rubbish articles.

Avoiding giving away your secrets

Content marketing is ultimately about helping your leads before they become customers. Part of helping those people, can be giving away some of your trade secrets.

Scary, I know.

It might seem counterintuitive to tell people how you do things – but honestly – if someone wants to do something themselves for free, they’ll find the information online somewhere whether you publish it or not.

However, for those who are looking to see if they can do it themselves – but then realise once reading about it that it’s rather more complex than they first thought – those are people you want on your website. Those are the people you can easily convince to become your next customer.

Not promoting your content

Great content on its own doesn’t often get picked up by Google and instantly placed in the top spot; yet there seems to be plenty of businesses out there who will simply post an article – and not do much else.

This is a HUGE waste of your time and effort.

It takes a lot of work to promote that content, get it in front of the right people and gain an initial reputation online. Writing and posting a high-quality article gets you about 20% of the way there – the next 80% of your effort should be in the promotion.

Whether you’re reaching out on email, promoting through social channels or posting on forums – promotion is one of the biggest things left out of day to day B2B content marketing that will let you down.

How to do B2B Content Marketing Well

b2b content marketing tips

Focus on pleasing your target market – no one else

As opposed to trying to please everyone with your content, which usually results in it being so neutral and boring that no one can face reading it, focus on talking directly to your target market. After all, if someone that isn’t from your target market is on your website, they’re not looking to buy from you anyway; so there’s no point in trying to please them.

A great way to speak well through your content to your target market is to imagine real-life conversations you’ve had with new leads and customers; what did they ask? What reassured them most? What really made their ears prick up? Being conversational and focussing on what those real-life customers liked is a powerful tool when it comes to writing your content.

If you have a sales department – this is the perfect time to call them in and find out exactly what their leads loved to hear (and what they hated too!).

Answer common client queries

Search engines are all about answering questions. So the best way to attract new leads?

Answer your leads’ most frequently asked questions.

Stop focussing on what you want them to know about your company and instead focus on simply answering the questions that they want to know about any company in your field (after all, they’re likely comparing your website to many competing companies!). It’s a great reason to be bold and do things like show your pricing, case studies and of course, use your blog to help answer questions that your leads struggle with.

Not only will that encourage leads to trust you and enquire on your website, but if you’ve written a well-constructed answer, it should encourage more leads to come to your website too.

Perform basic on-site SEO

Getting back to basics may seem boring, but without the foundations of good SEO, advanced tactics aren’t going to get you anywhere fast.

First thing’s first – if you take nothing else away from this article, take this away – edit your articles for SEO.

You can do this really easily by installing the Yoast plugin for free if you have a WordPress website; or you can sign up to the POP Content email list and get a completely free guide to help you if you don’t.

The important thing is to write your articles focussing them completely on helping your lead and answering their questions, followed by editing for a search engine, rather than writing for search engines to begin with.

Write for people. Edit for Google.

Do your research

Good B2B content marketing begins with a good plan.

Before you start writing up blog posts, it’s a good idea to research whether or not people will actually want to read them. Topic research is a hugely important factor here; and you can use more than Google Adwords Keyword Planner  to find out what your target market really want to know about.

Apart from researching online forums, drawing on previous sales meetings and the other free strategies you can use here, you can also use handy quick tools such as ‘Answer The Public‘. It’s an incredibly easy to use tool that works like a search engine to give you questions people commonly ask around the topic you enter in. Give it a go – it’s completely free so you’ve nothing to lose!

Follow up

Last, but certainly not least, is to follow up your content by keeping up to date with what’s going on. If people leave a comment or ask a question – answer it. Treat it like answering an enquiry – the faster you reply, the more likely you are to get the job.

Being reactive as well as proactive on your own blog, as well as social media, encourages people to interact with your brand and build a real relationship with it; which is incredibly important if you want to make more sales. Too many B2B companies forget this; but being personal and replying to emails, replying to comments and reacting is vital for your content marketing and your online brand in general.

Businesses want to work with providers who answer queries quickly and clearly; not silent providers who never respond to emails or calls. Your online reputation in comments and on social media is important, and people are watching!

Looking for more help with your B2B content marketing?

I’m Amy and I’m a content marketing consultant, well versed in SEO, blogging and website conversion. If you think you’d like some help with your B2B content marketing, simply get in touch and fire away with your questions. I’ll help in any way I can (no question is too small, so don’t be afraid to ask – I’m surprisingly approachable).

If you know of any other B2B content marketing tips, tricks (or mistakes) that you want to add, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it!

Website Analysis: How To Do It Yourself & 5 Free Analysis Tools

Website analysis is seriously important if you want to have any success online. Whether you’re looking get your website higher in Google’s search results, or you want to find out which of your marketing efforts are worth investing more into, website analysis will help you save money, find better opportunities and most importantly – help you figure out what works (and what doesn’t) for your business.

You can read a million different articles on the best length in email subject lines, the best type of content to write on your blog, whether video is right for your business, how to use Twitter to draw in leads etc – but the truth is, although these will all be a helpful starter guide, unless you measure your results – you’ll never know if your tactics are working for your business.

After all – what works for one business, may not necessarily work for another.

So how do you find out what’s working for you?

Website Analysis Basics: What does it all mean?

website analysis terminology

Before we get into the free tools you can use to analyse your website, I thought we should go over some basics so you can make sure you get the most from your statistics.

Basic website statistics

Firstly, there’s some terminology you might come across when you’re performing your website analysis – and I’d love to let you know some basics of what they all mean.

Visits VS Unique Visitors

A common measurement you might see is the number of visits to your website. While it might seem that increasing your visits is key, each visit simply means every time anyone hits your website. So, for example, if the same person visits your website 5 times in one day, this counts as 5 visits. And if you don’t have your own I.P. address filtered, that means every time you visit your website you are skewing the statistics.

While monitoring visits can be interesting data, to see how useful or interested people may be in your content, often what’s more important is the number of unique visitors coming to your website. This simply indicates the number of individual computers (or devices) accessing your website, so is a much clearer indicator of the number of different people who are visiting your website.

Bounce Rate

Your “bounce rate” is simply the number of times people went to your website and clicked away without looking into another page.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; for example, if someone came to your website and called to make a booking rather than browsing, that ‘bounce’ was actually a lead becoming a customer. What’s important to note though, is if you have a high bounce rate, search engines can frown upon it, thinking your website isn’t as useful as others because people didn’t stick around.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate (aka CTR) is the number of times people clicked a particular link or advert vs how often people have saw that link or ad. For example, if 10 people saw your website appear in Google search results, and 2 of those people clicked on your link, you would have a click through rate of 20%.

Impressions

The number of “impressions” is the number of times people have seen your advert or link appear. It’s a good indicator of how often your website is showing up in search results, and can also help diagnose bad metadata if no one is clicking through although you have a high number of impressions (see Click Through Rate).

Basic tracking tips

basic tips website analysis

To begin with, I’d encourage you to install some basic tracking to your website (see the tools below) but once you’ve done that, you might like to dig a little deeper and make sure your website data is showing you the true results you’re looking to find out.

Sources

A really interesting way to look into your data is to view your traffic by it’s ‘source’. The traffic source is simply where the person who visited your website clicked on your link from – it could be direct, where they’ve typed in your link into their address bar, or anything else from organic search results to a Facebook link. Whether it’s in real-time, or you’re looking at where your customers are coming from last month, looking by source can give you a good idea of which of your marketing efforts are paying off best.

Filtering

It’s really important to filter your data – if you don’t, your results can be very skewed. Filtering is where you ‘filter out’ the data that is coming from sources you don’t want to track, usually such as your own computer, phone and possibly even other service providers, such as website developers. This is simply so you know the data you’re looking at is showing trends that your customers and website visitors are showing, rather than including all the data from you being on your own website.

Goals

Setting up goal tracking is an excellent way to track how well your website is performing and where it needs improvement. You can set up a ‘goal’ as a page or event on your website, for example, the ‘thank you’ page after someone has sent you an enquiry is an excellent goal to track. If you track goals over a period of time, you can later look at the data and clearly see which of your marketing efforts is paying off the most.

5 Free Website Analysis Tools

free tools for website analysis

Below I’ve picked out my favourite website analysis tools – and it gets even better. They’re all free!

Google Analytics

Google analytics is a great – and completely free – way to track a whole bunch of interesting data on your website. It includes things like the number of people visiting your website, bounce rate, goals and much, much more. You can easily install it by adding a short piece of code to your website once you sign up to the service. Check it out here.

If you’re working on getting higher in Google, you can also sync it up with Google Search Console, and find out some seriously interesting data, like which keywords you are showing up for and your average position in search.

Google Search Console

Google’s search console  (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) is also completely free and can give you some amazing search data, as mentioned above. Not only this, but it can even tell you where there are ‘crawl errors’ on your website that it might be good to fix, and you can easily submit a sitemap there to improve your chances of being indexed on Google quickly.

Openlink Profiler

Another really important factor for SEO (search engine optimisation) is gaining good quality links (more on that here). A great way to track your progress, and even check out where competitors are getting their links, is to use Openlink Profiler. It will give you some pretty accurate data on the links pointing to your website and even how good those links are – because not all links are created equally!

Google PageSpeed Insights

Another way you can improve your website quite quickly, is to improve its usability and speed (also both strong factors affecting your SEO). A really quick way to test out your website is to simply enter in your url to the PageSpeed Insights tool, and it will not only give you a rating out of 100 for your website speed on mobile and desktop, but it will also tell you what you can do to improve it (such as reducing image sizes). More info on improving your page speed here.

Mozbar

When you’re trying to track your website for improvement’s in SEO, a great way to tell how you’re doing is to track the Domain Authority (which is basically the quality of your domain). Google ranks website’s with higher domain authorities more highly than others – it’s basically an indicator of how trustworthy and authoritative that website is in its industry.

A quick way you can tell how you’re doing, and how well your competitors are doing, is to install the Mozbar plugin. Again, it’s completely free, and it can quickly show you in search results who you’re up against.

Conclusion

Website analysis is incredibly important if you want succeed with any marketing campaigns that relate to your website – whether they start offline or on. Proper analysis can help you track what is working, what isn’t and help you improve your efforts so you can spend less and gain more customers from your efforts.

I hope you now feel prepared to take on a lot of website analysis yourself – and at very least, be able to see the true results of any marketing investments, tools or companies you employ.

Are there any website analysis tools you would have loved to see here too? Or any burning questions you still have? Simply leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help!

Digital Marketing Basics: The 3 Part Guide To Serious Success Online

Looking to learn some digital marketing basics for your business? Digital Marketing has become a front runner in promoting businesses and organisations online – let’s face it, the average person these days spends a great deal of their time online. And marketing online has huge advantages, in that it can be cheaper and faster than it ever has before.

There are some big drawbacks too – the competition is heavy and the goal posts are moved constantly. But if you can learn the digital marketing basics you’ll be much further ahead of the curve than most.

I’ve laid them bare here and I’d love to know what you think!

 

Digital Marketing Basics Part 1: Basic Terminology & Definitions

This section covers what digital marketing is – giving you an overview of the different types of digital marketing basics you might want to learn.

digital-marketing-basics-definitions

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses any form of marketing you do online – from writing in a blog to posting on Facebook, it’s all digital marketing.

The Different Types of Digital Marketing

There are 9 different types of digital marketing you’ll find today – and they can all work well, depending on how you use them and what type of business you are running.

Here’s a quick run down of the basic digital marketing types you might have heard of:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation is a type of digital marketing that’s main goal is to gain traffic to a website through search engines. Tactics have changed over the years, as have the way search engine’s work, but fundamentally SEO companies will be aiming to get their clients website to ‘rank well’ for search terms that will provide their businesses valuable customers.

(Or the good ones will be, anyway.)

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

Pay per click advertising is a type of digital marketing that aims to get traffic to your website, much like SEO, but instead using paid methods. It can be a much faster but more costly method of driving traffic to your website – but can reap serious rewards, especially for a new website.

You have options such as paid search engine ads, but also ads on Facebook, sponsored content on news websites and even banner advertising on other websites (where you can appear in a clickable image on another person’s website).

Public Relations

PR isn’t only a type of digital marketing, but it’s growing to be an ever more important component of any good digital marketing strategy.

Luckily, you can do a lot of your own PR online these days.

The main goal of PR is usually to achieve exposure for your website and business. It could be anything from featuring in a news article online to featuring in a podcast or at an event. The great thing about PR is not only the exposure it can bring, but the reputation that can come with it if you do it well. Reputation can be incredibly important to a lot of marketing strategies, especially online.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing can do multiple things for your business, depending on your tactics and investment, but the main goals tend to be to increase awareness of your business, attract new customers and increase the loyalty of your current customer base. It can involve anything from chatting to people on Twitter to posting videos on Facebook and more. It also ties into a few other digital marketing strategies well too.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a combination of SEO, Social Media Marketing & PR; it most often involves attracting traffic to your website using a blog.

The main principles of content marketing are to produce content that first and foremost serves your audience (i.e. your target market) and works to attract target customers to your website and business. It’s incredibly powerful and is insanely good at attracting new customers – but it is also a long-term approach, so don’t expect to see results immediately.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves working with bloggers and influential people in your industry to attract more customers. It’s a clever way of getting more people to help promote your business, without direct, upfront costs. Instead of paying salespeople to bring you leads, you can offer influencers a cut of any profits on sales that you make through them.

Often affiliates will review your products or services and have a link you can track which leads by to your website. Then, if any sale is made through that link, you’ll know that lead came from them and can pay them accordingly.

If you’d like to work on affiliate marketing, you’ll need to be very careful with how you track your sales and ensure all your terms and conditions are properly laid out to avoid being taken advantage of and to ensure you know what to pay any affiliates.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing aims to promote your business quickly and to a huge amount of people; often it’s hard to directly incorporate your products or services into a viral campaign, but if you can include your brand and do something incredibly unique, viral marketing can be a seriously effective way to increase exposure to your business.

Viral marketing campaigns may be anything from an event, a video or even a photo – whatever it takes to get shared and viewed a considerable amount online!

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing, except instead of cutting your profits later, you pay an influencer directly to review/use/wear your product or service. It’s as simple as paying Britney Spears to wear your sunglasses – the idea being that her fans would likely be encouraged to do the same. You can do it on a much smaller scale though and ask an influencer in your industry how much it might be for them to use your service and mention it on their website.

Digital/Online/Website Marketing

These are “cover all” terms that can be used for any and all of the above; if you see an agency offering these services, it simply means that they offer one or many of the services mentioned above. When trying to decide which agency is right for your business, remember to dig a little deeper and ask them which type of digital marketing methods they use – so you can get an idea of what results you could expect.

 

Digital Marketing Basics Part 2: Fundamental Goals & Mind Shifts

The fundamentals might sound boring – but without these mind shifts, you could seriously struggle to get anywhere with your online marketing – no matter how many books or guides you read on digital marketing basics.

digital-marketing-basics-fundamentals

The Fundamentals Behind Digital Marketing Basics

Before I go any deeper into digital marketing basics in general, I thought it was incredibly important that you at least get an understanding of the fundamentals behind any form of digital marketing that you do, or marketing in general in this day and age. Without understanding the reasons behind the methods we choose, it can be seriously hard to know when you’re doing to right thing and when you’re completely off track.

Whether you’re marketing online or off,  it’s important to be realistic with yourself and ensure you give your target market a positive experience. Give them a reason to come to your website. Give them a reason to buy from you. Give them a reason to come back.

Focus on them above all, and you’ll be much more successful than a majority of businesses out there.

Wherever you’re marketing, on your website, on social media, in a news article, remember to ask yourself “why”.

Always be reviewing your efforts and asking yourself “why” would someone who’s never met you (as is often the case online), do what you’re asking them to do?

Whether it’s read an article, sign up to your email list, click on your link over others in search engine results – if you can get down to the “why” and answer it, you’re on a good track.

Secondly – always be thinking in terms of what your customers want over what you want.

The old “the customers always right” saying can be true – as long as you’re focussing on the customers you really want. Your business isn’t about you; it’s about them. Ultimately, they’ll make or break your business.

That doesn’t mean you need to give all your products away for free. But it means when you’re deciding on your message, deciding the content you should write, deciding on what to pitch to a journalist – think in terms of what your customer wants to see. What they most want to find out – and what their other options are when they’re looking for similar content. You need to make sure your marketing is the best option for your target customer – and that it’s really obvious to them.

Now that I’ve covered these important fundamental digital marketing basics – we can move onto the fun stuff!

 

Digital Marketing Basics Part 3: Important Basic Tactics

I thought it was important that you learn some digital marketing basics that could get you off your feet and going today – so here’s some interesting tips and tactics you might like to learn.

digital-marketing-basics-tactics

Social Media Basics

Social media can be a complete minefield – but when you’re starting out, there are a couple of things I’d recommend:

  • Focus on one type of social media at a time (i.e. Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn etc). Trying to focus on too many at once usually means you’ll spread your efforts too thinly, get overwhelmed with trying to manage it all, and end up not being successful on any (and kind of falling out of love with the whole thing).
  • Focus on getting really good results from just that platform – test out different kinds of content and see what gets you the best results from that platform – and don’t move onto trying the next until you’ve seen some great results.
  • Use the 80/20 rule – 80% of what you do on social media should be entirely focussed on delivering value to your audience in some way – whether it’s sharing interesting guides, or entertaining videos, it should be entirely non-promotional. Only 20% of the time should your social media posts be promotional. You’re unlikely to ever attract a good number of customers if you’re just an online advert – no one wants to follow an online advert.
  • Be social. It surprises me still how many businesses get onto social media and simply blast out messages without getting involved in conversation. The best way to build up your customer base is to listen to their needs and to build better relationships with them – which starts by talking to them in the first place. Any chance you get to personally connect with your target market, you should grab with both hands!

For more information on social media marketing, here’s a collection of 54 expert social media tactics.

Content Basics

When you’re creating content, whether it’s your sales page on your website or a blog article, remember to focus in on what your customer wants (as mentioned in the fundamentals).

Here’s a few tips on ensuring you create some good content that will help your digital marketing efforts:

  • Deliver real value – focus on delivering value to your customers, whether you think they’ll find your content funny, interesting or educational – it needs to be something worth their time reading. If it’s not – don’t put it online.
  • Edit for search engines – although Google has made huge strides, it still is not a real human – it uses calculations to figure out what your content is about. If you’re hoping to rank well for “dog groomer Glasgow”, make sure those words are in your content, in your URL and in your page title at very least. To find out what else you can do to edit your content for SEO, you can claim your free guide here.
  • Calls to action – whatever you do, don’t forget to add a call to action to your content. It might seem obvious, but simply highlighting either “buy now” or “sign up”, will result in more people taking that action.
  • Don’t be bland – if you get too wrapped up in trying to please everyone, your content will likely end up being really bland – which usually results in attracting no one. Be yourself, give your content personality, and you’re much more likely to attract people to it.
  • Keep a clear goal in mind – without a focused goal for your content it can be really hard to achieve anything; so before you write your content ask yourself who it’s for and what you want them to do. That way, if you run into any hard decisions later, you can simply ask yourself if it’s in line with that goal – if it’s not, it’s out.
  • Don’t panic about grammar, spelling or not being a good writer. Firstly, when people read on the internet, they’re not looking for essay perfect writing (unless they’re employing you to write legal contracts). Instead, focus on writing how you might talk. It can help to attract more readers – and puts less pressure on you panicking about getting it wrong. Don’t forget – all writers make mistakes – one minor grammar error in a published article will be much more effective at drawing in customers than not publishing any articles at all.
  • Also – here’s an amazing secretweapon that will save you loads of editing time Grammarly is a quick and easy tool you can use to edit your work, not just for spelling but for grammar too, and it will even help to suggest different words or sayings that might sound better. Plus – it’s free, so you’ve not got anything to lose!

For more information on how to create great content, here’s a 30 tip guide on how to write a good blog post. 

Link Building Basics

Building links is seriously important if you want to rank well in search engines. You have to be careful though – building the wrong links can result in damaging your sites chances at getting traffic.

Here’s a few basics you’ll want to know about building links to your website:

  • “Backlinks” are the most important links your website needs – a backlink is simply any link that points to your website from another website
  • There are 2 types of backlink; “no follow” and “follow”. “No follow” links basically pass on no SEO value; these will be from sites such as Facebook as well as links in comments you leave on other websites. Follow links pass on SEO value – but not all are created equally.
  • Domain Authority is incredibly important – the most effective backlink you can get will be from a website that has a high “domain authority”. You can check the domain authority using free tools like the Mozbar.
  • Industry links are very important too – although domain authority is important, having links from related website’s in your field is also a really strong signal to Google that your website is authoritative in that field – and can result in a serious boost in traffic.
  • Remember to keep in mind the website owners own goals and needs when reaching out for backlinks – what’s in it for them? If you can offer something they want in return for the link, you’re much more likely to get one.

Here’s a guide on how to increase the number of backlinks to your website.

Conversion Optimisation Basics

Conversion optimisation is about making your website the best it can be at “converting” website visitors into sales and leads for your business (or achieving whatever other goal you set out for your site).

When you’re trying to optimise your website for more sales you should focus on the following:

  • Simple, clear first impressions – your website needs to very quickly convey to a new visitor what you do and more importantly – how it benefits them. You have about 15 seconds or less to convince a visitor to stick around on your website; so make sure they can quickly tell if your website is right for them. Cut out any industry terminology that will baffle a customer and cut to the simple stuff on your home page.
  • Benefits before features – similar to what I’ve said above, highlight the benefits before the features of your products or services. Try to paint a picture of the end goal people will get when they buy from your business – for example, if you were selling diet pills, you’d highlight the future thinner, successful “them” in your content and imagery – not the multiple organic, scientific chemicals that will get them there. That can come later.
  • Evidence & trust – you need to build someone’s trust in your business before they’ll hand you any details over, nevermind money. And this is true especially online. You can do this by showing certifications, but also highlighting reviews and testimonials from real people – and even adding video of your business to show another level of authenticity.
  • Simplicity – you need to make it as simple as possible for people to contact you, leave their email address or whatever else you’re looking to do online. The easier you make the process of getting in touch, the more people you will reach. Don’t add too many form fields, and give people the option to email or call at least so they can pick the contact method that suits them best.
  • Addressing objections and concerns – what are the common objections or concerns people have about your product or service? Try to highlight these and address these queries in your content. For example, if people are too nervous to pay online – can you offer a different payment method? If people aren’t sure if your product will fit them – can you offer free returns? Addressing these kinds of concerns in your content can seriously help increase your conversion rates.

Sign up to the POP content email list for more on conversion optimisation (and more digital marketing basics) – there’ll be a post on this one out soon!

It’s incredibly important that you know some digital marketing basics before trying to tackle marketing online for your own business. If you have any questions that weren’t covered in this guide – or if you’d like more detail on something that isn’t covered – I’d love to hear from you. Either send me a question through the POP Content contact form here or leave a comment below.

I hope I’ve helped you learn the digital marketing basics – and good luck with all your future marketing efforts.

How to instantly connect with your target market: The story of my worst day & near nervous breakdown

Want to know how to connect with your target market, online, offline and in person?

Whether you’re writing on your website to draw in customers, or to spread a message – to achieve your goal you must be able to make a real connection with people. People buy from people – and people remember stories.

This isn’t an article about storytelling, though.

Why you need to make a real connection

It’s incredibly hard to make a genuine, real connection with someone over the internet – after all, the content on your website is likely a one-way street. You’re talking to your visitors, but it’s a talk from you – it’s like they’re in an audience, listening to your speech and they can walk out at any time. There’s not much of a conversation going on – yet.

The best way to achieve your goals is to get your audience to know, like and trust you – whether your goal is to grow your business or increase awareness for a cause – people have to know, like and trust you in order to buy from you or listen to your message. It’s the reason why celebrities get such big advertising deals – so many people know, like and trust their opinion that if they make a recommendation on a product, it will sell – and it will sell well.

How to become known, liked and trusted

Think about the people in your life that already know, like and trust you.

I’m guessing there will be a common theme going on – they’re people you know well and have a good relationship with, aren’t they?

The major key to becoming known, liked and trusted – and becoming successful online – is to develop a real relationship with your audience.

There are a huge number of ways you can do this (from going out and speaking to people on social media, getting involved in conversations on relevant forums and speaking at events to name a few) but I’m hoping to go a little deeper into what you need to say to them, rather than where you need to say it.

The first step is to build trust – you must do everything in your power to help people understand you are a trustworthy business, a trustworthy website and a trustworthy person. They won’t want to listen to what you have to say, and sometimes won’t even click onto your site if it doesn’t look trustworthy.

So how do you begin to build trust?

It’s shockingly simple. Be vulnerable.

If you want to find a way to develop a real connection with your audience, the most powerful way to do it, is to tell a true story about your life where things didn’t go well. Where you went through a bad patch. Where you didn’t meet expectations.

Sound weird? I’ll explain.

People like to find common ground with other people – it makes us feel closer and makes us trust the other person more when we’ve been through a similar experience. The other thing about people is – no one’s perfect. We’ve all been through bad times in our lives, where we were filled with self-doubt, were embarrassed or ashamed – it’s part of being human.

Using your worst days as your best content

If you’re willing to be vulnerable and tell your story, good and bad, people will be drawn to your refreshing honesty, and they’ll be much more likely to reach out and share their story with you. We’re programmed to empathise with people going through a similar situation (trust me, I used to be a neuroscientist).

Ultimately, if you can open up enough that they feel comfortable, and maybe even compelled, to reach out to you, you’ll become the top choice for that person when they come to decide which business in your industry to work with. And it’s for a simple reason – they will trust you more than others that they don’t know – that they have no relationship with.

My worst day

I know it’s hard to open up and be honest about failings – so I’m going to encourage you to do it by sharing a story with you about when I was my own worst enemy, and how I changed my mindset and overcame it.

When I was 17, I went through a particularly rough time – my parents had divorced, and I was really insecure and had even developed an eating disorder. I felt completely lost and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That was when I went to my school counselor and asked for help.

I started going to a therapist, and each week I’d go in – sunny and smiling, because unlike what many people assume, if you’re truly depressed and broken, more often than not you try harder than anything to hide it from others with a big smile – and each week she’d have me in tears within 5 minutes. It didn’t take much to scratch the surface and see the true pain I was in.

One day she said something that entirely changed my view – and ultimately, my life.

She asked me, “Amy, who’s someone in your life that you look up to, that you respect and admire?”

And I replied, “My big brother. He’s charismatic and smart and always knows just what to say.”

She then asked, “So tell me – if he failed an exam, if he got fired, if his girlfriend broke up with him – what would you say to him?”

Of course, I replied, “I would tell him not to worry, that he was amazing and smart and that he should try again because I know he can fix all of those things.”

Surprised, she replied, “So you wouldn’t be ashamed of him, and tell him he was ugly, he was stupid, and it was all his fault?”

“Absolutely not!”

“So then tell me – why do you don’t you do the same for yourself?

It shocked me – but it was so true. We are so willing to be our harshest critics – when we should be our biggest supporters. From then on, I’ve tried my best to remember this and stop thinking “You can’t do this, you’re too stupid/ugly/fat” and instead decided to replace it with, “You ‘re incredible, and you’ll never know what you could achieve if you don’t try. What’s the worst that could happen after all?”

And guess what?

It works.

I was courageous and went for what I wanted – and now I’ve done some amazing things like modelling, being on podcasts, writing for big websites and even starting my own business.

If I can leave you with any piece of advice from this entire website, it would be this:

You are much more amazing than you give yourself credit for. If you want to do something, just go for it, because you can do it. Don’t let anyone ever tell you, “you can’t” – especially not yourself.

An incredible, inspiring TED Talk every human should watch

Finally, if you want to find out more about the power of being vulnerable – just watch this incredible TED talk video with Brené Brown (it’ll be one of the most fascinating 20 minutes of your life!):

If you have any questions or comments – please just let me know below. And feel free to share this with anyone you think it might help.

And have a wonderful day, whoever you are, wherever you might be.

How to write a blog post that doesn’t suck: 30 Tip Guide

I’ll be straight with you – I see a lot of rubbish blog posts online. Even when I’m reading work from supposed ‘copywriters’ – I’m surprised they can convince anyone to hire them half the time. So I thought I’d do what I always do here at POP Content, and write a guide to help people who are nervous to write – and don’t want to waste their time writing rubbish – learn how to write a blog post that doesn’t suck.

(Hint: Skip to the end or bookmark if you want to know my top free tools to help you write better blog posts!)

 

1. Put your audience first

If you’re wanting to learn how to write a blog post it’s likely either that you’re wanting to attract more business or that you’re looking to create your dream blog all about you.

The harsh truth?

No one cares about your business or your blog.

It’s your job to make them care.

You do this by focusing on your ideal audience’s needs over anything else. What content do they like? What questions do they want answered?

It’s your job to know your target audience well – and understand their pain points. Once you know what content they’re looking for and what questions they want answers to, you’ll be well placed to know what to write about.

If you focus on your audience’s needs before your own, you’ll naturally attract leads and followers because they’ll be interested in your content.

 

2. Start with a question, answer the question, then sum it up well.

Answering a question with a blog post is my favourite way to attract new leads and sales to my business. It’s simple really – when people are searching on the internet, they’re searching for answers. If you provide the best answer in your industry, not only will you get more traffic to your website – but you’ll become a buyer’s top choice because you’ll be seen as the industry expert.

It’s incredibly easy to find popular questions to write about in your industry – you can check out my top tips here.

Then, make sure you start your blog by telling people what question you’re covering (this gives them reassurance that they’ve clicked through to the right place), answer the question in detail in the main body, then sum up your main points and takeaways in the conclusion.

Some people are known to jump straight down to the conclusion to double check the article’s worth reading – so make sure you sum things up clearly!

 

3. Do your research

Once you’ve decided what to write about – Do. Your. Research.

You need to know what the competition is if you’re going to have any chance of beating it.

When you do a search for the question you’re answering with your article, check the top results, at least the first three.

Read the articles – can you write one better?

If you don’t think you can (and make sure you read this whole guide before you think not!), you might want to consider either changing the article subject or going more specific than previous articles.

For example, if you were planning to write about “how to buy a car”, but you found the competition was too heavy, you could instead change things up and write about “how to choose your first car”, and write on that more specific angle.

It’s also a good idea to do some keyword research – you can find out monthly search volume using a tool like Google Keyword Planner.

 

4. Add value

When you write your article, are you truly helping your audience in some way?

Whatever you do, don’t write an article on a subject, then dance around the answer.

Answer it. Answer it well.

If you don’t, not only will you not appear in search engine rankings, you run the risk of annoying people with your content. That makes them much less likely to ever come back.

Whether your article is useful, educational or entertaining – make sure it’s really adding value in some way to those who read it.

 

5. Deliver what your title promises

Have you ever clicked on a link and realised it’s nothing to do with what you were looking for?

It’s seriously annoying.

And that’s not all.

Google uses information such as ‘bounces’ (when someone clicks onto your site and leaves before going anywhere else) to decide on where a website will rank in search engine results.

So not only will you annoy people with your content if you don’t deliver on what your title says – you’ll fall down in search rankings which means much less traffic for your website.

 

6. Don’t write for search engines

Getting traffic is really important for the success of your blog – and your business. But writing solely for a search engine is a terrible way to actually get traffic from a search engine.

Confusing? I’ll explain.

There are absolutely loads of ‘ranking factors’ Google tests to see where your blog post should rank in search results. Links are really important – and so is the content.

You could write solely for search engine purposes, make your keywords an optimum level, make your URL a keyword and make all your meta data full of keywords (you can check out my free traffic guide to find out what you can do to write for search engines).

However, if you have this sole goal in mind, your content won’t read well and guess what? It won’t rank well either.

Why?

One of the biggest factors that will affect your ranking is how people behave when they arrive at the page through a search engine. Google will test how long someone’s on a page, whether they move elsewhere on the website or if they click on then click away.

Ultimately, if you give people a bad experience – search engines will follow suit and will bump you down the rankings.

So what should you do?

If you want to know how to write a blog post that will rank well in search – simply write your article answering a question, make sure it’s really good – then simply ‘tweak’ the article for search engines.

You can use a plugin like Yoast to really easily tweak your content or follow my free guide if you don’t have WordPress, or don’t want to use the plugin.

Always write for people first – edit for search engines after.

 

7. Use headings and subheadings

It’s good practice to use headings and subheadings in any article. Not only does it help people get a quick understanding of what the upcoming content is about, it also helps people who ‘skim’ to scroll to only the points that interest them most.

If you just have huge paragraphs of text with no headings to break down each section, it’s not only daunting, but people who might have been interested in a section won’t bother to skim to find it – and then you’ll lose a potential new reader – or customer!

Having a few subheadings containing your keyword can also help SEO – so don’t miss this one out.

 

8. Use bullet points

Bullet points can really help people focus their attention – their design makes it easier to read and absorb important points.

Especially if you have just written a large block of text – often people will skim down to the bullet points, and if they read something interesting they’ll go back and read the paragraph.

Because of this, it’s a great way to sum up a section of text and draw attention to the points that are most important.

 

9. Write for dual readership

how-to-write-a-blog-post-for-dual-readership
Not every reader is the same

Writing for dual readership is really important – there tend to be two different types of readers:

  1. Reader
  2. Skimmer

It might depend on what you’re writing about, but a lot of people will simply skim your article before deciding whether or not to actually read it.

Again, it’s important to tailor your article to suit both readers.

Write your article assuming the reader will read it all. Then, go back through your writing and embolden sections that are important to highlight for a skimmer.

By doing this, you’ll make the article much easier to skim – and you’re much more likely to get a skimmer to become a reader!

 

10. Keep people engaged using “bucket brigades”

Bucket brigades are a copywriting secret that you will love (I hope!).

If you want to know how to write a blog post that keeps people reading – this is the one to focus on. Basically, when people see large sections of text, it can be seriously off-putting. It’s an effort to read. But if you break up your text with “bucket brigades” it can make your writing much more enjoyable to read – and easier to take in.

So, what are they?

Well, they are small sections of text that keep readers engaged. They sit on their own – just like my ‘So what are they?’ sentence above, and keep readers interested in what you’re writing so they don’t wander off and start reading something else.

Here are a few examples you can use yourself:

As if that’s not enough…
But wait, there’s more.
Good news!
Here’s why.
Think about it.
But that’s just part of the story…
What does this mean for you?

Why’s it important to keep people engaged?

It’s simple really; firstly, if you have a strong message or need to prove you’re an authority in your space – you need to keep people reading to prove it. Secondly – the longer people stay on your page, and ultimately your website, the better your SEO rankings will be. It’s a sign that people like your website, which is why Google will bump it up the rankings.

 

11. Write an awesome headline

This is incredibly important. If you don’t write a good headline, no matter how good the content is, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get people to read it.

Here are a couple of tips you can do to write a more “clickable” headline:

  • Be concise – in search engines, the reader will likely only get to see up to 70 characters of your title. So make sure you let the reader know what you offer on your page – fast!
  • Write for a human – it can be tempting to just add a keyword as a title and not much else; and while it’s great if you can have your keyword in the title, make sure you focus first and foremost on writing the title so it’s attractive to click on. After all, even if something ranks highly to begin with, if it’s not clicked on, it will quickly drop back down in the rankings.
  • Check out the competition – search for the keyword you’re hoping to optimise for and check out your competition. The top results should give you an indication of what value those searchers are looking for. Don’t copy what other people have done – but if you find similarities, try to make sure you highlight those things in your title.
  • Use numbers – numbers can be an attractive way to quickly convey ‘value’ to searchers. For example, if you have “Guide to e-commerce” or “38 step guide to e-commerce” the second is more likely to get clicked. It’s simply because people can quickly tell if it’s worth their time reading it – they know it’s more likely to deliver what they’re looking for. It has what’s known as a higher “perceived value”.
  • Try this tool out – Hubspot offer this really great tool that can help you with some great potential blog post ideas – by giving you the title to begin with! It’s a great tool for titles, and for when you’ve no idea what to write about.

 

12. Cut down on fluff

It can be tempting to write a lot of content for the sake of looking knowledgeable and driving more traffic to your website – Google loves long-form content after all (more on that later).

But honestly, you don’t want to do this.

Ultimately you’ll rank well and drive more traffic to your website if you write something really useful – and often the more concise and useful article wins. People want the information, and they want it as fast as possible. If they have to trudge through large blocks of useless text to find it – they’re much more likely to move onto a different web page.

Writing long-form content is a great idea – but DO NOT fill your article with useless information and filler – this will only damage your chances at having a successful article.

I like to write out my full blog, then come back a few hours later and cut out or cut down whatever feels not completely necessary.

 

13. Break up big blocks of text

Whether you use bullet points, headings or imagery, please ensure you break up your text. When you click through to a page online and all you see is large blocks of text – it can be intimidating and off-putting to the reader.

Unlike writing proper essays for school, people prefer to read very short sections of text, rather than large paragraphs.

Don’t lose your readers with a bad first impression!

 

14. Use good imagery to help illustrate your points

Imagery isn’t just a great way to break up text – it can also be an incredible way to illustrate your points better.

Sometimes an image can replace a whole paragraph of text, which is pretty powerful when you’re trying to cut to the chase quickly.

They’re especially useful for holding people’s interest and illustrating steps if you write a guide – check out my guide on reducing site speed as an example.

Without the imagery of what I was doing in paint, it would have been much harder to explain to the reader how to alter images and what to expect when following my guide.

 

15. Focus on one goal at a time

Every blog post should have a goal; either to draw in more traffic to your website, get more email sign ups, or possibly convert potential leads into customers.

Don’t be tempted to spread yourself too thin though and aim for it all – focus on one single goal at a time and you’re much more likely to achieve it.

Focussing on appealing to too many people at once (e.g. a brand new browser on your website, a loyal reader and a very warm lead) will usually result in your article failing to reach any of them – simply because your competition’s websites out there have a different, specific article for each. And people are much more likely to perform an action when the content is tailored towards a single goal.

 

16. Include calls to action

If you want to know how to write a blog post that genuinely draws in leads – don’t forget to add calls to action.

Include calls to action in your copy – whether it’s asking for an email sign up, or commenting on the blog post – if you don’t ask, you won’t get!

My favourite CTA is to offer more great information, like a guide, in return for an email address – but only to those who read about 70% of my article.

Scroll down further and you’ll see the pop-up!

It’s really easy to set up, and seriously helps to increase your email list – I use Sumome if you fancy adding one yourself.

 

17. Don’t try to please everybody

focus on one goal at atime
Focusing on pleasing one type of customer or target at a time increases your chances of success

Similar to attempting to achieve too many goals at once – trying to please everyone with your content will usually result in pleasing no one.

Don’t sit on the fence, or worry too much about giving off the wrong impression; honestly, if you do this, what will happen is:

1. your content will be completely bland and boring, and

2. people will go elsewhere to read something that appeals and relates to them more.

No matter what you write, you won’t please everyone. Just accept it, and focus on pleasing the people most important to you – which I expect will be your ideal customers.

When writing your article, at each stage ask yourself “would they like this?”. Make sure it’s something your target market will love and you can’t go far wrong.

 

18. Once you finished – hold off on hitting publish

If there’s any one tip on how to write a blog post that separates the good from the mediocre – it’s this one.

It can be really tempting to write something up, and publish straight away – but this isn’t the best idea.

Even the best writers need to edit their work – so make sure you take the time to do so too.

So I can come to my writing with fresh eyes, I like to at least leave a few hours in between writing the last word of the first draft and editing my work. If possible, even leave it for a day.

The difference it can make to your final article can be incredible; so please avoid hitting publish sooner, just so you can breathe a sigh of relief!

 

19. Cut out distractions while you write

Whether it’s colleagues talking in the background, your phone or email alerts or even outside noise – try to find somewhere with little distraction when you write.

Not only will this make your writing better because you’ll be able to focus more easily; but you’ll be able to get a good article together faster too.

Turn off your email and phone, put in earphones and shut your office door. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can get done in just a few hours when there are no distractions.

 

20. Don’t be vague

Don’t be vague with your points – if you have something to advise, try to be as clear as possible. For example, with this guide, I could have said “writing a good headline can increase your clicks by a great deal, so invest time in writing a good one” and left it at that.

But guess what?

That would have left you feeling pretty disappointed – or I would be if it were me. Don’t skirt around the point – try to be as clear as possible and deliver real value to your readers. Make your point – then tell people how they can do it themselves.

If you don’t – they won’t stick around to read your stuff.

 

21. Back up your points with facts

If you want to know how to write a blog post that’s powerful and unforgettable – make sure you back up your points with facts.

Anyone can claim anything they like on the internet – and everyone knows it.

If you have something really important to get across backing up your claims with facts can be a really powerful way of ensuring your message gets across.

Link back to where you found the facts – this makes it really simple for your reader to figure out if you’re telling the truth and find out more too.

 

22. Write long-form content

Long-form content does much better on average in search engines than short-form – usually over 2000 words is best.

Don’t just take my word for it – check out these stats:

serp-iq-content-length

That’s right; the average top ranking search result is over 2,450 words long. 

Now before you think, “oh my dear God, there’s no way I can write that much”, you might want to consider tip 23.

 

23. Use a list format

Just like this very article, you can use a list format to write some really great lengthy articles that will help you rank well in search.

Not only does it make it easier to write long-form content, readers love list form articles – simply because it’s easier to skim through and read points that are relevant, and skip points that aren’t so relevant.

You might not even have to write anything new.

If you’ve written on a few different subjects in your blog already, but the articles are only 600-800 words long, consider combining the content into one long guide instead.

It could do much better than each individual post alone.

 

24. Write how you would talk

When you’re writing on the internet, there’s much less need to be formal.

In fact, people can often absorb your content more easily if you simply write how you would speak, rather than attempting to write everything in a formal essay format.

Not only do people find it easier to absorb the content this way – it’s easier for you to get them to know, like and trust you – which will ultimately help you bring in more customers using your content.

 

25. Don’t be bland – share your genuine opinion, even if some might disagree

Being bland and not taking a stand on anything can be one of the worst things you can do in your writing.

People love controversy – they like to read opinions, and yours is important.

Some of the most popular articles are ones that contain controversial opinions.

The other huge benefit is, you’ll be much more likely to attract like-minded people to your business, so even if you ruffle a few feathers, you’ll be more likely to gain more customers this way, whereas if you remained neutral on a subject, you’re unlikely to attract anyone.

 

26. Don’t let bad grammar hold you back

It’s true – grammar mistakes can come across as unprofessional.

But don’t let this hold you back – even the best writers out there make mistakes – I even see them on the BBC. If there are a couple of minor mistakes, but the general content is good, people won’t care anyway.

It’s much more important to focus on delivering good, useful material and to get it out to the masses than to waste a lot of precious time worrying that your grammar isn’t the best.

Super cool grammar tool:

This week my amazing friends from Steed Tailors told me about an amazing tool that can help out if you can’t stand the worry of publishing bad grammarGrammarly is an amazing tool you can use to edit all of your work, no matter whether it’s an email, report or blog post. It’s really quick and simple to use – and what’s more – it’s completely free!

 

27. Write about the things that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about

There’s not much point in writing about things that you don’t care about or aren’t interested in – it comes across in your writing.

So rather than focussing on writing about only things you think might sell, it’s worth exploring how you can tie things into what you’re really good at or really care about.

If you’re struggling to think of what to write about, why not jot down your interests and what you’re known to be knowledgeable in, and see where there might be overlap – that’s usually the kind of sweet spot that will bring out the best possible writing.

 

28. Be vulnerable

vulnerability-writing-blogs

Being vulnerable may sound like a super weird tip – but it’s genuinely effective.

There’s so very much content out there on the internet – and it’s really hard to form a real connection with people through their computer screens (Hi, I’m Amy by the way).

So if you’re trying to write and reach out to people, how on earth do you do it?

It’s simple really; sharing a failure or bad experience in your life can help to break down barriers. If you’re open to being more vulnerable and admitting you’re not perfect – you become a lot more relatable. No one is perfect and if you try to pretend to be, it can make your writing seriously suspicious.

Starting an article with a personal story is also a really great way to draw in readers in general – people remember stories much more easily than just reams of facts.

 

29. Give the option of further reading

Adding relevant links throughout your article is really helpful to the reader – whether they’re links to more of your content or links to other websites, making it very simple for readers to find out more information is seriously helpful.

And if your content starts getting known as being really helpful – you’ll naturally start to see more people wanting to read it.

 

30. Measure your results

Measure your results!

Honestly, you can read and read advice on “how to write a blog post” til the cows come home, but the best way to learn what works – and what doesn’t – is to just go for it.

Put your best foot forward and have a go – just make sure you measure the results. Installing something like Google analytics is seriously easy, and completely free.

If you have it installed from the beginning, it’ll mean in a few months time you can look back at your website and be able to see which blog posts did well and which didn’t. Finding out what is and isn’t working is the best way to improve – keep doing more of the articles that work and ditch the styles that don’t.

Here’s a round-up of tools (which are all free!) from this great guide on how to write a blog post:

Hubspot – for better titles and blog ideas

Grammarly – for better grammar without an editor

Yoast – for simple SEO content editing

Google Analytics – for better measurement of article and website performance

Google Keyword Tool – for finding traffic volumes for keywords

Sumome – for collecting more emails and growing your email list

If you’d love to learn more about digital marketing and how you can use your blog to generate more leads for your business – simply sign up to our email list here and you’ll get a free guide to help you write your content for search engines, as well as fantastic weekly guides.

ask a question how to write a blog post

I hope you now feel confident that you know how to write a blog post – or at very least you know a lot of tips on how to write a blog post!

But if there’s anything you’re not sure about, or are any tips you’d love to share that you didn’t see here – please comment below and I’d be more than happy to help.

 

Website traffic services: 4 facts you MUST learn before you buy

We all want more customers – and what better way to get them than to get website traffic services? Unfortunately, if you’re like most business owners out there you’re likely getting bombarded with scam emails daily. They’re promising to ’10X’ your traffic and guaranteeing you’ll get thousands of visitors next month if you “sign up” and buy “this app” or “that service”.

Sounds all a bit too good to be true. And fishy as hell.

What if there was a simple way to figure out who’s legitimate – and who’s just trying to make a quick buck?

Well I’ve written this guide to help you with that precise question.

No matter where you are or why you’re looking for website traffic services, these are the facts you have to know before you sign up to any traffic building service.

1. Black Hat SEO can damage your website permanently

watch out for black hat website traffic services

There are many techniques SEO agencies and other website traffic services can use to increase your traffic short term. In a few weeks you could rank very highly for even the most competitive searches in your industry. The thing is, scam agencies can do this for you, take your money and leave you with the consequences.

The effects don’t always have to be permanent – but it takes a huge deal of time and expertise to fix, and will cost you much more than ‘white hat’ website traffic services would have in the first place.

Explanation:

Google, and other search engines, use computer programs to decide which point in a search result to list your website should take in a search. It does this using an algorithm, which is like a maths equation that studies lots of different parts about your website, and comes up with a final result.

Website traffic services should help you rank higher in the search results to drive more traffic to your site – but if their tactics are mainly what’s known as “black hat” it can permanently damage your site as Google will flag it up as suspicious/dangerous – which is an extremely hard label to get rid of.

Some of these black hat techniques can work, usually for a couple of weeks – just long enough for you to pay your bill and be pleased with the result.

But there’s a catch:

Once Google checks over your website and sees what’s been done, it flags your site as bad and will likely knock it out of the rankings completely. After that, it’ll be a seriously long haul for you to recover from and be ranked well in any result, ever again.

What you can do: 

When you’re considering who to work with be suspicious of anyone too cheap – it takes a serious amount of work to help a website rank in search engines, depending on your competition, but you’re talking good blog posts, well written SEO content, keyword research and linking strategies – if you’re looking for an agency to take care of it all for you, you’re talking big bucks – £1000+ per month minimum. 

Some website traffic services will offer different parts of the full service if you can’t afford the whole thing. Just be aware of what’s needed (see above) and figure out what you’re willing to do in house vs what you need someone else to do.

Ask website traffic services about their tactics – anyone genuine won’t mind sharing general methods with you. You’ll want to go with someone who suggests your content is very important, and building a natural link profile (links pointing back to your website).

Here’s a short list of black hat techniques you can look out for.

The great thing about going with someone “White Hat” is that they should not only help you with search rankings, but increase your overall business exposure with PR tips and social media marketing.

If you’re too small to afford an agency like that, but still need help getting traffic, it might be worth considering taking a course yourself or getting weekly consultancy/training yourself.

2. Your website content is incredibly important if you want recurring traffic – and customers

website traffic services content matters

If your website traffic services (whether it’s a digital agency, SEO company or a content marketing agency) are offering to build backlinks to your website and nothing else – it’s not a good sign.

Here’s the deal.

Good links can help you rank and drive traffic; but without the content to back it up, you’ll fall back down in the rankings in the long term.

Ultimately having good content is important for getting new customers anyway; so if you’re not happy with your own content now, like your sales pages and your home page, get working on this first before going to buy website traffic services.

Explanation:

Content – whether it’s text, video, audio or imagery – is so important when it comes to getting people to your website.

And getting them to buy from you when they get there.

Think about it – what did you last buy on the internet?

Now think back to how you decided to buy that particular item over the rest. Maybe you opened a few different websites. Maybe you did a few different searches and did some comparing. Maybe you even checked out reviews on amazon or YouTube. Maybe you even read a few blog articles.

You more than likely at least read the sales page – where you found out exactly about the benefits and features of that product or service.

What convinced you in the end?

The content.

You might be thinking “Amy, that’s great and all, but I don’t see what that’s got to do with my traffic.”

Well, I’ll tell you.

The 2 most important factors that effect your rankings in Google are:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Content

Basically it boils down to this:

Google’s customers are their searchers. They want to do what’s best for them – not for you.

Google want’s to deliver the best answer to any query someone enters into it’s search bar. After all, they want people to keep using Google, and not Yahoo or dare I say it – Bing.

People like pages & websites that answers their queries well. So great content, that answers people’s questions, is an absolute necessity if you want to rank highly.

The other biggest factor is backlinks – which are links pointing to your website from other website’s. More about backlinks here.

Google can’t use only content to determine who should rank highest, simply because people have been known to cheat the system using blackhat techniques. It uses backlinks to help it figure out how trustworthy and relevant each website is.

The moral of the story is – you won’t get long term traffic without good content.

And good content is the only thing that will turn your visitors into customers.

What you can do: 

You have 2 options here:

Work on your own content first

Or:

Choose an agency that writes content for you

If you’re going to an agency to write your content, you’ll want to make sure you focus on a few things:

  • Check their blog articles. Are they engaging? Do you find them interesting or are they boring articles? It could be that you’re not their target audience; but more than likely they should be written in way that keeps you interested and wanting to read more.
  • How long are their articles? It’s pretty well known that long form content does best on Google – 2000 words +. Of course not every article might be this long; but if you notice a consistent 300-800 word article, they might not know what they’e doing in terms of content.
  • Do they have calls to action in their content? Calls to action such as ‘comment below’, ‘sign up’ or ‘contact us’ are really important in order to increase their number of customers. If they’re not doing it for themselves, I would worry that they might not do it for you. Again – there’s little point in getting traffic if it’s not going to result in more customers.

3. Focusing solely on numbers is a terrible idea

numbers and web traffic

Some traffic services may offer thousands of visitors to your website quickly – and they might not even be lying. They probably are, but about 5% might not.

But before you throw your money away, consider this – what kind of visitors do you want?

Explanation:

50,000 new views might not do a single thing for your business if they’re all the wrong type of person.

And this is not impossible to do – an agency can write a good article about super adorable puppies, send a link to your site in some viral places like Reddit and get you lots of traffic, very quickly.

But if you’re an estate agents and you suddenly have a bunch of people on your site that are only interested in cute puppies – what use is that to your business?

Even if you got only 100 new people – but the right type of people – from a blog post that turned into 3 more customers – that’s a much better result than a few thousand views to people who don’t buy.

What you can do:

Don’t be lured in solely by the numbers. Be suspicious of website traffic services who flag numbers and only numbers up about their past clients.

Look at their reviews if you can. It’s always good to get past clients perspectives.

Ask them how they are going to get you traffic – do they suggest specific blog articles? Are those articles related to your business? How do they plan to promote your content, and where?

Social media can be particularly dubious – you can attract lot’s of visitors using twitter, but again, if they’re not the right type of visitors, it’s not going to be any use to you. Social media is important for building a reputation, promoting content and attracting new prospects – but it shouldn’t be the only strategy for your online marketing.

4. Traffic isn’t always the problem

web traffic services

Sometimes it can be easy to think “I just don’t have enough customers coming to my website“.

And that could be the case; however, don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s the most important issue.

If you’re getting a few hundred new visitors through organic search and not one is becoming a customer – there’s something bigger you need to tackle before throwing more money at getting traffic there.

Explanation:

A good conversion rate is usually between 0.5 – 2%. That is to say, out of every hundred people to your website, at least 1 should be signing up, sending an enquiry or buying from you.

If they’re not – the issue likely lies elsewhere than your traffic level.

Before ploughing more money into getting more traffic, you might want to review your website and see why people aren’t converting.

What you can do:

Check your Google analytics, look at new users, and if you’re hitting a few hundred or more monthly and not seeing sales – you know you have an issue.

The first step is to check it’s not something really obvious – get family and friends to test out your shopping cart or contact forms. Is everything getting through? I’ve seen many website’s with low conversion rates fall at the first hurdle – people can’t get through the steps you’re putting in front of them to get in touch or buy.

Make it as simple as possible for your customers to buy or enquire.

Compare your website to competitors. Your customers are doing it, so there’s no point in burying your head in the sand. Is it easier to understand their message? Maybe they have a page or two that explains the benefits of your product in a clearer way? Make sure you feel your site’s offering can compete.

Get some targeted feedback. Get in touch with some people in your target market. Ask them to review your website (maybe you can offer a free product for doing so as a thanks). They should be able to help you weed out anything that maybe isn’t clear, or when compared to your competitor’s just isn’t matching up. Ask them for their biggest concerns/problems rather than just what they don’t like.

And ask them to be as brutal as possible

For every one brutal thing they tell you, it’s likely hundreds of past visitors thought the same but never took the time to get in touch and let you know. Don’t take it personally; no one gets a website perfect first time. Take the feedback and run with it. Make the changes and people will be impressed you took their feedback on board.

Lastly – get a consultant to do a review. If you’ve done your best and just can’t seem to figure out why people aren’t converting into customers – it’s time to get a professional in.

You can always call on POP Content to help you out. We can do a website review from £100, depending on the size of your website.

 

I certainly hope you found this helpful – and if you’ve ran into any other issues with website traffic services, I’d love to add them in – just leave a comment below!

Remember you can easily send this article onto any of your family or friends who might be running a website – and help them avoid any traffic scams!

 

How Social Media Experts Get REAL Customers to Follow Them: 54 Tactics You Can Do Yourself

Whenever I talk to people about social media marketing, it seems one of the most common questions is “how do I get more followers?”.

While we all know having lot’s of followers sounds great, it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. You could go onto some less than reputable website’s and buy lot’s of fake followers – but it’s not going to help your business.

So I decided to cut to the core of it – and speak to some fellow social media experts – to find out how to grow a real customer following for our business accounts on social media.

I’d love to hear what you think – please leave a comment and share this guide if you found it helpful!

It’s a long guide, so feel free to click a link here to jump to the social media platform you’re most interested in; or sign up to our email list to get the guide in a full pdf you can print out.

Jump to “Growing a customer following on” :

Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Instagram
Reddit
Snapchat
Pinterest
Extra Tips

 

 

Growing a customer following on: Twitter

Twitter’s my personal favourite for connecting with people – including customers. So here’s some tips from the experts on how you can grow your customer following on Twitter.

 

A Goddess’s top ways to get more followers

  1. Tweet regularly. For my clients I do ten tweets per day at busy times. E.g. morning commute, lunchtime and 9-11pm is the busiest time on Twitter. Start by following people you are interested in and admire. Sometimes they will follow you back. Thank them if they do. (not by dm….never use auto dm)
  2. Be consistent. If you are the expert in Social media, we want tips. Share your knowledge with us, tweet other people’s articles and tag them in the tweets. Trust me they will be happy you have shared it for them.
  3. Take part in Twitter chats. There are plenty of hashtag Twitter chats out there. E.g. #Britishbizparty #Belfasthour and one for almost every county in the UK too. Take part. Jump in and say hi! Your followers will start to soar.
  4. Assist others. If you retweet others tweets they will be delighted and will usually Thank you for it. If they do, continue the conversation. Keep the engagement going and have a chat. Create a list of active or favourite tweeters so you can keep an eye on what they are up to and not miss anything.
  5. Be positive, keep away from controversy. This is your business, so keep it nice, no bitching about others.
  6. Be authentic and the followers will come…..people are watching and talking….others will start tagging you and recommending that others follow you.

samantha-kelly-twitter-goddess

Samantha Kelly, Tweeting Goddess

 

Engage & Find Your Customers

Twitter now works on an algorithm so it isn’t guaranteed that your intended audience will see your content. Engage and converse, and place yourself directly in front of your audience. Twitter is a platform, that if you are a small business, your customers won’t come to you, you have to find them. Twitter is a fantastic platform to find out information about your customers, from where they shop, to where they eat and drink, whom they associate themselves with. This is first class market research, which you can, as a brand or business owner completely immerse yourself in and use it to build customer loyalty, build relationships and offer them the gratification that they are looking for.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Use the 6 B’s

My top tip to get more customers following you on Twitter is to follow the 6B’s. Be committed which means having a good profile picture & interesting bio. Be Consistent with your approach, you need to do a little bit each and every day, remember it’s a marathon not a sprint. Be Interesting with what you tweet. Use video, Gif’s, photo’s emoji’s and stickers. Ask questions, add value to others, help and support others and share others tweets. Be interested in others on Twitter. Join in on conversations, reply and engage with others. Be authentic, just be yourself and finally Be social. Have fun, listen to others, join in when you can and remember the key is to create advocates not to try and sell to everyone.

 

mark-shaw-biz

Mark Shaw, MarkShaw.Biz

 

Use hashtags

By incorporating a relevant hashtag in your tweets you join in an existing conversation and make yourself aware to other participants. As well as using Twitter Search, users can browse by hashtags by clicking on them, so by using a hashtag your tweets are easier to discover. Keep an eye on hashtags that are trending and used for TV programmes and join these conversations if they are relevant to your business or brand. For example, if you’re in the business of writing CVs then tweet about Channel 4s, The Job Interview including the #TheJobInterview in your tweets. For maximum impact, tweet during the programme when the conversation level is at its highest. Aim to include one or two hashtags in every tweet with an absolute maximum of three.

jonathan-pollinger-intranet-future

Jonathan Pollinger, Intranet Future

 

Check your timing

Timing is crucial, so make sure you’re scheduling your tweets and activity for peak times. Tools such as Buffer can help you identify when these are, but for Twitter the most popular time for posting is usually between 12pm and 1pm. If you tweet during this time you are increasing the visibility on your feed, which in turn means more eyes on your brand.

It’s also worth considering what time your current followers are most engaged on Twitter, too, as posting then can encourage them to share your content, helping increase your following. Some simple testing will tell you when your tweets have most impact and see the most engagement, so make sure you’re optimizing your scheduling as much as possible.

 

jen-balshaw-add-mustard

Jen Balshaw, addmustard

 

PR Hashtags

If you’re running a PR campaign or generally trying to push a story to the papers, create a relevant and catchy hashtag. These won’t always come off, but when they do, they can become viral. You just need to first consider how a hashtag is going to be received and that it can’t be reversed to make a negative story around the brand.

Live Tweets

Find out what TV-shows your audience regularly watches. You can live-tweet your response to big moments on the show. This will help to intrigue current followers, as well as potentially increase the following from other interested fans of the show. You will also most likely be just targeting an audience within your country, as they will be the people discussing the topic at that point in time.

 

tom-bourlet-the-stag-company

Tom Bourlet, The Stag Company

 

Search

Search, search and search some more.  Using the ‘easy’ search bar or Twitter’s advanced search you have the ability to search every tweet sent which is around 6,000 per second.  This basically means that you can connect with people who share your interests and passions; who may be talking about your brand but not @mentioning you in their tweets and most importantly those who need your advice, expertise and may quite possibly be your next customer.  For ease of use you’re also able to save up to 25 of these searches so next time you log in you can simply select the search, click and start reading the tweets you want to see.

 

pippa-akram-social-media-expert

Pippa Akram, Social Media Consultant

 

Get involved in trending topics

Make sure your Twitter presence is up engaging with trending topics and stories! Tap into what’s going on in the world and tie in into your industry to reach a much wider audience. The Olympics is happening now – can your business get involved? Is there any viral content of the week that you can hob on board with? Keep on top of current events, TV programmes, and other news stories to pitch in where you can. Engaging with a conversation that’s already going on can be so effective, and so much easier than generating the conversation from scratch yourself! Think a little outside your brand’s normal content, and the results can be amazing.

 

rebecca-irvine-exposure-ninja

Rebecca Irvine, Exposure Ninja

 

Answer Questions

My favourite way to get conversations started, relationships built and ultimately get the right people following me is to answer questions. Whether it’s a quick reply to someone’s tweet to help them out, or tweeting out guides I’ve written specifically targeted at answering my customers common questions, I find reaching out and being helpful is a great way to build up a customer following on Twitter.

Get on Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are my favourite way to network with real customers online; and ultimately speaking to people and developing relationships will get them to follow you – and become customers! The key to twitter chats is to find the right one where your target market is hanging out and not being promotional when you get there.

You’re bound to find a chat that’s relevant to you using this handy list from Tweet Reports.

Answer questions and show an interest in others first – if they like you, they’ll be much more likely to follow and buy from you later.

amy-jordan-pop-content-marketing

Amy Jordan (ME!), POP Content

 

 

 

Growing a customer following on: Facebook

Facebook is still an incredibly popular social network that’s not to be ignored – more than likely your customers are on it, if not all of them at least some. The trick is to find out where they are within Facebook – and learn how to get them to notice you when you find them.

Building a Facebook following organically is difficult and takes a lot of invested time and understanding. Facebook competitions and exclusive promotions will allow customers to engage and encourage them to share content.

 

Share interesting content

Try not to be too salesy on Facebook, save this for Facebook advertising. Instead share interesting articles and content that encourage people to click, which then converts into website traffic and conversation.

Open a shop front

Facebook now has a shop front, where you are able to sell your best selling products. This is great to build customer retention, and you can create weekly promotions and ‘Products/services of the week.”

Join Facebook Groups

Facebook Community Groups are a great way to publicise your business and access your audience directly. Search for them and request to join, and share updates, information and advice. This will quickly convert to Facebook page likes.

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Target your Facebook Ads

It’s hard to build your audience on Facebook these days without advertising, so bite the bullet and pay to promote your Page. You can be very specific about who you can reach in terms of targeting. You can specify an audience using demographics, relationship status and interests. You can also publish ads in front of your newsletter subscribers and website visitors; people that have already shown an interest in your business. Before creating a campaign and committing any budget, be sure that you have an attractive, interesting and entertaining Facebook Page. There’s little point in paying to attract people to your Page if there’s not going to be anything there for them when they visit.

 

jonathan-pollinger-intranet-future

Jonathan Pollinger, Intranet Future

 

Deliver good content

If your goal is to increase the number of people who ‘Like’ you on Facebook, the best way to do this is to become known for posting content that they find of value. Consistently uploading high quality and relevant information will encourage users to see you as a useful or important resource. They will want to ensure that they hear more from you and so will be compelled to ‘Like’ your page.

As well as increasing the number of users who ‘Like’ your brand, posting content that your audience want will also see engagement increase, too.

 

jen-balshaw-add-mustard

Jen Balshaw, addmustard

 

Offer discounts and exclusives through your Facebook page

Let’s face it, every customer is interested in a deal, and one of the best ways you can drive loyalty is by incentivising customers to join your Facebook page by offering exclusive discounts. This might be something as simple as offering deals on your Facebook page before you do so in your shop or online store. However, we have found that we get the greatest benefit by offering money off if you found it through Facebook.

One way to implement this is to create exclusive coupon codes, which you post to your Facebook page. You can tell customers about this by email or in-store (if you have a store), but you’ll get the most benefit when customers start telling their friends and family about it, in effect generating you free marketing.

 

mark-hughes-tutora

 Mark Hughes, Tutora

 

Use “Pages to Watch”

Keep an eye on your competitiors by using the ‘Pages To Watch’ function which is a handy way of keeping tabs on your competitors.  Housed within your ‘Insights’ you can benchmark your pages growth rate, content output and engagement levels in the ‘Overview’ section against that of your competition.  Even better than this, selecting ‘Top Posts From Pages You Watch’ (in the ‘Posts’ section of ‘Insights’) allows you, at a quick glance, to see the exact posts which are driving engagement.  Why do you need to know this?  Because by keeping a keen eye on this you’ll be able to understand what engagement tactics are working and tweak your own in a similar way.

 

pippa-akram-social-media-expert

Pippa Akram, Social Media Consultant

 

Facebook Ads with optimised landing pages

Consider using Facebook adverts to increase your following on the platform. Coughing up to Facebook might seem a little daunting at first, but with the right amount of input on your end it can be completely worth the effort and money! Begin by gathering a thorough view of your page’s current audience through the analytics so you know who to target your campaign to. Keep to a low budget at first and always have a beady eye on the campaign’s analytics. Last but absolutely not least, make sure you have some ninja landing pages – a dedicated, optimised destination for your Facebook followers to land on will help ensure you get the conversions you’re looking for.

 

rebecca-irvine-exposure-ninja

Rebecca Irvine, Exposure Ninja

 

Optimise your About Me section with keywords

Under the About me Section include ‘searchable’ keywords, but try not to overuse them. Think of keywords your ideal customer will use to search for you and your services, and this will help you come up higher in Google for the keywords used in your description.

 

Loredana-baranga-digital-marketology

Loredana Baranga, Marketology

 

Use Video

Personally, I think businesses use video far too rarely. My videos tend to skyrocket in terms of sharing, likes, comments – and even attracting followers – compared to anything else. I believe it’s because videos are easy to consume, you don’t need to go to another website and if you’re giving your customers interesting and useful content – they’ll follow you because they want to see more! I know it worked on me with Sausage Dog Central’s videos – I only want to see more video’s of cute dogs, so you can bet I followed them!

amy-jordan-pop-content-marketing

Amy Jordan (ME!), POP Content

 

 

Growing a customer following on: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great place to network online, especially if you’re in a B2B market; but how do you get the attention your business deserves?

 

Get your employees involved

Your employees are probably going to be your best chance of seeing an increase in LinkedIn follows for your company’s page. Encourage your team to join LinkedIn (if they haven’t already) and see if they can list your brand as their current employer, as this will mean more potential pairs of eyes on your page.

Email signatures

You could also include a link to your company page in staff email signatures, and make sure that employees feel comfortable sharing or ‘Liking’ updates posted on your company’s LinkedIn page, from their own profile.

 

jen-balshaw-add-mustard

Jen Balshaw, addmustard

 

Give them a reason to connect

LinkedIn is the professional network and should be treated as such, building connections there is easier to do than any other social media platform. Yet so many users get it wrong unlike the mass follower tactics you would employ for say Twitter, on LinkedIn it is one at a time over time.

The golden rule is to make it personal and to let your potential new connections know WHY you should connect. Often people are reluctant to connect if they do not know you well or you are not connected to at least some people already in their network.

A connection message I would use would be:

Hi Jayne

I came across your profile recently and I thought their could be some synergy in being connected. I only share FREE and topical information on implementing social media for your business.

 

adam-houlahan-social-media-expert

Adam Houlahan, LinkedIn Expert

 

Use your personal page

When using LinkedIn for business, always use a personal profile over a company page. In my experience, a company page for direct lead generation is not going to bring you much return as people buy from people and having a face behind a status update is much more impactful than sharing as a business.

With a company page, you have very limited capacity with what you can actually do on LinkedIn – you can add status updates and you pay for advertising, which is not the cheapest option and that’s pretty much all you can do. But with a personal profile, you can actually use LinkedIn search function, you can find your target market, you can reach directly out to your target market and you can generate leads completely free of charge.

 

Loredana-baranga-digital-marketology

Loredana Baranga, Marketology

 

Keep your profile up to date

Keep your profile up to date as this will help customers contact you, and customers love to get to know the person behind the business, and this allows them to on a professional level (without them requesting to be a friend on your personal Facebook page).

Publish specialist articles in your industry

Try to publish as many LinkedIn articles in your specialist area as possible, as this will build your creditation and integrity. And you will quickly become the go to person within your industry.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Reach out to prospects

One great thing about LinkedIn is that messages sent are actually also sent directly to people’s email inbox. So if you know someone who’d be a perfect customer, but you don’t have their email – contact them on LinkedIn. Keep it personal and try to focus on developing a relationship before selling – they’ll be much more likely to buy from you and become a follower that way!

 

amy-jordan-pop-content-marketing

Amy Jordan (ME!), POP Content

 

Get active

The key to building a network on LinkedIn is to get active. Many business people are just ‘on’ LinkedIn but they don’t actually ‘use’ it. More than any other social network, LinkedIn rewards activity. Even a simple Like of an update can get you and your profile photo displayed on the news feed of your connections. Start building on your activity on LinkedIn by engaging with other people. You can congratulate them on a new job or perhaps comment on an update or article. Then start to post your own updates and publish your own articles. Once comfortable with this regular activity, then join a few Groups that are relevant to your or your clients’ business sectors and take part in discussions. Finally you can seek out prospects and connect with them using Advanced Search followed by a message. It’s worth considering LinkedIn Premium which gives you the ability to directly message LinkedIn members even if you’re not connect to them, as well as other benefits.

 

jonathan-pollinger-intranet-future

Jonathan Pollinger, Intranet Future

 

 

Growing a customer following on: Instagram

Instagram, somewhere between Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, is full of images – and potentially your customers! So here’s our experts giving you some tips on how to reach out to them.

 

Tell us your story

Telling your story with social media is incredibly important. Your story, and other stories, are memorable and more interesting than a sales-driven feed, and exactly what social media is for.

Instagram has just added a really great feature called Instagram Stories. Now you can add images or 10 second videos to your story, write over them, or add a filter. The app will play one after another when your followers watch it.

This helps you to share updates throughout the day, adding to a compelling story, and keeps your audience engaged just like on Snapchat. The stories are also shown at the top of the app, giving storytellers more exposure than if they were lost in the feed.

Why use Instagram? The beautiful image-driven platform attracts the glossy magazine culture, and the beautiful content is a big pull for creatives and the younger social media audience.

If you’re not on Instagram or haven’t used it for a while, now’s the perfect time to come back and give it another go.

 

todd-spaghetti-agency

Todd, Spaghetti Agency

 

Creative Imagery

Be creative with your posts. Too many businesses rush out a photo of people working within their office and then wonder why their fan base hasn’t increased. Consider which hashtags will work, be creative with the photography and don’t overdo it with the editing when it isn’t needed. While many businesses take photos on the spot and run with them, I prefer to plan out at the start of the week exactly what posts will be pushed out when and exactly who we are targeting.

 

tom-bourlet-the-stag-company

Tom Bourlet, The Stag Company

 

Use relevant hashtags

It’s hard to avoid hashtags on Instagram, and for good reason. They are a key way of increasing your following. Relevant hashtags mean that users not already following you can find your content, land on your profile and if they like what they see, are potentially going to follow you, too. Make sure to use hashtags that are relevant to your brand and the rest of your Instagram posts, as well as your audience, else you may disappoint users rather than see an increase in followers!

 

jen-balshaw-add-mustard

Jen Balshaw, addmustard

 

Run a giveaway

Running a giveaway on Instagram can do wonders for your follower count. Customers always love getting free stuff, and are more than happy to follow a few rules to get involved. To qualify for entry, have users follow you, repost a picture, and hashtag your business’s name or a catchy phrase, and watch your follower count clock up. Teaming up with a prominent Instagrammer or blogger in your industry can be an amazing way to really boost this, and this way they do the promotion for you!

rebecca-irvine-exposure-ninja

Rebecca Irvine, Exposure Ninja

 

Post high quality images – often.

Post often, and post high quality images. Try not to use stock images or product shots. Lifestyle images, interior shots and beautiful scenery usually work best and gain the most engagement.

Follow your competitors following

To build your following, monitor your competitors. Look at whom they’re following, and follow them, like their photos and comment on them. Place yourself directly in front of them.

Keep to a theme with your hashtags

Keep to a theme, as a business, try not to be all over the place and use the correct hashtags, and if relevant tag in the correct people.

Use video

Use Instagram video as much as you can. You can now film up to 1 minute, so enough time to keep your audience engaged. However, remember to keep it straight to the point. Most people access Instagram from their phone, and often when they can’t listen to it, so use subtitles or video content without sound.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

 

Growing a customer following on: Reddit

Now, you can’t have followers on Reddit – but it is an amazing social network, not to be ignored. If you write great content (and you have thick skin) – Reddit can make your website go viral.

 

Choose your subreddits wisely

If you’re looking to attract attention through a subreddit, make sure you choose carefully before posting. You need to find a subreddit that has a good audience already (I usually aim for 20,000+ subscribers) but also one that is going to be genuinely interested in your content.

You can use the subreddit search through Reddit; make sure to read the particular subs description and rules before posting though. Not only will it makes sure you don’t break rules and get kicked out (some places only allow text posts, or only let you post after you have a certain number of ‘Karma’) it will also ensure you are definitely posting to the right kind of people.

For example – I joined the subreddit “nosleep” (being an entrepreneur means I often suffer from insomnia). I thought “OH great! There’ll be lot’s of people like me sharing tips on how to get a better night sleep.” How wrong I was. It’s full of scary stories aimed at making it impossible to get to sleep. Lesson learned; but also a happy accident since I love scary stories!

 

amy-jordan-pop-content-marketing

Amy Jordan (ME!), POP Content

 

Get viral and submit your blog posts

One of the most effective (and cheap!) methods that we’ve found for social media marketing success is viral marketing, or more specifically submitting blog posts to the website Reddit.

Reddit is insanely viral, and it is very easy to generate traffic to your content through the site. There are endless amounts of communities on the site (known as ‘subreddits’), and you’re bound to find one which is at least vaguely related to the content that you’re promoting. This is the perfect opportunity to drive some relevant traffic to your website and possibly even start to build an audience around your content. The platform is free to join and you can start submitting content immediately.

 

sam-williamson-aims-media

Sam Williamson, Aims Media

 

Create your own subreddit

If you want to scale your social media marketing efforts even further then you could create your own ‘subreddit’ dedicated to your brand. You can then invite existing customers to join the subreddit or try to build an entirely new audience on the platform.

Viral traffic isn’t as valuable as traffic from a loyal audience, so there are some limitations to this method. But you can still build an email list and generate a social buzz with viral marketing, which is why Reddit is still a valuable platform for social media marketing.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Using Reddit to Grow a Social Media Audience

If the goal is to grow a social media audience using Reddit, the brand should start by creating amazing content that delivers value to a specific niche. They should then take the time to become familiar with the rules and culture of the various subreddits related to their niche. Once they have a comprehensive understanding of the subreddits, they can start to share their content with the subreddits in a non-promotional way. This means taking the content off of their social media accounts and sharing it through Imgur.com (image sharing) or through a text-post directly on Reddit. The one exception is video, which has to be shared via YouTube or another video hosting site. If you share high-quality content consistently in a community, members will start to ask about who you are and where they can follow your content.

Overall, the strategy is to give and give until users start asking you to share your links to the social media platforms where they can follow you directly. If you start by sharing your social media links, your posts will likely be marked as spam and you could potentially be banned from a specific community or the platform as a whole.

 

dave-digiovanni-marketers-guide-to-reddit

Dave DiGiovanni, Marketers Guide To Reddit

 

Growing a customer following on: Snapchat

Snapchat is fairly new to the marketing scene, although it’s been in my pocket for years! It gives a little snap shot into your favourite people’s lives – so how do you gain a customer following using it?

 

Show behind the scenes

My top tips to success are showing behind the scenes, showing your personality and showing the in-between moments, because that’s what Snapchat is all about. It’s not a perfectly polished Instagram post that’s filtered. It’s not a carefully considered blog post. The beauty of Snapchat is the fact that it is those in between, raw, real moments. So I think for success I would say, be real, be you and make sure you’re showing people the parts that they don’t see on other social networks. Go deeper into conversations with those that engage with you, ask questions, understand others perspectives and make sure that you are also consuming others content and not just producing content.

 

victoria-taylor-snapchat

Victoria Taylor, Blend Social

 

Promote your account offline and online

When it comes to Snapchat, there are a few ways in which brands and companies can get actual customers to follow them.

Firstly, by posting/including their Snapcode on any receipts or promotional material a customer may get after making a purchase – the company should increase in followers quickly. If there is a simple code to scan to follow your brand on Snapchat – why would your customers avoid that?

Secondly, promote exclusive offers and competitions on your Snapchat – customers will always engage with a network if they feel they are gaining something in return.

Thirdly, print your Snapcode and place it within your window (if you have one) – that way customers and browsers can scan as they shop and follow you too!

 

laurence-hebberd-speaker

Laurence Hebberd, Link Humans

 

Setup a QR code on your other social media channels

SnapChat isn’t relevant to everyone’s business, and the demographic is lower than most other platforms. However, the SnapChat is the best platform to develop a strong social influencer and celebrity endorsement campaign. Create a SnapChat QR Code and place it on your other social media channels. A scan converts into a follow.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Snapcode – Snapchat

If using Snapchat, you will know the difficulty in finding other’s profiles. You therefore need to embrace your snapcode. Highlight on all other social platforms and anywhere else is pertinent to your business.

 

tom-bourlet-the-stag-company

Tom Bourlet, The Stag Company

 

 

Growing a customer following on: Pinterest

I love Pinterest; it’s full of ideas, articles and all sorts of interesting things. But how do you use it to grow your customer following?

 

Optimise your profile

Pinterest is not a Social Network as you may think, Pinterest is a collection of ideas, a visual discovery engine, and this comes from horses’ mouth. On Pinterest we pin, repin create boards to inspire us with our next project and Pinterest can really help businesses with SEO if we set us our account properly and optimize our website for Pinterest. With the right visuals every business can gain a captive audience. For those that are new to Pinterest make sure your profile is optimised before moving forward.

What being optimised actually means on Pinterest:

  • Complete your business account profile
  • Verify your website
  • Set up Pinterest Boards, at least 5 to begin with
  • Find and pin content
  • Create content on your website which you can pin and share on your Pinterest account.

And of course the benefits will start showing quicker than you envisaged:

  • increased awareness
  • additional blog traffic
  • new leads
  • increased sales

 

Loredana-baranga-digital-marketology

Loredana Baranga, Marketology

 

Overlay text on images & get involved

If your company is creative or your products particularly visual, getting on Pinterest is an amazing way to reach your customer base and tap directly into their interests. Create some beautiful boards featuring your products, and engage with other users, keeping it social and laidback. Make sure you add a pin-it button to your website to allow browsers to pin your content to their own boards and get you noticed. A great tip is to overlay text to images in blogs so when they’re seen out of context on your boards, users can still tell what they’re about!

 

rebecca-irvine-exposure-ninja

Rebecca Irvine, Exposure Ninja

 

Send your customers mood boards

In my view, Pinterest is still very Americanised. However, Pinterest is a great tool to utilise in your email marketing campaigns. It allows you to put together mood boards, wish lists and ‘style it’ boards. Send these boards to your customers for inspiration, linking in a particular product. This will allow them to visualise your products and gain ideas.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Engage with popular pins

One tip for getting yourself more visibility on Pinterest – and therefore increasing the chances of gaining followers – is to engage with popular pins. These are pins that have been repinned, liked and commented on frequently and appear in the ‘popular’ section of the platform. You can take advantage of their popularity with a genuine, meaningful comment, which not only opens up a dialogue between your brand and the pinner, but also means you might increase your visibility amongst other Pinterest users.

However, you should always ensure that the pin is relevant to your brand and that your comment shows that you know and care about the subject matter. If not, it could come across as insincere and even spammy!

 

jen-balshaw-add-mustard

Jen Balshaw, addmustard

 

 

 

Growing a customer following on: Extra Tips

Since our social media experts were so full of tips and tricks, I didn’t want you to miss out on them even though they don’t quite make up their own category – so here’s all the extra tips they had for getting a customer following online.

 

Tumblr

For me, Tumblr is probably the most underrated social media platform for social media marketing out there. Over the years it has become unfairly associated with angsty teenagers and bad fan art, but if you’re willing to wade your way through the nonsense you’ll find a plethora of marketing opportunities across a wide range of industries. Like Reddit, users on Tumblr are predominately anonymous, and are generally less concerned with maintaining a clean-cut appearance on their profiles. For this reason, companies that sell slightly taboo items can often be wildly successful on Tumblr. But even if your product isn’t controversial, you’ll still be able to build a decent following on Tumblr and promote your brand successfully. Tumblr has a ‘viral culture’ like Reddit, where much of the popular content that ends up on Facebook and Twitter originated on sites like Tumblr, so it’s the perfect place to gain some traffic to a good piece of content that you’ve been working on.

 

sam-williamson-aims-media

Sam Williamson, Aims Media

 

Make your social media icons clear

Make sure your social media icons are clear and easy to find on your site. The footer is perfect as this is consistent across your site and is where people will tend to expect to find contact details. Always double check that the links work, too! The same approach should also be applied to your email communications.

 

jen-balshaw-add-mustard

Jen Balshaw, addmustard

 

Set up tracking

Offline marketing and PR can be as valuable as online, however, it can be more difficult to track sales and results. When placing your business in offline magazines, create a unique code for readers to use, or an incentive to sign up to the mailing list. This will help you track and analyse where traffic is coming from.

If you are placed in online press/articles, ensure that they use a keyword enriched press release, and back links to your website/online profile.

 

hayley-smith-boxed-out-pr

Hayley Smith, Boxed Out PR

 

Print your profiles everywhere

Sneak your social profiles onto just about everywhere. On leaflets, on the products, napkins, pens, banners, anywhere you can!

 

tom-bourlet-the-stag-company

Tom Bourlet, The Stag Company

Conclusion

I just wanted to make sure I thanked all the amazing social media experts that took part in this article; thanks for all your help, connecting me to other experts and spending the time to share your expertise with me. I couldn’t have done this without you!

My final thoughts?

Weirdly enough, getting more out of social media means being more social.  Get out there and talk to people, provide them real value, and they’re much more likely to follow you on social media and become a customer. People buy from people after all, so go out there and get connecting!

If you have any amazing tactics that you’d love included, or you have any questions/feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch at amy@popcontent.co.uk

To download the full guide as a pdf, sign up to our weekly emails here.

The 9 different types of digital marketing: Which is right for you?

It can be a complete minefield when you’re trying to figure out which type of digital marketing is going to be right for your business. Everything sounds amazing, often promising the same things; but which type of digital marketing is going to be right for you? In this article, I hope to shine a bit of light on the subject so you can make the right choice for your business. Here they are; all the different types of digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is one of the first and still strongest types of digital marketing you’ll come across. 94% of all the clicks in search results go to organic listings – not PPC. The methods have changed over the years; but the aim is still generally the same. Get you higher up in the list when your customers do Google searches.

What is it?

SEO is a type of marketing which main goal is to get you to rank higher up in Google searches.

Who’s it for?

Most businesses will need it – some more than others.

You can find out if it’s worth it for your business by doing a little keyword research – use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool for free and find out how many searches are being done for keywords around your business. If you’re a local business you might be able to do some yourself.

How much is it?

Depends on the competition in your industry – but a good SEO agency is likely to charge upwards of £1000 – £2000 per month.

What should I look out for?

Look for a couple of things – do they have a decent/large blog themselves? Do their tactics include content marketing?

Content marketing is the only way to do SEO these days – be wary of anyone who offers guarantees and claims to be able to rank your website highly without adding pages and text. They may well be using black hat techniques. 

types of digital marketing seo ppc

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

When people refer to pay per click advertising, they are likely talking about the ‘sponsored’ links you often see in Google searches; however they may also be referring to ads in other search engines too, like Yahoo or Bing.

They’re one of the only types of digital marketing that is completely short term – when you stop paying, the ad ceases to exist.

They are links to your website that you pay to get ranked above or alongside the ‘organic’ listings shown in a search. SEO is about ranking highly long term in the organic listings – PPC is usually about simply paying a search engine directly to be up there.

What is it?

The ‘sponsored’ links you’ll see in many search engine results. They’ll usually have a note somewhere to let you know they are sponsored.

They can also be picture ads featuring on other websites.

Who’s it for?

Just about anyone can use PPC and profit.

Approach with extreme caution however – it can be a ruthless money pit if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Couple of quick tips – choose to keywords that you think are very relevant searches to your products. Make sure you optimise your page content for those keywords – this can reduce the cost of your ads. Monitor the traffic coming in and sales/leads too closely; so you can cut out any ads or keywords that are losing you money.

How much is it?

Varies considerably. A click may cost 30p in the canine food industry and upwards of £100 per click in the insurance industry. It depends how much a click is really worth to you and what profits it’s bringing in.

An average ad is likely to cost between £2 – £3 per click.

An agency can cost anywhere from a few hundred per month to a few thousand, depending on the size of your business and complexity of your campaigns.

What should I look out for?

I’d look for a Google Certified agency if you’re going down the Google route; I would completely avoid large companies like Yell.com who offer cheap setup and monitoring and claim to be Google Certified partners.

I’ve seen many clients who’ve had astonishingly bad experiences with this – you’d be much better off saving your £100 per month, doing it yourself and putting that money into your budget instead. I have literally seen them set up ads for a business who didn’t even sell the products they had put up advertising for.  It’s because they work at high volume and don’t take the time to find out anything about your business. They literally hadn’t spent the time to check the products they sold in this case. And, many times they charge you to monitor the ads monthly – but do nothing for that money.

Public Relations (PR)

pr-types-of-digital-marketing-magazines

Public relations cannot be overlooked – and although it’s not strictly just a type of digital marketing, I had to include it because it can have a huge impact on your digital marketing results.

Of all the types of digital marketing; PR is most likely to result in the most exposure quickly (apart from maybe viral marketing – but more on that later.)

What is it?

PR is all about exposure – whether that’s in a news article or giving a talk at an event, it’s aim is to get your business well known out there and in the right places.

Who’s it for?

Again, I’d recommend it for everyone, but particularly new businesses. One of the biggest hurdles is getting noticed when you start out – so PR is a great way to start.

How much is it?

Varies widely – but the average cost per hour has been found to be $125 (or £96). However, you can do some of your own PR for free. (I will be writing on that soon – sign up to the POP Content email list if you want to make sure you don’t miss the article!)

What should I look out for?

Look for the results people have produced –  where have they managed to get their previous clients into? How popular were the articles? Did they bring in leads?

Also – find out what types of businesses they’ve worked with. Often PR agencies will specialise in certain industries and will have better connections with your industry if you pick the right one.

Social Media Marketing

social media wtf digital marketing types

Social media marketing is a great way to get exposure and connect with your customers. Talking with your customers directly is a great way to get them to know, like and trust you – which is ultimately the best way to make a sale, and maybe even a brand advocate.

If you’re considering all the different types of digital marketing – this is likely the one that will help you grow your relationship with your customers fastest.

What is it?

Social media marketing covers everything that you might do to drum up business on your social media channels – from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and LinkedIn – where ever you’re connecting with your customers socially – it’s social media marketing.

Who’s it for?

Most people can benefit but especially if you are a B2C company or you’re just starting out in general

How much is it?

Again, if you want it done well, you’ll be looking at a few hundred pounds a month at a minimum. However, if you’re a small business and you have 20-30 minutes a day – it can be much more profitable to simply do it yourself.

Get involved in the conversations going on and remember not to be totally self promotional – no one likes to follow an advert.

What should I look out for?

Follow count isn’t always the best indicator of success – basically there’s some dirty tactics you can play, like buying followers, that could suggest a social media marketer is good when really they have a lot of fake accounts following them. Saying that, I’d be nervous to hire someone who only had 20 followers themselves.

Instead, I would check out their clients accounts – look at their following and try to see if their content is being interacted with. You can also find reviews if they have any from real clients. It’ll be a much better indicator as to whether their work has brought in sales and leads.

Content Marketing

content marketing is like a big digital marketing cuddle
Content marketing is like all the best bits of digital marketing – wrapped up into one big cuddle

Oh, content marketing. You are my hero. Content marketing is the ultimate type of digital marketing – because it includes all the best stuff, working in harmony.

It mixes great content on your website, SEO, PR and Social Media Marketing in tandem.

Using all the methods together can make your business a serious success.

Because it’s a combination of lot’s of the other types of digital marketing – it’s definitely my favourite.

What is it?

Content marketing is a method of digital marketing that uses good content that your customers want to read to encourage new sales and leads online. It can be content anywhere – from YouTube to podcasts, tweets to infographs – but most often it’s blog content on your website, driving new traffic through search engines like SEO.

Who’s it for?

I would say everyone! But I’m biased. Also – it’s for everyone. If you want to get ahead of the competition before they tap into your content marketing secrets – get going now.

It might already be too late.

How much is it?

The cost of a website, good domain name and hosting – probably £20-£50 a year. If you can do it yourself.

Honestly though, it does take some serious time, skill and dedication – if you do hire out, the monthly cost is the same as SEO companies – upwards of £1000-£2000 per month.

However, you can also choose to go on courses or learn from a consultant like myself and save a lot more in the long term by doing a lot of it in house.

What should I look out for?

I personally believe in being honest and open – so somewhere showing their pricing is always a good indication that you won’t get ripped off. Although I know it can be a tricky one to price as content marketing work can vary depending on the competitiveness of your industry.

Look for an agency with a good blog, which posts useful stuff regularly and one that has decent reviews.

If they’re only charging a few hundred per month for a full service – it’s likely not content marketing – or it won’t get you anywhere fast.

Simply put, there’s so much work to put in from writing, to editing for search engines, to content promotion, website optimisation/alterations and PR work for the business in general – a few hundred wouldn’t cover the cost of anyone good at what they do.

Although it can be one of the most expensive types of digital marketing – you get out what you put in, and I’d advise everyone to do it.

Even if it’s a bit of DIY, some content done well is better than none!

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate marketing together
Marketing’s easier with more people on your side

Affiliate marketing is where you site back and relax – and let someone else do the marketing for you. The only catch is, if they bring in a sale – you share the profits.

The great thing is, unlike the other types of digital marketing – there’s no cost upfront.

What is it?

Affiliate marketing is where you recruit ‘affiliates’ for your business, and they draw in leads. Affiliates are like sales people that you pay on commission. The ‘commission’ is determined entirely by you; some organisations offer a percentage of the sale made, others offer a flat rate per product.

You can even outsource setting up the system to places like ‘shareasale’.

Who’s it for?

I’ve mainly seen it used for B2C, e-commerce businesses, simply because you have to be able to track the direct sales and where it comes from for it to work well. Any website with a direct sale made online could work though.

How much is it?

That’s the awesome thing – it doesn’t have to cost you a penny!

Be wary though; it does mean giving control of your brand over to strangers. It’s usually only a good thing, but might depend on your product. You want to avoid the system being abused. Make sure you set out clear terms and conditions before you dive in.

What should I look out for?

Make sure you set the boundaries of what is and isn’t allowed; what happens when there’s a return made? How often will the affiliate be paid? Are there certain words or website’s you don’t wish your brand to be connected with?

Obviously you want to make the deal worth an affiliate’s time to get involved – but you don’t want to be taken advantage of either.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is amazing – if you can get some content of yours to go viral, it could turn your business into an overnight success.

To make your next marketing campaign can take a combination of a number of the other types of digital marketing – such as content marketing, PR and social media marketing – but it can also lead to some amazing results for your business.

Check out the dollar shave club – they went from nothing to 12,000 orders in two days with this video:

What is it?

Viral marketing is when you do something either incredibly weird, hilarious or “on trend” in a current popular topic, which gets you noticed and shared – a lot. It usually causes a big spike in traffic to your website over a short period of time.

Who’s it for?

Viral marketing can help any business out there – however – I’ve mainly seen big wins with B2C businesses. Mainly because consumer goods going to reach a much bigger audience than a business service…like insurance. Not impossible, just harder.

However I’ve even used some forms of viral marketing with success myself – not resulting in millions of views, but if you reach a few hundred of the right kind of customer it can mean big things for your bottom line.

How much is it?

Some companies offer viral marketing services – I’d argue I’d use these same methods in a content marketing service.

If you’re looking for something as big as the dollar shave club – it cost them about $4,500. However, you’ll have to take the time to think of a good idea, something completely new – and hopefully hilarious.

Remember to work on promoting your video after too – because it could be the best video in the world, but if only your mum sees it – not many customers are going to sign up.

What should I look out for?

Be wary of any companies offering guarantees – like I say, even if you had the best video, it doesn’t mean it’s going to get noticed by the right people. If you’re looking to work with a video company – come to them with an idea of how you want it to come across – bring along videos you like.

Of all the types of digital marketing, this one can be the riskiest – but it can also have one of the biggest payoffs.

And check out their portfolio first; sometimes film-makers have a certain style, and if it doesn’t fit with what you have in mind – probably go somewhere else.

Influencer Marketing

instagram influencer marketing digital marketing type

Influencer marketing is relatively new – but it’s a very exciting type of digital marketing.

It’s vastly different from the other types of digital marketing, but can be equally as effective.

What is it?

Influencer marketing is where you drive sales by striking a deal with someone who already has a following and “influences” your target market. It’s a bit like how Pepsi might sponsor Britney Spears as it’s spokes person. If your target market was other entrepreneurs for example, you might try to get Richard Branson on board to help market your business.

But these days, with social media, it goes even further than that. You can strike a good deal with a popular instagrammer and get her to wear your brand of clothes in a couple of photos – and spend a few hundred pounds in order to reach millions of your target market.

Who’s it for?

Mainly B2C eCommerce business owners, but not solely. For example, I could attempt to get an influencer in my industry to tweet about me – and this would also count as influencer marketing and be great exposure.

How much is it?

Depends entirely on your industry, the influencer and what you’re looking for. Sometimes you can offer a product for free in return for a blog article about it. Other times you need to pay people to wear your products – reach out to people and be friendly – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

What should I look out for?

Look out for dodgy looking social accounts – check out their followers to see if they’re legitimate people and not spam. And if a blogger is claiming a certain percentage of traffic per month, ensure you get them to verify it by sending you their google analytics stats.

Digital/Online/Website Marketing

types of digital marketing online

Digital, online, website marketing – these are all the same things. And they cover any of the above. It’s an ‘umbrella’ term. So I would make sure you figure out which of the services you really want in the above list before going to an agency that does this, so you know exactly which types of digital marketing you should ask for.

What is it?

It’s an umbrella term for all of the above; it doesn’t usually include PR but often includes a mishmash of any of the above.

Who’s it for?

Everyone who wants to be successful online – whatever you do – don’t just invest in a website and let it sit!

How much is it?

Depends entirely on how much you do yourself and which services you’d like to use. See different costs for above services.

What should I look out for?

Check out which types of digital marketing agencies have on offer and that they offer the ones you’re looking for. Doing it all doesn’t mean they do it well though; get in touch with past clients and ask the agency as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. Sometimes it’s better to go to a few different specialists instead of an all in one.

Obviously, don’t expect them to giveaway all their knowledge for free; but asking how they do things and what kind of tactics they use is completely legitimate. The last thing you want is to get blacklisted by Google or ruin your customer fan base by using the wrong digital marketing agency.

Summary of the 9 types of digital marketing

Here’s a quick summary of the main goals of each of the 9 different types of digital marketing, in case you’re still not sure which is right for you:

SEO: Increase traffic from search engines

PPC:  Increase traffic from search engines

PR: Increase exposure for business

Social Media Marketing: Build customer relationships

Content Marketing: Increase traffic from search engines, exposure, sales & leads

Affiliate Marketing: Increase sales & leads

Viral Marketing: Increase exposure – short term

Influencer Marketing: Increase exposure – targetted

Online/Website Marketing: Coverall term; could include any of the above methods/goals

 

I hope you found this guide useful, and hopefully you’re now armed with lot’s of questions for your digital marketer! You might even now know more than your digital marketer about all the different types of digital marketing.

If you’d like to find out more, just leave me any questions you have below in the comments or contact me with any questions you might have – I’d be happy to help.

And if you loved this article about the 9 different types of digital marketing and want to find out more about how to do content marketing yourself – sign up to our weekly email list here. Happy to say – we never spam. We’re big spam haters. Apart from the food. We love food.

Best content marketing services: Which is right for you?

How do you choose the best content marketing services for your business?

I know what it’s like – there’s so many choices when it comes to online marketing it’s enough to make your head spin.

You’ve got SEO, PR, Social Media Marketing, “Digital Marketing” and Content Marketing services to choose from.

Once you’ve decided you want the best of all worlds, exposure and more leads – you settle on content marketing.

Drive lots of traffic to your website, and the right kind of traffic too – customers.

People searching for your services in Google are much more likely to become customers than someone who stumbles on your twitter account after all.

Choosing the right service is something that I’ve seen businesses really struggle with.

Making the wrong choice can ruin your chances at online success. And leave a bitter taste in your mouth about online marketing in general. No one want’s to plummet a whole heap of money into something that doesn’t work for them, after all.

So here’s a short guide on how to choose the best content marketing services for you.

You don’t have to read it all – skip down to the heading that suits you best & read on!

 

Best content marketing services for a solo-preneur

As a solo-preneur you’re up against some heavy competition, let’s be honest.

But the great thing is – with the right content marketing services – you can carve out a serious piece of success. You have the passion & expertise in your industry that often larger companies don’t have. Their marketing will be done by someone who is passionate about marketing, not your products and services.

The question is – do you have more time or money?

If you’re under a serious amount of pressure already – you’ll want to work with a content marketing consultant. They can help you figure out what time you do have to contribute to your content marketing and devise a plan of action from there. You can do a serious amount on your own in a relatively short weekly window, if you have it. However, a good consultant will also point you to the right completely outsourced service if you can’t face doing it all yourself.

As a solopreneur, you’re likely to be low on funds.

If that’s true for you, doing some weekly training with a content marketing consultant could massively benefit you. Spend the time learning how to do it yourself, which things will have the most impact on your business etc – and eventually you won’t even need the consultant to help. They’ll often do the technical research for you and help you edit your blogs, which makes you much more likely to succeed.

If weekly training doesn’t sound like it will suit – you can even check out courses in your area, or get a step by step content marketing plan you can follow in your own time.

More information on weekly content marketing guidance can be found here.

 

Best content marketing services for a small business

If you’re running a small team and juggling a lot of customers all at once – it can be really tough to figure out which content marketing service is right for you.

You’ve little time to invest, but also not a great deal of money either.

The thing is – getting a full service content marketing agency to take are of it all is seriously pricey. To be done correctly takes a huge amount of time weekly, not to mention knowledge and skill, so if you want to make any real dent in your progress through outsourcing – you’re talking about investing thousands per month.

If your local company is offering it for hundreds – run – fast.

You won’t see real results from it, so you’d be better saving that money to invest in something else.

If you have staff, however – you’re at an advantage.

Who in your staff is most knowledgeable about your product? Whether it’s yourself, or the latest intern – training is your best option.

Whether you choose to look at online courses, follow professional weekly guidance, or a custom content marketing plan for your website – hundreds invested in yourself or your staff will go so much further for you in the future. The return on your investment will be serious stuff and you’re also much more likely to succeed with your content marketing efforts.

After all – who cares more about your businesses success than you?

And when you do grow big enough that you need to outsource – you’ll even know what to look out for, and how to spot the scam artists quickly!

 

Best content marketing services for a medium business

If you’re running a medium sized company, with a decent team behind you, you likely have a couple of marketing personnel already working on your latest venture. So the question really is – should you outsource it all completely? Or can they be trained to sort it out for you?

In this situation, the biggest factor is going to be time.

Sit down and talk with your marketing team – realistically, how much time can they offer per week to your website? What kind of potential customers are there online for your market?

If they can offer between 2-6 hours or more weekly – weekly guidance and training from a content marketing consultant might suffice. With a view for them to eventually take on everything themselves, your marketing team could be personally trained on how to content market well for your business.

Not only is this a great motivational boost for them, ticking the box in personal development – but it means avoiding the heavy cost of fully outsourcing too.

Fully outsourcing your content marketing is going to make a serious dent in your bank account.

You’re talking a few thousand per month to see any results – it’s like hiring a new member of staff. However, if your marketing team isn’t confident with the online world and you’d just like it taken care of by a professional – it’s a completely legitimate option.

Get in touch with a few agencies and get an idea of cost. And more importantly – find out who knows what they’re talking about. Check out their blog and ask them some questions. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t always mean it’s going to work either.

Ask them for a realistic time scale on when you can expect more customers hitting your site – and what kind of keywords they would aim for and why.

Honestly – if it doesn’t cost at least a thousand per month to outsource – you’re hiring someone who has no idea what they’re doing.

You’d likely get more results out of going on the street and paying customers to come inside if it only costs a few hundred.

 

Best content marketing services for a large business

If you have a fairly large company the most likely thing is – you want it all taken care of.

This one’s a pretty simple recommendation – get it outsourced. The one thing you’ll want to ensure you do is to find an agency or consultant that wants to work closely with you or a member of your marketing team.

The reason is, it’s important that their marketing goals align with your business plans. To be able to perform your content marketing well, they need to know who your target market are, how your products or services help and more.

Find someone you can work closely with – and that’s open about how they get it all to work.

There are no “guarantees” in content marketing – so stay well away from anyone who offers them. Even if you worked for Google you couldn’t guarantee to rank for a keyword.

Ask them for time scales and information on their methods as well as a price – most expensive doesn’t always mean best unfortunately.

Expect them to be in contact frequently – content marketing works best when an expert is at the helm of your content. So expertise will be needed from you or a member of staff in order to bring in new customers through your website.

Here’s more information on fully outsourcing your content marketing.

 

Best content marketing services for charities and non-profits

If you’re running a charity or non-profit organisation – let’s face it – the budget can be tight.

You don’t want to waste your donated funds into something that’s not going to work.

If you have keen volunteers that are somewhat good at writing and website’s – get a custom content marketing plan they can follow. It’s the cheapest way to go about it, while achieving real results.

If you’re serious about gaining exposure online about your charity, drumming up more investment & getting more volunteers – you need to take your online marketing seriously.

That doesn’t mean you have to fork over thousands per month – but having someone on your team trained to do it for you could mean huge growth in the next 6 months.

Check out our custom content marketing plans for more information.

[We like to donate our time too. From time to time we offer free website reviews for non-profits – contact us to be added to our list.]

 

Best content marketing services for owners with no time

You’ve not got any time to be doing content marketing on your own – you’ve barely enough time to read this article.

In fact – let’s be honest – you’ve not read anything else and skipped straight here.

Let me be straight with you – content marketing takes a serious amount of time, skill and dedication. If you don’t have the time to invest in it – it’s going to be fine. But you’ll need to put your money where your mouth is.

Get on the bandwagon before it’s too late – content marketing is the only way to rank well in search engines these days.

Outsourcing is going to be your best option.

Search for content marketing agencies and content marketing consultants – send them off a quick email such as the following – happy for you to copy and paste:

Hello [Insert name here],

I’m looking for a content marketing service for my business [insert business name here]. You seem like you might be able to help.

I have a couple of questions for you:

  1. How long would you expect it to take before I was seeing traffic from content marketing?
  2. What kind of keywords would you recommend aiming for initially and why?
  3. What will you need from me?
  4. What methods do you employ?
  5. How much does it cost?

Thanks for any information,

[Your name here]

Firstly – take note of how long they take to respond. Obviously if it’s on a weekend, I wouldn’t expect an instant response, but if they take more than 1-2 working days, let’s be honest – they might have too much work on at the moment to focus on your business.

Secondly – are the cagey about how they work? This is a mega red flag. You do not want to work with anyone doing ‘black hat’ seo – this can permanently damage your website.

Does it sound too good to be true? It could be a scam. Especially if the offer guarantees. Not even Google themselves can offer guaranteed results.

Do they need your input? If they don’t – I’d be nervous. Honestly, I know you don’t have a lot of time – but in order to perform good marketing, they at very least need to know your product/service well (often more than what you’ve written on your website already) as well as knowing what your expectations and goals are with your website. How are they supposed to achieve them if they don’t know them?

Actual length of time, keywords etc are less important – it can depend entirely on your needs, budget and competition in your industry. But what you’re looking for here is someone who responds in a timely manner who seems like they know what they’re talking about.

Information on our content marketing outsourcing services here.

 

Best content marketing services for owners with little money to invest

You’re strapped for cash – but the only way to bring in more money is to get more customers. And the only way to get more customers? Investing in good marketing.

It’s a seriously tough position to be in.

If you know your market are mainly online and you want to attract more customers to your business – you’re going to have to invest in content marketing services. But you need to be extra smart about how you invest.

First things first – talk directly with a content marketing consultant. They’ll be able to tell you what is and isn’t feasible within your budget. A lot of it can be dependant on the competitiveness of your industry – so don’t expect the to give you hard numbers in one phone call.

If you think you have the time to put towards learning how to do it yourself (or getting an intern/family member on board that can help with about 2 – 6 hours work a week) a better idea than getting a fully outsourced service (that will cost thousands) is to get training in how to do it yourself.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a whole lot to learn.

But you don’t have to learn it all – you just have to know enough so you can do it well for your business. There’s options like online courses, working with a content marketing consultant – or we offer something very unique. Weekly content marketing guidance.

Basically we can offer weekly guidance – such as what to write, how to write it for search engines, where to post it, how to promote it etc – tailored entirely around your business. The end result is that you’ll not only have a much better website after a few months – you’ll learn how to take it away and do it yourself.

Which is going to be a huge return on your investment.

 

Best content marketing services for owners who lack writing skills

You’d like to try out content marketing – but honestly, seeing a blank page gives you the chills.

“I’d never be able to write like that”

Whether it’s a worry about your spelling, grammar or just generally writing well enough to make people care – the best content marketing services will be able to help you.

Here’s the thing – you are one of the best placed people to write about your industry. You know your customers better than anyone else. You know your products/services better than anyone else. That makes you the best person to answer your customers questions. And guess what? Most of your success or failure in content marketing is going to depend on how well you answer your customers questions.

If your competitors do it better – they’ll get more customers. Simple.

Did you get a D in English? Maybe you failed?

Don’t panic – before you go an hire a copywriter, know this: people like to read articles written by people.

Just in the way they talk. Your customers aren’t looking for a word perfect essay – they’re looking for someone who knows about your area of expertise to help them.

The best thing for you to do is to work with a content marketing agency. Look out for services where you can be involved – and talk directly to a consultant if you can.

They’ll be able to either help you edit your blog to improve it, or point you in the direction of a full service where you can simply give someone else the answers so they can write them up in a more customer friendly manner.

It entirely depends on your level of skill, the time you have on a weekly basis and the progress you’re hoping to make online.

Get in touch with us today and we can point you to the best content marketing services for your situation.

 

Best content marketing services for owners who lack technical skills

If writing doesn’t put you off, but you just think you’re not clued in enough about how to write for the internet – don’t panic.

We all feel like that at first.

Read up on what it all involves – check out our blog for more information, or you can sign up to our email list to get a free guide on how to write technically for the search engines.

There’s a lot to learn – but it’s not impossible to do it on your own.

If you’re looking for the best content marketing services for your situation – I’d suggest either going for a training programme or working closely with a content marketing consultant. Blogging these days is getting easier and easier – if you can use Word, it’s not a huge leap to use something like WordPress to blog. And it could have a huge impact on your online marketing efforts.

We have a weekly content marketing service you might want to check out here.

 

I hope that was helpful – content marketing can require a great deal of time, cost and expertise. So it’s important to pick the best content marketing services for your business. If you have any questions at all, I’d love to know – just leave me  a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!