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.

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.

How to promote your website locally on Google

Search Engine Optimisation, Content Marketing and everything else in between – it can all be seriously useful for getting new customers to your website, but what happens when your business can only help people locally? Getting thousands of hits from other countries is going to be of no real use to you. So how do you promote your website locally on Google?

This is a question I often come across from businesses I help and it isn’t the easiest thing to tackle – but it can be done.

Here’s a list of some of the best tried and tested tactics for ranking locally

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip One:

Featuring Local Keywords on Your Website

Focus on your local keywords

The first thing to consider with any online strategy is where you want to focus.

What is your aim? What do you want to rank well in Google for?

When it comes to ranking well locally, it’s vital that you consider the keywords you’re using on your website.

If you aren’t sure what keywords are – firstly I’d recommended signing up to the POP Content email list and reading through the quick start traffic guide. It gives you some of the basics in terminology that you’ll probably need to know to get the most out of guides like these.

Don’t be put off – it’ll only take a few minutes to read and will seriously help you make strides in your understanding of online marketing.

Secondly – when I talk about ‘keywords’ it’s simply a term used for search terms; a ‘keyword’ might actually be made up of multiple words. Weird, I know, I didn’t make it up though, it’s an industry term. Whenever you type in a set of words into Google, that could be counted as a ‘keyword’ (e.g. “how to replace a tyre” could be a keyword). And it’s really important before you embark on trying to rank well in Google, that you decide exactly what you’re hoping to rank well for.

Now, when it comes to ranking locally, it’s going to be crucial that you feature local keywords on your website.

If you’re trying to rank well for ‘App Developer Dundee’, for example, it’s important that you mention that exact phrase on your website; probably on a number of different pages, but especially the home page if it’s your main focus keyword.

Google has grown even smarter (as it always does!) so you can also gain benefits by mentioning different geographically relevant keywords around your website.

For example, your business might be in a small village, set within a larger town and within a larger governing district. For POP Content, this might mean mentioning words such as ‘Dundee’ but also ‘Dundee City’, ‘Angus’ and even ‘Scotland’ in our content. It simply makes it easier for Google to figure out where your business is. Plus, it allows different types of local searchers to find you, no matter which geographical area they choose to type into Google.

Don’t fall into the trap of ‘keyword stuffing’, however and overloading your website with that one phrase in too many places. Google wants to know what your website is about, but it is also wise to ‘unnatural’ content and your SEO efforts can be damaged by overdoing it.

A great way to keep your keyword content ‘natural’ is to simply write an article as naturally as possible, then as you edit it, add the term in wherever it will sound completely natural. You can also use an awesome service like Yoast if you have WordPress (it monitors your content as your write it and let’s you know if you’ve gone overkill on your keywords. And it’s free!)

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Two: 

Get Into More & Better Directories

Directories are a great place for your website to appear online; as you’ll know if you follow this blog, backlinks are extremely important when it comes to ranking well in search engines.

While directories may not always give you a big link boost, it’s highly beneficial for local SEO to make sure you’re listed in some good ones.

So which directories should you be in?

Other than just simply making sure you’re in the big ones, such as Yellow Pages or Google+ (see more on the next tip), you can usually get a good indication of whether it’s worth getting into a directory by finding out the ‘Domain Authority’ of the particular website.

Domain Authority is simply a measure that many search engines use to indicate how important & trustworthy the website is, and therefore how much they will trust backlinks from that particular website. The higher the domain authority, the more important a link is from that website.

You want good authority links to your website; so getting into a local online directory can do wonders for your local SEO.

Here’s a simple method for finding a good directory that has a good DA:

  1. Download Moz’s free ‘MozBar’
  2. Once installed, Google your location + ‘directory’ (e.g. Dundee directory)
  3. Open some directories in your neighbourhood and check the ‘DA’ number
  4. If it’s about 20+, it’s probably worth applying to join the directory. If they’re asking for payment to join, I’d aim for 50 or more to make sure it’s worth it, depending on the cost.

Once you’ve entered all the good directories in your area, it’s a good idea to start looking at your listing on the most important one – Google+.

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Three:

Build a Better Google+ Business Page

Google+ Page promote your website locally on Google

Google+ for business is incredibly important if you want to promote your website locally on Google.

Google used to have two separate areas for Google+ (it’s social network site) and Google Local (where you see map listings appearing in a normal Google search or in a search on Google Maps). Now they’ve combined, it gives you the chance to make your listing a lot more detailed; including full business descriptions, profile and cover photos, opening times, business categories, reviews and of course – web links.

I recommend filling out your listing with as much detail as you can.

The truth is, Google is getting smarter and recognising local terms more and more. So if someone searches for ‘Plumber Dundee’ for example, you’ll notice the top results are Google+ Business results (usually around 3 results appear). It’s simply because Google has learned that people are looking for local services when they search particular combinations of terms that include an geographical area name.

Google likes to give it’s users the best information it can – fast.

If you can help to answer a Google users query  within the local listing and avoid them having to read down into the normal organic listings, it’s only a good thing in Google’s view. Being more helpful than a different search result will cause you to be rewarded by being ranked higher. Making your Google+ Business page more detailed than your competitors, with more photos and a Moz recommended 400+ word description, Google is more likely to push you to the top of those local listings simply for being more helpful to it’s users.

The other thing that can seriously help boost your ranking for your Google+ Business page?

Google+ Reviews.

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Four:

Work on Getting More Reviews on Google+

Reviews google+

Some directory sites ban you from asking your customers for reviews – but Google actively encourages it!

Reviews give people evidence of how good your business is and they make any directory more useful (as long as they’re genuine!). The more good reviews you can get on your Google+ page, the more likely your business listing is likely to rank well. If you have 5 or more, you’ll even get little orange stars in your listing which encourages more clicks to your website. If you get a lot of poor reviews, it can of course go the other way and your business may disappear into the ether as they say – so I’d only work on this once you’re happy with your product or service!

Here are some methods you can use to encourage reviews:

  • Email customers after they receive their product or service and simply remind them Google+ reviews are really helpful (or maybe even incentivise them with a coupon off their next purchase)
  • Add a quick reminder to your email signature
  • Remind users on your website that they can check out and leave reviews on your Google+ page
  • Remind users on your social media channels that they can check out and leave reviews on your Google+ page
  • Send customers the direct link to your Google+ review window
  • Leave other businesses you work with reviews and let them know; they’ll be more likely to reciprocate
  • Address any bad reviews with courtesy; you don’t want to scare off potential reviewers by making them think you’ll be aggressive!

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Five:

List Your Local Phone Number

List your local phone number

Google is getting smarter; and listing a local phone number (rather than an 0800 or mobile number) is now an indication Google will take to note your business location.

It knows the local area phone numbers so it will give you a slight boost in their rankings locally if you have a local listed phone number on your website and directory listings. This is also true if you have multiple locations; make sure you have a local telephone number for each one.

If you’re struggling to get a business phone line, or you want just one line to be answered no matter where your customers are calling from, you can use an internet phone service to buy a local area code phone number. Basically it’s a service you can run through your normal landline or mobile phone, but it will be an ‘internet phone line’ that uses a unique local area phone number. Using this service you can choose your own phone number, along with local area code and run it through one line.

There’s many different local geographical phone services out there, simply shop around and see which you think suits your business best!

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Six:

Write More Useful, Relevant Local Blog Posts

Like any content marketing, better content will drive better traffic to your website.

So when you’re trying to attract more customers from your local area, a great idea is to write more relevant blog posts that include local issues.

If you get more links and shares from local news websites, it’s another indication to Google that your business is from that area – which is a big thumbs up.

Of course, you don’t want to overload your blog with only local news – you might start to rank well for the area term (like when someone simply searches ‘UK’ or ‘Dundee’ on it’s own), but what you want is to rank for your area linked with your services (e.g. Content marketing consultant Dundee).

Find a happy medium with your local focused articles if you can; or even sponsor a few local events and write about both your services and the local area.

Another great tip is to write some ‘best of’ pieces about local services in your area unrelated to your own; let other businesses know you’ve featured them and they’ll help to promote your local article and hopefully not only give you a local link boost for SEO, but also drive some local traffic your way – win win!

Finally, it can be seriously shareworthy content if you write ‘list posts’ about very local things; for example, you could write something like “24 sayings only Dundonians understand” or “14 places in Dundee only locals know about”. This kind of content is the kind of thing that can be fairly simple to crack out, but can get viral in the local area – which is great if it’s featured on your website!

Shared content not only gets you more recognition on social media – it gives you an SEO boost too – so this ones a great tactic if you have the time to work on a few local articles.

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Seven:

Keep Your Listings Consistent

Keep your naps consistent

A consistent ‘NAP’ can really help boost your local rankings. Your ‘NAP’ is your name, address and phone number. Keeping these consistent throughout different directories and on your own website has been proven to boost your local rankings.

Google likes to give it’s users clear and valid information – so multiple slight variations can confuse it and make it unsure of which information is correct. Go back and review your directory entries and listed NAPs on your website and try to make them all as consistent as possible.

If you don’t have time to run through them on your own, Moz Local can help you keep your NAP’s consistent – check it out here.

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Eight:

Get into ‘Best of’ and Review Posts

If you can get into some local ‘best of’ posts about your business services in your local area, it can be a huge boost for your local reputations and for local SEO.

Simply search a term such as ‘best marketing consultant UK’ (obviously you would change the service and location to match your business), then get in touch with the writer of the article to ask if they wouldn’t mind considering your service as an addition to the list. If the article is from a competitor agency I may approach with caution – but if they’re open to adding you, it’s always worth asking!

Getting into a best of or a review post of services like yours can not only boost the number of customers seeing your brand locally, but it can also boost your traffic and SEO – especially if they link to your website.

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Nine:

Write a Local Guide

writing local guides to promote locally on google

Writing a local guide, especially if you are in a hospitality or travel business, can seriously help you promote your website locally on Google.

Not only does it give you the opportunity to mention relevant local keywords frequently without your content reading strangely, but it also can be really helpful and shareable information if you work hard on making it quality, useful stuff.

Check out what your competitors have done and take it up a notch; you could even add a pdf download version as an incentive for people to join a email list!

If you’re not in a business where it makes sense to give a local guide, you can always write up a guide on how to get to your offices from different locations, mentioning things Google maps and sat navs might leave out such as where the busiest roads are that you might want to avoid or where clients might enjoy stopping for a great lunch or coffee on their way.

 

Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Ten:

Get More Local Links

You may already know just how important links are in boosting your search engine rankings. Well, just like any good content marketing strategy, search engine optimisation can’t be ignored; and the same goes for when you’re trying to promote your website locally on Google.

Getting local links should be a huge priority when you’re trying to rank well for local search terms.

Here’s some effective tactics you can use to gain more quality local backlinks:

  1. Write local reviews or testimonials for your local suppliers & request a link back for featuring your review on their website
  2. Get involved with your local business authorities and offer to be interviewed for any PR work/offer a service review
  3. Use tip 2 and make sure you enter as many good local directories as possible (ensuring your NAP is consistent)
  4. Follow your local newspaper journalists on Twitter and reach out to them if they need help on a story you have information on. You can simply use twitter search to search for the newspaper name and usually a whole load of journalists will pop up. Add them to a separate private list and check daily to keep it separate from your current twitter feed.
  5. Sponsor local events. If you have a bit of cash behind you, sponsoring a local event could be a great way to not only get your brand in front of new people in your area, but also gain you some great links from local websites.
  6. Check your local councils/governing bodies for advertising or PR opportunities. For example, Dundee City Council is currently offering advertising opportunities; with a domain authority of 96, a good link from someone like that could be seriously valuable!

 

I hope that guide offered some insight and inspired you to promote your website locally on Google. It can certainly be done; just keep at it and you will succeed!

If I can offer any personal help to your business, simply contact POP Content here and ask for Amy – I’ll gladly help you in any way I can. If you have any other tips & tricks you’ve used to promote your website locally on Google – I’d love to add them here! Please just comment below and let me know.

Hope this blog was super helpful – let me know if you’ve used any of these tips to help your business succeed online!

Site Speed: Don’t let it destroy your content marketing efforts

Do you hate slow loading websites? Well, if you do, you’re not alone, your site speed might be more important than you think for your content marketing efforts online.

Slow loading websites are often clicked away from.

We’ve become impatient in our need for information from the internet and if one loads too slowly, it’s a normal reaction to just click back and try another page that might load faster. You know it, I know it – Google knows it too. If you weren’t aware – your site speed plays a role in where you’re ranked in search engine results.

So what’s site speed got to do with your content marketing?

Well, a large part of your content marketing efforts should be drawing potential customers to your website using your content. You can follow all the best advice, write really useful content that your customers are searching for, optimise it for search engines and promote it well – but a lot of your customers won’t bother to read it if they can’t load up your website quickly.

So in short – it can have a giant affect on how well your website draws in leads.

Because of this, I wanted to offer some tips on how you can check your site speed – and what you can do to improve it too.

These tips are intended for a non-developer, but if you have a great web developer – showing them some of your site speed details might even help them speed your site up even more!

How you can find your current site speed

google site speed

Google loves sites that are useful for their searchers – and because of this they’ve made it really simple to find out your site speed, and even let you in on tips on how to increase it.

Simply go to their page speed insights here, enter in your domain and they’ll throw up your site speed score – for both mobile and desktop devices.

Now, unfortunately, a lot of the suggestions Google will throw at you here are only fixable by your developer. If you’re happy to spend the cash, we’d suggest getting a quote for improving the site speed from them – simply send them a link to your page speed insights and they should be able to get a handle on what work is needed.

If you have some time to do some DIY however, here are a few things you can do on your own to improve your site speed without the developer cost.

Image size

Images can take a up a large chunk of your site size and can slow down the time it takes to load while your customers are trying to open your website.

But images are great for enticing your customers to be more engaged and ultimately buy from you – so what’s the solution?

Well, honestly, optimising images is a big subject – there’s file types to consider, physical image size, resolution and more. But rather than spend hours on every image I upload, I like to stick to something really simple:

Just keep it under 100KB.

The only exception I would make to this rule is if I had a really giant top image on my home page that was seriously important and engaging; other than that everything should be under 100KB.

So how can you resize your images?

Obviously there’s things like Photoshop and programs and plugins you can employ; but I like to keep it very simple, and rather than optimising a huge batch of images at once, I also like to physically see the reduced image before uploading it, in case it comes out terribly. While I want smaller images on my website, I don’t want to upload anything that detracts from my high quality content.

My solution? Paint.

Just plain old Microsoft Paint is all you need to resize your images.

Simply go to your start bar and search for paint – as long as you have a Microsoft PC it should already be installed.

(I’m less familiar with Macs, but you should be able to perform a lot of these same tasks using the free app ‘Preview’ already pre-installed on your Mac)

paint image optimisation site speed

Open up your image in paint by right clicking on the image and clicking ‘edit’. Paint should be your default image editing program, but if it opens in something else, you can simply open paint first and choose a file to open up within Paint.

image original me site speed

You’ll notice lots of tools at the top, but for resizing,  I want to draw your attention to the bottom of the screen. Here it tells you clearly the physical size of the image in pixels (1280 x 750px) and the memory it’s taking up on your computer (195.4KB).

We want to aim to reduce the memory size to below 100KB if possible, but without losing the effectiveness of the image.

For blog posts, I normally use a physical size of around 850 by 350 pixels; so resizing the physical image is a good place to start.

In the top bar  you’ll notice a ‘resize’ button. Click here, and click by ‘pixels’ rather than percentage. Because I want my image to end up 850 pixels wide, I will start here and put in 850 width. As long as you have the ‘maintain aspect ratio’ box ticked, your image height should reduce to the right size automatically. Click ‘okay’ and the image should shrink.

Don’t panic if it’s too small – your image hasn’t permanently changed until you save it. If you’re ever unsure, simply save your resized image by clicking ‘save as’ and giving it a different name to your original – then you can load up the resized image on your website and decide if the size is suitable without losing your original.

Before you save your image, you’ll notice the memory size stays the same while your physical image size changes; you can see the memory size is still 195.4KB below even though I’ve resized the image:

paint site speed physical size vs memory size

Now, if you’d like to crop your image (cut part of the image off) this can help reduce the memory size too. As my image is still 498 pixels in height,  I can simply crop it by clicking on the bottom white square below the image and dragging it up until I’m happy with the size. Once it’s at 350 pixels, I simply click ‘file’ in the top right, then ‘save as’ then ‘JPEG Picture’. Unless your image is a logo or graphic of some kind, I would recommend saving as a JPEG to reduce the size of the file. Change the name of the new resized image and hit save.

final image resize for site speed

 

Now my image is a better size for my website – both physically and for site speed!

The truth is, unless your image is for a header and needs to be full width, your images shouldn’t really need to be larger than about 850 pixels for the web, especially when being used to illustrate a blog post.

A combination of saving as a JPEG and reducing the physical size of your imagery is often all that’s needed to get your images below the 100KB threshold.

So you’ve optimised all of your images – but your website’s still being slow. Well don’t panic to your developer yet – you can always try:

Reviewing your plugins

Let’s face it, plugins are awesome. They can help you take your website from plain and boring to multi-functional, highly converting and super engaging in just a few minutes. However, installing too many plugins can be exactly what puts people off your website – because they can slow it down a lot.

A bit like imagery, you have to find a good balance between installing plugins that are helpful and not overloading your site with so many that no one can load it in the first place.

Take a look at your plugin list – if you have WordPress, it’s as simple as clicking on ‘Plugins’ then ‘Installed Plugins’ from your dashboard.

Is there anything you could afford to live without? Do you really need that Facebook page feed plugin? Maybe you have two plugins when one could do the whole job?

Figuring out if you actually need a plugin

When it comes to plugins like the Facebook feed, you can become very attached. But is it really doing anything for your visitors? I like to use the Sumome plugin for lots of things – one being the heatmap.

You can install the Sumome heatmap for free to figure out where your visitors are clicking on important pages, like your homepage. It basically records visitors as they use your page and watches where they scroll and click. Then you can review the results in the form of a ‘heatmap’ – an image of your page with coloured ‘hot’ areas visually showing you where people are clicking. This way, you can start to track which areas of your website are working well, and which are less important to your visitors.

heatmap plugins site speed

I used to have a Facebook feed in my footer – but I’ve uninstalled it after noticing that hardly anyone ever gets to my footer, never mind clicking on my Facebook feed.

Another thing to note about Plugins is that often, they can have multiple features and you could get rid of a few without losing any functionality.

For example, Sumome has multiple uses including heatmaps but also email capture services – so by installing it, you can uninstall any other email capture plugins you might already have and reduce the number of plugins your visitor has to load when they visit your site – and therefore, reduce your site speed!

As another example, if you already have the Yoast plugin (which I highly recommend for helping to adjust your content for SEO) you might not realise, but you can use it to also write your own meta data and even choose if a page should be ‘nofollow’ for your search engines it’s like 3 plugins in one!

Setting up browser caching

Because browsers have cache too
(Just not this kind of cash)

You may have read that title and suddenly got shivers – it doesn’t come across as something you could do on your own. But the truth is – you can!

Better still – it doesn’t have to cost a penny to do it.

My developer friend told me about this amazing service called ‘Cloudflare’. If you need to, there’s lots of paid upgrades, but for site speed and security, you can simply sign up for their free version to reap the rewards.

Setup should take about 5 minutes – you can find out how to do it all yourself here.

You might notice Google Page Speed Insights telling you to ‘leverage browser caching’. Browser caching is essentially when your website browser (Internet explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox etc) will ‘save’ files it has downloaded from a website. This is simply so that it doesn’t have to re-download entire websites every time you visit them, which usually will help to speed up your site.

In Cloudflare, you can go to your caching section and adjust the length of time a browser should store the same file for. At the moment, mine is set to 2 days; you can adjust yours to whatever you think is suitable. If you don’t update your site very often, you might even be able to set it to a number of weeks and increase your website speed a lot.

You can also speed up your website on Cloudflare by ‘Auto Minifying’ the source code on your website. I don’t know a great deal on Auto Minifying, but it takes a couple of clicks on Cloudflare to setup and promises to speed up your site a little – so I’m in! Go to the ‘Speed’ section of Cloudflare to find out more.

Extra Search Engine Ranking Tip – Get an SSL Certificate

security seo site speed

Another factor of SEO other than site speed is security. An SSL certificate will often give your website the padlock symbol in the URL bar for your website – and it let’s your website visitors know they are secure when browsing your website.

It also gives you a little thumbs up from Google when they’re trying to decide where to rank your website.

To get a free SSL certificate, you can simply click the ‘Crypto’ button in your Cloudflare account and select the ‘Flexible’ option to add an SSL certificate to your website. This adds an SSL certificate to your cloudflare server, so you don’t need to do anything else.

I hope these tips helped you with your site speed and ensure your website visitors get the ultimate experience on your website. If you’d like to get more of these helpful articles to your inbox – simply sign up to our newsletter below and you’ll get weekly emails with helpful tips and our latest blog entries. 

Only weekly however – we hate spam, and we know how overloaded inboxes can get, so we figure once a week is best!

Custom Content Marketing Plans: What they are & why you need one

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know content marketing is all about using your website to answer your customers questions, bring in more traffic, new customers and reduce your sales efforts. What’s really important when you begin your content marketing efforts is that you create a custom content marketing plan – built entirely around your own business and customers. Every business is unique and requires a unique approach to their content marketing, which is why initial analysis and custom content marketing plans are so important.

So let’s kick this off with the most obvious question:

What Is A Custom Content Marketing Plan?

what is a custom content marketing plan

A custom content marketing plan should be developed after a good content marketing strategy and website analysis has been performed.

It should be a list or calendar of actions that need to be performed on certain dates/times in order to achieve your strategies goal. Once you know what your aims are for your content marketing, who you’re targeting with your content etc,  your plan should be made up of smaller steps to work towards that goal.

The best custom content marketing plans will contain detailed actions – the more detailed the better.

For example, if you’re looking to increase traffic to your website from your target market, it should include actions about not only what content you should write on your own website that will attract them, but also where they can already be found online and specific actions that should be taken to actively engage them and draw them to that content.

Personally, I prefer having a custom content marketing plan cut down to weekly actions.

Frequency is important in content marketing, but it is also important not to over schedule yourself, or you may start to become inconsistent in your content delivery, which isn’t a good idea.

When you develop your plan, be realistic with the amount of time you have to invest in your weekly actions, and try to stick with your plan. If you overestimate the time you have and make your content marketing stressful, it can be really off putting and you may end up pushing your efforts to one side completely – you only have to look at the number of blogs out there that haven’t posted in 6 months+ to understand how easily that can happen. If you can only publish once a fortnight, that’s okay.

It’s always better to have great, incredibly useful, consistent content than to have rubbish content no one will actually read blasted out all in the space of 3 months then never again.

What Custom Content Marketing Plans Should All Have

Whether you have your custom content marketing plan created for you by a content marketing agency or consultancy like POP Content, or you develop one yourself, there’s  a couple of things you will want to keep consistent no matter what your industry.

measuring success custom content marketing

  1. Aims & Goals

    Your aims and goals are going to be really important when you are developing a custom content marketing plan. A clearly defined end result will not only help you keep focused on what kinds of content you’ll want to produce and whether a tactic is right for you to invest in or not, but it will also help you figure out at the end of your plan whether or not you were successful, and where you can improve in the future.

  2. Content to be created

    This is going to be a critical step; after all, content marketing is all about content (or at least 50% of it is). In any case, it’s vital to research and plan out what content you’re going to be creating for your audience. You’ve got to create content that will work towards your overall goal; so do your research and find out what content is already doing well with your target market.

    What content is driving traffic to other websites; what content is being shared a lot in your industry? See if you can develop content ideas around these types of content – and find out how you can do them even better. Build them into your custom content marketing plan.

    Your custom content plan, if done by a professional, should also include expertise on how to write good content for both your audience AND search engines. If you’ve read your plan and you’re not sure if the content you’ve written is right – you can always get a quick check done by a POP Content marketing consultant.

    If you’d like a short guide that covers how to write content for search engines, sign up to our email list and you’ll get our quick start traffic guide – completely free of charge.

  3. How you are going to promote that content

    Creating the content is only half the battle. It’s not a case of ‘built it and they will come’ with good content. You’ve got to get the word out, and to the right people. Instead of just blasting it out to all your friends and family, try to figure out where people are actually searching for your type of content already – and get to know the community there.

    Promoting your content is a lot easier to do when you’re promoting it to people who are genuinely interested in reading it. 

    A good custom content marketing plan will also contain detailed actions on what you should be doing and when to promote your content in these areas; specific influencers you might want to get in touch with (and how to do this), areas of PR you should be getting involved with and how to connect the dots with these different people and your content.

  4. Measuring success

    When you create your content plan, you should make sure to take note of your goals, whether it’s the number of new contact forms filled out, the amount of traffic coming to your website or the number of email sign ups – make sure you write it down and measure it. That way, you can review your stats at the end of your plan and see what has worked well and what didn’t work as well as planned. No one creates anything perfect the first time – what’s important is to measure the outcome of your plan and improve wherever possible.

    Like many content marketers and SEO consultants, I like to use Google analytics – it’s completely free, and although it doesn’t share all of the information it knows, it’s fairly simple to install. You can even install ‘goal tracking’ so if your goal is something like reaching a certain number of filled out forms, Google analytics can track it for you. You can also sync up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console to get a better idea of what Google currently thinks your website is about – which can be particularly helpful if you’re doing analysis for your content marketing strategy.

Why You Need A Custom Content Marketing Plan

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” as they say.

Creating a plan not only gives you a schedule of actions to perform, it frees up your head from having to swap so frequently from day to day working and your content marketing efforts. If you don’t have a plan, every time you stop to perform some of your content marketing, you’ll  waste a lot of time trying to refocus yourself onto what your content marketing plan is, and how your website and social media presences are doing, before figuring out what your next action is.

Having a plan also means that you can schedule time in to perform the work needed on a given day, so it’s one less thing to worry about and you’ll be much more likely to remember to do it.

Be efficient with your time, and your content marketing efforts will pay off.

wasting time content marketing plans

If you either pay someone else to create a plan for you or simply spend a week or so to develop a custom content marketing plan on your own, it will mean losing a lot less time in the future and it will make sure that all of your efforts will be working towards the right  goal. There’s less chance of you getting distracted and more chance of you focusing your time on writing great content that converts your website visitors to customers.

Ultimately, you’ll be much more likely to succeed with your content marketing efforts if you have a plan.

Want A Professional Custom Content Marketing Plan?

If you would like a professional custom content marketing plan – you are of course always welcome to get one from POP Content. We specialise in content marketing – we eat, breathe and sleep the stuff – and we’d be more than happy to help you on your way to growing your business online.

Get in touch via our contact page here.

Comment below if you have anything you’d like to add about how to create great custom content marketing plans! We’d love to answer any questions you have, add more tips if you have any, or hear about your success using any tips you found on our content marketing blog.