Let’s face it; once you’re in business you have competitors. So, the first thing you need to do is to identify who your competitors are.
Knowing who your most direct competitors are will be a huge advantage for your business, and will help you to work out your point of difference and how you can stand out from the crowd.
Take a look through Google or your local business network and look up ‘like’ businesses within your local area. If your business is larger, for example, national or global then you will need to broaden your search.
Once you have identified who your main competitors are, you should take a look at what they are doing differently or better than you, who they are marketing to, and what makes them stand out from yours and other businesses.
Think about how you can make your business stand out from the crowd. How can you create a point of difference for your business? It might be offering free delivery, it might be in regards to the product or service that you offer and how you provide it.
exact time it will be ready for pick up. Maybe you could offer free coffee delivery to offices within a 2km radius.
Create a point of difference that makes your business stand out from your competitors and ensures that customers continue to use your service and recommend you to others. That way you will continue to succeed and your business will continue to grow.
If you have just started a business, chances are you are thinking about all the things you need to do to get your business up and running.
First thing most people think about is a website. Finding the right website designer for your business can be difficult. There are a lot of designers around and not all are going to be able to offer you what you want or need.
My advice is to do your homework. Take a look at the webs designers website, this can be a good indication of their capabilities. Find other websites that they have built for other businesses and also look on Google and other sites for online reviews.
They may seem like a large company, they may advertise on radio, or they’re all over Google, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for your business. You can often find with some of the larger companies that you are just another number and you won’t get the personalised service you deserve.
Some of these companies will offer to build a website for you for a small amount of money, and then charge you additional fees to make your site responsive to various devices, or to add a clickable phone number. Neither of those features should be an add on in this day and age, they should be a given.
You may find that although the designer can make claims about how good they are and what they can do for you, these claims may not always be backed up with evidence.
If you can’t find website reviews, then ask other businesses who have had their website built by the company. Find out about what their experience was like and if they would recommend them.
Unfortunately I’ve found there are a number of ‘dodgy’ operators around. In recent months I have noticed website developers adding SEO features to help their own business, which is not helping the business they have built the website for. There have also been developers who have not added the SEO that they said they would, unbeknown to the business that they have done the work for. There are also operators who are building very old-fashion looking websites and constantly charging additional fees.
I don’t believe there is any governing body monitoring this type of behaviour within the industry, so it is a buyer beware situation.
Here's a quick checklist to help you out.
1. Do your homework, suss out the company before you sign up with them.
2. Check online reviews on the website developer.
3. Take a look at their website and websites they have built for businesses.
4. Check what the additional fees and charges they may have, read the fine print.
5. Call around and ask other businesses about their experience with the company.
If you’re unsure and would like further advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media. We’re more than happy to help you through it, either in person or via Skype or FaceTime.
MailChimp, Survey Monkey, you could be excused for thinking we’re talking peanuts with all of this monkey business going on.
In fact, we’re talking about some seriously good online programs which just happen to be named after primates.
This blog will focus on MailChimp, an effective communication tool which allows you to create a database and distribute electronic newsletters to your subscribers.
There are numerous other e-newsletter campaign management tools available, and I’ve used a few of them, however I’ve found MailChimp the most effective and easiest to use.
Step 1. Identify your objective
Before you create an e-newsletter ask yourself, what is the objective of the newsletter? It may be another way of communicating to your clients to let them know what’s happening. It might be to promote your latest workshop or event, or perhaps an avenue to post your latest blog, create links back to your website and help with SEO. Whatever the case may be, MailChimp will be a great way to get your messages across.
Step 2. Create a free MailChimp account
Once you have identified your objective you will need to create an account. MailChimp is free to use if you have under 2,000 subscribers, paid accounts will start after that.
If your database is in an excel spreadsheet it is easy for you to upload it into Mailchimp and get started. You can also create simple sign up forms which you can add to your website or share the link on your social media pages to encourage people to subscribe.
Step 3. Create an e-newsletter template
The next step is to create a template for your newsletter. Mailchimp has a wide range of pre-designed template themes for you to choose from, or if you’re really clever you can code your own. Choose a theme or layout that you like and get started. You can add your branding style, your colours, your logo, your own images and make the theme your own. Create a style that suits you, then simply save as a template so you can use it to create your first e-newsletter.
Step 4. Create your first e-newsletter
Creating your first newsletter is a big step and can be daunting for some people, but it is not difficult. Mailchimp helps you through each of the steps from naming your campaign, to creating an effective headline and even personalising fields.
Once you get through the set-up stage, select the template you’ve just created and start adding your content.
The trick here is to make your content short, sharp and to the point. You can add buttons or links to read more on your website if need be. Make sure each article in your newsletter has a catchy headline and a relevant image.
Step 5. Add some optimisation
To help optimise your website, make sure you link as much as you can back to your site. It’s not hard to do, simply highlight the text and click on the link button to link it back to where you want people to head. See our blog 7 Steps to Enhance your online presence without spending a cent, to help you understand how to make the most out of your SEO.
Also, make sure you set up all your social links so people can find you and follow you on social media or email you directly.
Step 6. Preview and test your e-newsletter
Once you’re happy with your e-newsletter you can preview it and send a test email to yourself and a friend or colleague so you can make sure everything reads well and there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
Step 7. Press Send
Finally, it’s time to send the e-newsletter out to the masses. Do one last check to make sure everything is correct and then hit send. My favourite part is when MailChimp gives you a virtual high five. I always high five him back, just for fun!
Step 8. Track your stats
Now your e-newsletter is out in cyberspace you can keep track of how many people have opened it, what they’ve clicked on, and get some good stats to help you with your next campaign.
There you have it. A simple and effective way of communicating to your audience with using MailChimp.
If you would like any more tips and advice regarding MailChimp or how to set up an e-newsletter campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email to email@example.com or social media. We’re more than happy to help you through it, either in person or via Skype or FaceTime.
Instagram is still growing as a platform, so it is a good time for businesses to get savvy with it and use it to their advantage. It’s an easy app to use, and offers great filters so you can play around with your images. It’s still got a long way to go to catch up to Facebook, which leads the social media pack with over 2 billion users, however it is growing and if used well it could prove beneficial to growing your brand.
If you would like any more information or help with your social media please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Having a regular blog on your website is a great idea for your business. Why do you think I do it? Blogging has a number of benefits, but for the purpose of this blog I’ll focus on the 4 key benefits of blogging.
1. Help your business get found on Google
Blogs are great for helping your website get found on Google and other search engines as they improve SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). By adding keywords into your blog, you can get found by more people who are interested in your content. It’s a great thing to include in your content marketing strategy. So, if you haven’t already started writing a blog, that’s the number one reason to put pen to paper, or the fingers to the keyboard and get creative. Read our blog: 7 Steps to increase your online presence without spending a cent for more information about this.
2. Improve brand awareness and humanise your brand
A blog helps to improve brand awareness, so your target audience becomes aware of your company or organisation, and what products or services you provide. Not only that, a blog adds a human element to your brand, by giving your organisation a face or a human identity. There are a number of larger organisations who share the blogging with all team members, so everyone gets a chance to write about a subject of interest. Read our branding blog for more about brand experience.
3. Demonstrate that your business is active and alive
Regular blogging demonstrates that your business is active and alive. Have you ever been to a website and found that it’s static, and the copyright at the bottom of the page is 2014?! I’m not suggesting you write a weekly blog, but if you’re keen, why not?! Aim for a regular blog, that fits in with your work schedule and other marketing activities. Make your blog engaging, with a headline that grabs attention, provide interesting information, and engage with your target audience.
4. Add to your social media content
Blogs add to your social media content. No doubt you have a few social media profiles set up for your business and hopefully you’re actively sharing information and images relevant to your audience. That’s great! Once you start writing your blog you can start sharing it across your social media sites. By creating links to your blog, it will lead people back to your website and improve SEO. Check out this blog for more information about social media content.
So, there you have it, the top 4 benefits of blogging. My final tip is to make sure your blogs have a ‘call to action.’ It might be something like: “Download our free guide to blogging basics” or “Download our blogging tip sheet” or perhaps “Follow us on Facebook for more blogging tips and tricks.”
My call to action is simply, follow us on social media and/or sign up to our e-newsletter for more marketing tips and tricks for your business. If you would like to know more about blogging, marketing, social media and more feel free to get in touch. We offer in-house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email email@example.com.
When was the last time you actually set some goals for your business? Do you do it once a year, once a quarter, or not really at all?
It’s easy for people to get so caught up in running their small business that they don’t actually take time to sit back, evaluate and make a plan for the future.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail"
With the end of financial year approaching it’s a good time to evaluate how far you’ve come since last July, and make a plan to take you through to June 2018.
If you have a plan from last year, get it out, dust it off, and take a look at what you set out to achieve. If you didn’t have a plan, then go back over your customers, jobs and invoices or monthly P&L etcetera to review what’s been happening in the business.
By evaluating your successes and failures you can see what worked well and what didn’t work as well. Then you can start to consider what you can do to improve your success next financial year.
“To increase monthly online sales by 10% by the end of 2017.”
You may only need to set yourself five to ten goals for the year, maybe less, it’s entirely up to you. As long as they’re measurable and achievable, you’re on the right track. Once you have decided on your goals you now need to set yourself some actions which will help to achieve each goal.
For the above goal, you may need to set aside a budget for online advertising to help drive traffic to your website and increase sales. Ideally any promotion you do will provide you with enough return on your investment to cover the cost of the advertising whilst also your business profit.
Now you have the steps to create a plan for your business, it’s up to you to make it happen.
Good luck! If you need any help feel free to get in touch with us. We offer in-house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all want to get found and seen online. Without an advertising budget, it can be difficult to break through, but it is possible. If you’re marketing on a shoe string budget, as a lot of small businesses are, here’s how you can make the most out of your online presence without spending any money.
Step 1 You have a website, right? Please tell me you do! If not, you will need a website. You can create your own or engage an expert to do it for you. If you don’t have much money, then you may wish to engage your creative side and create your own website. Take a look at online website builders such as Weebly.com or WordPress.com.
Step 3 Speaking about Google, there are some other great tools Google offers to help you with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Create yourself a Google Analytics Account and add the tracking code into your website’s SEO. This will not only help you to be found on Google, but it will also help you to find out about who is visiting your website, how long they’re staying, what pages they’re looking at and where they come from, all useful information.
Step 4 You may also wish to use Google Webmaster Tools where you will be provided with a verification code to add into your SEO. Once again, it’s a great tool to help track of your website performance.
perhaps a Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest depending on what your business is, who your target market is, and what you’re familiar with. Make sure you make the most out of your social media and post to them frequently. Want more tips take a look one of our other blogs, 6 Essential Social Media Tools of the Trade.
Step 6 If you have a website, make sure you add links to all of your social media accounts onto your website and also link your social media to your website. The more links you have the better for SEO.
Step 7 Now to create additional content for your website and your social media platforms. Writing a regular blog is the best way to add extra content regularly to your website. For best results make sure you share it across your social media sites.
If you would like any more information or help to create a website or make use of these free tools please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email email@example.com.
Starting up your own business can be extremely daunting. However, if you have a great idea for a new business, then why not give it a try? Before you run though you have to learn how to walk, so we have developed a few simple tips that you can follow on your road to success.
Set yourself Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals. Be flexible, things change, so if you need to revisit your goals and make them more realistic and achievable then do so.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail"
2. Decide who your target audience is
What is it that you’re selling? A product or a service? Who is going to want to purchase your product or service? Is it Mum’s with young children? Is it teenagers? Perhaps it’s another business. The key thing is to identify your primary target audience and develop audience personas, so you can better understand who you need to be communicating with.
3. Identify your competitors
Find out who else is working within the same space as you. If you’re a children’s clothing business, know who are all the other children’s clothing businesses around you. What are they doing? Do they have a website? Do they sell online? What are they doing on social media? Once you know who your competitors are and what they’re doing you can make sure you do things differently and stand out in the crowd.
5. Develop key relationships
When starting out with your new business you are going to need all the help you can get. Start building relationships with other businesses, networks and former colleagues that are going to be able to help you achieve your business objectives. Networking is a great way to meet other business professionals and build a rapport within the industry or community. You may also want to make acquaintances with accountants or bookkeepers, the bank manager and a marketing consultancy who can help with logo design, websites, social media etcetera.
6. Develop your brand
Your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand is the essence of what your business is about. Having a creative and recognisable name and logo is important too as you want people to remember your business and what you do. However true branding goes further than that, it is about creating a positive experience with your customers every time they engage with your business. Positive experiences mean positive associations with your brand and positive word of mouth which is all positive for your business.
These are all quick wins and will help your business get found on Google. Each business is different, and there many other opportunities to promote your business once the essentials have been achieved and that’s where a marketing strategy, content strategy, and social media plan can all help.
If you would like any more information or help to get started feel free to contact us, or see our Start Up Marketing Packages page. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many tools available to help make our lives easier, and in the world of social media it is no different. We all want to do things smarter and not harder, so here are six tools of the trade that I use regularly to manage social media.
1. Create a social media plan for your business
Plan your posts and stick to the plan as much as possible. I find that having a plan helps to stick to the key messages for the business and helps to create more interesting, relevant and timely social media content as opposed to having an ad hoc approach.
2. Set up a Hootsuite or similar social media management account.
This means you can spend a couple of hours each week, or month and set everything up in advance so you don’t have to think about posting every day.
3. Sign up to Google Alerts, industry blogs and e-subscriptions
Keep up to date with what’s happening within your industry or profession with regular emails and alerts. Google Alerts is great providing you with timely notifications regarding the latest articles relevant to what you want to hear about. It’s easy to sign up using your free Google account.
4. Use an online graphic design tool.
5. Access quality free images for your website or social media
There are some great options online to access free or relatively cheap images which can save you a fair amount of money in photography or expensive stock images. I use UnSplash and 123rf on a fairly regular basis. I also have accessed others through the likes of Hubspot and Marketo over the years.
6. Create your own short videos
It’s not rocket science these days when you have easy access to apps like Ripl or iMovie. It depends how technical you want to be, sometimes I create short video posts on Ripl with a couple of good photos, you simply add in some text and choose which music you want to go with it then add it to Facebook. I have also developed my skills in iMovie (available on Apple devices) and enjoy creating longer videos with a mixture of images and video. It’s a really great and effective tool and fairly easy to master and upload to YouTube or other social media accounts.
If you would like any more information or help to get started feel free to contact us. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email email@example.com.
We all want to get more likes, have more followers and essentially ensure our business benefits from its social media presence by improving brand awareness and increasing our customer base.
So here are a five simple tips that will help your business to be more engaging on social media in 2017.
1. Be personal and personable
Create a voice or even a face for your business or brand. Don’t be stuffy and use corporate speak, make your business friendly and likable and see how your audience responds. Don't just talk about your business, be helpful and create content that is interesting and relevant to your audience.
3. Don’t over promote
If you are constantly promoting your product or service your followers will get bored. You will also find that your posts will get less traction especially on Facebook due to its algorithms. Provide your customers with a mix of posts offering advice, humour, tips, news.
5. Share the love
Like, follow and share/retweet others in your industry or locality to help improve your own credibility and add to the range of content you can provide to your own audience. On Facebook you can follow other business pages and share their posts onto your page.
So there you have it, five simple ways to be more engaging on social media and increase your reach in 2017.
If you would like any more information or help to get started feel free to contact us.
We offer in-house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.