How Much Should I Spend Marketing My Business Online?

Many businesses are hesitant to dip their toes into the world of digital marketing. Many know that they need to be doing it and usually lack the knowledge or expertise to understand where, how and why to allocate resources to certain activities. It may be that you hire an agency to implement a range of strategies or a bring a resource in-house to grow your marketing efforts online. The first thing that is important to understand is that there is no one size fits all. Different business, different markets and different competitors will require varying plans to achieve success. There are multiple ways your business can market itself online. Most businesses know about search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and they've heard of terms like content marketing & re-marketing among others. You know about it, you know it's hard to do and you don't know how much to spend or if you should even spend anything at all. So where do you start?

The first thing you should do is to analyse your business and understand where your customers are online and what they are doing. It's no good to decide you're going to start doing an SEO campaign just because you think high rankings on Google are important. Don't get me wrong the majority of the time this will be the case. Everything you do should have a business case and a measurable return on investment. What traffic to your website can you generate if you undertake an SEO campaign? How many leads can you generate? If more of your customers are reachable through a channel on social media why aren't you targeting them on this channel instead and will it be more cost effective?

The great thing about digital marketing is that everything you do can be measured. How much you spend should be directly correlated with what return your business can generate from a particular activity. Implementing a marketing plan online should be fluid and the periods you measure results and return on should be short to allow for adjustments of your plan. There is no use in locking yourself into 2 years worth of SEO before you can even measure if the results both intangible and tangible are delivering bottom line growth to your business. The best course of attack is as follows:

  1. Identify your ideal audience
  2. Identify where you will find them online - social media, YouTube, search engines, other websites
  3. Build a complete strategy and invest resources into each channel - SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, Content
  4. Have measurable and reviewable goals - X amount of traffic growth to the website, Y number of lead generated for your sales team, Z number of sales
  5. At the end of your review periods develop an ongoing budget or investment plan to grow your campaign

The more you test and measure your strategies the better you will be able to assess if investing money into a particular marketing activity is worthwhile or not. You may find that your social media marketing in conjunction with the content you are creating is delivering a consistent stream of traffic and a high conversion rate. The more you refine your audience, the better your conversion rate becomes and the more money you invest the trend should be expected to continue. If paid ads on search engines is delivering less than desirable results divert increased funds to another marketing activity that is performing strongly. Adapt, learn and grow through continual measurement, monitoring and reporting.

The best tool for reporting and management is Google Analytics so learn how to setup Goals so you can track conversions on your website and where they originate from. Using this information you can develop a plan to create a successful digital marketing campaign. You don't always need an agency so make sure you understand how to measure everything you do online before you engage one as this will help you weed out the good ones from the bad ones.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle | SEO Company Newcastle


Tips for finding a reliable SEO company

Finding an honest, reliable and trustworthy SEO company can seem like a daunting task. A quick Google search is likely not the best answer due to the many 'black hat' practitioners interlaced in the ranks of genuine companies. Before you go signing up for any SEO services, create a shortlist of providers and check them against this list of five simple tips for finding a reliable SEO company.

1. Avoid secret recipes for success

If a qualified representative of the company cannot tell you the tactics they are putting in place to achieve solid search engine rankings for your website and instead eludes to a secret combination that no other SEO company knows, show them the door. These practitioners are often either unskilled and behind on current SEO techniques or implementing techniques that may get you results now, but are likely to wind up getting you penalised in the future. The only people that know something that absolutely no one else knows in regards to SEO are the people at Google.

2. Look for an SEO company that also provides content marketing

Since the release of Google Panda in 2011 everyone who's anyone in SEO and online marketing knows that unique, quality content is the key to ongoing SEO success. If a company tells you otherwise, they are in it for your money and are unlikely to have your business's success at heart. Always ask about the importance of unique content and unless the answer includes statements like "Content is King" or "It is a MUST", scratch them off your list.

3. Keep an eye on what they are saying

Continuing the topic of content, if an SEO provider isn't keeping their own media and blog up to date with news on the latest updates to algorithms or providing insight into how to successfully market your business online, it's likely they won't be up to the task of actually marketing and optimising your website.

4. Remember the adage 'You get what you pay for'

Seeking out cost effective solutions is one thing, but skimping on SEO and assuming you'll get page one, position one rankings for 100 keywords for just $9.95 a month is asking for trouble. SEO is not a simple join-the-dots, step 1-2-3 process that you can just expect to work. SEO takes time, skill and perseverance. If you're paying a pittance for SEO services, it's likely you'll get a pittance of real, business generating results in return.

5. Backlinks are not the only answer

Contrary to popular belief, backlinks and citations only get you so far. While quality backlinks and citations can be the backbone of an SEO strategy, they should not be the main focus. Putting all of your eggs in one basket leaves you at risk for penalisation in the future, ask anyone who suffered from a sudden drop in rankings after April 2012 when Google's Penguin update penalised poor links from irrelevant websites.

By assessing your shortlist using these tips, you will be much closer to hiring an SEO company that can generate quality traffic for your website. Here at Whitecrow Digital, we are passionate about providing SEO using strategies that won't get you penalised. We also offer a suite of other online marketing services to ensure no single aspect of your marketing mix falls behind.

To talk to a team member or to enquire about any of our services, please call us on 1300 557 338.

Related Tags: SEO Company Newcastle


7 Website Design Trends Your Business Should Know

Website design can be a tricky thing to get right no matter if it's the first time your company is engaging a designer as opposed to the 10th time. The same principle still apply and typically the same problems will arise if you don't handle things correctly from the start. Knowledge is one of the most important things that you as the client can have. It gives you the opportunity to discuss, negotiate and more important get exactly what you want. We've come up with a list of 7 website design trends that will help you build your next website and choose the right website designer. Let's get started.

Responsive Design

You've probably heard this term thrown around a million times and it's a trend in website design that has been around for years. It's still as important as ever and maybe more so now. Responsive design basically means that your website responds and adapts to the screen size to optimise viewing for the visitor. There are some critical reasons why this should be top of your list with any website redesign:

  • Useability should be your highest priority. The majority of people visiting your website are most likely going to be doing this on a mobile device. If you're website isn't optimised for viewing on smaller devices you'll lose customers.
  • Your search engine rankings on mobile devices will suffer
  • You can avoid having a nasty mobile only site

Bootstrap

You'll hear a lot of designers talk about Bootstrap this and Bootstrap that. What the hell is it all about. In simple terms Bootstrap is just a framework composed of HTML (the structure of your website), CSS (how your website looks) and Javascript (website interactions) that is used as a base to create responsive mobile first websites. The benefits of using a framework such as Bootstrap are that it is modern looking and it can speed up the build of your website.

Content Management System

Unless you've been living under rock you would of likely heard of a content management system or CMS. Web designers will sell you the benefits of using a content management system as it allows you as the website owner to rely less on a company for service and gives you more control. Be wary of getting locked into something that isn't an open source platform as you'll struggle to take the website with you elsewhere. Some common CMS's include Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. Be sure to do the appropriate research and do some demos on the backend of each platform so you can get an understanding of what you're comfortable in using.

Scrolling Design

With the rise in popularity of mobile devices the scrolling design is gaining traction with a lot of new website designs. Above the fold content is still critically important in driving conversions, however the long scroll allows you to tell a story and drive people to action while entertaining and informing them. Many businesses now prefer the flexibility of a single page website as it allows you to replicate what you would showcase on a multi-page site on one landing page. There are a couple of drawbacks from an SEO perspective, however if you're creating high quality content through your blog you can offset any of these potential issues.

The Banner Image

It's become somewhat of a constant on most website designs today. The modern website typically incorporates a banner image or a slider. The benefit of this is that it allows you to showcase your brand or business with more than just words. The idea of a banner image is to make your website visitors feel something. Whether it be a compelling photo to drive them to an action or an emotive feeling to have them perceive your business in a certain way. The benefit of a hero image is that you can utilise call to action techniques to drive visitors to certain pages on your website or to complete forms.

Flat Design

Flat design is slowly taking over the internet with more and more websites now incorporating a flat design. Long gone are days of bevelled edges and things that stick off the page. Flat, minimal design is not only aesthetically pleasing it also helps reduce load times and focuses on utilising less elements to achieve a simplistic look. It also makes your site easier to view on smaller devices which is always a positive with more and more traffic now coming from mobile

Alternatives to stock images

You'll find over time that if you look at businesses within your industry and their website they will all start to look the same. One of the reasons for this can be the imagery used throughout the website. Many businesses are now finding value in taking their own images, incorporating videos or even animated gifs. This can give you a potential edge over a competitor and can set you apart in terms of look and style. Stock images while useful can also start to look generic after a while. Like anything it comes down to cost v benefit as going down the path of taking or creating your own images can take time and cost money.

Hopefully an insight into some of the latest web design trends helps when you're building your next business website. Comment below to ask a question or find out more information.

Related Tags: Website Design Newcastle | Whitecrow Digital


What's Most Important When Building Your New Website

You've probably been there before. Suddenly you realise it's time for a new website. You may have some updated content you need to change, a new product or service or your website may simply be outdated. Typically most people have had some kind of bad experience when building a new website, whether it's not doing exactly what you want or taking too long to create. To avoid many of the complications that come with a website build we have some tips to help you cover the most important things you should be thinking of. We're sure you have your own list of things you may think are important. Hopefully these can help your next project run smoothly.

Get more than one quote

If you are investing in building a website it pays to reach out to multiple companies to find out what the difference in price is. Normally you are likely to get what you pay for. If you are looking for a cheap alternative you may have to deal with issues around communication, project scope and delivery. Getting a diverse range of quotes allows you to compare the differences in prices and what you will get. It also gives you the opportunity to negotiate pricing and allow you to potentially get a better deal with a company or person you are leaning towards.

Clearly define your project scope

Too many times people know they want a new website but don't know much more than that. If you're struggling to decide on the direction of your new website ask your website designer to become more collaborative in the process. What do they suggest? It can be a question that will yield new ideas and answers to questions you've been struggling to answer. Make sure you define exactly from the start what will be included in the project. If you need a blog, newsletter subscription or social media integration make sure you include this from the start. You don't want to be stung with additional costs when you are part way through the build.

Be clear about what is included and excluded

Make sure you talk to the company undertaking the project to understand exactly what is included and what is excluded. There may be something you think is automatically included that isn't so it's best to spell this out from the start of the project. A simple example may be the creation of a contact form on your website. Although this is a common inclusion on any website you may find the company you're dealing with may deem this as additional work. If the expectations are clear from the start you know exactly where you stand.

Provide all the information at the start of the project

Delays and stoppages during a project are a cause of frustration on both sides. To eliminate any issues around the website build stopping and starting make sure you provide all the accurate and relevant information you are able to at the start of the project. If you can do this it will reduce any headaches. If you don't have images ask the company you are working with for a cost effective way to include stock images or purchased photos.

Keep the communication open

Communicate constantly with your website development company by asking for defined milestones and then follow up when they come due or are missed. If you keep them on their toes they won't forget about your project or push it too far into the work in progress pile. Be realistic with your expectations and look at your web designer as a partner in the delivery of your project. Whatever you can do to make their job easier will benefit you in the long run.

Hopefully these tips will help get your new website built quicker. We'd love to hear how you handle the development of your projects, so feel free to comment below.

Related Tags: Web Developer Newcastle | Website Design Newcastle


The Importance of Getting Social Customer Service Right

Customer service, word of mouth, referrals and reputation are important factors for any business especially during a time of growth or change. They can all affect a business both positively and negatively. The global connection between people, consumers and businesses is stronger than ever and has been amplified by the ease of use and reach of social media. The ability to vent frustration about service or the lack thereof is easy and the potential for it to reach a mass audience quickly is pretty scary if you run a business. We’ve seen Facebook posts, Twitter posts & videos about a customer’s interaction with a business go viral and make it onto mainstream media the same day.

Managing customer expectations through social media can be a difficult task. It’s even harder if you run a small business where it’s likely that you juggle multiple hats on a daily basis. If you’re a large organisation it can be difficult to manage the sheer volume of customer interaction on social media. Why is it important to manage now and into the future?  It’s pretty simple. Customers like interacting with brands and businesses on social media for several reasons:

  • They can get instant feedback on questions and issues
  • They can publicly air frustrations, which puts more onus on the business to respond
  • They can do it at any time and from anywhere

Customer service and interaction through social channels won’t be going anywhere and over the long term so you should be looking at ways your business can leverage social media for not only promotion, but for creating a positive experience for your customer base, which can lead to greater retention, more referrals and an increase in word of mouth sales.

Here are some simple ways you can manage your customers and improve your service via social media if you run a small business. If you are a small to medium business the biggest issue you typically have is time. Running and managing social media accounts can be time consuming. If you manage customer queries, complaints and questions through your social channels you may find it difficult to keep up with the demand. Here’s how you can overcome these challenges:

  • Prepare standardised responses to commonly asked questions. If you have a recurring questions prepare simple responses that you can copy and paste. You can also build a running FAQ’s page on your website where you can advise customers to view when they ask a question you already have an answer to. This not only improves your response time but also drives traffic to your website.
  • Acknowledge and respond later. On social media people are after instant communication especially when they have an urgent problem. Prepare a standard acknowledgement that you have seen the question and then respond later an appropriate time. If you at least acknowledging the person it will make them feel more at ease rather than waiting for you to prepare a full response.
  • Use a social media monitoring tool or link your social media accounts to a scheduling platform like Hootsuite. Here you can monitor mentions on Twitter or posts on Facebook and you can easily respond from the same screen. This reduces time associated with managing multiple social accounts & customer enquiries
  • Finally, as a last resort you can hand your social media management and monitoring over to a dedicated team, agency or an employee within your business.

If you run a larger organisation with multiple teams, managers and individual employee’s things can get a bit messier. Social customer service, interaction and responses should all be part of your overall social media strategy. Like other core parts of the organisation you should be focused on getting all the different components of your social media plan working together as one.

The challenge from a social media perspective is how you get all your employees that are behind the scenes of your social accounts working as one and more importantly appearing to the public as one. It gets even more complex when you have to handle customer complaints and enquiries. The most critical things an organisation needs include:

  • A clearly defined persona, tone and voice – this should be communicated across all social channels and should be a reflection of the organisation & not the individual person who is managing the account at a specific time. When people changeover there should be no change to your social interaction
  • A critical plan and response strategy. This should be one that deals with the worst possible scenario for your business. How will you communicate with your customers and what processes will you follow? There is no black and white on social media interaction and service, however you should stay within certain parameters and being prepared is important.
  • Consider separate social accounts for your support teams. Having a separate Twitter account to handle support requests can take the load off your main social account and ensure that it doesn’t get clogged up with irrelevant support information for your other customers.

Remember that all the people in your social media community aren’t customers yet. They may be people who are considering using your services in the future and the way you respond, interact and communicate on social media may be a critical factor in determining if they use your products or services.

Digital technology and social media has impacted the way we do business and it has also impacted the expectations of your customers. The question is whether you will adapt and succeed or get left behind.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Agency Newcastle


How Your Business Can Stand Out On Instagram

Instagram is an ideal social media channel for businesses who want to create brand awareness. But the platform is about more than just simply sharing lovely looking pictures of your products. If it’s done right, Instagram can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool that will help your business grow sales and establish a stronger market presence. Do it wrong though, and Instagram can create a pretty bleak picture for businesses. There are all kinds of Instagram gurus, tips and tricks out there, but the fundamentals of getting this social media channel right are actually pretty straightforward. So, to help you on the road to Instagram domination, we’ve got four helpful tips to make your picture posts perfect:

1. Post regularly

The main thing to remember is that Instagram is supposed to be interactive. It’s not just a storybook of nice-looking pictures sitting on a shelf. If you want people to actively follow your business’ Instagram account, it’s vital that you regularly post good quality content. There is a wide variety of opinion on what frequency is best for posting. That really comes down to the nature of your business and the kind of message you want to send. That said, once an hour is probably too much, and once a day is probably too little. You want to give your Instagram followers something to look at and talk about at good intervals without annoying them by bombarding their feeds. There is an art to Instagram posting and it will take trial and error to get the frequency just right for your business. Just make sure you post regularly to keep the audience engaged.

2. Post with a purpose

The number one turn off for Instagram users is poor quality content: blurry images, spelling mistakes, etc. Perhaps the biggest complaint against Instagram marketers is when their posts have no relevance to people viewing them. That’s why it’s important to think beyond just posting to Instagram for brand recognition. For example, a car manufacturer that simply puts up beautiful pictures of their vehicles will have less impact than if it ran an Instagram drive encouraging people to share photos of their own rides, creating an interactive, engaging experience around the joy of driving that brand of car. Everything your business places on Instagram should have a purpose, whether it’s asking questions, highlighting a fact or calling for action. Remember, social media thrives on interaction. Posting just for the sake of it will get you nowhere.

3. Think of Instagram as a “mini-blog”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but Instagram allows a limited amount of text to accompany each image – don’t waste it! While it’s important to have hash tags and other key pieces of information in the text section, there is also the opportunity to tell a story that accompanies the picture, giving it context and enhancing understanding. Sometimes the text can be better than the picture! The right writing, with a bit of humour if appropriate, can do wonders for your interaction. Use the text allowance to pose questions and encourage audience response. If you have a blog, link it to the text and use the Instagram post as a gateway. The text should drive interaction, creating purpose for the post.

4. Have an Instagram plan

Above all, your business’ marketing efforts on Instagram must be co-ordinated with a plan. A scattergun approach will see irregular posting of varied, disparate material that does not have an obvious point. This will annoy your regular Instagram followers and discourage others from joining. By drawing up a plan you will have more control on what you have decided to say, how you are going to do it and what key metric you can identify to measure its effectiveness. You can create a mix of image posts, infographics, competitions and even quotes for sharing that are all planned out, sharing a common thread. A plan for Instagram will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t and make the right kinds of changes to your strategy. Remember, there is an art to getting Instagram, and by having a blueprint, you will have much more success in using the dynamic social media marketing channel to its fullest potential.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle | Social Media Marketing Newcastle


4 Ways To Create The Perfect Landing Page

Website design is a tricky thing to get right. There are so many people out there with different tastes, views and preferences as to what they feel looks good and conveys their brand or business in the best possible way. Ultimately, whatever you use your website for should dictate your structure & design. Your goal may be to inform your existing customer base or it may be to attract and convert new customers or it may be an avenue for you to sell more products. When designing your website you should always segment components of your site into specific landing page styles. This is important no matter the strategy behind your overall website. There are a few reasons for this which include:

  1. It gives you a place to funnel customers to from the important pages on your website
  2. You need something that allows you to monitor how your visitors are interacting with your messaging, tone and voice
  3. It helps you convert more visitors

Here are 4 simple ways you can attempt to create an amazing landing page & convert more of your website traffic into customers.

Think about the psychology behind your customers

Now this isn't as in-depth as the title would lead you to believe. It's important to know what motivates people to fill in forms, buy products or engage with a service. Why? Because as a business you can do as much as possible on your landing page to optimise for these psychological motivations. It may be a particular colour or the number of fields in your form or the type of imagery you use. Understanding why people will undertake an action and for what reasons can help you create a page that speaks to them before they hear what you have to say. One of the most overlooked things you can do is talk to your existing customers. Why do they buy from you? Are you trustworthy? Are you a leader in your field? Are you're prices the best? Remember it is harder to convey trust and authenticity online than in person so try to find the niche pockets that help you separate yourselves from the competitors and get your customers to use your products and services.

Once you know what drives existing customers to engage with your business you can then incorporate that into your landing page. It may be an explainer video, customer testimonials or a particular product or service that solves a problem. Whatever it is make sure you highlight it and refer to it throughout your messaging.

Design is important, however split testing is critical

Design can always be improved but how can it be improved? Not by asking your friend down the road what he thinks of it. You need actual data to validate your assumptions behind why a particular style or message is or isn't working. You may think it looks great but is the customer getting the message or is it engaging them to do something? The best way to achieve this is by split testing the pages your customers land on where you want them to take an action. A simple example is where you want someone to fill out a form on your website. Run two pages and send different traffic to each. Which one performs better over the timeframe? Optimise and improve the top performing page and drop the underperforming page. Repeat over and over to try to continually improve your conversion rates. Your competitors are continually working on ways to get business from you. This is a simple way to maintain your competitive edge.

Highlight your previous customer interactions

People often overlook the value of a really good testimonial. One of the best ways businesses can grow organically is through word of mouth and referrals. As a business owner use this to your advantage. While something you say may have zero impact on someone viewing your website the same view expressed by a customer will hold much more weight. Why? Because this visitor sees the customer as their equal. They can put themselves in that persons shoes and it makes them feel as though they could potentially replicate the experience by engaging you.

Make your visitors feel something

Use emotive language on your landing page, sell what you do and make them feel as though they are missing out on something if they don't make an enquiry or buy your product. Simple ways you see this done includes:

  1. Asking people to enquire and then if you meet the criteria you can be a client. This puts the power back into the hands of the business and makes the consumer feel that they must take action
  2. Giving away something for free. This makes a visitor feel as though they could gain something by engaging with you
  3. Asking people to share content. Your offering may be so good that people feel the need to share in their social circles what you do

These are 4 simple things you can combine to create the perfect landing page. Remember that the best way to get there is:

  1. Know your customer
  2. Continually refine and improve
  3. Backup everything you say with customer re-reinforcement
  4. Make your customers feel something when they land on your website - Am I missing out? Does this solve my problem?

We'd love to hear any tips you have. Feel free to comment below

Related Tags: Website Design Newcastle | Whitecrow Digital


5 ways you can boost your conversions when advertising on social media

Advertising on social media has many benefits. It's relatively inexpensive in terms of a cost per click in comparison to other paid marketing digital channels. It also allows you to easily target and access specific demographics to ensure you are targeting those people who will be most interested in your services and products. The main drawbacks of advertising on social media are:

  1. It's much harder to cut through the noise on social media and deliver your message to your targeted audience. With the abundance of information available through social media the line between a successful and unsuccessful campaign is thin.
  2. Deciding on what channel to use can confuse many businesses
  3. The do it yourself capabilities available to businesses to advertise make it attractive but also harder for non specialists to deliver results

This makes it much more difficult for businesses to be successful when advertising their products and services. With that in mind here are 5 simple ways you can attempt to boost conversions when advertising on social media. No matter what channel you use whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin the principles should be able to be applied to all.

Increase engagement on your page first

It's a common mistake many businesses make when they decide to dip their toes into the social media advertising market and can affect your conversion results. Failing to increase engagement on your own page means that your credibility can be damaged by a prospective customer. Typically before a person clicks on your promoted link they will view your profile. If your page is incomplete or you haven't posted anything to your social timeline in the past 6 months it's unlikely that this person is going to view your business as a credible authority in the product or service you're promoting. Focus on optimising your social media profile first. This includes:

  • Ensuring your page is completed, which includes contact details, profile photo and cover photo
  • Encourage your existing customers to post testimonials to your social profiles
  • Post content regularly and promote it to your audience or an audience that is interested
  • Run a simple follower growth campaign to increase your likes, followers and engaged users

All of these things will contribute weight to your advertising message and ensure that any person that clicks on your page prior to clicking on your ad will view your business as trustworthy.

Pin content similar to your ad to the top of your social timeline

As we mentioned above many people are simply going to click on your page before they click on the link you're business is promoting. If they browse through your information and check out your posts it can be a regular occurrence where this person has no way to get back to the advertisement you were promoting. If you're on Facebook & Twitter you can easily pin an important post to the top of your page. To double your reach you can also promote this post.

Make sure it is related to your ad and provides a simple way for people to find the link to the content you were promoting. It's a simple way you can boost conversion rates on people who have just recently liked your page or clicked on your profile.

Get your ads professionally created and split test them

Your ads contribute to attracting potential customers, but they are critical in attracting the right type of customer. Segmenting your targeting to specific locations and demographics on social media is relatively simple, however crafting the perfect ad is a bit more difficult. Having an advertisement that speaks to your core audience and drives them to an action is a lot harder than it seems. Split testing ads and reviewing their performance becomes critical as you start to spend more and more on social advertising. Changing a word, phrase or image can change click through rates dramatically, which in turn will affect your overall conversion rates.

An easy way to understand how you can create perfect advertisements is to view your own social feeds and have a look at some of the ads targeted at you by larger brands and businesses. What speaks to you and how does it drive you towards an action? Think about how you can create a similar feel when crafting your ads and remember no advertisement is ever perfect. It can always be refined and improved.

Landing pages are key to your advertising strategy

Landing pages are so important to any advertising strategy and they become especially critical when promoting your business on social media. We touched on the overload of information that people are presented in this day in age and this is emphasised through social media. Once you get someone's attention and they click on your ad the hard work starts to begin. You now need to convert that interest into an enquiry or sale.

Most of the time many businesses will simply link their ad to the homepage of their website, which most of the time has nothing to do with what was being promoted on social media. If you're homepage doesn't have a clear call to action or provide detailed information on what you were promoting it's more than likely that you are going to lose interest very quickly once the visitor arrives.

A landing page on the other hand should be succinct, to the point and should drive the visitor to undertake an action to either enquire, buy or call. Make sure you include relevant information, provide value to the visitor and drive them to do something. Just like you split test ads you should do the same with your landing pages. Tweak text, form fields and calls to action over time and review the results with a view to improve your conversion rates.

Offer value with your social ads

The one thing we know about social media is that people are on there to be informed, educated and entertained. Dry, boring and stagnant advertising isn't going to cut it these days and you need to think of innovative ways to differentiate yourself from the competitors. Think of going the long route to driving customers, engagement and sales. A couple of examples include:

  • Advertise an e-book download of valuable and useful information to your targeted audience. Drive a social ad to download a free guide and link it to your email marketing database for further re-marketing. If you provide value a customer will view you as credible and trustworthy. The likelihood they will engage with your products and services is likely to increase. Make sure you track conversions like downloads as a micro-conversion as it helps you understand your complete advertising statistics. A macro-conversion would be an enquiry or sale. Also, when a customer is downloading an e-book give them the opportunity to make an enquiry at the same time.
  • Run a webinar - deliver your informative content in a useful webinar for an interested in audience. As above you can collect e-mail address, build connections and increase your credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

We hope these simple tips will help you boost your conversions when advertising on social media. If you're looking for expert help contact us at Whitecrow Digital to see how we can deliver crafted social media advertising plans for small, medium and large businesses.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle


The Basics of Powerful Content Marketing

If you ever watch Masterchef or other such programmes, you’ll often notice contestants trying to match flavours to create an outstanding dish. With content marketing, it’s vital to use both ingredients to craft a superb finished product. Many businesses, when creating a web presence, focus on the content and what it has to achieve. This may then end up as a ‘content rich but readability poor’ concoction, and simply fail to effectively market that business and its products or services.

Let’s examine the key stages that will allow the creation and use of effective content marketing strategies. Before we start, we should remember that strategy is key to whatever you do. Developing a content marketing strategy covers key areas such as subjects and the types of content to use for different platforms. Through all of this, one key is vital: to quickly engage with your website visitors, tell them what they need to know, and then drive them onwards to take whatever action you wish them to.

Think like a customer

Many people, when creating their online content, do so from the point of a business insider. This is natural as they have the knowledge base to do so. However, the danger then is that the content talks about that organisation and its products and services from a ‘proud insider’ point of view. It talks about what the creator thinks is important and how the writer sees the business.

However, when an online search is being conducted, the person doing so is seeking out the solution to a problem they have, or a source to meet a need or fulfil a want. What the product or service offers is then judged through that filter. Understanding this, you can start to analyse the words and phrases they will use in their search. With this information gained, it is then much easier to write content which will achieve your search engine optimisation & business objectives.

Truly understand these customers

To create effective content, you want to build up as detailed a picture of your key customer base or buyer group as possible. If you do this, you can then create content that not only achieves the previous point, but also talks to them in a way they welcome, appreciate, and are comfortable with. You can understand what they don’t want as much as what they do.

Examples of this are easily found. Businesses often fill their web content with the jargon of their business, written by those who don’t appreciate that potential customers frequently have a level of expertise and understanding that is nowhere near that of the business itself. Often, such terminology might have to be included if it’s part of a valid description; if so, add a simple explanation.

Some customers will already be knowledgeable but that’s okay. They can skim read the simpler copy, and still find exactly what they want in the content. In a way, what you are often trying to do is turn the inexpert visitor into a smarter customer!

Craft your copy like a journalist, editor, and designer

Suppose you are writing 600 words of copy for a specific web page. It’s useful to write more and then edit it down into a sharper finish. Equally, don’t put artificial limits on the amount of content you write. Unlike print articles where there is often a finite space to be filled, web content allows you to be much more flexible.

If this is the craft of the journalist and then editor, the final work is as a designer. There must be a keen visual element, no matter the amount of content. Make sure it is presented in short, sharp paragraphs, perhaps using bullet points, and uses images that add to the story. If you accomplish this, the initial impression a searcher finds on arrival is of a site with plenty to say, but one that is easy to read and comprehend.

Remember it’s about the bottom line

Creating compelling content can be a joy, or sometimes a chore (and reading copy on a website, you can often quickly work out which it was). However, it can only ever be successful by its impact on the bottom line of any business. Content marketing needs to be a fluid resource of your business. It’s important, therefore, to use analytic processes to gauge its effectiveness in creating traffic and heightening engagement.

Thus you should amend it as necessary and change it as you need to. This might be for seasonal events or promotions, for new products or services, and through the answering of customer queries. This also applies for the different platforms you might use, including your own website, blog, social media and the like. The same principles also apply to any content marketing in print.

Through all of this, remember that its key task is always to effectively market your organisation and its products and services to those potential – and returning – customers who are currently in the market for what you have to offer. This is how it should always be judged.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle | Web Developer Newcastle


8 Ways To Create Content For Social Media

Social media is one of the best channels available online to reach your customers and attract new ones. Unfortunately it's also one of the most clogged, with a huge amount of information uploaded and distributed everyday. One of the biggest challenges with any social media strategy is finding a way to cut through and reach the audience that will benefit most from the information you are sharing and discussing. Businesses will regularly have difficulties coming up with ideas for content that will connect with their audience and increase engagement. Before you start thinking about the type of content you're going to create you should be aware that each social media channel is different so the content you create should be adapted to maximise it's effectiveness on each platform. Something you post on Facebook may need to be changed slightly before you post it on Twitter. The easiest and best way to manage this is to schedule your content through a platform like Hootsuite or Buffer. Let's get started on some simple ways you can create a consistent flow of unique and engaging content on your social channels.

Share other people's content

It's the simplest and easiest way to fill the gaps in your social media strategy and it's often the most overlooked. There is so much content out there that we almost have content overload. Search and follow those brands or companies that share information relevant to your industry or niche. Use their content and promote it on your social media channels as a way to engage and inform your audience. Remember people aren't on social media to buy or use a service. That comes as a by product of engagement. If you are providing useful and relevant information even if it doesn't come from you directly you will find that potential customers will engage with your business.

Top Tip: Search blogs, twitter profiles, hashtags and trends on Facebook to find content that will be relevant to your followers and will add value

Use your blog content - over and over again

Remember that social media presents a lot of information to people every single day. Just because you've posted a link and a caption to one of your pieces of content it doesn't mean that every single follower you have has seen it and read it. Keep spreading your content on a regular cycle. Use different headlines and images & some simple URL tracking can help you identify how things written differently can result in different levels of engagement. Mixing your content up with different keywords, headings and images can also help with your search engine optimisation.

Same content, done differently

It's also one of the most overlooked ways to increase engagement with your content on social media. If you've written a really good blog post that has got a bit of traction with views and shares you may want to restructure what you've written into a video, podcast or webinar. You can easily distribute this content that is effectively the same as your blog post with minimal effort. You may find that on different channels a video or a podcast may perform better and yield different levels of engagement.

Images

What is the best way to increase engagement on social media? Increase your use of visuals. You can even replace content you would of shared with an image and a caption. It differentiates your content and gives your customers new ways of engaging with you. Visuals are more likely to get shared and once shared will have a greater impact than text. A simple way to craft this content is by using Canva to create easy to post professional designs with your content.

Quotes, fun facts and other useful information

Quotes, motivational information and fun facts backed with strong visuals will always outperform boring promotional posts or selling. Mix your social feed up with something light and unrelated to your actual business. People want to have fun on social media and you can help. Some easy places to find this content include brainy quotes, Google images and Pinterest.

Create an e-book

E-books are a great thing to promote on social media and can be used effectively to drive leads with a free download. Use your knowledge and find a niche topic in your industry that will prove useful for your audience. You can also easily package up your blog posts into an easy to download book to reduce the amount of time and effort you have to put in to creating it. You can use outsourced help through a platform like Fivver to design the cover and put together the book as an easy download. You then have a piece of content you can regularly promote and distribute to your audience and a channel to generate leads.

Engage while you're on social media

Share, like and comment as your business while on social media. It's not only an easy way to creating relevant content through your social profiles, it also increases your brand visibility and enables you to engage directly with potential customers, competitors, brand influencers and your actual customers. Make sure you spend just as much time on social media talking to your audience as you do promoting and sharing content through your own profiles.

 Do reviews

Reviews are a great way to create content for your website and your social media profiles. They can be product reviews, location reviews or service reviews. Pretty much any business can create a set of reviews that may be useful for an audience or customer. Reviewing a service or product can be a great way to increase engagement on something you are trying to promote or sell without actively engaging in shameless self promotion. Remember to make the review unique, fun and create it across different channels so you have multiple ways to share it on social media.

Social media is a great tool for spreading and sharing content. We hope these simple tips will make it a bit easier to create and share interesting and engaging information on your social media channels. Who knows you may be able to increase your followers and generate leads.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle