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The Beginners Digital Marketing Checklist For SMEs

Getting into digital marketing is not easy feat, especially if you are a small business that doesn’t have enough resources to dedicate to it. However, digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact there are a few simple tasks that you can complete to give your business that online boost it needs. That’s why we’ve put together the beginners digital marketing checklist for SMEs.

Keywords

Keywords should be the first item on top of any aspiring digital marketeers checklist. There are many different ways you can implement keywords into your digital marketing strategy. However because this is a beginner’s checklist, we’re just going to run through the basics. First of all, you need to think like a potential customer. What are the sorts of words and phrases potential customers would type into search engines to find your business? If you’re not sure ask a friend or family member who isn’t directly involved in your business to help. You’ll find that people who are not working within your industry will often use words you wouldn’t. Once you have a list of words go to Google’s keyword planner. Here you’ll be able to type in your keywords and see how often they are searched for monthly as well as how hard they are to rank highly for. The aim of the game here is to get your website to rank high in search engine results. So make sure you pick and use keywords that have a decent search volume but aren’t swamped with competition.

Content

This is where you can put that long list of keywords you got from above to work. To rank high in search engines for your chosen keywords, search engines must be able to see that your page is helpful and relevant when it comes to said keywords and the topics they imply. To do this you need to sprinkle your keywords throughout your page content in visible copy. However, you cannot just spam one or two pages with all the keywords. The keyword must fit in with your content organically, make sense and be laid out in a user friendly way with the use of paragraphs, headings and subheadings. Make sure every page of your website contains some valuable content that contains the keywords you want to rank for.

Another good way for you to use your keywords through content is by adding a blog section to your website. Writing blog articles will allow you to focus on one keyword at a time whilst continuously updating your website. This is extra helpful as search engines not only like to see keywords scattered throughout your website, they also like it when the website is frequently updated. The more frequently you update your blog, the more time-relevant your website will be to search engine, which in turn will help boost your search rankings.

Social media

Whilst social media isn’t really a direct lead generating tool, it is ideal for brand awareness. If you’re a complete beginner to the digital marketing game then social media is a great place to start to improve this amongst your potential customers. It’s more than likely that you already have your own personal social media accounts. So without even realising it, you’re already doing your own social media marketing for yourself.  The only difference is you now have to do it for your business.

Creating a social presence for your SME is a little more complicated then running your own social media accounts. First of all you have to think about which social platform is best for your business. After all, it’s always better to focus and be successful on one social platform than to spread yourself too thin and do all of them badly. Once you’ve decided on that you need to come up with some creative content that your audience will love and engage with.

Links

Links can get complicated, however we’re going to break it down into easy and informative chunks. So, the goal here is to get as many reputable and relevant websites to link back to your website as possible. But why? Well, when search engines can see your website being linked to by other trustworthy businesses online it makes your business seem trustworthy too. Think of links as the digital equivalent of somebody recommending your business to their friends and family. The more links you get, the more trustworthy, helpful and legitimate your business seems.

However, don’t just try and get links on any old website and never pay for links. The whole point of links is that they string together relevant websites that are within the same niche, or are at least talking about one another for some reason. Posting your link everywhere and anywhere will only result in search engines recognising your link and website as spam. Think of spam as somebody really shady bugging you about a kind of dodgy service they are offering. Not cool.

So that’s our beginners digital marketing checklist specifically for SMEs. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Five Free Digital Marketing Channels For SMEs

There’s no denying the benefits that can be reaped by SMEs when they execute a successful digital marketing strategy. However many SMEs find that a lot of these strategies outlined on blogs or talked about by experts usually require some investment. But don’t fear you don’t have to spend any money to make a difference to your online footprint. In fact there are many free digital marketing channels for SMEs to use.

Use social media

Creating a social media account or page for your business is a very easy and completely free way to market online. Of course, there may be some features you have to pay for like advertising but nothing can stop you from posting for free. Social media marketing is a great way to expose your business to alot of people all at once. Through interactions and engagements, it also makes it easy to see whether or not people are enjoying your content. That way you can analyse and adapt your content to consistently send out messages your audience will love.

Write some blog posts

If you don’t want to set up anything on social media (we get it – it’s not for everyone) you can always write some content for your own blog. Blogs are widely searched for online and are some of the most visited websites on the internet. So why can’t yours be? Make sure you find your niche. What are the messages you want to send out about your SME? Whatever your subject matter, we think the best way to reach more people is to add in content that somehow helps readers. If you can help solve a common problem that people in your industry may be having you’ll be surprise how many people will come back when they next run into a issue.

Work with other complimentary SMEs

We’ve spoken about how you can work with complimentary SMEs and influencers before. However we didn’t explain how you can do it exclusively through digital channels. There are many ways you could do this but we thought we’d just mention a few of our favourites. Firstly you could set up some sort of online contest together, where both businesses contribute to the giveaway prize (it doesn’t have to be of a monetary value). Then you both share the content with your followers and gain exposure to double the amount of people you usually would. Some other ideas are: joint webinars, podcasts, sweepstakes and polls.

Send out email campaigns

If you already have a GDPR compliant database then why not try your hand at email marketing? A lot of email marketing platforms like MailChimp allow you to send out emails for free if you have a smaller audience. Whilst you can’t have a huge amount of contacts through the free version, you can still use a lot of the more advanced marketing features. For example on the free version of MailChimp you can send out automated messages, personalise content and collect statistics on your campaigns.

Brush up on your SEO

While you need a bit of SEO knowledge to do this, if you’re willing to spend some time learning the tricks of the trade then you can really make a difference to your online marketing. Optimise your website by ensuring that it’s responsive and fast. You can also tweak metadata, image tags and other on page content to encourage more organic traffic to your website.

So those are our a few free digital marketing channels SMEs can use to make a difference to their business. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

The Beginners Guide To Creating A Content Calendar

Creating awesome content may seem easy but it actually takes a lot of time and planning to create the perfect content calendar. Content calendars are a straightforward and effective way of planning blog posts. They also ensure that your populating your blog in a consistent and well prepared manner. By keeping a calendar you can put your mind at ease knowing that you can plan content as far in advance as you need to or around a specific holiday season. However how do you even start creating a content calendar and what sort of ideas should you think about including in it? Luckily for you, we have you covered in this week’s beginners guide…

Start with a strategy

Content is all about telling a story. Stories are what captivate audiences and make a brand memorable. So it’s important that you take a while to discover what your brand’s story truly is. Without this purpose defined you will find it difficult to even put a few blog titles down on paper. Firstly, start off by listing a few values that you think are important to your brand. Then underneath each of these values think about what questions or discussions could branch off from these. Try and think like your target audience – what would sort of information would they like to hear in order to have these values understood? Use this exercise as a starting point for your content calendar and build upon these ideas. You’ll have your key messages penciled out in no time.

Excel is you best friend

A question we get a lot is – what sort of software do you use to create your content calendars? Well for beginners, we think you should keep it simple and use Microsoft Excel. Excel has a wide range of calendar templates for you to choose from – so just choose one you think you can work with and get creating. You can even colour code your calendar to define scheduling times, topics or formats. The best part about using Excel for this is that it is pretty flexible and you can organise  your calendar in any way you want.

Think evergreen

Throughout your content calendar it’s important you include various types of “evergreen” content. Evergreen content, is content that can be viewed on any day of the year and still be relevant to the reader. For example – how to spread festive cheer as an SME is not evergreen content however how blogs benefit SMEs is evergreen content. The reason why it is so important to spread this type of content throughout your calendar is because no matter what time  of year it is, people will still be searching for content like this to consume.

Series work

Another type of content you should consider slotting into your calendar is series based articles. Series articles are pieces of content that revolve around the same idea or topic. Take our blog for example, we used to do a series called web news round-up where we would find the most interesting online articles that week and publish them into one post. This went on for more than a year creating a bank of thirty or more posts that shared the same premise. By doing this we not only created consistency on our blog, we also had a fairly easy segment that we could quickly add into our schedule if something went amiss with our other articles.

Divide and conquer

Once you’ve got enough blog post ideas you can start scheduling them into your content calendar. If you’ve got some seasonal content, slot this in first so that you don’t have to worry about squeezing it in later. Then put the evergreen and series type content around this. When you start publishing pay close attention to the time and day you scheduled your posts on and how much reception they received – if any. It is more than likely, that once you’ve analysed this information a few times you’ll probably start seeing a pattern. Depending on your audience, posting on a particular day could prove to be more successful than any other. Once you’ve figured this out, it’s pretty easy to start reigning in some more regular readers.

So those are just a few starting points on how to get to grips with creating your first content calendar. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any content marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

How Blogs Benefit SMEs

Last week we spoke about why content is king so this week we’re going to show you exactly how content, in particular, blogs benefit SMEs. Blogging may seem like a mammoth tasks for SMEs but it’s actually a lot easier than you think and (even better) blogging has a tonne of benefits that come along with it. From reaching a wider audience and growing brand awareness to opening up opportunities and getting business leads, we think content is truly one of the most effective digital marketing strategies to help you grow your SME.

SEO

This is one of the biggest benefits on the list. To really harness SEO and come in at the top of organic search results you need to make sure your website has high quality, fresh and engaging content. After all, how successful SEO is, is calculated by search engines who use a range of rules to determine where your website should place in listings. Search engines take into consideration how closely related your page is to the search term, whether the copy on your page makes sense, how new your content is and how popular your content is. So, you can probably tell that by creating a professional blog on your website you can fulfill a lot of these requirements and rank for a lot of different keywords.

Brand awareness

Once you’ve nailed the SEO, brand awareness should soon follow. By creating engaging blog articles about your SME and the industry it’s in your business can be seen as a”thought-leader”. This sort of reputation is hard to build up however by consistently blogging about topics that are important to your SME you will be able to slowly reach “thought-leader” status. By doing this, audiences become familiar with your brand and see you as a business to go to if they have questions about your industry. Which in turn, can lead on to more business.

Building an audience

The previous two points combined together will help your SME build a substantial online audience. Audiences love to engage with brands that are consistently posting fresh, high quality content. Once you get some momentum with posting, you should find it easier to entice users to come back again and again. To capitalise on this you could even add a “subscribe” button to your blog. This makes it easier for people who want to keep up to date with your latest blog posts.

Opening opportunities

With more people coming to your website and your blog, the more people will contact you about working together. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to buy your product or service. They may be an influencer or another business who thinks you could work together to one another’s benefit. By reaching these sorts of people you could grow your SME’s reach, build a working business relationship and even eventually get more business.

Getting leads!

This is the last and perhaps most beneficial to SMEs. With all of the above points working in conjunction with one another successfully and consistently, gaining leads should come naturally. After all, people have found your content online, read it and thought it was amazing, subscribed for more and finally become familiar with your SME and content. Once you’ve got them hooked it’s only a matter of time before they reach out to you and ask for your “thought-leader” advice.

So those are just a few ways in which blogs benefit SMEs. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any content marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Five Reasons Why Content Is Still King In 2018

We’ve all heard the phrase that content is king and we are happy to announce that this year content is still one of the top marketing techniques today. Without even realising it we all consume content at a staggering rate. Whether it’s scrolling through social media, reading blogs, flicking through a newspaper or watching TV – we’re all consuming content in one way or another. So the reason content and content marketing works so well is because we frequently absorb it and successful content resonates with us making it memorable. However if you need more convincing than that we’ve put together ur top reasons as to why content is still king in 2018.

It comes in different forms

One of the best things about content is that it is completely flexible. Pretty much anything – particularly online can be classed as “content”. The most obvious types of content that usually spring to mind are blog posts, videos and photos. However if none of those formats suit your business or you just don’t fancy creating any of those why not try out broadcasting a podcast, making an infographic or even just writing up some short, snappy social media posts. As we said anything online can be classed as content.

It’s easy(ish)

Creating your own content is relatively easy, as long as you have a strong message or story behind it. Always make sure that your content is serving a purpose too, whether that’s advising, providing entertainment or evoking thoughts. You don’t have to be an expert in the beginning. All you need is a little creative flare, a strong brand and a little bit of time. But if you think that’s a bit too bold there are many places online where you can research and even take courses on how to market content efficiently.

It’s low cost (mostly)

You don’t need as many tools as you think to create high quality content. All you really need is a computer, a smart phone and maybe a camera (but let’s face it most phones have extremely high quality cameras). So it’s pretty low cost in terms of materials. Obviously, if you wanted you could go all out with a DSLR camera, high spec voice recording equipment and a tp of the range laptop but you really don’t need to. Haven’t you ever noticed that some of the most successful, viral videos have been shot on a camera phone? Or that really informative blog post you read the other day was written on a standard laptop? Or that even Hollywood sometimes uses really simple, affordable software like Adobe Premier Pro when they edit movies?

You can market it effectively

Another great thing about content is that it can be marketed really effectively. Content marketing, when done right, can have a drastic effect on your business and bring you more traffic and leads than you first may have thought. However, it’s always important that when you are marketing your content you are marketing it in the right place. For example if you have created an infographic, it’s probably best marketed on Pinterest, whereas if you have a short snappy video you’re better off focusing on marketing channels like Facebook.

It’s completely tailored to you business

As we said before content comes in many different forms therefore, it can easily be tailored to your business and it’s needs. Whatever brand message you want to communicate to your audience, you can send through all the varying types of content. This flexibility allows you to really take control of your marketing messaging and create content that is truly unique to you and you business. All you need now is a little bit of inspiration as to where to start.

So those are just a few reasons why content is still king in 2018. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any content marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Creating Content And How SME’s Can Use It To Benefit Business

The term “creative content” has become somewhat of an annoying marketing buzzword over the last few years. There are all of these marketing blogs out there that tell you to curate creative content you need to “be original” and “go viral” however this is all nonsense. Creating effective content that markets your business well isn’t going to be original and probably won’t go viral. This is because, you don’t need your content to go viral for it to be successful and to be honest the only thing that goes viral now is a

What classes as content?

Pretty much anything you can create yourself to showcase and market your business is content. Some examples are blog posts, photographs, videos, infographics and even social media posts. As long as it’s crafted specifically for your business to market it, it is content. It’s really that simple.

What sort of content is relevant to my SME?

This completely depends on what type of business your SME is. What works for one company may not work for yours. Firstly you need to find out what your target audience like, where they are online and what they are consuming online. For instance if you run an anti-aging skincare line, you probably want to target a place like Facebook where majority of middle-aged women have a profile. Once you’ve tapped into the platform begin looking at what your target audience are sharing. When you understand this, you can understand your audience’s online preferences and tailor your content around this.

How can I market my content?

You can market your content pretty much anywhere you like. Like our previous point however, you have to find out where your audience spend most of their time online. If your audience watch a lot of videos – upload content on YouTube. If your audience read and follow a lot of blogs create a space on your website where you can facilitate this. Of course you can still market you content across all of your online channels however remember it’s always better to focus on few channels and do it well rather than spread yourself too thin and dilute your marketing.

Will I gain leads from content?

This all depends on what sort of content you create. While content doesn’t always bring in direct business it can raise brand awareness significantly. By doing this consistently over a long period of time you will find yourself amassing followers and more regular website visitors. Of course, this doesn’t translate into leads straight away, you have to be a lot more patient than that. However, as we’ve said before, over time increasing brand awareness builds a better business.

What other ways can creative content help my SME?

Similar to the above creative content creates brand awareness which eventually will turn into more people becoming familiar with your business. As well as this, effective and insightful content can really put your business at the forefront of your industry. Content that speaks out and that makes clear concise points presents you as a thought-leader within in your industry. This will eventually build up your business’ reputation into one that is trustworthy, reliable and knowledgeable.

So that is how your SME can use creative content to benefit business. Of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should use marketing strategies is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any of your digital marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!