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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!

GDPR And Why Your SME Should Care About It

We know we’ve already posted a few articles about buzzwords lately, so today we want to talk about a big one – GDPR. Now, while GDPR isn’t actually a buzzword, we think it’s too important to not talk about here on our blog. If you’re a regular digital marketing whizz, or just read a few industry blogs here and there you would have probably seen an array of articles about GDPR. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is basically a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. However, whilst the regulation was established two years ago, it doesn’t actually become enforceable until later this month.

What is GDPR?

As we said before GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation was put in place to replace the old 1995 Data Protection Directive to change the way companies and individuals can create, use, share and store information. This information can be anything from personal details to business addresses. Not only will this apply to data control in the EU it will also apply to any data being shared from the EU to other regions.

How can I adhere to the regulations?

One of the best things you can do is ensure that you’re correctly informed about GDPR and how the regulation is going to be put into action in your residing country. As the regulation is spanning across the entire EU it is up to individual countries to decide how GDPR will be put in place. Another, important point to remember is that you also need to ensure you are complying with the country’s GDPR rules that your customers or contacts reside in. If you’re unclear about how different countries will treat the new regulation take a look at the official GDPR website.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to GDPR is to ensure that you are transparent with your customers, clients and audiences about how you are using their data. Always make sure that when they willingly provide you with contact details or other personal data, you tell them exactly how it will be stored and what you will use it for. Additionally, always give them the option to opt-out of having their information stored as and when they want to. Then, once you’ve received an opt-out request, make sure you remove their data from your systems straight away and let them know personally.

When do these regulations come into affect?

The official date in which GDPR will come into affect is the 25th of May 2018.

Why should I care?

In short, if you don’t comply with the new GDPR regulations when they come into effect at the end of May then you and your company are breaking the law. Consequently, if you are caught breaking this law you, your business could be subject to large fines. Additionally by complying with the new regulation your customers and potential customers can see that you care about them and their privacy. By being more transparent about data and data security you will find that your customers trust you more and are more likely to want to work with you and your business.

Now you have a better understanding of GDPR are you feeling more confident about the 25th of May? Of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should comply with the new GDPR regulation is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your geographical location.

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!

How SMEs Can Get The Most Out Of Their Digital Marketing Budget

You don’t always have to invest money into digital marketing campaigns for your SME. More often than not you only have to invest your time. However we understand that when you do need to use capital to push your digital marketing campaigns forward, it’s important that you make your investment work hard and get some sort of return. But how exactly do you stretch your digital marketing budget and how can you get the most out of it?

Research!

The first thing you need to do before you can start making your budget work efficiently is research. Read up on the best budgeting practices for SMEs. You’ll probably find that there are a lot of different ways to approach budgeting but you have to find the one that is going to suit your SME’s budgeting needs best. For instance if you don’t have much spare capital to begin with it’s probably best to lean towards a budget that’s slightly lower at first and then build it up. But remember to be flexible, don’t limit yourself to strict budgeting rules unless you really have to. 

Reference ROI.

We’ve been speaking a lot about ROI recently and why it’s important to SMEs. There are so many reasons as to why you should plan your budget around potential return on investment. Put capital behind digital marketing campaigns that you think will provide you with the most business in the long run. Obviously you cannot have complete assurance that you will make a huge return, you just have to think about it a little more. For example: if you own a small organic cafe, you probably don’t want to have advertisements on the local B2B network. Target your campaigns to your niche and you’ll see better results and returns.

Get strategic.

Like we said above – if you’re investing in digital marketing campaigns, you have to think about how much return you are going to achieve. To get a decent return on campaigns they need to be strategically targeted and placed. When you’re starting out, it’s almost always better to make your campaigns more targeted and specific rather than general. However, to do this, you must first understand who your target audience are and where they spend the most of their time online. There is no point in wasting money on campaigns that aren’t targeting a specific audience because then you’ll just recieve engagement from people you don’t necessarily want business from.

Evaluate and replicate.

One of the most important things when it comes to getting the most out of your digital marketing budget is keeping reports on previous campaigns. Measure ROI, lead times and acquisitions. Once you’ve got a decent amount of data on your campaigns you will probably be able to identify a few trends. Looks for similarities in results, peaks and dips. Then correlate this with the content of your campaigns. This way you can identify what is and isn’t working well and either apply it to future campaigns or disregard it.

Now you have a better understanding of how to get the most out of your digital marketing budget are you ready for some serious business results? 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!

 

How Successful SMEs Evaluate Digital Marketing Budgets

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been speaking alot about return on investment and how it’s important to your SME.  So while we’ve been talking alot about the technicalities of making money – we thought we should also go back to the basics of financial business management. Today we’re going to be exploring digital marketing budgets and how you should calculate and determine them successfully. After all if you’re pouring money into your digital marketing campaigns but seeing no return then you need to start re-evaluating budgets.

They’re realistic

First of all, you need to be honest with yourself. How much can you spare to go towards your digital marketing budget? You have to come up with a sum that you’re willing to gamble and not make a return on because unfortunate not every campaign will have a positive outcome. Similarly, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend money on marketing activities, like Google AdWords and social media. When done correctly – they could actually end up making you more money than you think. It’s all about having a healthy balanced mind set when it comes to deciding on a budget.

They use clean data

When you’re deciding on a budget it’s important to base it on past campaign’s performances. However, the mistake that SME usually make here is that they weren’t measuring the correct data in the first place to determine a campaigns performance. This is why it’s always important to have clean, accurate data to look back on when deciding on next years budget. For example, if you sell t-shirts online, you should be using your eCommerce analytics software to monitor the source of your sales – was it social media,  organic search, referrals or a direct hit? If they were coming from some of your marketing channels – which of those channels did they come from and how much did they spend?

They measure it against KPIs

Similar to the above point you have to make sure that your calculating your budget whilst taking other key performance indicators into consideration. For example – across all of your online marketing channels, how much money did your SME make? If you don’t know the answer to this we suggest you take a lesson or two in Google Analytics. By using Google Analytics you can actually set a monetary value to a conversion then see how these conversions were spread across the different channels.

So that’s how successful SMEs evaluate their digital marketing budgets. 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!

The Who, What, When, Why and How on Measuring ROI for SMEs

Last week we busted the infamous digital marketing buzzword or acronym ROI. So, now you have a better idea of ROI and how it can impact on your SME it’s time to start implementing what you’ve learnt. That’s why we created this who, what, when and why post to take you through all the details on how you can measure ROI.

Who

This is the easiest one on the list – you! We understand that majority of SMEs don’t have the resources or the time to hire someone to just do digital marketing or in this case ROI campaign measurement. That’s why we think it’s important to make sure that small business owners have some working knowledge of all the basics. And believe it or not, ROI is actually one of those need-to-know basics. Also, it’s totally possible for a business owner, who has limited digital knowledge, to learn how to measure ROI of campaigns successfully. So let’s get stuck in.

What

Well, you can probably tell that in this post we’re going to be talking you through how to measure ROI (return on investment). Just to summarise (if you didn’t read our last post), ROI is the money that is left over after you’ve invested in a marketing campaign, and after you’ve received some business from said marketing campaign. Basically it’s the money you’ve made after taking away initial investment costs.

When

This is slightly trickier, how long after a campaign do you wait until you start measuring the ROI. Is it one week? One month? One year? Well, unfortunately, we cannot give you a solid answer. After all measuring the ROI of a campaign completely depends on the nature of the campaign and your business. For example, if you were launching a Google Adwords campaign you may want to only wait around two weeks before you start measuring ROI. This is because the sort of conversion you get from Google Adwords is almost instant. The user sees your ad, the user clicks on your ad, the user then buys your product and/or contacts you about your services. Whereas something with a longer lead time, like a content marketing campaign to raise brand awareness, you may want to wait around six months before recording anything to do with ROI. This is because creating brand awareness isn’t something that can be instantaneous.

Why

To be honest, we pretty much covered why ROI is important to your SME in our last post. So we think you should just hop over there and have a quick read of that before finishing this post off.

How

To make things really simple, to measure ROI for a marketing campaign you just have to follow one simple calculation. All you have to do is take your initial investment away from the money you have made from said investment. For instance, if you spend £100 on Google Adwords and the gain £250 worth of business from Google AdWords your ROI would be £150. This is just the basic way of calculating your final profit, however remember that there are actually more ways to calculate ROI depending on what your business goals are.

Now you have a better understanding of how to measure ROI are you motivated to apply it to your SME for some serious business results? 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!

The Ultimate Beginners Guide To SEO

We all know why SEO is beneficial and what sort of success we can achieve when it is done correctly. However we also understand that the world of SEO can be very overwhelming. With Google changing its algorithm and top ranking criteria on a regular basis, it’s no wonder some SMEs feel completely lost in the sea of keywords, metadata and algorithm updates. But have no fear, we’re here to throw you a life raft in the form of an ultimate SEO guide for beginners.

Understand the basics

The only way to get really good at SEO is to understand it. SEO stands for search engine optimisation. In short this means making your website easier for search engines to understand, therefore rank higher for the relevant terms in search results. How search engines determine where your website ranks depends on an array of elements, some of which we will explain later on. However before it can even give your website a ranking for a key term it must first “crawl” it. Search engines cannot see websites, they can only see the code that makes them up. Therefore to better understand your website search engines scan through all of the code that makes up your website. This includes metadata, page copy and URLs to name but a few.  So, in order for your website to rank well you need to know how to implement SEO strategies in order to show search engines what your website and business are about.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience and their online behaviour is key to implementing a solid SEO strategy. After all, the whole point of SEO is to appear in more searches and get more people within your target audience to land on your website. To get relevant visitors, you must first know what they’re searching for online. For example, if you’re a restaurant in Wimbledon, you’ll want to target people who live in or around that area. So you need to know what sort of keywords they’d type in to Google to find somewhere to eat. It could be something like “restaurants near me” or “restaurants in SW19”. The next step is to find out what sort of listings they click on. Do they go straight to the top results, use business listings or look for review sites like Yelp? It’s probably a good idea to do some research into what search engines your target audience use most too. Then you can cater your SEO strategy more to this particular search engine.

Research keywords

Once you’ve started to understand who your audience are and how they behave online, the next step is to find out the exact keywords they type in to search engines to find businesses like yours. A great way to do this is to use the Google Keyword Planner or Google’s Search Console in Webmaster tools. Here you can see what search terms you currently rank for, what people type in to Google when they land on your website and ideas for keywords you could include in your SEO strategy. It’s important when researching these keywords to focus on two aspects of the keyword – how many monthly searches contain this keyword and how many other businesses are trying to rank for this keyword. Ideally, you want to use keywords that are searched at least 100 times a month and have a low to medium competition. This way you have a better chance of ranking highly and getting high quality website traffic.

Get comfortable with metadata

You’ve probably noticed we have mentioned “metadata” quite a few times already in this post. Basically, what metadata is, is the data search engines crawl to determine where you’ll rank in search results. Therefore it’s important that your metadata reflects what your business does, your services and/or products and why people should choose you. The basic metadata fields beginners should focus on are meta titles and meta descriptions. These are the big blue titles and small paragraphs that appear when you perform a search. It is important to change this data to a few sentences and phrases that are within the set search engine character limits, target your keywords and make sense when read. When this is done, it’ll make it a lot easier to rank higher up in results.

So that is the end of our ultimate beginner’s guide to SEO. 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!