As a Digital Marketing Agency, you may be led to believe that EAOM focus purely on all things digital, be that web design, SEO, PPC, email or social media marketing. However, there are certainly more strings to our bow than that.
One key area we are very passionate about is the development of brands. Not just a logo for a website, genuine brands to work in offline and online channels. We are getting more and more work for brand development and offline marketing materials, to work in conjunction with websites that we are developing, so we thought that it would be good to share the knowledge of how we go about developing our brands.
Each project starts with a fact finding session (normally over a day), to allow us to really get under the skin of the client, their business operation, who they are targeting, what the culture of the business is and how they want to position themselves. At the end of the day you can’t sell a brand if you don’t understand the brand.
We then begin work on getting that ‘thing’ on to paper. This involves coming up with various different treatments, from the icon (mark), to the fonts that go with the logo and different colour pallets.
Our work then translates in to the use of supplementary fonts, colours, images, and tone language used in text and on the page. It is often this element that can really help to develop a brand, and can often be overlooked when considering how you want to position your business.
If you want to find out how EAOM can help develop your company’s brand then call us now on 01772 331830 or fill out our contact form.
Developing a Content Strategy for Start Up BusinessesLaunching your own business is an exciting time; long nights mulling over business plans, developing your brand and tweaking it to the nth degree, and prospect of being part of the start of something big.In theory there is nothing to stop you making a large impact with your new business. You may have a genuinely life-changing proposition, but success ultimately relies on getting the attention of people likely to benefit from your site, and hopefully compelling them to spread the word far and wide.Arguably, therefore, one of the most important considerations for your website must be content. Developing a content strategy for start-ups differs massively from an established organisation. You don’t have legacy content to consider revising or retiring, you don’t have multiple layers of management to deal with to make decisions, you don’t have reams of data to trawl through and analyse, and you don’t have time to be sat around in meeting rooms discussing how a content feature might impact your PR activities.Here are 7 tips to get you on your way1. Have Conviction in Your MessageThis isn’t a time to be timid or apologetic. If you don’t have faith in your business, nobody else will give you the time of day. Communicate factual benefits that you’ve identified, researched, tested and verified, not ones that you’ve plucked out of thin air. Use these messages to create a memorable message that you can relate to in subsequent communications. 2. Develop a Tagline and Use ItOnly use a tagline if it is going to genuinely add benefit to the brand, product or service. The overall mission of your business should be neatly wrapped up in a concise statement to re-emphasise people’s perception of your business.
You may chose to add this, in conjunction with a relevant search friendly term, within your meta data to help aid the natural search.3. Be SMART with Social MediaSocial Media is undoubtedly a brilliant tool to engage with your customer base. However, as with any other marketing channel you need to be SMART (specific, measured achievable, realistic, timely). You are likely to have performed the obligatory social sweep, setting up Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube accounts to sit alongside your blog. This isn’t necessarily the best strategy. Make sure that the social media channels are relevant. If you are B2B then the likes of facebook may not necessarily be the best channel for you, similarly with Twitter and B2C.Social Media Channels take time to build, and even more time to manage.
Snapping up the usernames early on is a must, but you don’t necessarily have to use and publicise the platforms just because you own them; focus on one area in particular to begin with, then expand as you learn about your audience and discover what resonates with them. 4. Make Your Content ScalableMany start-ups create masses of content from the get-go. Invariably, things quickly tail off as other business priorities, development needs or marketing ventures take precedence, meaning the river of content becomes a trickle.
A sustainable and scalable approach to content takes into account the dedicated resources required for creation, and puts emphasis on continued learning of what works and what doesn’t.
There are also benefits to be had from an SEO point of view by maintaining fresh content on a regular basis on the site. 5. Create Content to Re-Engage Users
Try to develop something that is going to re-engage your users on a regular basis. This doesn’t need to be anything too fancy, but if you can produce something of use, value or interest at manageable intervals, you’ll start to develop real affinity with your customers. Whether it’s a weekly quiz or a quarterly ‘state of the industry’ infographic, build it, brand it and persist with it.6. Plan, Plan, PlanDuring your launch period you’ll hopefully be very busy; managing your inventory, fulfilling orders, supporting other marketing channels and inevitably ironing out the bugs in your website. This shouldn’t stop you consistently creating good content though during this period.
A good idea whilst you are in the start up phase of your business is to create a 12 month content plan and develop as much additional content, based on your research and marketing plan as possible. This can be linked to blogs, emails and additional website content (possibly for services that you are launching later in the year).
Plan in advance and get ahead of the game! 7. Share The WorkloadWe have a policy here where we try to encourage every member of the team to write a blog once a month on the basis that it really helps to generate fresh content with a different perspective on each article.
Why not try the same in your business? Each member of staff has a unique story to tell, and giving them an outlet is good practice. Make content development everybody’s responsibility as part of their job spec, with the necessary quality checks in place of course.
May 28, 2012 10:23 by EAOM
The key to every successful business lies within great marketing. Even if you sell a wonderful product, or offer a top notch service, you won't succeed if no one knows about it.
Traditionally, businesses have been constrained to traditional forms of marketing. They include advertisements published in the newspapers, TV adverts, or even the distribution of flyers. They are traditionally more expensive, putting them out of reach for most small businesses, especially if they are just starting out.
That's where hiring an online marketing agency comes into play. Content marketing is a much cheaper than conventional forms of advertising. For example, blogging on a particular subject topic can make you an established expert in your field, boosting your credibility among potential customers. This will help you to build your brand name, and is critical for your long term success.
If you choose to go with paid forms of advertising, you can easily track your Return on Investment (ROI) on your advertising campaigns with established services such as Google Adwords. This will allow you to generate quality leads at a much cheaper rate.
Hiring a digital marketing agency does not necessarily mean that you have to choose one form of advertising over another. In truth, you should combine both of them to give you the best results.
Let's say you own a dental clinic. You can advertise your services in your local newspaper to draw in customers, and give out flyers to attract customers within the area.
At the same time, you should establish a presence on the web, creating your own website so that potential customers can learn more about your clinic at the convenience of their own homes. You can hire an online marketing agency to help promote your clinic through social media. For example, they can create and run a Facebook page for you so that your patients can keep in touch with you. You can even offer your patients special discounts or deals to reward them for their loyalty.
You can also establish yourself as the expert in a particular treatment to by writing guests posts on blogs in that field or by starting you own website to teach people about a certain topic.
The possibilities are truly endless.
So, don't be drawn into the debate about whether online marketing or traditional forms of marketing are better. You should instead leverage on both to help take your business to the next level.
May 21, 2012 10:59 by EAOM
A professional online marketing agency will use tools like SEO, social media marketing, banner advertising, blogging, videos and podcasts to generate traffic to the site from people who are new to you. These methods are also good for retaining customers. But an Email campaign is far more targeted. Email marketing enables a business to target existing customer with the aim of generating leads, increasing traffic to the website and ultimately generating sales. This can mean providing the customer with offers or seasonal promotions.
An Email campaign can be a cheap and effective way of generating interest, but it can also be seen as spam. Using an email marketing agency can produce an Email campaign that targets your customers in an interesting and inviting way. This can bring customers back to the website or communicate your latest product lines and services to hopefully generate repeat business.
Constant Line of Communication
A constant line of communication is normally the best way to retain the customer so regular newsletters should be generated. In addition to this targeted Emails that contact a limited portion of your client base could be used to bring back customers who have not been engaged with your website for a set amount of time. Other customers who have spent less than a set amount with you can also be targeted in an effort to increase profitability from them.
Although Email marketing can build loyalty, trust and brand awareness it can also work against a company if it's not carried out correctly. Too many Emails or badly targeted ones could encourage the customer to unsubscribe from your service. Employing a professional digital marketing agency should avoid this problem.
The internet opens the business up to new customers but it’s easy for the business and its message to be lost on the web. Even if your site has a good page rank on Google or you have established a popular brand it can be difficult to get noticed. The web also makes it easy for existing customers to forget about your brand. An Email puts your message into their inbox. If it’s carried out correctly it’s a cheap, effective, dynamic and targeted way of spreading your message.
May 18, 2012 11:07 by EAOM
Working with an online marketing agency opens the internet to your company. Simply having a great brand, a well-designed website or a high Google page rank isn’t enough to generate qualified leads or sales. A full service online marketing agency can maximise your company’s presence on the web and create an online marketing campaign that brings attention and sales to your business.
Social Media Marketing
Although interest in Facebook is declining in Europe and America there are still over 900 million active users on the site. With 175 million registered users Twitter is the second biggest social media site. Both of these sites, and other similar sites, can be utilised to gain potential customers for your business. Employing a digital marketing agency will allow you to exploit this marketplace by engaging your brand with people. This can be difficult. If it comes across as too forced or insincere then it will have the opposite effect. A good marketing agency will use social media to present the brand in a way that people can relate to. By creating friends, fans and followers the agency will aim to create loyal customers.
SEO aims to grow your website’s visitor numbers and therefore increase your sales. The aim here is to improve the search engine ranking and increase traffic to the site. This is a constant process of building links, creating content and promoting the website throughout the net.
Websites cannot be passive when it comes to attracting customers so a marketing agency will create content that aims to attract people to the site. This can be through blogging, podcasts and videos that earn the attention of your targeted customer base.
Banner adverts are a great way to promote the brand. Through banner advertising your brand can be attached to websites that appeal to the demographic you are seeking. This is not a passive sign or message as users are actively encouraged to interact by playing a video, completing a form or clicking the banner. With behavioural targeting you can take this further. The agency will profile your target audience and the system will use data stored in cookies to determine if your advert should be shown to them or not.
Yesterday I went to the first ionSearch Search Marketing Conference in Leeds, where I attended a mix of both speaker talks and expert panel sessions.
Overall it was a really great first conference with some really interesting debate and discussion around current and future industry issues and best practice. I attended a total of 10 talks and expert panels and have summed up what I believe to be the main take aways from each session below, with a few common themes coming out:
With Panda and the recent updates to Google’s linking algorithm exact match anchor text can be risky if over used, with the context of the surrounding content now more important.
The lines between SEO and Social are blending further and social should be part of all content strategies
Blogger outreach and relationship building is becoming more key than ever to link building efforts
Expert Panel: SEO Content Strategies
Use social media to look for up-coming trends and plan your content development around them
Measure closely the link between rankings and traffic to judge content success.
Plan your distribution first, focusing content writing on what network, sites or blogs find the most useful.
In boring industries look to humanise content to add context.
look at building content around more interesting subjects and relate that back to your original site.
Expert Panel: SEO for eCommerce
Users buy at product level, develop your SEO campaigns to start from product level up. E.g. Product Detail > Sub Category > Category > Home Page.
Look at what competitors are targeting that you are not for opportunities.
Error management (404’s, 505’s, 301s) is important for site and link stabilisation, use tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider, Google Web Master Tools & Xenu to identify them.
Out of stock messages naturally lead to high bounce rates, look at how you can capitalise on these pages with related products and data capture for pre-order.
Don’t ignore customer demographics take time to drive meaning from Google Analysis and your CRM system for content ideas.
Think about page titles from a gender perspective and match them to your market. Men like bold statements, women like answers to questions.
Look at improving the CTR of your SERP’s using schema.org mark up
Reviews are becoming more and more key to SERP CTR
You have to work for reviews, make sure you chase your customers for them, rotating through different review sites.
Video is cheaper to produce than you think and can improve both conversion and dwell time, both of which are metrics that Google is focusing on.
Google shopping ranks price with delivery included
Reviews also play a big influence in Google Shopping, further showing their growing influence.
Ideally look to update sitemaps as often as possible, daily if achivable.
Google can deal with pagination, but ideally look to implement ether rel="next"/"prev" or using rel canonical tags to point back to a ‘view all’ page.
Don’t share any bespoke product text with affiliates, use manufacture text.
Physical stores should always have a dedicated page rather than any dynamic pages, making sure you mark-up addresses with schema.org.
Speaker Talk (Tim Grice): Link Building in Competitive Industries
Bad link are those which are low in quality, un-relevant and contain large amounts of exact match anchor text.
Look at turning your link profile into a graph, comparing the number of links to the quality and see where the most links are held, looking for unnatural spikes.
Target landing pages not keywords, focusing on between 10-15 keywords per page.
Look to mix anchor text and don’t have exact match links that make up more than 15% of your back link profile.
Social signal can be a catalyst to justify link quality in Google’s eyes.
When creating content for both social sharing and linking bear in mind these can be two different types of people, target those who both share and link for the best results.
‘Fresh Rank’ is becoming more important, links in old ‘High PR’ page may not be as effective as they once were; look to develop links in fresh content.
Competitor Analysis, rather than just matching competitor link profiles look to discover why competitors are gaining links.
Develop a content production process such as that used at Branded3 (See slide 6 here) .
Develop content for the network, website & blogger rather than for your-self, going beyond the ‘build it and they will come’ approach.
Find your social influences and develop brand champions.
Speaker Talk (Jon Alderson): Symantec HTML
Schema.org is helping blend the lines between the information web and data web where extrapolating data from written information has previously been difficult.
Use html mark up to maximise Google’s ability read your website e.g. Marking up an address for restaurant using schema.org.
Think about what your mark-up tells Google about your content? are using it correctly?
Speaker Talk (Roland Dunn): SearchBots!
Don’t ignore your server logs, they can tell where GoogleBot is visiting on your website.
Segment and graph the data to understand if GoogleBot is getting lost on your website and not hitting the pages important to your SEO strategy.
Compare GoogleBot’s visits to other user visits to see if they differ and identify if your structure or navigation is causing Google to visits areas your uses don’t.
Speaker Talk (Ralph Tegtmeier, AKA Fantomaster): Turning Black into White - Auto Content Generation for SEO.
Automatically generated content has now advanced to the point where you can’t distinguish between it and real content.
Depending on the hat your wearing, high quality machine written copy can provide real benefits for scalable content production.
If your providing readable, usable, non-duplicated content for sites where thin content is an issue is it really black hat?
Speaker Talk (Dave Snyder): Content Marketing in a Post Pander World.
The content matters as much as anchor text now, if not more.
Authorship can help add authority to content.
Look at how words relate semantically.
Create content with depth, that doesn’t just mean words: mix content with pictures, video and audio etc…
Think about how you curate your content, look at where you are going to published it
Many social network offer adverts for promoting your content e.g. StumbleUpon, or Reddit offer cheap but effective content advertising channels.
Expert Panel: Creative Link Building
Reverse engineer your link strategy, think about where you’re going to get them and who’s going to give them to you, then develop your content around that purpose.
Understand your audience and what they share or link to.
Use Google ImageSearch to find where you infographic has been syndicated to optimise those links
Build outreach networks and relationships for syndicating content, keep these relationships strong.
Use services like myBlogGuest to find guest posters for your own sites to develop brand advocates.
Paid guest post still happen but if you guest post is of a high enough quality bloggers will accept for nothing
Create a link building process, covering industry review, blue sky ideas, relationship building and promotion.
Find out your clients pain threshold e.g. how risky or controversial can your link building ideas be? The more pain the more likely you are to get links.
Track news and social and try, riding the back of those waves to drive traffic and links from your content.
Link your creative to KPI’s e.g. traffic, sales, links
Audit your company’s assets, what can you do with them from a link prospective.
Create websites or content around debate that has some form of relevance.
Create blog posts for un-live products to drive buzz and links, using rel=canonical to transfer link juice once live.
For small agencies doing link building focus on developing blogger outreach networks, using tools such as MyBlogGuest,
Exact match anchor text is dead, the context of content surrounding links now carries equal weight
Expert Panel: How to use Twitter, Facebook & Google+ for SEO
When doing social for SEO your dealing with real people and as such are representing the brand and must understand the responsibilities that go with it.
Your content needs to be on point with your brand making sure your discussing the same subjects that are being talked about socially and in other channels.
Measure KPI’s from what social activities e.g. ranks etc…
Schedule content/social updates around events and weekends, allowing you to be re-active to comments/retweets etc…
A StickyEyes study showed the ranking correlation between social and SERP’s is strong with sites that have high keyword positions often have a solid social footprint.
Consider moving brands onto Google+ as Google integrates more services with it, potentially even Google Maps.
Expert Panel: Future Proof Your SEO
Holistic SEO is future proofing, making sure you cover all the angles from social & structure to content production and html mark up.
Eliminate bad links from the backline profile where possible.
Prime link elimination efforts should focus on removing duplicate content and scraper conten.t
Audit client backlink profiles as part of proposals to avoid dealing with legacy SEO issues.
Social vs. Links profile should look natural.
Building links without social mentions could be risky and result in unnatural link vs social footprints which Google may penalise.
When it comes to reaching the maximum potential client base for your business there are few more effective ways than through social media. It offers the opportunity to address your target market directly and with minimal cost. One of the easiest ways to implement an integrated social media strategy is through the use of plug-ins. [More]
One of the most common problems online marketers often face is when client’s lump all their web channels together from an overview perspective when measuring ROI. The danger with this is that due to the way user behaviour has evolved in the last few years the lines between web, off-the-page advertising and the high street are blurring. This means that measuring ROI needs to happen on a more finite level to really understand the success of each channel.
The reality is that to really understand how your website is performing, you have to segment the channels which drive traffic and revenue. Although this may seem scary for those unfamiliar with statistical analysis, tools like Google Analytics make it simpler than you think, meaning you don’t need to turn yourself into a statistical ninja, just follow by Google Analytics Channel Guide Below:
The Main Channels
All the main traffic channels in Google Analytics can be reached under the ‘Traffic Sources’ section of Google Analytics.
What is it: This is when a user types your website address directly into their web browser e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple Safari
Business Context: From a branding point of view: User’s could visit from any channel (e.g. PPC) and not convert but later return via a direct visit and convert, so a sale could be attributed to both channels.
From a traditional marketing point of view: A user could see a piece of off-the-page advertising in a national paper and visit your website. Drops or rises in this channel’s performance can be closely linked to the success of your off-the-page marketing, so including this channel in your business analysis can be key.
What is it: This is any visit that has occurred due to a user clicking a link or banner on another website.
Business Context: This is an important channel for monitoring the effect of your relationships with other websites and their success for example:
Minor Search Engines such a search.bt.com
Affiliate Marketing. E.g. banners on other websites which drive sales and visits
Non SEO Related Links. E.g. a post on a forum about a product offer.
SEO Related Links. This could include guest posts or website links created on the back of a link building campaign
Social Media e.g. Traffic driven via Twitter or Facebook.
What is it: This covers any website visits driven by paid PPC (pay-per-click) campaign on Google, Yahoo or Bing and includes sponsored adverts place on search engine result pages and display adverts on other websites (e.g. using Google’s Display Network).
Business Context: PPC campaigns can require substantial investment to maximise your return, so to really understand this channel it is important that you carry out Brand vs. Non Brand segmentation. This is especially true if you run any significant off-the-page advertising campaigns to so judge the full effect of those campaigns on your bottom line. As with Direct Visits any brand based PPC campaigns and their success or failure can be directly linked to traditional marketing and should be included in analysis of off-the-page marketing activities.
What is it: Any visit driven by a user clicking on an organic link (non-paid) in search engine result pages, as with paid search it’s important to split brand and non-brand related traffic.
Splitting brand related traffic on organic results is a little more difficult, although this easy to follow guide on seomoz.com should help.
Non Brand organic search traffic can often be directly attributed to any SEO activities that are being carried out and deeper analysis of this channel is often needed to get the best of out of your SEO campaign.
Brand Traffic on this channel like direct visits can be driven by both visits which originated from other channels such as a non-brand organic search, non-brand PPC or even referral.
So there you have it my guide to getting to grips with what different web channels mean to your business. In my next post I’ll deal with Google Analytics Multi Channel Funnel’s which let you attribute sales to the channel which first drove a visitor to your website rather than the last allowing you to better understand the link between brand and non-brand traffic.
Recent reports from eConsultancy suggest that a growing number of B2B companies are following the paths of their B2C peers by finally investing in social media. As a company, we have worked hard to integrate our own social media strategy into or digital communications offering.
Having previously worked on larger scale B2C social media campaigns before joining Exact in 2010, we sat down as a team and made sure that we all knew what we wanted to achieve from our social media and laid out a plan of how we were going to achieve it. [More]