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New Year, New Digital Marketing Strategy

Has this Christmas has made you realise the potential of your eCommerce business?

 

With cyber monday, black friday and the likes, it is clear that 2013 has very much seen a rise of online shoppers. As we know, the options are a lot more varied for shoppers these days; with more tablets, iPads, smartphones and laptops, people now have many choices as to how, where and when they choose to shop.

 

2014- the year of eCommerce?

 

Whilst 2013 has seen a definite increase in the use of online shopping, 2014 is set to be even more tech-based when it comes to sales. This will mean that the competition between the quality and how user-friendly websites are is bound to rocket. The competition is already high for eCommerce businesses due to the sheer size of the competition; you’re not just competing with other shops on the High Street anymore, but with companies located on all corners of the globe.

 

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So what are you waiting for?

 

Whether you earned a successful profit from your online sales in 2013 or are reading this to learn how you could improve yours- there are always the same basic steps to keep in mind when managing your website.

 

SEO

 

The term SEO often scares a lot of people off as they assume it’s awfully technical and complicated, and far above their internet knowledge. Which it can be if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it doesn’t have to be!

 

Google is one of the most frequently used search tools in the world. It uses a range of techniques to assess your website, and depending on how it ranks means how far down it will show in the search menu. As long as your website is “Google-friendly” and uses a few basic SEO techniques such as regular updates, is user-friendly, responsive and uses specified keywords your website will get seen.

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We offer a range of specified SEO marketing packages to help get your business to the top of the search engines. Give us a call any time to discuss what we can do help you.

 

Design

 

This is where the competition gets seriously hot. Innovative and modern web design can cost you a fortune and many would say it is worth the cost. Because there is so much choice out there, people really do have the option to pick and choose where they buy their products from. If your website doesn’t fulfil their (probably high) expectations then they can simply click the little arrow at the top of the screen and choose someone else.

To ensure they don’t, there are some things you should make sure your website does for them. If you already run an eCommerce business, then you will know the sorts things that your site needs to do. They are simple things that make a huge difference. Simply having it so the clickable links on your site highlight themselves when the mouse touches them will give your website a higher ranking.

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Another main tip from us is not to have too much or too little text. Google will pick up on all of this and judge you on it; if there is too little it is probable that there is a lack of information there, whereas nobody wants to be faced with a page full of block text. Just the right amount (300-500 words) seems to do the trick.

 

Social Media

 

The ‘power of social media’ has been big news for a few years now and things haven’t changed. There are so many platforms to share on that one can no longer guarantee the same effect as the other. Each type of business will tend to do better on one form of social media than another, purely because there are so many now. For example, one type of business might really thrive on Facebook but not get so much interaction on say, Linkedin.

 

Winning at social media can be easy if you have the time to put into it- and it is a full time job. Which is why many companies will tend to put their social media on the back-burner, although they are aware that being active on one or more social media accounts will benefit them and work in their favour. Not only will sharing on social media increase your general reach, (potentially thousands more people will see your brand via one post) it will help your SEO by giving you more backlinks to your website and regular updates as well as forming relationships and engaging with customers with ease.

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Our social media packages work with each business individually to assess the best marketing strategy for your brand.

 

Let’s make 2014 the year of successful eCommerce together!

Social Media Optimisation – Twitter For Businesses 101

social media optimisationIf your business isn’t yet on Twitter, or if you are but you’re not seeing any benefit, then you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Twitter is in the news a lot because its users are constantly getting themselves into trouble or pushing the boundaries of socially (and legally) acceptable behaviour. How much use can a small business really get from the platform, and how should they go about their social media optimisation campaign?

I often write that Twitter is useful for PR because it’s a great equaliser, putting businesses and consumers on the same level and removing some of the barriers to communication that might traditionally be encountered. However, it’s also a profoundly useful marketing tool because it allows you to build trust and get your brand across to potential customers in a completely non-intrusive way. The key to this is the generation of targeted followers and knowledge of the way in which users like to interact.

Social Media Optimisation and Your Valuable Time

Twitter marketing isn’t magic – it’s as simple as convincing leads to ‘follow’ you, keeping them interested with relevant content, and dropping in the occasional promotional message. Your marketing efforts are not seen as intrusive or ‘spammy’ because your followers have a genuine interest in your business. The problem is that this takes time, both to learn the processes involved and to actually do the social media optimisation work itself. As any small business owner will know, time is in short supply. If you’re already working 50+ hours a week within your business, you’re unlikely to want to spend a further few on this. That’s where we come in.

We have access to specialist software, we have intimate knowledge of the platform (we’re all avid Tweeters in our own right), and most importantly, we have the time to dedicate to growing your customer base and effectively marketing your brand. Twitter can generate traffic and add to your bottom line when given the time investment that we can deliver for you.

How One Businesswoman Embraced Social Media Management

Mashable.com is currently running a great story about Julie Smolyansky, who inherited the position of CEO at the company her parents started in 2002, and was responsible for deciding the company’s direction at the tender age of 27. Since then, annual sales have increased from $12 million to $80 million and Lifeway Foods’ product has never been more popular. Smolyansky attributes much of this success to her early adoption of social media management. So what is the trendy product that has been embraced by internet users? Kefir, an ancient fermented milk drink. Not exactly the stereotypical subject of online popularity.

The product is made by introducing special ‘Kefir grains’, which are really a mixture of yeast and live bacteria, into milk and allowing the liquid to ferment for 24 hours. The resulting drink is rich in protein and in bacteria, leading some to praise its probiotic effects on the digestive system. Kefir has been around for some 2000 years, and Smolyansky credits its popularity explosion to her adoption of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook at a time when businesses did not commonly use social media services: ‘Everything that we do, we make sure that it’s sharable. We become a friend and a trusted source of information’.

At first, the young CEO attempted to manage the accounts herself alongside her other duties at Lifeway. Having realised that she just did not have the time to effectively engage with potential customers online, she hired a social media management expert in 2009. Nowadays, Lifeway employs 5 social media managers, and Smolyansky seems to suggest that she wishes to expand this even further: ‘We want to do more and more of it. You have to be everywhere’.

Lifeway’s story is an extreme one – few businesses can realistically hope to turn over $80 million each year. This case study does, though, illustrate the potential power of active social media management. If you want to explore the possibilities that social media could hold for your business, give us a call.

Online Marketing – Was Christmas a Boon for Your Business?

All businesses will operate in cycles. Retailers of romantic gifts and florists will experience a massive sales boost in the run-up to Valentine’s day, whilst travel agencies can expect to take the most bookings when people start planning their summer holidays for the year. Across virtually all sectors, though, Christmas time is a busy period, as anything that can be given as a gift is being sought by someone, somewhere.

The E-Commerce Landscape is Changing

Providing you’ve got a good product, there will be no shortage of demand. The difference between companies with ‘good’ and ‘great’ Christmas turnover is that the latter are well prepared. Just as brick and mortar shops need to ensure that they have adequate stock on hand and an effective high street sales campaign, online enterprises must get their affairs in order before the rush hits.

John Lewis has been making headlines due to its massive sales over Christmas time. This strong performance was underpinned by a 44% increase in online turnover compared to the same period in 2011, reflecting the changes we all know are occurring in the retail sector. People are spending more money online, and this creates unprecedented opportunities for smaller businesses. The internet is a more level playing field; you don’t need so much initial investment to set up shop, and your growth isn’t held back by physical constraints.

Make an Online Marketing Plan

Of course, when it comes to online marketing, almost nothing is instant. Search engines take a while to process changes to your site, and social networks require time to germinate. Businesses have to get a strategy in place in October if they want to boost sales in December. Don’t start groaning – I know it’s too early to think about Christmas when it’s January! But try to bear in mind that a little investment into digital marketing during the autumn months can provide a great return, and plan your business year accordingly.

Why BJ Mendelson is Wrong About Social Media Management

As is my wont, I picked up a copy of the Metro yesterday during my commute in order to entertain myself during my lunch break. Can you imagine my horror when I read that social media management for businesses is ‘myth and hype… perpetuated by marketers all over the world’? U.S. comedian BJ Mendelson, who himself has over 760,000 Twitter followers, was loaned a two-page spread to inform readers of the great social media swindle. He would have us believe that any business investing in a social media campaign is throwing their money away. I might be biased, but I beg to differ – and I think that most will agree with me.

Social Media Management Isn’t Magic

It’s true that businesses can’t just set up a Facebook page, post a couple of boring company updates, sit back and watch the cash flow into their coffers. It doesn’t work like that. But, contrary to what Mr. Mendelson says, social media profiles are viable business tools. Instead of thinking of them as a way to plaster your slogan and product across a million screens, it’s better to see them as they were designed: as communication platforms.

The fact of the matter is that almost everybody spends a great deal of time online these days, and that for better or worse, social media has replaced more traditional forms of communication. It’s good to have a Facebook page because the majority of your customers probably use Facebook. You’re talking to them on their terms, through a platform that they have chosen. Twitter is excellent for keeping customers up to date with relevant news and for lending your company a distinct personality, due to its informal ‘pub conversation’ nature. From a more individual perspective, it’s hard to deny that Linkedin is a great way to find and engage with others in your industry – there’s a reason that even the least ‘trendy’ of professionals have a profile there.

Our Expertise Brings Real Results

Effective social media management won’t guarantee that your business will go viral and become an internet sensation. That isn’t to say, however, that your page or profile is an exercise in futility. It is possible to engage with existing and potential customers, stimulating sales or increasing brand loyalty – providing that you put out an appropriate message and respect the etiquette of that particular site. That’s where we come in. Our social media management services can provide your business with expertly crafted profiles, including professional graphic design, and the interaction that your customers will respond to. If you don’t believe us, ask our clients – why would they keep using our services, month after month, if they weren’t seeing a return on their investment?

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