All Posts byKaren Black

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About the Author

Karen Black is a web designer & online marketing specialist who helps small businesses get online and market themselves more effectively and efficiently so they can get people to notice, remember and buy from them.

8 Ways To Build And Grow Your Email Marketing List
May 13

8 Ways To Build And Grow Your Email Marketing List

By Karen Black | Email Marketing

Many clients build their website, decide on their social media channels and started posting content believing ‘I’ve built it, the customers will come’. They don’t realise that once you promote yourself, you need to capture interest and potential customers so you can communicate directly with them.

Email marketing allows you collate and build your potential and existing customer database, which is extremely valuable if you want to build relationships with clients and drive sales. It’s an excellent way to keep in touch with customers interested in what you do through newsletter information, news and updates which showcase your expertise, and provide a way to sell your products directly. When someone signs up to your email not only do they become a warm lead but they give you their permission to send them what you are offering them.

However in order for the activity to work, targeting is key! If you simply buy a list and blast out irrelevant content, you will just be considered spam and be deleted – the activity is therefore rendered pointless. However by attracting the right customers and using effective content email marketing success is yours.

Here are eight ways to grow your email marketing list:

#1. Look to your current clients, prospects and those you meet

Ask your current clients sign up to your list and let them know you’ll be contacting them with interesting and valuable information to help and advise them.

Likewise with anyone you have been directly in contact with but who are not yet ready to buy, see if they would like to sign up. This will ensure you stay top of mind and build a relationship with them up until the time they need your product or service.

Collect details from those you meet at networking events – every time you meet a new person or potential client, let them know they can find out more about what you offer and learn something of value if you add their details to your newsletter list. Or follow up with them after the event with a link to sign up to your list.

#2. Promote your newsletter on your social media channels

Send out posts on social media with a link to your email sign up page – i.e. link to a popup or specific landing page. Don’t forget to tell them what’s in it for them to sign up and don’t just post a link and say sign up here. A few tools you can use include:

  • Facebook – online email marketing tools like Mailchimp allow you to easily integrate a sign up form into your Facebook page. When sharing a post to get people to sign up you can send them to this specific tab so people can sign up from within Facebook.
  • Twitter – Use Lead Generation cards to collect emails – you need to have an ads account and enter your card details to use but can use the email sign up free

#3. Use email opt-in forms

If you have a wordpress site, there are a number of plugins you can use to add email sign up functionality to your website. There are various types:

  • Popup boxes & slide in forms – make it relevant and also use tactfully. There are options to show after some time, when scrolling or show on exit.
  • Header and footer bars – you can choose to always show or the option for the user to close it.
  • Insert into content – insert a sign up form in the middle or at the end of your content such as blog posts.
  • Widgets – insert an email sign up box into the sidebar or footer of your website.

It is best to keep the number of fields they have to fill out to a minimum, email only is recommended, however you could also take first name as well so you can personalise emails.

#4. Create free downloadable offers

Also often referred to as a lead magnet and is something that you use in order to generate more leads for your business and your mailing list. Essentially what you’re doing is offering something that your audience would find valuable, but in order to access they’ll have to sign up to your mailing list.

The best way of doing this is to create a landing page on your website where in order to receive the offer such as a downloadable e-book, printables or information, the customer must input their email address. You can also do this in a more simple way using Mailchimp and adding a link to the content in the confirmation or welcome email.

A content upgrade can work really well too as its specific and relevant. For example, if someone is reading your blogs, the chances are they’re very interested in what you have to say on the topic. The key then is to offer them something that is directly related to the topic they’re reading about. So the sign up is to receive something specific rather than just sign up to mailing list.

Types of content you could offer include:

  • EBook
  • Cheat sheet
  • Templates
  • Free chapter of a book
  • A product giveaway
  • Attend an event
  • Enter a competition

#5. Run helpful webinars or podcasts to provide insights or help solve your client problems

In order to attend the webinars or podcasts, potential clients must sign up to access them and you can collect their email addresses.

#6. Provide Exclusive Content

If you are sharing public content only for example your blog posts, then visitors can already see all your blog content without subscribing. There is not much incentive for them to then sign up to your mailing lists unless of course they just like to be reminded that a new post has come out, as they may not remember to visit your blog all the time.

Instead you can offer something exclusive to the reader, for example:

  • Competitions
  • How-to articles
  • Discount vouchers for a product or service
  • Free downloads
  • Access to webinars or podcasts
  • Special offers
  • Priority or VIP access to courses or events

#7. Email Signatures

Be sure to provide a link to the sign up page in your email signature offering helpful tips and advice delivered directly. You can also include a link in your signature if you are commenting or guest blogging. When people see you are providing helpful and valuable advice they can click on your signature to view your website and blog.

#8. Refer and recommend

Encourage other people to refer you and recommend to their friends that they sign up to receive information directly. You could even set up some kind of incentive / referral prize if they do.

By creating and growing your email marketing list you create a direct connection with potential and existing customers and a highly valuable asset within your marketing toolkit.

Case Study – Hugh Liddle, THE Sales Wizard at Red Cap Sales Coaching and Elite Sales Academy

I have worked with Hugh at Red Cap Sales Coaching for a couple of years now and we chat regularly over Zoom (similar to Skype but better). He is SO knowledgeable and not just in sales .. we discuss business strategies, scripting content, lead generation tactics and more … and his coaching has helped to massively improve my business! He is also one of the nicest people you will meet and has become a great friend and I hope to one day welcome him on a visit to the lovely city of Norwich in Norfolk!

Meet The Man With The Red Cap:

Hugh Liddle Red Cap Sales CEOHugh Liddle is THE Sales Wizard at Red Cap Sales Coaching and Elite Sales Academy, where you can learn to make selling easy, fun and profitable.  His clients typically double their sales and income in 90 days or less, guaranteed!  Hugh’s sales training and coaching comes from over 45 years of in-the-field sales and sales management experience, so you get real life experience from his teaching, not just something out of a textbook.  Hugh is the author of Take the Icky and Scary Out of Sales, which is available in paperback or Kindle versions at Amazon.com.  He’s also a radio talk show host.  His show, Sales Chalk Talk, is produced every week and available on Sound Cloud (I have had the pleasure of taking part in it – you can listen to my interview here!)

When Hugh isn’t teaching salespeople, he’s home in Sebring, Florida with his wife, Priscilla, Jasmine the dog and Mooch and Minnie the cats.  He has 6 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.  He plays guitar and bass, sings, writes music and records it.  He also enjoys reading and watching Shark Tank on Saturday mornings.

We are really grateful to Hugh for sharing with us some of the tactics he has used to grow his email list and generate business.

Over to Hugh Liddle:

I currently e-mail market to over 4,000 people, primarily through my blog and other informational or solicitation pieces.  Some things that have helped me build my subscription list include:

  • A highly visible button on my website home page that takes people to the signup form.
  • Whenever I do a webinar, there’s a checked box on the registration page (I use Constant Contact) that says I’d like to receive Hugh’s FREE blog posts. They have to uncheck the box if they do NOT want to receive the blogs.  If they leave the box checked, I’m now allowed to add them to my list and email to them without it being considered spam.
  • Anytime I meet someone and get their business card, I ask them if they are on social media, and if so whether we can connect there. I also ask if they’d like to receive my free blog posts.  If they say yes, I simply write LI, FB, TW and or Blog on the back of their card and add them to the list when I get back to the office.  NOTE:  In most cases, if you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you have access to their e-mail address, and since you are connected, you have permission to contact them!
  • There is a SUBSCRIBE button on every blog I write, so even if someone reads the blog on my website, or someone forwards a blog to them and they aren’t already subscribed, they can easily sign up.

And of course, I wouldn’t be practicing what I preach if I didn’t tell you that you can go to http://bit.ly/wizard-blog and get have my free blogs delivered directly to your inbox.  You’ll get great tips, ideas and strategies that will help you dramatically increase your sales and your income!

Love and blessings, Hugh

Do You Need Some Help Building Or Growing Your Email List?

Are you just starting out and need to start building an email list? Have you already got an email list and you want to grow your lists of contacts or are not sure how to use it effectively to promote and grow your business? Then get in touch with me at hello@hubfizz.uk or find me on Twitter and LinkedIn

If you liked this post please share with others you think may find it valuable.

April 2016 Social Media Roundup
May 11

April 2016 Social Media Roundup

By Karen Black | Top Posts Roundup

Welcome to the April 2016 social media round up with a selection of top posts just for you. We have shared these posts across our social media channels and then picked out those that got he most likes and engagement. Hope you find them useful!

Are you struggling to keep up with your Twitter activities? Looking for a way to streamline your Twitter marketing? The right productivity tools will help you manage your Twitter marketing…
Do you want to be able to analyze your Facebook Page and understand what is working / not working? Are you frustrated with your lack of reach on Facebook and want to make improvements?…
Does your business sell products? Have you considered setting up a shop on Facebook? Facebook allows you to add a Shop section to your Facebook page so customers can buy your products…
Do you want to reach local customers on social media? Are you monitoring the online conversations near your business? Geo-specific social media monitoring tools help businesses engage with…
Wondering how to improve the impact of your social media images? Looking for tools to optimize your visual content? In this article you’ll discover three little-known tools to analyze the…
Is your business struggling to connect with other businesses on Facebook? Need some ideas to spark your imagination? In this article you’ll discover nine ways B2B marketers can use…
Keeping up to date with the latest social media logos can be a challenge. And even once you’ve found the correct logos it can also take some time to understand the brand guidelines: How…
Is your industry boring? Truth be told, there are topics that challenge even the most creative content marketers. On one hand, “boring topics” can be a relative thing. A topic I’m an…
Do you want more organic search traffic to your site? I’m willing to bet the answer is yes – we all do! How do you get your new site or blog indexed by Google, Bing and other search…
You obviously know just how important having a strong social media presence is to your brand and your business. But are you taking the necessary steps to plan, organize, and schedule your…
The Ultimate Ad Dimension Cheat Sheet
Part of creating high-performing ads is making sure your images are the correct dimensions. With varying image size requirements for each social media platform and fairly frequent updates, it can be difficult to keep…
Getting people to share your Facebook posts can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a large following. Even with minimal followers, some posts get shared more than others, mostly…
How To Promote Your Events Within Your Local Community
Apr 08

How To Promote Your Events Within Your Local Community

By Karen Black | Event Marketing , Local Marketing

I have always been a proud supporter of local and independent businesses and also giving back into the community I live in. So it has been a pleasure over the years to be able to work with and support many small businesses in the UK to reach their local customers and grow their business.

One of the great things about local marketing is that your business can position itself firmly as part of the community and build trusted relationships with your customers. It is often a much easier place to start, rather than trying to launch your product or service nationally or internationally.

As well as ensuring your clients are kept up to date with your news and offers, one of the best ways to grow word of mouth buzz and referrals, is by hosting events. Events offer a powerful opportunity to get to meet, know and grow your customer base.

Here are 7 useful tips to ensure a great event which will slay your competition:

#1. Decide what kind of event you’d like to hold and how it can provide the best value to your customers

Is it a seasonal discount, an event where potential customers can try and sample your products, or an event to showcase your expertise? Remember to include this clearly in your messaging when promoting your event so your customers know why they should attend and take part.

#2. Ensure your local ‘tribe’ supports you

Don’t forget to ask your local neighbours to help support and promote your event, whether they are suppliers themselves or businesses in the area. Get in touch with your local business association, and even local tourist boards if it’s a festival, to see if they can also promote the event within their marketing channels. Contact your local media both with news of the event to pre-promote the date, and if there’s a community focussed angle, invite them down to the event itself.

promoting your local event in the community

If local businesses are reluctant to get involved then encourage them to realise the benefits of buying and supporting local businesses and events.

shop local support local

A few of the benefits of supporting local:
  1. You can experience or buy something original and unique
  2. It helps boost the local economy
  3. It is ethical and helps reduce environmental impact
  4. It encourages innovation and entrepreneurship and showcases local talent
  5. It helps to build and strengthen communities and community identity

 

benefits of buying and supporting local and independent businesses

Image copyright https://www.artsygeek.com

You can take a look here for further information on the benefits of supporting local  https://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why or search: support local, buy local, shop local, support independent business and so on.

#3. Promotion schedule and activity

Remember that promotion needs to take place weeks in the run up the event, not just the day before, to attract as many people as possible. Be sure to include the key points of your business in your content to provide context so people get to understand you better. For example, showcase whether it’s a family business, the history and heritage behind the business or the industry within the area.

  • Post a series of blog posts (approximately three) in the run up to the event
  • Promote these and also reminders of the event on social media channels and email
  • Create an event on Facebook and invite people so you can get an idea of interest and numbers and keep them up to date on what is happening
  • Run a dedicated social media campaign with special offers or a competition to win something
  • Set up a booking page or landing page on your website and use an event booking plugin to take payments online or set up a free event page through an online ticketing system such as Eventbrite
  • If it a business event or workshop, you could do a free webinar in the lead up to the event to tell more people about what they can expect on the day. If you give people something of value and they they get to know you better, this will help build awareness and trust
  • Drop some leaflets and flyers into local businesses or take along with you to any networking events
  • Remember to always include a clear action that clients need to act upon such as a link to register or buy tickets

promoting local events online

#4. Encourage email sign ups

Gather as many as possible so you can continue the conversation after the main event and grow your customer database. Whether it’s a downloadable voucher or special information leaflet from the website, think of ways of capturing new customer information so you can continue building your relationship and your business.

#5. Focus your targeting

Promote the event to your community with paid for Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts which is still one of the most effective to really refine and track your marketing and can be tailored to gender, age, interests and location and from a budget of under £5. Again be sure to promote a clear action such as Register or Buy Tickets.

#6. On the day promotion

Remember that promotion on the day is very important to generate buzz but also attract last minute interest. If allowed, are there banners, signage or balloons outside your event that you could use to attract people from the street?  Are you taking photos, recording videos and carrying out interviews on the day to post that you can use to promote during and after the event? Ensure you also get people details so you can follow up with or tell them about future events.

coverage of your local event

#7. Post event promotion

Don’t forget to post up highlights from the event on your social media channels and include any testimonials from suppliers, customers or neighbours. Also if you can, promote the dates for your next event (as well as doing it on the day), perhaps giving them a special offer to promote loyalty and as a thankyou for attending your event.

Case Study – Thirst Consultants

thirst consultants ladies beer club and trappist food and beer tasting

Cheryl & Mark Cade are beer sommeliers and their company Thirst Consultants organise local events and tours including trips to Europe. Events such as the Ladies Beer Club introduce female beer drinkers to delicious local beers, promote local pubs and include talks from local female brewers to encourage women to find a new appreciation and reason to celebrate our national drink!

As well as private events, they have also done a couple of Trappist Beer Tasting Events to showcase deliciously unusual beer and food pairings – who knew ice cream and beer would be such an amazing combination and that a dark bitter chocolate could be bought to life when combined with a strong beer called Rochefort 10!  The events are held at the Narthex at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich, quite fitting as the beer is brewed by monks and the second event held recently attracted 25 people up form 14 on the first event.

We asked Cheryl for her secret in successfully promoting her tours and events and she provided us with some of the methods she is using to promote her products and services:

  • Email newsletters using Mailchimp
  • Post on Facebook groups like Norwich and Norfolk Camra and other niche beer and food lovers groups
  • Network within local groups and niche groups and attend conferences to also target corporate companies for their events – for example with Nissan she can tailor beer tasting to Japanese beers
  • Post regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and a small amount of LinkedIn – use hashtags such as #beer #food #norfolk and also tag in the beer, brewery, pub, venue or people that may be interested
  • Create Facebook Events to invite people to upcoming events
  • Look at promotions that could tie in with certain holidays and dates to sell vouchers and gifts – e.g. Father’s Day
  • Create and distribute posters at pubs or places where she is holding events or that may be interested in her events or tours or beer
  • Use platforms such as Eventbrite so people can book and pay online with ease

Do You Need Some Help Promoting Your Local Event?

If you’re a local business looking to help boost your events through online marketing with ideas about how to promote it offline as well, then get in touch with me at hello@hubfizz.uk or find me on Twitter and LinkedIn

Hubfizz is a member of Buy Local Norfolk and Karen volunteers her time to do the weekly #NorwichHour show on Future Radio – a community radio station in Norwich helping to support and empower the local community.

If you liked this post please share with others you think may find it valuable.

Spring March 2016 Social Media Roundup
Apr 06

March 2016 Social Media Roundup

By Karen Black | Top Posts Roundup

Welcome to the Spring 2016 social media round up with a selection of top posts just for you. We have shared these posts across our social media channels and then picked out those that sparked the most interest. We try to ensure that we also select a cross range of marketing tips so we hope it saves you time and comes in handy!

If you have been paying attention you would realize that Twitter is becoming more and more visual as a social platform. Images on Twitter not only get retweeted more, but photos, graphics,…
Are you looking for free, high-quality social media icons to bring your website, content or maybe even business cards to life? Every individual and business has their own style and finding…
We’ve talked about how important of a tool video is becoming for marketers. Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube, Facebook has 8 billion daily video views and…
This post originally published on July 16, 2014. We’ve updated it here with new research and stats and a cool new infographic. When I went rock climbing for the first time, I had no idea…
Infographic brought to you by Seriously Social and G2 Crowd This was from data compiled by G2 Crowd and Seriously Social and features Hootsuite, AgoraPulse, Sendible and SproutSocial. I…
Have you ever wondered what an effective Pinterest marketing strategy looks like? Or what details it should include? Questions like how to pin, when to pin and how much to pin are always at…
You look at Google Analytics and see a lot of data but there are so many different numbers… What should you focus on? Ideally, you want to focus on a couple of key metrics that you can…
Ever wondered if professional bloggers have some sort of checklist that they use before publishing their blog posts? Yup most of them do. In this article, I’ll share my 14-point blog post…
February 2016 roundup of top social media posts
Mar 09

Top Social Media Posts Roundup – February 2016

By Karen Black | Top Posts Roundup

We have selected some of the top blog posts that we shared via Twitter and LinkedIn over the past month. These 8 posts received the most clicks, shares and likes so we hope you find them useful.

How Important are Tags in 2016 for SEO for Your Website and Blog?
If you want to improve the visibility of your website, increase traffic and boost your brand’s revenue, you need to run a strong SEO campaign. While building backlinks, developing your…
7 Techniques To Increase Instagram Engagement
Since its inception, Instagram has pioneered the visual appeal of social media. Its visceral platform has resonated with a younger demographic, which still accounts for the majority of its…
Small businesses have many competitive advantages over the big guys. Are you embracing these strengths or trying to quickly scale up and grow your business out of the ‘small’ label? While…
Why Use WordPress For Your Website Or Blog?
WordPress being my favorite content management system (CMS), not only mine but of all those who are using WordPress (I do believe). It has been just three years that I am using WordPress…
Here’s a riddle: When is a tweet more than a tweet? We’re all pretty familiar with Twitter’s 140 characters-and of course, a photo is always an eye-catching addition. But what if your…
How to find key influencers in your industry on Twitter
Who are the key influencers in your industry on Twitter that you need to connect with? Networking with people who have a large audience, and whose audience pays attention to what they have…
Note: this post was originally published in 2014 so we’ve updated it to include even more tips to help you find a great Twitter username. So you’ve decided that Twitter’s the right…
Have you wondered what type of results you can get using LinkedIn for business? Or maybe you are wondering if there’s enough of an ROI on your LinkedIn activities? It can seem like there…
how to steer your way through seo
Mar 04

How To Steer Your Way Through SEO

By Karen Black | SEO

Keywords for Search Engine Optimisation

You are either thinking “I keep hearing these phrases and I don’t really know what they mean” or you’re thinking “I’ve got a rough idea what they are but I’ve no idea how I’m supposed to use them”.

So what exactly are keywords and why is so much fuss made about them?

Put simply, keywords are the words or phrases people use when searching the web to find what they are looking for. Your job is to make sure they find you amidst the stream of content out there on the web. If you incorporate good, well-thought through keywords into your website text – that’s exactly what they’ll do.

get found in google

It may sound simple and it is really, but it’s time-consuming and you have to be methodical in your approach. Some people rush it like some race and think ‘oh well that will do’, some don’t get round to doing it at all and others don’t realise they should be doing it. However rather than battling against the tide trying to compete with your competitors, the key is to put in the effort initially and it will pay off in the long run.

So if you want to make sure your website doesn’t sink to the bottom of the search engine rankings you must get you keywords right and here are some tips on how to do it:

Why are keywords important?

Once you have a better understanding of the words and phrases people use to search for the products or services you offer, you can write your website more effectively.

Having relevant key words on your website pages helps you rank highly on Google and other search engines. Your keywords optimise your search engine success – hence: Search Engine Optimisation.

How do I do keyword research?

So now for the important bit. Here are some tips on how to research, plan and implement keywords:

  1. Set yourself up with an adwords.google.com account and use the Keyword Planner.
  2. Write down the main categories of your business or service and the phrases/words that might be used to describe them, try to think as your customers would think.
  3. Your keywords need to match the words and phrases people use when searching for your product.
  4. Once you are satisfied that you have a complete list of appropriate keywords you need to work them into your website copy.

Using Google Keyword Planner

For example – you might be a specialist travel company offering amazing holidays to India, but what will people searching for holidays put into that google search bar?

what do peopl search for on google when looking for you

I typed in Holidays to India     –   and this is what came up…

Average Monthly Searches

India Holidays                                     6,600

Holidays in India                                 5,400

Tourist places in India                        27,100

India Travel                                          6,600

Honeymoon packages in India        6,000

Places to visit in India                        12,100

Then you dig deeper, I put in Honeymoon packages in India and got

Honeymoon destinations in India   8,100

So if I were writing content for this website I would ensure that as many of these key phrases and keywords as possible appeared on my website, for example:

  • VisitIndia specialises in India Holidays. Our team of experienced tour guides ensure that our guests are taken to the very best tourist places in India, including… etc
  • Honeymoon destinations in India are our speciality etc.

So you weave the high-ranking terms effectively into your copy.

But, one last piece of advice, you must make sure you integrate the keywords seamlessly into your website text. If it reads like you have just ‘thrown’ or ‘littered’ your site with the words, your website will be penalised by Google.

Case Study – Cambridge Food Tour

cambridge food tour

One of our clients – The Cambridge Food Tour – has found that the best way to incorporate relevant keywords within their website text is through producing relevant blog content on food places to visit in Cambridge. By reviewing and updating their audience on quality food and restaurant reviews and news, they create enough content for those looking for quality food experiences in the city. When people are searching in Google for various things to do in cambridge or places to eat, people are coming across their blogs and then visit the website.

So not only does this method drive traffic to their website but once on there, they often then browse around the rest of the site and this often results in people booking one of the Cambridge Food and Drink Tours.

Still Need Some Help?

If you want to explore this further but feel you don’t have the time, resources or know-how to undertake this, then have a chat with me at hello@hubfizz.uk.

If you liked this post please share with others you think may find it valuable. Connect with me Twitter or sign up below for further tips.

7 Things To Consider When Setting Up Your Website
Apr 30

7 Things To Consider When Setting Up Your Website

By Karen Black | Websites

Quite often when people start their own business one of the first things they have to do (in most professions) is set up an online presence so that customers can find you and more importantly buy from you!

For many, the build of a website can be a minefield, and in some cases, quite stressful.  Many may not know where to start or find working with technology too daunting, others may find the scale of costs off putting.

However by knowing where to start, planning ahead and avoiding the common pitfalls, clients find building a website can be quite a smooth and cost effective process to expand alongside business growth.

Here are 7 things to consider when setting up your website:

1. Purchase the domain name for your website

Once you’ve got your company name sorted make sure you register your domain name quickly. Ensure consistency across your online marketing platforms I.e website, email and social media to provide strong and professional branding across all channels.

2. Free isn’t always a bargain

Whilst the allure of free to use free  or lowcost web builders sound appealing this is often a false economy and more costly in the end if you require  a more flexible approach. The custom built templates are quite limited and you’re tied into the design which will cost you £££s to amend or require you to start from scratch again. Also you’re not in ownership of your website design and if the web build company closes down your site is no longer active.

3. Choosing the right website platform

Plan ahead to envisage what your website needs to be able to fulfil so you don’t have to incur any unnecessary costs in the long run. Think about using WordPress which is infinitely expandable and also leaves you in control whilst installed on your own hosting.

4. Choose the right set up

What do you need your website to do for your business – is it solely a source of information and content such as a blog, or do you need an e-commerce site to drive sales? The set up for both requirements vary immensely so should be decided and planned for accordingly from the start.

5. Remember to make your website responsive

More and more people access websites phones and tablets nowadays so ensure that your website can be read and navigated easily on these platforms and now Google is giving preference to mobile websites when people search on their mobile.

6. Have a good starting guide on what your homepage should include

Remember to outline what you offer, benefits, clear navigation menu, visuals and/or video, call to action and contact details.

7. Make sure your website delivers

Is it easy to navigate, clear and uncluttered, quick to load and optimised for search engines?  Ensure that you don’t put off customers through a badly designed and unprofessional looking site! Use the right language that will be understood by your customers (not too technical) and remember to use key words that will be researched in search engines so your customers can find you more easily.

 

If you liked this post please share with others you think may find it valuable. Connect with me Twitter or sign up below for further tips.

What’s In A (Domain) Name?
Apr 16

What’s In A (Domain) Name?

By Karen Black | Websites

Business owners often choose a company name but don’t realise that the choice of name can impact how their company is found by prospective customers and therefore marketed effectively online.

Once you have your company name, you’ll need to register the domain name i.e. the name you will use for online activity such as website, emails or social media activity – in other words www.yourcompanyname.com. By taking care of a few simple steps at the beginning, you not only ensure a solid foundation for building up your online marketing activity but also start to build a recognised and trusted brand for your business.

Here are a few tips for securing your domain as the first step to building your online presence effectively:

Chosen the company name? Get your domain name quickly!

It may seem obvious but registering your domain as soon as possible is a point well worth reiterating. Many people set up their company and quickly realise afterwards that the domain name isn’t available or there are several hundred companies named the same and you may only be able to get a .biz address or have to find something alternative. Also if you are competing with others who have the same name, you may not appear on the first few pages of Google when people search for you. Customers often automatically assume that your website will be called YourBusinessName.com so quickly check if this domain is available to ensure consistency across websites, emails etc.

SOME TIPS:

  • Something worth considering is not searching for your .com name until you are almost ready to buy it. Some domain sites (so I’ve been told) sell or pass on your searches to potential buyers so you may find if you have searched for your name and then go back in a week to buy it, it is gone – I dont know if its just coincidence or not, but its worth taking into consideration.
  • Wait until you are down to a few possible names for your business and then search for availability of the domain names so you can determine which one to go for.

Finding a .com that’s available

Many of the best domain names have been snapped up and generic names and short names were the first to go, so you may have to get creative when looking for that golden link.  As long as the name is not copyrighted or trademarked you can register alternative domains such as .co.uk and .uk and these are also good to purchase anyway in addition to a .com to help you showing up in local searches. You could also consider buying up similar names for example if you are called “HandNFoot” you could buy both HandNFoot.com and handandfoot.com.

Try to avoid dashes number and other symbols – think about the ease if you have to explain clever spellings or special characters over the phone or how easy it will be for people to remember.  If people guess and get it wrong you could be sending them to your competition’s website.

You can check for availability through sites such as LCN or 123reg (known as domain registrars) or if the domain isn’t available they may be available to purchase through sites such as BuyDomains.com

At the same time I would also look if the name is also available on social media sites for example @youname for Twitter or facebook.com/yourname. It is best to also secure those for other main social media sites you may want to use in the future – secure them before someone else does.

TOP TIP: A great site to check usernames and domain name availability is http://knowem.com/

Choose your domain registrar carefully

Many seem cheap at first until you go through the payment process and add in the hidden extras. They often try to sell you email as well as hosting (hosting you can do after and it comes with free email) as well as a host of other unnecessary extras. Generally to start with you just need the domain and privacy if you wish. Prices range from around £10 a year for .com and £3 – £4 a year for .co.uk or .uk – you often get discounts for buying domains for a longer period of time.

Promote your domain on all platforms

Be sure to promote your domain effectively on emails, adverts, business cards, social media profiles – the more you use it the more people will remember it and visit your site.

Don’t allow your domain to expire!

If you run a successful business and fail to re-register your domain name on time when it’s due to expire, you run the risk of a competitor snapping it up and you may be forced to buy back your domain at a higher price or find a new name. Be sure to have the registrar automatically renew your domain each year by keeping your credit card information on file or use a consistently used email for your email notifications.

 

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Top 10 Tips For Email Marketing
Apr 02

Top 10 Tips For Email Marketing

By Karen Black | Email Marketing

We’ve all received unwelcome or unsolicited email and too often have hit the delete button without even opening the message, let alone reading the content! Email marketing is often mistakenly aligned with direct mail – spamming needlessly and often achieving low success rates. However correctly targeted and designed well with relevant content, many businesses have seen a positive response to their marketing.

Ensure your have a winning formula by following these simple tips:

  1. Keep emails short and concise – if you need to expand details then link further information to a website or blog
  2. Use a balance of both visuals and text – create an attractive layout that is easy to read and digest so it’s easy on the eye to read
  3. Ensure the content is relevant for your audience – it is more important to drive engagement i.e. will they be interested in what you have to say and will they appreciate receiving your information – is it something they can use, or will help answer their queries. Are you segmenting your emails or just sending out a blanket email to everyone?
  4. Tailor your tone of the email to your audience – this may vary depending on whether you’re reaching out to prospective clients or current clients who know you well
  5. Make sure the content is timely – with email being instantaneous ensure that your content isn’t out of date with its news but also that you are sending it at the right time of the week or at the right time of day. An email sent at 6pm on a Friday may be better sent on a Tuesday at 10 for example – of course it depends on the business so ensure you are tracking who is opening it and when.
  6. Include a catchy email subject to entice recipients to open the email – try to avoid salesy ‘Buy Now’ messages which are often considered spam and end up in the dreaded junk folder
  7. Plan your frequency – listen to what your audience want – would weekly or monthly communication of valuable content work better than daily content?
  8. Measure and evaluate your activity – there are lots of free or low cost online e-mailing solutions such as MailChimp, Aweber, Get Response and more which can provide reports on how many people have clicked open the email, clicked on links or have even unsubscribed. You can then gage what works or doesn’t work with your audience as well as save you a lot of time on the manual management of your database.
  9. Make sign up to your communications easy and accessible – embed a sign up form into your website and attract more subscribers by using a valuable free download offer.
  10. Promote your offer to get people to sign up – You can then promote this offer by adding links to your email signature and social media profiles and posting out on social media.

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3 Steps To Boost Your Profile And Get Noticed On LinkedIn
Mar 19

3 Steps To Boost Your Profile And Get Noticed On LinkedIn

By Karen Black | LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as the professional social networking site – very much focused as a platform to make business connections and promote yourself amongst your colleagues, peers, partners and suppliers and also within your industry. Whilst the purpose of this site is for business, it’s still not often used to its full potential to generate the quality leads and sales you need.

Instead of using it as somewhere to publish your CV, remember that the aim of any network is to engage and connect with your contacts – building a rapport online and showing your credibility so you can do business offline. Here are some tips to boost your profile and use LinkedIn more strategically to take your business to the next level!

#1 Complete Your Profile

  • Photography – Use a professional good quality professional photo on your profile. Keep this same look and feel consistent across all professional platforms.
  • Biography – Ensure you describe exactly what you do or how you can help someone. If you’re stuck, speak to your ideal client!
  • Keywords – Use keywords relevant to your market or industry that will help people find you more quickly and also find your services.
  • Personalised URLs – You can create a specific URL for your personal page which you can use within your email signature, business cards and also helps you to get found in search engines.
  • Make Content Relevant To Your Customer – Identify your client’s core problems and how you can help or perhaps solve this for them and also how you have helped others.
  • Promote Other Platforms – Don’t forget to include links to your website, other social networks, blogs or promotions you’re offering.
  • Skills and Services – Highlight the courses relevant to your skills or services so people can see the qualifications you’ve acquired to make you an expert. You can also write blogs on here to showcase your expertise.
  • Recommendations and Endorsements – Profile your expertise and credibility through client testimonials and recommendations which can be posted on your profile. Also ensure that the skills you have listed are what you want to be endorsed for.

#2 Status Updates

  • Regular Postings – By updating your status regularly, you can stay top of mind with your contacts plus it gives people an opportunity to like, comment or share your posts.
  • Quality Content – Ensure the content you post is of relevance to your audience and is helpful and valuable.
  • Sharing is Caring – By liking, sharing and commenting on other people’s posts, you help promote your contacts and build relationships as well as helping you to get you noticed. You can also tag someone in a post by using @name so they are notified of your activity.
  • Timings – Studies have shown that LinkedIn users are more active in the afternoons and evenings or sometimes first thing in the morning – check the posts of your connections to see when they’re most active and ensure you’re active at the same time for better response.

#3 Join Groups

  • Align Yourself With Your Peers – Connect with like-minded professionals related to your industry and ensure you display the group logo on your profile for other contacts to see.
  • Research Your Group – Review the statistics of a group before joining, to ensure you are connecting with the right audience i.e. seniority, job description, location etc. Also check the level of the group activity – is there much engagement on the posts? Are people commenting or just posting with little interaction?
  • Show Expertise – Join or start a discussion where you can show your insights, answer questions and post articles.
  • Ask For Advice – We like to help people – it makes us feel good, so as well as providing advice, remember to ask for advice too and build better relationships with your colleagues.

It’s often said we do business with people we know like and trust so ensure that your professional ‘face’ is liked by those you meet online.

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