Attention to detail
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Your Attention To Detail

Your attention to detail will make a massive difference to both your marketing and to your business.

My wife and I were away last week in the West Country.

We stayed mainly in B&Bs which were generally really nice.

To get traffic to their websites, they have to be on the major portals – Booking.com and Hotels.com.

They live and die by the customer ratings they receive and a couple of owners told me how one poor review can have a massive impact on their score.

The equivalent for your business is testimonials.

They provide the social proof that potential customers are looking for.

So remember to chase your customers for a testimonial as you can never have too many positive comments from happy customers.

However my wife and I were discussing what it takes to get those really good reviews – the 10/10 scores.

These days we take the basics for granted:

  • A comfortable bed
  • A good breakfast
  • Spotlessly clean room
  • A decent sized TV

Once the basics are in place it’s the little touches, the attention to detail, that makes the difference:

  • Nice quality toiletries
  • Soft fluffy towels
  • A carafe of drinking water
  • Some nice biscuits
  • Being offered a cup of tea when you arrive
  • Warm and friendly hosts

None of these things are very expensive but they make a real difference.

It all comes down to the care, attention and love that you bring to your business and as one of our hosts said “providing a service that they would want to experience themselves”.

So what should you do to ensure your business is delivering the right level of service at every stage of the customer journey?

Break your business down into chunks representing each stage of the process a customer will go through when dealing with your business.

Then look and see if there is something extra that you can add in that will make the experience more professional, more impressive, more valuable and more memorable.

If you’re struggling to identify what you need to do, go back to my B&B owner and ask yourself what would you like to experience at every stage of the transaction.

I’m sure the main elements (the comfy bed) are already in place and you probably just need to add a few little touches.

It’s this attention to detail that your customers will remember and will ensure they give you the 10/10 mark.

If you need help with any aspect of the process, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.

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5 Myths About Blogging

Just like your home page, blogs are an important tool for the success of your business.

Even though blogs have been around for years, people still have a lot of misconceptions about them. They’re too hard to write, some will say, or I have nothing to blog about, others complain.

Working as a marketing consultant in Surrey, I think it’s time to set the record straight and debunk many of the top blogging myths I hear regularly.

After reading this, you might even decide you want to start your own blog! Read more

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Stuck for Blog Ideas?

There are many benefits to having your own business blog.

As you can see from my regular blog updates, I’m a big believer in blogging!

Not only is it a great way to communicate with your customers, it’s also useful for displaying your authority in your industry not to mention that Google loves fresh content and will reward your site’s rankings accordingly.

Sometimes, however, finding inspiration for your latest blog post can be tough. I know how difficult it can be to find something new to write about every week.

Take a look at some of my ideas for blog writing – hopefully, you can use these to get your creative juices flowing.

blog

Think About Wider Concerns

Customers and potential customers don’t want to read blogs that are solely promotional or talking about your products and services.

A blog shouldn’t be all about your company, it should address the wider concerns of your customers.

For example: if you sell men’s clothes, you could be blogging about sport and entertainment.

These sorts of blogs will be easily shared and will draw readers to your site.

Check Out Current Events

The news can be a great source of inspiration for blog topics.

No matter what industry you’re in, there’s bound to be something relevant to your business and customers.

For example: a travel company would find plenty to blog about with news articles concerning how the exchange rate has been affected by the process of Brexit or even Donald Trump’s recent ban on citizens of specific countries from entering the USA.

These blogs will show off your authority in your industry, demonstrating to customers that you know what you’re talking about.

News Update Concept

Start a Series

A series of blogs can be great to use when you’re struggling for ideas.

This could include anything from a series of ‘How To’s’, to ‘Product Spotlights’, to ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

For example: if you are a plumber, you could run a troubleshooting series to talk about common problems that wouldn’t require your services.

These blogs will help to develop your readership who are likely to come back and read more if they know that this is part of a series.

While writing a blog is a great business tool, it is easy to let it become stagnant.

Make sure to keep that creativity up by using ideas such as these and you should be on your way to a successful blog.

If you would like to know more about how you can use a blog to generate business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by calling 01483 200387 or email me on info@bda.me.uk and I’ll be more than happy to help.

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The Simple Formula To Help Your Copywriting

How often when you sit down to write something –  an email, a web page, a Google ad or whatever ….. do you find yourself completely uninspired.

 

You’ve got a rough idea in your mind what you want to say but how do you start and then how do you structure it and how do you make sure you keep people reading?

 

It’s so frustrating isn’t it?

 

To make matters worse as you sit there struggling, you start getting irritated about how long you’re spending and worrying about all the other things you have to do that day. On top of that if it’s a piece of marketing collateral you’re writing, you know that if it isn’t good it won’t persuade your audience to take action  as you need them to.

Creativity problems. Blank sheet of paper and crumpled paper wads.

The whole thing can start becoming stressful and annoying.

 

If it’s any consolation to you, you’re not the only one.

 

Some days I sit down and the words just flow off my fingers and other days it’s a real struggle and copywriting is one of my core skills.

 

The good news is that there is a very simple formula which absolutely anyone can use which is guaranteed to give you a structure and to get you started.

 

It revolves around a simple formula and 3 little words:

Problem

Agitate

Resolve

checklist with a ticked box and a pen

You identify the reader’s pain, you stick the knife in to stir up the wound and increase the pain and then you give them the solution.

 

And that’s all there is to it.

 

If you want to see it in action, just go back through this blog and see what I’ve done.

 

I started off by identifying the pain we all suffer at times – writer’s block.

 

I then agitated the situation and made the pain worse by highlighting the emotional angst that goes with writer’s block – when you start worrying about wasting time and possibly creating ineffective marketing.

 

And then I offered the solution – the 3 step process.

 

Easy isn’t it?

 

Apply this basic structure to your copywriting and not only will your response rates rocket but you’ll find it much quicker and easier to get the writing done.

Writing Pen with Letters

So I’ve now given you the weaponry to become a ninja copywriter but I fully understand that there may still be a big difference between knowing how to and being able to.

 

Copywriting is a skill which not everyone has.

 

If you fall into that category and still need some help from a marketing consultant in Surrey and the surrounding area, I’m your man because I love it and my copy generates response and makes readers take action.

 

So if you need help to draft that vital selling message, drop me a line at mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or if you really don’t want to write, call me on 01483 200387 or contact me via the website.

 

 

 

 

 

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What Are The Benefits Of Blogging?

Everyone talks about blogging but what are the benefits of blogging?

So here are just a few of the major benefits:

  • Being regarded as an expert in your field
  • Driving more people to your website
  • Generating enquiries from people you’ve never heard of

OK so these are all common business objectives and blogging is a great tool to help you achieve them.

That’s right if you commit to blogging and follow a number of simple guidelines, you can achieve amazing things for your business.

I’m now going to give you some tips to make sure that you actually receive the benefits of blogging.

Understand your audience

Your objective is to attract potential customers to your business. To do this you need to be blogging about subjects that they are going to be interested in, which therefore means you need to have a deep understanding of them, who they are and what issues are they facing.

Commit for the long term

If you plan to dip into blogging and then do a new post every so often, then it won’t work for you. You have to commit to blogging over an extended period of time. Building a following doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a while.

Similarly you need to blog regularly – once a week is good, once a month is the least you can get away with. There’s nothing worse than looking at a blog and finding the last entry was several months ago.

Keep it short

When people read a blog they’re not looking for War and Peace. They want short, information rich text. To be indexed by Google your blog post needs to be at least 300 words long. The ideal length of a blog is therefore somewhere between 300 – 600 words.

Write catchy headlines

Your objective is to get as many of your target audience reading your blog as possible.  Posts with catchy headlines are much more likely to be read both by regular readers and Google searchers than ones with dull headlines.

On emails I usually use oblique and intriguing headlines where the subject matter isn’t immediately obvious, but on blogs the headline should make it immediately apparent what the post is all about and uses the keywords that people will use when searching on Google for information on that subject.

Use keywords

As I just said above people are searching for specific topics and will search using your keywords. Firstly you want Google to serve up your blog post in answer to the search and you also need the searcher to click on your post and you’ll only achieve this by using the correct keywords.

However you need to use the keywords judiciously. Use them in the headline, the first sentence and last sentences and wherever else they are appropriate. Don’t go mad and stuff them in willy nilly.

Market you blog

To get the greatest number of readers, you’re going to have to market your blog. You should participate in social bookmarking sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, promote your posts on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and email the blog out to your database.

Give away your knowledge

You shouldn’t be afraid to give away your knowledge and expertise. It is exactly this that will create expert positioning and so draw prospects into you.

So give ‘em your best shot as often as you can.

Call to action

Like any piece of marketing, you should conclude by telling the reader what to do next. You might invite them to share the post with their friends, to follow you on social media or even to contact you directly.

So now that you understand what are the benefits of blogging and you’d like to discuss it further just give me a call on 01483 200387, email me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk or contact me via the website www.bda.me.uk

 

 

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How Blogging Will Benefit Your Business

Blogging is hot news right now.

There are regular articles about bloggers and the amount of readers they have and the amazing amount of money they’re making from their blogs.

So while on the one hand blogging is now totally mainstream I still regularly meet business owners who not only aren’t blogging but do not see the point in it and believe that from a business point of view that it’s a complete waste of time.

Here are five reasons why blogging will benefit your business and why you should be doing it.

Before I get to that let’s just recap on some basic facts about blogging.

  • A blog gives you the opportunity to express your opinions on any issue you want.
  • Blogs don’t have to be long – anywhere between 200 – 500 words is fine.
  • If you start a blog you really need to commit to updating it regularly. I usually blog once a week.
  • You don’t need to be the world’s greatest writer – people are looking for interesting subject matter not the next Shakespeare.
  • You’re not going to get lots of hate mail if people don’t agree with you. Very few people comment on blogs these days.

So what are the benefits of blogging

1.       Expert status

By commenting on and giving informed opinions on subject matters relevant to your industry, you come to be recognised as an expert in your field. Expert status is a powerful driver of business enquiries.

2.       Finger on the pulse

Blogging is a perfect vehicle for commenting on topical issues which will show you to be up with current trends and to have your finger on the pulse of events in your industry.

3.       Drive website traffic

We all want more visitors to our websites and a blog will help achieve this. If your readers enjoy what they read they may well become regular visitors, assuming you’re updating your content regularly.  If your blog sits within your corporate website, if visitors like what they read on the blog, they may well decide to look around the website – happy days.

4.       Improved your website ranking within Google

One of the things that Google looks for when ranking websites is regularly updated content. So by blogging regularly, you will help your site’s SEO and so improve where your website appears within the organic listings.

5.       Increased exposure on social media

While many of us want to be active on social media, it is often difficult to find relevant and useful stuff to post. Social media is the ideal place to promote your blog

Social media also gives you the opportunity to increase your reach. If readers enjoy your posts, they may well share them which in effect endorses them which will bring new people to the blog and therefore your website. So not only are you in effect getting free advertising but you’re also getting social proof, which is immensely valuable.

Now I hope that having read this, you’ll understand why you should be blogging and will be encouraged to make a start.

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What’s Content Marketing All About?

Content marketing is one of those expressions you hear, but not so many people actually know what it entails.

Content marketing is producing useful, valuable content that educates your customers and prospects.

It helps to build trust, authority and even ‘thought leadership’ in your industry rather than just forcing sales and marketing messages in people’s faces.

With the rise in inbound marketing content marketing has never been so important.

Content marketing by itself is unlikely to deliver new business. Instead it works with other marketing techniques such as blogging, SEO, PPC, email marketing etc reinforcing your messages and building credibility.

What forms does content marketing take?

Content can be written, spoken or in video or graphical format.

This can be used in:

  • Blogs: An article, like this one.
  • White papers: An detailed and expert exploration of a topic.
  • Guides: shorter than a white paper, a guide will explore a topic but may well be more practical
  • eBooks: normally quite substantial items designed to be consumed on a screen. Ebooks will go into a lot of detail on chunky subject matter.
  • Case studies: a detailed explanation of what you did to solve a particular business situation that you faced and the results you got.
  • A book: Both printed and as a longer eBook for example on a Kindle
  • Podcasts: An audio file that could be an interview or give hints and tips. This is usually distributed via iTunes
  • Videos: interviews, ‘how to’ guides, testimonials. Anything with a video camera
  • Presentations: A PowerPoint (or similar) presentation that tells a story or presents an idea. These can be distributed on websites like SlideShare
  • Infograpics: Graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge
  • Webinars: a presentation to a group of people live over the web which people will usually have signed up to in advance.

This content can then be distributed on your website, blog, social media, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, SlideShare and many more places.

So what Content Marketing should you start with?

There is no simple answer to this, however it’s worth asking yourself, and the people in your business some questions:

  • What content do you enjoy producing? If you’re a good writer written content is the place to start. If you love being in front of a camera video may be best for you
  • What do other companies in your industry do? Should you do the same as them to keep up or can you do something different?
  • How does your target market consume content? A gym goer may consume more podcasts as they are in the gym a lot with their iPod. Someone who spends all day at a desk in an office may prefer written content

Whatever you choose the important thing is to getting some quality content out there.

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How to be successful at blogging

Q. Is it a good idea to have a blog?
A. Yes, it is, as it can help your search engine rankings, feed your newsletter and generate sales enquiries.

Q. Where is the best place to have a blog?
A. Inside your website, as every time you blog, you will increase the size of your site and demonstrate to the search engines that you have a dynamic, active website.

Q. What should I write about?
A. Business owners and marketers should write about their areas of expertise what do you know that would be useful and interesting to others?

Q. What if I don’t want to give my knowledge away for free?
A. If I read a doctor’s blog for 10 years, I wouldn’t turn into a doctor. Remember that your competitors are already blogging, so there is a danger that you will be left behind. By the way, you don’t have to share it all!
But then again if you don’t want to do it, nobody’s forcing you, but you’re missing out on a very valuable way of marketing your business and yourself.

Q. How long should a blog post be?
A. As long as it takes to impart your information. 400 words will give Google enough for a square meal. (Increasingly, in depth blogs are getting better results).

Q. How am I going to get my blog found?
A. Choose a short keyword phrase which you want to be found for. Focus on that and use it several times within the post. Then use that phrase within your categories and tags.

Q. When is a good time to write?
A. The time doesn’t matter at all. Write whenever you’re at your best.

Q. Any writing tips?
A. Write quickly. Edit later. Write in a conversational tone, making it easy and enjoyable to read.

Q. How do I get blog subscribers?
A. Write useful, interesting stuff that other people will benefit from reading. If your readers share your content then you’re on your way.
You will also want to promote your blog to your contacts via social media and your email database.

Q. Should I allow comments on my blog?
A. Yes comments show that your audience are engaging with your blog and may well add additional perspectives for other readers.

Q. How often should I blog?
A. The more often the better. Not only are you putting more of your expertise out there but you’re also increasing the size of your website. If you can do it every week, that’s great.

Q. How on earth will I find the time to do this?
A. Now that’s the question. It’s easy to say just work a bit longer but that may not be very helpful. It’s all a matter of priorities. If you give blogging a high priority then you will find the time as it will replace something with a lower priority. If you don’t give it a high priority you probably won’t do it. End of story.

 

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You Gotta Be Brave To Be A Successful Blogger

Starting a new blog can be daunting, especially when you think how many millions of pages of information, from millions of content producers, are already out there trying to get noticed.That’s one heck of a mountain to climb!

This means your blog has an insane amount of competition, when it comes to capturing people’s attention.Ironically, at a time when you are seeking to be as visible as possible, the temptation is often totry and copy what you see the most successful sites doing.

The challenge with that approach, as many people have learned the hard way, is that you end up with a diluted version of another site.That’s not going to be a powerful enough proposition, for people to keep coming back to your site.

In my experience, the people who solve this challenge the best, are those who allow their own unique personality to come across in their work.

Why you’ve gotta be brave

The thing is, expressing your own point of view takes courage; especially when you know it will be challenged.We learn at school that it’s easier tojust fit in with what the crowd are doingand the same is true in many workplaces too.

As a result, many people start blogging and just swim in the same direction as the other bloggers in their niche, which is the polar opposite of what they should be doing.

Be Yourself

Shareyourexperiences,yourstories,youropinions andyourinsights on yourblog.Also, learn to be comfortable making a point, even if you think some people will disagree with you.It’s what makes what you have to say worthy of people’s attention and interesting enough, for them to want to share with their friends!

 

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7 Top Tips For Blogging Heaven

These days blogging has come to be seen as an essential part of a business’s communication and marketing arsenal.

However it only becomes a powerful tool if people read it, become loyal to it and act as a result of it.

Make your blog work hard

The following tips are designed to make your blog a more useful and powerful weapon.

1. Make your posts useful and relevant

Business people read blogs in order to learn – new viewpoints, new skills and information that will benefit their business.

So make sure your blogs contain useful information that your readers can take away and use.

2. Focus on your readers

If you  want your readers to engage with your posts, you need to focus on issues which are important to them. It’s like any business – you need to be customer focused and give them what they want.

Where you can add real value is when you personalise your posts – when you include your own experiences and your own view points. This is what can make your posts unique. Without these inputs the same information can probably be found elsewhere online – it’s the personal experience and views which can make your posts so valuable.

The trick is to give your audience the information they want but with your own personal spin.

3. You need to blog frequently and consistently

One of the key elements if you want to build a loyal readership is the frequency with which you blog. Whether you blog every day, twice a week or only once a week, you need to be putting up new content on a regular basis. You also ideally will commit to a set regularity so that your readers know when they can expect to find something new. If your readers visit your site a few times and find nothing new, you can’t be very surprised if they lose interest. When you publish posts infrequently, it’s almost like starting from zero each time. There’s little if any momentum and momentum is essential if you want to grow your readership.

4. Write as you speak

In my opinion this point doesn’t just relate to blogs but is relevant to most copy writing – whether that be for websites, brochures and flyers or direct mail. Conversational writing is much easier to read than formalised language.

Have you ever noticed that when you read good copy, it almost feels like you can hear the writer speaking to you? That’s because these writers have discovered, that when you write similarly to the way you speak, you make it easier for people to connect with the person behind your posts.

5. Add personality to your posts

If you add nothing new, no individual perspectives, you give people nothing to connect with.  Always look for a way to add something of your own, something that shows your readers what you think and what you feel about the topic. In this way you can position yourself as a leader in your field, with whom readers are much more likely to want to do business.

6. Don’t sell too much

Of course we all write business blogs with the objective of building our businesses. Personally I overtly sell very little. I try to demonstrate my knowledge and expertise in my blog so that readers perceive me as an expert so when they need marketing services they think of me.

People read blogs to gain information and opinions – not to be sold to. So if you do plan to sell directly from your blog, be careful to get the balance right. Make sure the reader still gets plenty of informational value between the sales messages.

7. Use your blog to build relationships

The best blogs are the ones that receive lots of comments. If you receive comments this gives you the opportunity to interact with the commenter. In this way you can start to build rapport and  a relationship.

So one of the basic rules of blogging is that you should reply to all serious comments. Now of course you may not agree with the comments, but you should reply respectfully. They’ve taken the trouble to make a comment, you owe them the politeness to respond. In this way you can start a dialogue and who knows where that dialogue may take you.

I hope you find these tips useful and they help to make your blog a useful and hard working part of your communication and marketing strategy.