January 2016 | Digital8

10 Rock Solid Reasons To Stop Ignoring Your Marketing Professional

Marketing people will know right off the bat who I plan to talk about here. I’m sure most in the industry will have had something along the lines of “If you were just going to ignore me then why did you even engage me?” run through their heads more than once. But, we’re not here to bash, we’re here to educate. After all, aside from fellow business owners and managers, who else is going to understand how busy you are as well as a supplier who deals with you regularly? We get it. Marketing (or content marketing in particular) is time consuming and the value isn’t immediately apparent.

You’ve got a business to run, why would you waste time on a blog?

And of course as we see time and time again, just such an attitude can start to erode confidence in the poor marketing person as they continue to beg and plead with you to take the time to participate where needed in their marketing plan, which can unfortunately start to erode and ultimately end the relationship as they get more annoying in your eyes and results start to suffer, leaving you to go back to the drawing board and re-enter the endless cycle of jumping from marketer to marketer. This goes both for internal marketing staff and any agency you might engage.

But let’s get down to brass tax here: If you’re not coming to the table, then you are costing yourself money.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s completely counter-intuitive to assume that your marketing person is just trying very hard to waste your time. There is a reason that they are asking for that blog or getting you to fill out a questionnaire and it’s usually backed up by pretty solid data. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons to sit up and pay more attention:

  1. Blogs are bringing in more traffic than ever before!Blogging worksSpeaking from personal experience, 7 out of 10 seems to be a pretty reliable average in terms of how many blogs are in the top 10 landing pages on a monthly basis for a lot of businesses. But as I say that’s only personal experience.As far as data is concerned:

    67% more leads go to B2B Marketers who blog regularly. (source)

    B2C companies who blog generate up to 88% more leads per month than those who don’t! (source)

    On average, companies who blog end up with 97% more inbound links. (source)

    Reaching 300+ indexed pages for your website (meaning pages that search engines have found) can increase your traffic by up to 236% (source)

    Let that sink in for a bit. Think about how much additional traffic that is. That’s all money that you’re missing out if you’re not 100% behind your business blog.

  2. Social Media is currently killing it for lead generation.Social Media MarketingI’ve currently got a client running a video advertising campaign on Facebook at $5 per day. It’s seeing on average about 1700 or more views per week and has brought in over 50 conversions over the past 30 days for a service that is by no means a small financial commitment.  Needless to say the client loves Facebook.It surprises me that so many businesses still see Facebook as “not for them” given that it drives around 25% of the web’s traffic.

    To put that in perspective, Facebook overtook Google as a news source in 2015 & the 7 next biggest social media platforms shared in the next 7% of the above mentioned traffic.

    However that’s nothing to be laughed at. Social referral traffic overall is now higher than Organic (non-paid Search Engine) traffic!

    So the next time your marketing person is asking you for content to use in their social campaign, take it seriously!

  3. Your Customers Will Trust You More.Customer TrustThis is the age of personality marketing. Gone are the days where authoritative companies simply peddled their wares and told consumers what to buy. Social Media in particular has given the power back to the people. If you haven’t thought about your company personality in 2016, you will likely pay the price.Be human online. Nothing is too trivial if it presents your company in a positive light as human beings who care about their customers.
  4. You Might Think Business Is Good, But It Can Always Get Better.Business can be betterThere are two schools when it comes to the types of businesses who don’t have at least some participation in online marketing: Those who don’t understand and those who are stagnant.Quite often the latter involves some portion of the former. I’ve presented proposals to companies with massive turnover who were convinced they were doing just fine, but once they saw the projected ROI and how much more money they were missing out on, that changed quickly.

    In some cases you might even find that you’re currently in the smaller portion of your market when compared to online potential.

  5. You Don’t Feel The Same About Traditional Marketing.Traditional MarketingI feel like this one is a hangover from decades of traditional dominance. It might seem insane to anyone who has had dealings with a successful online campaign or knows pretty much anything about online marketing statistics, but believe it or not, some businesses still have this attitude.The fact of the matter is that online marketing a) Is more dynamic and inter-changeable, b) Is More accountable, c) has a much bigger audience share & increasingly d) Is just more effective.

    It is far past time for companies to stop looking at the internet as a fad or something that is still in its infancy. This technology is progressing at breakneck speed and the longer you leave it, the further behind you are going to be.

  6. Would You Trust A Surgeon To Fix Your Car?Use a professionalThere’s no nice way to put this. Sometimes business owners need to get out of their own way when it comes to their marketing. You might be the most highly skilled, intelligent and capable person in your field, but is your field marketing?If the answer is no, then you need to defer to the experts. No matter how smart you are or how many late night Googling sessions you have, none of that can make up for real life experience with real life campaigns, especially if they have at least a few years under their belt. Experienced marketers have lived through all of the rapid change that comes with the territory and out the other side. This provides them with a context and ability to “read” the industry in ways that few other methods can achieve. This comes back to our opening paragraph. Off the top of my head I can think of a dozen other marketers who I’ve shared the “Why did they engage me if they don’t want to take my advice?” conversation with.

    The only thing you need to know before entrusting your marketing entirely to an expert is a) Do they have experience and b) Do they have a history of results.

    If the answer to both of those is yes, then you’re in good stead. Trust them. Listen to them. Participate when they need you to participate.

  7. Do You Really Want To Stay On the Endless Merry-Go-Round Of Finding New Marketers?Merry Go Round MarketingI can say with confidence that there definitely are a lot of amateurs, sharks and cowboys in my industry. This can result in a lot of businesses bouncing around from agency to agency to in-house and on for quite a while.However there is absolutely another class of marketing drifter out there and this is the business who doesn’t take the time to properly understand their marketing or their marketer and their goals. If a marketer has a plan that involves you, it would be pretty illogical to assume that they could get results just as good without you as those they could get when they can implement all aspects of that plan.

    And yet, unfortunately, this can often be the case. I’ve seen too many businesses move on endlessly (and often needlessly) between agencies and in-house marketers simply because they can’t be bothered to commit the required time to understand and participate in their own marketing. They then hurt themselves and their results in the process and become dissatisfied with the results.

    It’s a very odd place to be as a marketer given that you’re often engaged for services because the business has some understanding that there is money to be made online, but for some reason they don’t want to do what that requires of them if they want success.

    This can sometimes result in a business who tires of online marketing altogether via a situation of their own making.

  8. You Could Be Doing Something Seriously Wrong.Wrong OnsiteThis one applies mostly to Onsite SEO (meaning the elements of your website which directly impact how well you rank on Search Engines). I’ve definitely experienced pushback on occasion to suggestions around changing the structure of a client’s website. Quite often the objections centre around design aspects the client might be fond of, or having already spent quite a bit of time putting the website together not so long ago.But website structure is one of the most important aspects of onsite SEO. I’ve had clients with brand new websites and brand new businesses ranking in a matter of weeks with a simple content/main menu restructure. If there was ever a time to listen to your marketer and trust their expertise, it’s when they’re making onsite recommendations.

    But you should always listen. They’re trying to help.

  9. You Actually Do Have Better Things To Do With Your Time.Time OptimisationA productive sit-down with your marketer can yield very tangible (and reportable) results. If you’re worried that you’re wasting your time, why not just ask what the aim of the exercise you’re currently discussing is and how this affects your business? Any marketer who can’t answer that question isn’t worth employing. Check if what you think is correct and remember that you’re talking to an expert. Trust them. Give them a chance. Then ask for a report.You have better things to do with your time than argue the point or impede the success of the project. You’ll know via reporting soon enough whether or not you were right.
  10. Your competitors get it.Good Business RelationshipChances are you know competitors that are having success online. These people don’t delegate their marketing as such, they hire/engage marketers, take their advice onboard, engage in the required activity, make the required time, have the required conversations, study the reporting and then reap the benefits!Successful companies will very often cite marketing as one of their most valuable departments and with good reason. But no business ever got anywhere without taking the time to comprehend the different parts of their business well enough to know exactly what is going on and surrounding themselves with experts they trust to handle the deeper aspects.

    Your relationship with your marketer can be one of the best and most fruitful that a business can encounter provided you put in the time and give them what they need, as with any employee. I’ve formed lifelong business bonds (and sometimes personal friendships) with many of my clients over the years and they trust me implicitly. That trust has empowered me to help them nail their online activity and kick goals for years, with much more still to come.

Let’s talk about websites for Small to Medium Businesses (Using Migration Agents)

Here at Digital8, we’ve designed and developed hundreds of websites for SME business owners around Brisbane and beyond. From migration agents to gyms, plumbers to concrete, as well as all sorts of other wonderful local business ideas, all with unique products and services, we’ve seen it all.

That doesn’t, however, mean that there aren’t a few reoccurring themes that we see amongst them that can be offered as advice on how best to operate at this level when building a website.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a migration agent, which you’ll find is oddly pertinent to most sites of this size. 

Menu structure is all-important. 

Ideally, you would want most visitors to be able to reach the information they’re after with one to two clicks from the homepage. 

For this reason, categorisation is everything. For the chosen example, there are a few different reasons that people would apply for a visa and the best way to lay this out menu-wise (aside from the obvious “contact us” and “about us” items) would be to structure the top level of the menu around these reasons. 

For instance “Business Visas”, “Family Visas” and “Skilled Visas” might be your top menu items & underneath say “Family Visas” you could have “Parent Visas”, “Spouse Visas” and “Child Visas”.

You could then even have another sub-menu pop up under those items which would have “Visa Type X”, “Visa Type Y” and so on underneath that.

This provides an easy-to-use menu that should allow most people to find what they’re after in one click with a little mouse hovering through the menu.

The same could apply to a plumber (“Emergency Plumbing”, “Residential”, “Corporate”), a florist (“Romantic Bouquets”, “Birthday Flowers”) and a range of other industries.

Side note: Good user experience helps with your SEO.

Website Development

On-site content is king. 

Having your website set up as per the above menu structure would allow you to have a content-rich website full of useful, relevant information. 

Sprinkle this with a great multi-media experience (photos, videos, etc) and some bullet-pointed, broken-up information and you’ll have an informative, engaging, human experience for your customers.

In the case of our chosen example, a Migration Agent (particularly if they’re targeting particular areas such as Brisbane) would doubly need to do everything they can to make their content engaging given how complicated and potentially boring their subject matter could be otherwise.

Side note: Great content like this also helps with your SEO.

Website Development

Don’t overcomplicate things.

You really don’t need to complicate things. Worry about fancy shopping carts and databases when your business is large enough to warrant it. 

If you offer a service, most people will be happy to send through an email enquiry with a simple form, no need for a booking system right off the bat if it all seems like too much hassle.

Again, going back to the Migration Agency example, one of the larger firms we’ve dealt with still uses this method and has staff on the other end replying and setting up appointments to keep a human touch on their service.

Side note: Unless you have a custom-designed shopping cart or booking system, it’s likely that neither of these features would help your SEO at all.

Website Development

Make sure to post blogs.

Regularly! We’ve seen some very simple and very new websites rank for seemingly difficult keywords simply because they had a great, easy-to-understand (and navigate) structure, rich content and regularly updated their blog (which they then pushed out via various social media channels).

Your blog is how you build the brand along with trust and authority in the eyes of your customers. Advice, promotions, news, business events and milestones are all perfectly legitimate things to blog about which will humanize your business and draw customers in.

Our example client blogged about various types of visas and tried to simply explain the process in a way that reassured customers that they could make a very painful process easy and stress-free. 

They had their Migration Lawyers write the majority of their blogs so that expert advice was being offered but always kept their customers front and centre when thinking about how to communicate.

So there you have it. A few simple tips to consider when launching websites for a small to medium business. If you’d like to discuss our web development services further, feel free to give us a call on 1300 382 777 today.

5 Content Marketing Tips To Get Your 2016 Started!

Content Marketing 2016

So here we are again! Another new year, full of promise and opportunities to kick your business up a notch. Unless you’re insane, that plan would likely involve giving your online presence a bit of a boost and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that Content Marketing is an integral part of that. It can give you a boost in rankings, increase social engagement & conversion rates and generally increase your perceived authority where your industry is concerned.

So with that in mind, we’ll get straight to the point with 5 helpful tips to help you prepare yourself for Content Marketing in 2016:

  1. Do away with those doubts. You have a story to tell.The most common thing I hear from clients is “But I’m an (insert profession along the lines of plumber or lawyer here), what could I possibly blog about?One of the most used examples I give when I give talks on Content Marketing is this guy:Good Business Content

    Trust me, if an internationally acclaimed film can be made about a guy who cleans portable toilets, then you can find a way to connect to your audience. We are in the age of personality marketing. Find a way to connect your product or service to the human experience and you will do fine.

  2. Stop being boring.No Boring ContentAgain, remember that you are speaking to people. Not only that, but people who don’t know the jargon of your industry. Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality and normal human language into it, along with a little bit of humour and feeling. Use engaging imagery and/or videos and try to keep your information concise with things like bullet points and categorized paragraphs for easy consumption.
  3. It’s your duty to have some idea of the technical aspects.Know the technical detailsDon’t let intimidation stop you. You might not be the most technically minded person, but allowing yourself to remain in the dark about important aspects of blogging can be very counter-productive.For instance, if your blog categorises posts or offers the ability to “tag” them as being about particular topics, then you’ll want to be very careful that your website is set up in a way that doesn’t allow search engines to crawl the category and tag pages that this creates. They pull snippets from the blogs and use them as a preview under these category pages and this can slowly create duplicate content issues as you add more and more content. Like this:

    The reason the above matters is that it can have a negative impact on your SEO (Keyword Rankings), so be sure to do your homework and ask for advice on the most important aspects to look out for.

    We’ll add a link here to a rundown of those issues for one of our next blogs so be sure to bookmark this page!

  4. Think about keywords.What do you want to rank for? What are you close to ranking for already? You should have a think about this when mapping out a content plan (an essential part of the process) so that you can combine this knowledge with the other goals of the blog. Speak like a human, but speak about relevant topics. Adding new content around keywords could see you get that little boost you’ve been looking for. Even better, a multi-part blog on that topic could push you over the line if you’re already close to page one.
  5. Boost the hell out of your blog!If you’re sharing your blog via Social Media, the unique content that you produce should be what you push the hardest. It’s great to post various links to thinks such as news & humour in order to get people engaging with the page, but once that happens and the newsfeed algorithm starts showing them your content more often, start putting value in front of them.This is how you build authority and repeat business. Promote your posts across any social platforms you’re using in order to maximize exposure and build value around your blog.

There is a lot more to good blogging than this and you can check out other blogs here & here on content marketing. We’ll also definitely be posting more on this in the future, but for now, follow these 5 steps and you should start to see a noticeable difference!