The 2016 predictions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Here’s hoping that you had a wonderful Christmas break and like me you had a little indulgence over the festive period.

As always with the new year comes the thought of our fitness and health – it’s also a good opportunity to look forward to the business year ahead to make sure our businesses are fighting fit too. So forget the sprouts, here’s some ingredients you might want to look at for the future.

 

  • Branded video content
    Video has been an increasingly important marketing element for a couple of years now, especially after Google acquired it. We’ve seen the rise of dedicated video blogs giving us an insight into peoples’ lives.
    Branded video content is simply videos dedicated to your business; behind the scenes, interviews, product reviews, information, Q&A, special guests, sneak peeks, product demonstrations, contests,…the list goes on. But they shouldn’t just be left on YouTube, embed them in your website’s pages to increase visitor interaction. If you find blogging a chore then breaking it up with video content could be the answer.
  • Instant social media
    Twitter and Facebook have been around for too many years to mention now. This year we see an increase in the takeup on platforms like “Periscope” – a LIVE video streaming platform which enables you to transmit to a whole community. It’s also interactive – people who are watching can ask questions and make comments which show up on your screen while you are broadcasting. Another platform to look at if you like the sound of this is “Blabb,” but enter at your own peril!
  • Content marketing is still key
    Content marketing is the art of communicating with your audience without selling. You’re not shoving your products and services at them, you’re offering advice, help, laughter, engagement – things they will spend their precious time with and find it valuable. We need to consistently provide them with valuable content. We need to create the content and then invest time in getting it out there using the best channels – it could be social media, email, video, or even good old print, which has become more valuable in the digital world.
  • Relationship marketing
    Building strong, long-term customer engagement is obviously important. It should be built on trust and transparency, so how you market your business to people needs to be thought about carefully. Personalisation rather than mass marketing techniques are expected today.
  • Location-based marketing
    Bluetooth and mobile technology will help to provide a more interactive experience – whether it’s sending special offers in real time to shoppers in stores or to send linkedin invitations at exhibitions through to special wristbands at concerts with electronic chips in them, this area is vast and still quite new, it will be interesting to see what the retailers do with this technology.
  • Search sans the search engines
    As we’ve already looked at YouTube for video, it’s important to say that it’s also being used as a search engine – the second largest after Google in fact. We’re going to see a rise in search capabilities within social media – alongside BUY buttons and integrated payment methods in the not too distant future. This will make buying more of an experience and is likely to be shared online – watch this space!
  • Holistic marketing efforts
    Digital and mobile no longer stand alone – responsive websites, apps and digital content all work together with the other tools available from print to social media, exhibitions to videos. Design, photography and videos that represent your business are key.
  • Virtual Reality
    3D printing was in its infancy when I left uni; they existed in all sorts of forms but generally were large, expensive and difficult to use. Now you can buy them online to sit next to your desktop printer. It would appear VR is heading the same way this year. Certainly one to keep your eye on – whether it’s for training, buying or just experience, VR is yet to catch on.

70 MILLION WORDPRESS WEBSITES…

wordpress…and counting! WordPress is an amazing online revolution that brought traditionally expensive and time consuming content management systems to millions of website around the world – allowing anyone access to update them without the need of a developer.

But as always, there’s someone out there looking to crash the party and cause problems. Over the past few weeks there had been some high-profile security issues with a certain common plug in used on a high proportion of wordpress sites.

Sites which weren’t kept updated were at risk – some were brought down. I worked hard at my end with my developer to make sure this didn’t happen to our sites that we manage, but it again shows why it’s so important to keep your website updated if it runs on WordPress.

There are 3 elements which need updating – at least every quarter;

1. Your Themes    2. Your Plug-ins    3. WordPress itself

While there’s no 100% guarantee you will never encounter problems even if you update, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Glo’s Guide to Online Marketing

We’ve put together this latest digital marketing guide to help explain some of the things we’re commonly asked about. We know you’re pressed for time so we’ll get right to the good stuff.

 

Paper chain family protected in cupped handsPEOPLE, NOT TECH

Firstly we want to make a point that digital marketing is all about PEOPLE, not the methods and the latest techniques and tech. It’s about communication more than anything else. There are various tools to help you do this, but they’ll not all be suitable – you need to understand where your audience hangs out.

What do your customers want from you? Where do they expect to see you?

 

multiple connectionsMULTI-PRONGED APPROACH

It’s important to have a multi-pronged approach to your marketing – all your efforts should back up and enhance each other; just having a website isn’t enough, nor is just a twitter account. With everything going digital, receiving some personalised hard copy mail is becoming more precious.

 

internet1WEBSITE FIRST AND FOREMOST

Your website is at the centre of your online world. It should encourage people to take action when they get there – whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, contacting you or placing an order.

 

 

A NOTE ABOUT YOUR HOME PAGE : visitors searching for your site will land on any of your pages, not just your home page, so all your pages are important – not just your home page.

CONTENT : Put your important information first. Don’t waffle. Engage with your reader.

targetSEO – SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

The whole point of search engines is to scan the internet for content relevant to what someone has searched for, rank them in order of what they think the searcher wants, and then present them to them. There’s over 200 different factors which can affect your site ranking.

Timescale – most rankings change a minimum of 3 months after you’ve made changes to your site, so it’s a long, slow, iterative process. Relying just on SEO to get your site found isn’t enough – you have to market it too.

NUMBER 1 SPOT : There is NO guaranteed way to get to number one. Anyone who tells you there is…is lying.

KEYWORDS : Not just single words! – they are a combination of words or a phrase more specific to bring back more relevant results. The trick is to understand what your customers search for. You can then see how much competition (i.e. how many other sites rank for these words) by using Google’s Adwords tool, which will also give you suggestions for similar terms.

You can then examine the sites that rank highly for those terms you’d like to pursue (I’d suggest looking at low-medium competition terms to start with) to see what they are doing.

CONTENT : Is extremely important – it should be relevant, unique and written for your audience.

LINKS : Are also very important – having people linking to your site from theirs are like little votes of confidence about your website to Google. However, quality is better than quantity. For example government websites carry more authority than Joe’s chippy down the road with a single page. Internal links (links from one area of your site to another) are good too – try and incorporate keywords into any text links.

 

iStock_000018900121Small-e1363548655729SOCIAL NETWORKING

With the advent of social media advertising on Facebook and Twitter, you now have the ability to target your advertising to a very specific niche, as well as being able to monitor results! Depending on your business and audience this can be a very powerful way to engage with a new audience in a way unheard of not too long ago.

Make sure you LISTEN and ENGAGE, not just spout sales.

 

emailEMAIL MARKETING

Has been around for many years. Although it suffers from the high levels of spam we all receive every day it’s still an important tool for maintaining ongoing relationships with existing customers. Make sure they have opted in so you’re complying with the law. A good free tool for this is www.mailchimp.com however there are many others.

 

 

1368452_70336935-e1363546575126ONLINE PR

When you have a newsworthy story, add it to your own website, but also look to distribute it through online PR sites. An example would be uk.prweb.com

ARTICLE/CONTENT WRITING

Writing fresh new content for your site is like food for Google. Add a new page, give it a relevant URL, keywords and description and then type in your content.

You can also submit articles to online directories such as ezinearticles.com which help add more links and help get your content out there.

 

blogBLOG

Blogs are great – you’re in control of publishing your own relevant content. Things to blog? Could be news, helpful articles, industry events, insight into your business, latest work etc etc. Once you’ve created a new blog post, spread the word via your social media accounts to get links back to the site.

 

CHINESE WHISPERS

To monitor your online presence, go to google.co.uk/alerts and type in your business name, your name, whatever it is you want to monitor. You’ll get updates when you get mentioned on the web.

 

mobileMOBILE WEB

More and more people are using their phones and tablets to access information not only on the go, but sat on their butts in front of TV.

It’s our job to make the user experience as easy and pleasurable as we can. One way of doing this is to have responsive sites – the design of the site changes as you shrink down the screen size to make it easier for the user. Have a go with my site as an example glodesign.co.uk

MOBILE MARKETING

A relative newcomer and possibly a sticky one due to messages to people’s mobiles being seen as an invasion of their personal space, but it could be great for instant on-location promotions (depending on your business and audience of course.)

 

467745_dslrIMAGES

Images can be renamed to something relevant in order to help users find them on Google Image search. This is great for products as they link directly back to your website. Even better if people can buy them! Check your keywords to see what’s relevant.

 

loginAPPS

Another way of engaging with mobile device users is to build an app. They’re usually for very specific purposes and need a lot of planning and marketing to get your return on investment. The benefit is they’re simple, user-friendly and look good, but need ongoing development based on feedback.

 

videoVIDEO

Is important. YouTube is now the 2nd largest search engine after Google.
Google Video crawls the entire web for videos, not just those on YouTube.
Adding relevant titles, keywords and descriptions is key here for both visitors and the search engines to find you. Adding a transcript below can also help.
Publishing videos regularly helps improve the rankings. YouTube also has built in analytics so you can check what’s working.

 

google placesGOOGLE PLACES

Registering your business with Google Places is a good idea. When someone searches and includes a place name alongside, it brings up a map of local listed businesses. People can also leave reviews on here. Google.com/places

 

 

A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME

Print in the future (and indeed already) is being used in “cross media” campaigns – i.e., a number of different promotional methods are used to enhance and reinforce the message with a customer. An old school way of doing things for example might have included an advert in a magazine alongside a billboard and TV ad.

Now we’re looking at incorporating technology into the mix. We started with QR codes which you can scan and it takes you to some digital content.

Today we have things like Google Glass and interactive magazine adverts. “Augmented Reality” is deemed the future of promotions – it’s a way of getting the viewer in the real world to interact with computer-generated elements such as graphics, sound, video etc…

 

Penistone Wine Cellars Photos

Penistone Wine Cellars needed some current photographs for use in their marketing materials which they produce in-house.