Planning the Next 90 Days of Marketing

Planning is the cornerstone of many things in life such as birthdays and social occasions. If you forget to plan these things in detail, it’s not the end of the world.

The opposite is true when it comes to planning your marketing. You need a plan. If you don’t have one, then you won’t know whether you’re achieving your goals, and what did and didn’t work. Planning a whole year of marketing for your business is daunting. It’s a lot of white space to fill in one session. One approach is to chunk down your time into manageable blocks (a bit like good time management).

90 days is a large number, but that’s 3 months, 12 weeks, or one quarter of your year. That’s a smaller amount to deal with.

So, how do you start planning the next 90 days of your marketing? Let’s plan it together.

Step 1: Look at your current performance

Whether you’ve been trading a few years or you’re new, you need some baseline figures. Look at your website traffic, your social media stats, your turnover. Write these down and get familiar with your figures. Income and turnover are the key ones to look at, while stats such as re-tweets and engagements are ‘soft’ stats, which are useful to have but not 100% necessary.

My social media doesn’t look so good right now – I’ve not been very active on Twitter or LinkedIn. I view my social media as communication, education, then sales. I’m out to engage and educate my prospects (which is the next step – defining my goals.)

My Google Analytics shows my website hits are pretty low… but I know I can fix that with some new content and sharing out on social media! I don’t prioritise my website as an enquiry driver, more as a means of educating my prospects and showcasing my work and testimonials. Looking at my data now means I know what’s going on, and what I can do to try to improve my traffic and bring down bounce rates and bring in more traffic from different channels. This below was from the last 90 days.

Step 2: Think about your goals – what do you want to achieve?

Your goals aren’t written in stone, and neither should your marketing activity be – they need to be adaptable to certain events. But you can’t start marketing if you don’t know what you want to achieve.

A figure or target turnover is good. What’s the minimum monthly turnover you want to achieve? Do you have a new product you want to launch? Or do you have an event you want to promote?

You can have hard and soft goals. A hard goal would be to win a new consultancy client each week, or to improve your online presence through social media, or improve your click-through rates on your emails.

My goals:

  • Improve website traffic by 25% – (August 58 sessions – so around 80 sessions for September)
  • Create a ‘lead magnet’ and create a landing page – set up analytics to track and measure
  • Create a series of emails for lead magnet promoting my services
  • Increase consultancy enquiries through networking and social media

Step 3: Think about the marketing channels you can/ want to use

There are a few main channels that will impact on how you carry out your marketing activity. Websites, social media, email marketing, advertising, PR, blogging, direct marketing, etc. are just a few to name. The below layout in a spreadsheet is a good way to visualise your main marketing channels and goals. A spreadsheet is a good way to visualise goals, manage projects, as well as hold data. You could have a dedicated marketing spreadsheet that you refer to on a daily basis to keep on top of your marketing activities and goals.

free marketing template nottingham

In each of the boxes, think about the activity you could do – such as creating graphics for your social media, or brainstorming some blogging ideas. You could do this in Week 1 – then draft content for the week or even month again. The key to planning your activity is to think of your end goal, then track back.

Take my example – I want to generate enquiries from a few businesses for consulting. I can look at creating blogs around the topic of consultancy and marketing advice, and this content can then become a weekly email or become part of my monthly newsletter.

For my website, I could conduct an SEO audit and use those findings to improve my website content – or I might need to add a new web page to support a new service or event I’ll be hosting.

Networking plays heavily into my marketing strategy, so I could make an action to research and attend two new networking events, then follow up the week after.

For emails – you can write in the topic you want to write about and who you’re going to email on your mailing list.

Step 4: Do it!

You’ve spent the time creating a plan – so you need to implement it to start seeing results. The good ole fashioned Gantt chart is a fantastic way to organise tasks and tick them off. Neil Patel has an awesome blog on how to use Google Sheets / Excel to organise your projects and customer data.

You can break the tasks down and assign them to yourself or a team member (especially useful if you outsource). There are other platforms such as Asana, Evernote, Basecamp, or Slack, which you can use to assign and track tasks in your business and for your marketing activities.

Step 5: Review and Improve

At the end of each month, review the activities and take note of the results. Put these in the spreadsheet, or compare all of this from the full 90 days. You can start to build a picture to see whether your first month of activity is having an impact, then you can go ahead and tweak the next two months.

Remember that your goals and activities aren’t, and shouldn’t be, set in stone. A little flexibility is good, but don’t give up after the first month if you’re not getting the results you want.

Marketing is an ever-changing and refining process, so you need to tweak and improve until you land on a great marketing mix.

 

Top Tips for Getting the Most Mileage Out of Your Current Content

When it comes to creating content, the production process is only part of it. It’s likely that you’re already familiar with the brainstorming of ideas, and the process of turning those ideas into full blog posts but publishing and sharing your content comes next and this is where you should be putting in at least 40% of your effort.

Many businesses make the mistake of pouring all their effort into the creation of the content and once it’s published, that’s the end of the story. But creating content is costly, and time consuming, and once it’s published there is a whole host of ways you can make the most of it without having to create new stuff.

Share it in your newsletter

If you haven’t broadened your content marketing strategy to include email marketing, the question is; why not? If you’ve already reached this stage then excellent. Email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it could be as simple as a newsletter that contains snippets of your latest blog posts and links on where subscribers can access the rest of the post.

Share on social media

This is a pretty standard suggestion and one you’re likely to already be aware of. Sharing your articles and blog posts on social media is the quickest way to find an audience. Leveraging the correct platforms is key to ensuring that you can reach out to the right clientele and therefore ensure that your content is well received.

Re-purpose your content

Once you’ve created and shared your blog posts, it is by no means the end of that specific topic. Re-purposing has become a hot new trend where organisations can make the most of what they’ve already produced in other forms. This could mean turning a blog post into an infographic, or a webinar, or a video.

Engage with your audience

Posting blog content is similar to sharing on social media, as in you’re not actively engaging with your fan base. Constantly bombarding your audience with content is what will disengage them and will actually prove to have a negative effect on your strategy. Actively engaging and communicating with them in a personal manner will go a long way to ensuring your content is being well-received.

Target your audience

If your business has a number of different facets, ensuring the right content reaches the right audience will also be crucial. You don’t want to be providing irrelevant content to the wrong audience as it will only discourage interaction and engagement.

When it comes to managing a content marketing strategy, it’s important that you make sure the work you do is as effective as possible to help improve your ROI. By not maximising the effect of your content, you’re missing out on potential engagement. This might not seem like so much of a big deal, but essentially, it’s your audience who will become your clients.

Tips for Writing Killer Website Copy

Writing website copy can be difficult and time consuming. It’s an important part of your overall content marketing strategy but can be incredibly frustrating when you just can’t seem to get it right. Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of quick and easy tips you can use to drastically improve your website copy:

Imagine your ideal reader
If you can clearly picture your ideal reader in your head, your copy will be more concise and speak to that particular audience. (If you’re struggling to really nail your ideal client, The Social Boffin offers services that help you create a persona.) 

Tell a story
There is so much content out there, that making yours stand head and shoulders above the rest can be difficult. People don’t want to read about how great you are, how wonderful your services are, or even what you offer. Entertain them with a story that provides subtle messages about your business.

Use SEO responsibly
SEO is a great tool for online copy, but don’t let it rule your life. If you always write for the machines, the humans won’t read it. This sums up the previous two tips – think of your audience and tell them a story. This will be much more powerful than SEO-heavy copy, you can work on the SEO stuff afterwards.

Be human
This builds on the SEO side of things. Being overly formally in your writing can be a big turn off for a lot of readers. The trick is to be educational whilst maintaining a strong voice. Write naturally and let your personality come through.

Avoid repetition
Avoid repeating yourself at all costs. Coming back to a point you’ve already made and elaborating on it is fine, but if you’re reader feels like you’re just repeating yourself (and adding no additional information), they’re likely to stop reading.

Use short sentences
Shorter sentences are great. They get to the point. They don’t ramble. And they make it easier to read. Don’t restrict your writing though, and let it flow naturally, but if you do notice a lot of long sentences, see what you can do to cut them down.

Use short paragraphs
Short paragraphs are also a benefit. When a visitor comes to your website, large chunks of unbroken text can easily encourage them to look elsewhere. They don’t look great on the page – especially not on a digital one – and most people will skim read your copy anyway. Sub headings is a great way to do this.

Avoid jargon
Complicated words can be a turn off for many people. Especially those who are new to your topic. If you’re writing for beginners, or creating an introductory piece, then jargon will do nothing but ruin a perfectly otherwise good bit of writing.

Edit

When you’re finally done with your copy, put it to one side and then come back and edit at a later date. A fresh pair of eyes is the perfect solution to finding the bits that don’t work and assessing the overall quality of the piece.
Jump in and have a go!
Looking at a blank page when trying to craft new copy is daunting. The important part is to just start writing, don’t give your brain a chance to think too hard. Getting stuck in and getting words on the page is the only way to start creating killer copy.
If you’re still not feeling that your copy is quite doing what you want, why not get in touch with me here and see how I could help?

The Beauty of Evergreen Content and Why You Need it in Your Strategy

how to create evergreen content

Evergreen content and SEO are two buzzwords that have recently been making the rounds. Although many believe they’re employing both of these techniques in their strategies, others are still being left behind in terms of giving their website a boost.

What is evergreen content?

Simply put, evergreen content is content that is continuously relevant. It is a topic that can be read now and in 12 months with tips or advice that is still relevant and on-trend. Those who make a conscious effort in producing evergreen content will see a boost in their SEO rankings, providing its done correctly.

Similar to the deciduous trees used at Christmas time, evergreen content is considered to be long-lasting and self-sustaining for a prolonged period of time – long after its publication date.

Content formats that are evergreen

Generally speaking, evergreen content is very easy to produce and can come in a variety of formats, including:

  • How-to guides and articles
  • Beginner’s guides
  • Curating other content – as long as the content you curate is also evergreen
  • Definition discussions – similar to this blog post
  • Lists
  • Checklists
  • Looking at the detail of a particular niche – sometimes there are too many generic posts and an in-depth article is the ideal evergreen content

Obviously the content of your article or blog post will very much determine how evergreen it will be, but these formats are often very popular choices.

How to write evergreen content

When it comes to constructing evergreen content, there are a few things to remember:

Write for beginners – most evergreen content is designed to help beginners and so this is who you need to be writing for. Keep in mind your audience as you write and use that to try and frame how your blog post will take shape.

Be precise – keep your topic on point and use this to showcase your knowledge. Evergreen content is a great opportunity to show how authoritative you are in your niche.

Revisit it every now and again – keeping it up to date is vital to ensuring its evergreen. Revisiting your posts every so often is very important; check them for facts, make sure they’re still topical and ensure they don’t contain outdated methods or resources.

Why use evergreen content?

This kind of content is the perfect backbone to your content marketing strategy. It provides a focal point which you can build on and will continuously work hard to improve your SEO ranking. If you often use time-relevant content, then interweaving evergreen into your strategy will be the perfect way to establish authority and maintain those all-important SEO rankings as well.

Struggling to plan your evergreen content?

Sometimes the hardest part to creating great evergreen content is getting started. If you’re struggling to make inroads into your evergreen content, get in touch with me here, I’ll be more than happy to help you out.

3 Tips for Success on Social Media

social media tips nottingham

social media tips nottinghamSocial media is an integral part of daily life for everyone, especially millennials. So it’s no surprise that businesses are expected to be online, active and engaging in order to win client business. With so many different social media networks and a whole host of faux pas that can be made, how do businesses keep on top of their social media?

1. Choose the right channels

This is an important one and should you get this wrong, it could ruin all your future efforts. Some businesses make the mistake of investing in too many social media channels too soon and so it’s important to establish just which channels you should be on.

The best method for choosing the most appropriate channels to use is to find out where your customers are. If your customers primarily use Twitter, then there’s no point in investing in Instagram or Pinterest. Once you’ve established which network your customers are on, you can begin planning out a social media strategy.

Start with just the one network and then branch out into another and another as you see fit. It’s important to ensure you presence on each network lasts so don’t rush the process.

2. Create a routine

Sporadic social media usage will not work in your favour. It’s important to make social media part your routine. Dedicate time in your daily or weekly routine to post on your channels. Assign time where you can check in, respond to questions and engage with fans.

The best tactic is to create a posting schedule. Implement some consistency with a model you’re confident you can follow. You need to work out how many times you want to post to each network and on which days of the week.

3. Use images

It’s a known fact that images on social media have a significantly higher interaction rate than a standard word-only update. This is supported by the image-first networks such as Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest.

The idea that a picture speaks a thousand words is clear from the level of interaction seen on all networks but using any old image isn’t enough. Good quality images that have been carefully selected will go much further.

It’s important to use the right images that convey the message you want to send. It’s all too easy for pictures to give the wrong message. If you can take the time and effort to invest in well photographed and good quality images, your social media feed will look much better because of it.

Of course there are a million and one other social media tips out there but these three are what I consider to be some of the most important and a great starting point to help you achieve the ultimate social media success.

6 Common Blog Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Blogs are the new communication tool for businesses. They’re the perfect opportunity for man-791049_1280companies to reach out to current and future customers, to spread their brand message and uphold their company message. The only issue with commonality of the blog is the scope for things to go wrong.

With so many blogs out there, it soon becomes clear who can and can’t. Today I’m going to share with you some classic blog mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Your blog isn’t SEO optimised

SEO has become a buzzword in the recent years, but there is a fine line between being SEO obsessed and not paying it any attention. Optimising your blog for specific keywords related to your business is the best approach but don’t get too carried away.

2. Your blog isn’t collecting emails

Collecting emails is a fundamental of most websites. Communicating with current and potential customers is key to a successful marketing strategy. Email addresses are a precious commodity when connecting with customers and can be the difference between making a sale and struggling to meet targets.

3. You’ve published off-topic content

Every company has a purpose. It’s no good if a company that sells luxury hand-crafted soap and is a big believer in animal welfare starts blogging about social media marketing strategies. The content is irrelevant to the customers visiting the site. Off-topic content can be damaging to a blog and is likely to confuse website visitors.

4. Your blog isn’t connected to social media

Social sharing is one of the best ways for getting your content out there. By making it more difficult to share your blog posts on social media, you’re making it harder for your content to be seen. When it comes to installing social media sharing buttons, make them identifiable and easy to find.

5. You ignore blog analytics

On the one hand, don’t get obsessed with blog analytics but on the other hand, don’t ignore them either. Blog analytics are the only way for gauging how well your blog is doing. But analytics are also pretty important for telling you what doesn’t work and allowing you to steer your blog in a better-performing direction.

6. You rush your blog titles

Jumping the gun on your blog titles can be incredibly damaging. At the end of the day, they’re one of the most important aspects of a blog post – if the title is rubbish then people won’t want to read the rest. Spending a good amount of time on catchy, clickable, interesting blog titles is half the battle.

What is Content Marketing and Why Businesses Need to Start Doing It

Content marketing has become a buzzword in recent years and although most businesses know they should be doing it, it’s surprising just how many aren’t.

So what is content marketing?bag-1565402_1280

In principle, it’s a marketing technique where businesses create useful, relevant and sometimes technical content based around their expertise with the sole purpose of establishing themselves as an authority figure within a niche and drawing in business.

From its inception, content marketing, like all forms of digital marketing, has grown exponentially. Initially executed with blog posts, content marketing can include a whole host of different types of content including videos on YouTube, presentations on SlideShare, audio for podcasts and the increasingly popular infographics.

The next question is why do businesses need to start doing it?

The simple answer is keeping up with the competition.

In all business marketing, knowing what your competitors are doing and keeping pace is a large part of maintaining your clientele. When it comes to building a name and a brand, keeping pace is often not enough.

More importantly though, it gives your business a voice.

Boosting brand awareness should be a top priority for businesses. Content marketing is perhaps one of the best ways of doing this because not only can you create fresh, shareable content but you can establish yourself as an expert, encourage your customers to take action and keep your website fresh – all at the same time. It really is a win-win situation.

There are other benefits to content marketing than just giving your business a voice. If you name any globally recognised brand, I guarantee they’re doing content marketing and what’s more surprising is they’ll be doing it in a way no-one else is. Because content marketing is such a broad term and encompasses a wide range of formats, there is a lot of ideas to play with, the question is how restricted is your creativity?

So when it comes to assessing your marketing strategy, it’s important to consider the power of content marketing within your niche and what exactly it could bring to the table. With the business world becoming increasingly competitive, content marketing is one of the very few tactics that could make your voice heard above the rest.

4 Social Media Channels You Need to be Using

Running a business involves just more than a business idea and good clientele. Most businesses have an online presence of some sort, whether it’s a website, a blog, or both. But a website or blog alone is not enough. The digital world has become much more complex in recent years and with more content than ever, it’s important to make finger-769300_640your voice heard above the noise.  The most effective way of doing this is by using social media.

Twitter
Twitter has become one of the most used social media platforms, easily rivalling Facebook. The unique angle of limiting each update to 140 characters means that each tweet counts. Businesses are now able to directly connect with fans and followers like never before, opening them up to a whole new way of promoting themselves.

Google+
As a rival to Facebook, Google+ was launched. An ideal platform for businesses, Google+ is the perfect platform for sharing content and engaging with followers. Despite the appeal of Twitter’s 140 character updates, Google+ has a more permanent appeal when it comes to sharing content – similar to that of Facebook. And if that wasn’t persuasion enough, Google+ is integratable with just about every application online, thanks to Google themselves.
Google+ is more than just a page where you share updates. It’s integrated with a number of Google’s other applications including Circles, Hangouts and Gmail but more importantly, all updates on google+ are indexed by the mass search engine Google, thus influencing search engine results.

Instagram
All social media channels have been gravitating towards the power of pictures in recent years and Instagram has made a real breakthrough. Built entirely upon images, Instagram has become the go-to network for sharing brand and company message.

Snapchat
Perhaps the newest social media network in this list, Snapchat is fast becoming a tool for businesses to utilise and this is due to its users. The majority of Snapchat users are under 34 with the highest percentage falling within the 18-24 age bracket which means it’s one of the most effective communication tools for millennials – and it’s pretty fun too.

Do you have the time for all of this social media?

Social media is time consuming and to get the best results you want, you need to put time into it. Scheduling software can save you hours but there is still the process of creating and curating your content. If you’ve hit a brickwall with your social media marketing get in touch for a chat and let’s see what we can do together.

How to Plan Your Content Marketing

Content marketing is just one of the few new types of marketing to emerge over the last few years. Despite some people’s thoughts, it’s not a fad and it has a place in marketing theory and practice. But what exactly is content marketing? Is it blogging, is it social media?

A nice, quick summary is that content marketing is the curation of relevant content that guides certain, profitable behaviours. A good example of this is creating a series of blogs to help people with their DIY problems, but ultimately leads them to call for a painter to help with a tricky problem they don’t have the skills to do. Content marketing also helps to create and validate your brand’s expertise and reputation.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Good planning is key to executing a lot in a business, especially your marketing activities. Content marketing requires planning and awareness of your industry and your target market. Failing to plan our your content marketing (as well as being flexible with this plan) could lead to poor results and frustration.

So, how do you plan your content marketing?

Content marketing isn’t a mythical art and does require a basic strategy for even small or one person run businesses. You don’t need to churning out hundreds of blogs a month or attempting a sporadic twitter scheduled. Consistency is key. It’s like watering and weeding your garden on a regular basis.

Planning your content strategy means you need to look the year ahead at your main marketing activities. If you’re new to this you could take a calendar (digital or physical) and mark out important dates and events. Start with the key dates if it seems overwhelming your’re not sure where to start.

If you’re a florist with an online shop for example, the important dates would be valentine’s day, mother’s day, father’s day etc. So right there you have scope to look at what content you can create and share. To break this down further you could think of writing up some blogs or create web pages on these topics, such as tips for picking flowers for your mother. This content can then funnel into newsletters and social media posts.

Once you’ve got some basic ideas for your events down it’s time to put it down into a spreadsheet with a breakdown on the different types of content. If you can’t plot out for the whole year aim to do at least 3-6 months ahead and review it regularly. Also remember that nothing is written in stone, you can always adjust it as time goes on.

Here are some links to useful content planning calendars that I’ve heard good things about. http://writtent.com/blog/15-life-changing-editorial-calendar-tools/

As with any kind of marketing, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on just your social media or your white papers to be driving traffic and engagement. In my experience it takes a balanced blend of social media, blogging, newsletter for results. It’s a slow moving creature to start off with but keep at it and keep your plan up to date.

If you’re ever stuck for ideas, a quick search on both social media and your favourite search engine should offer you loads of content ideas. Feel free to drop an email here if you want a fresh pair of eyes to look at your content calendar or need some ideas to get you started.