Online Marketing for Small Business and Freelancers : Social Media

As a small business or freelancer, social media is a core part of running your business. We’re all familiar with social media; with more than two billion people around the world using at least one platform, social media has become a pervasive part of everyday life.

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Running a personal Twitter account is very different from running one for a company or brand. Many established companies make the mistake of assigning the task of social media marketing to their youngest or most tech savvy person, not realising that, for a company of any significant size, social media marketing is a full-time job and cannot be neglected.

Strategise

Before you embark on your social media marketing journey, ask yourself two questions:

What do I want to accomplish?

Think about how you want your social media presence to help you. Do you want to make more sales? Increase brand awareness? Improve your customer service? Your objectives are up to you and making them clear will help you to carve out a space for your business.

Who is my audience?

Different platforms appeal to and are used by different demographics. The same ad posted on Facebook can be received very differently when posted on Twitter. Observe your customer base and consider which platforms are most appropriate for your brand. Avoid establishing a presence on a platform that you are not likely to use often; blank or sparsely populated social media feeds look unprofessional and can make it appear as though your business or brand is no longer trading. Platforms that have a strong visual element will be essential in spreading and sharing your message.

Plan

Unlike a personal social media account, a company or brand account can’t be left dormant until inspiration strikes. In order to produce regular and consistent content, you’ll need to create a calendar to plan out when and how often you’ll post. Find local and national events that are relevant to your business and plan your content around them accordingly. Major events will often have their own hashtag, so use that as a jumping off point in order to reach more people.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to write a year’s worth of tweets all at once. Plan out the big stuff and then assign some time to plan your content for the week ahead. Social media management tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule your posts in advance and some even automatically schedule them for you in order to reach the widest audience.

Network

Other businesses may provide a product or service that is similar to yours, but no one does what you do like you do.

Keeping that in mind, don’t be afraid to interact with other similar brands on social media. Building a professional network opens all sorts of doors and creates opportunities for collaboration that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. There is a long list of bloggers and artists who were able to

There is a long list of bloggers and artists who were able to monetise themselves through social media by first building a fanbase. James Charles, a YouTube makeup artist, garnered such a following that he was eventually hired by CoverGirl as a model. Your network is an opportunity to sell not only your services, but yourself!

Engage

Social media gives your customers a way to talk to you, so talk back! People generally prefer to talk to a real person, so let your personality shine through when you engage with them.

Businesses rise and fall based on how they handle interaction on social media. This isn’t limited to customer service; competitions and giveaways are a good way of encouraging your followers to share your content and advertise your business to users who don’t yet follow you. A poll or survey also allows you to benefit from some free market research to expand your understanding of your audience.

Create

Blogging contributes to your SEO, which makes it easier for customers to find you through search engines. Blogs don’t need to be long, but they do need to be regular and contain keywords that relate to your business.

You can blog about anything, from events, to advice and tutorials, to announcing and demonstrating new products. It’s also a great way to give your customers a sneak peek behind the scenes of your business, allowing them to feel as though they’ve been part of your creative process.

Conclusion

Strategise, Plan, Network, Engage and Create are the bedrocks to succeeding at online marketing and social media for small business and freelancers.

If you would like to discuss how to grow your business and leverage online marketing for your small business, please get in touch!

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AdWords Daily Tasks – Improve PPC Performance

AdWords daily tasks we do to monitor and improve campaign performance.

PPC optimisation is a never ending task. Here are a few Adwords daily tasks we do most days to improve performance for ourselves, and our clients.

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Review the search terms triggering adverts.

On the keywords page, there are three tabs at the top: Keywords, Search Terms and Negative Keywords. The search terms tab will display the keywords triggering your ads and being clicked – hence costing you money.

AdWords daily tasks - search terms
Search terms – Adwords daily tasks

You can use this report to identify negative keywords that you may have missed. You can also refine the match types for your keywords. This can make your bidding more competitive.

Review Ad performance

Keep an eye on your ad performance. Each group should be focussed on exactly what it is your landing page delivers. As a minimum, each group should have 3 adverts.

Review budget

If you are running out of budget you’ll be missing opportunities to reach new customers. If you are generating a good return on investment – based on your goal conversion reporting (!) – Then there should be no reason not to increase your budgets.

PPC Bidding

Being an auction, your competitors are constantly reviewing and altering how much a click is going to be worth to them. Although subjective, you don’t want to be outbid on a keyword that is generating your profit. Keep an eye out on position and bidding reporting to ensure you are getting the most out of your PPC budget. Similarly, if conversion drops off for any reason, you may want to reduce the amount you are bidding on some keywords.

Opportunities –  AdWords Daily Tasks.

Google has a nice feature that occasionally makes recommendations to improve your campaign performance. This usually takes the form of suggesting new keywords. Make sure you don’t just accept these without review. However good Googles AI is at identifying opportunities, their idea of customer intent is based on probability and past click through rate, and may not be suited to your campaign.

AdWords daily tasks: Scheduling/devices review

This isn’t an every day one, but every so often check-up on your scheduling and device split report. If one segment is converting better than another, you may want to weight your bidding to improve overall campaign performance.

Organic traffic report:  AdWords daily tasks

Use search console to identify search terms that are being used to find your website. If you don’t currently rank well for these terms, it could well be worth your time adding them into the AdWords campaign.

Conversion Stats / Trends

Conversion is king when it comes to AdWords PPC. Set up your goals and monitor everything that happens. Get to know which keyword, Ad, device, time of day, landing page etc convert your clicks into customers – and do more of it !

In Conclusion

Constantly keep updating your campaign with these AdWords daily tasks to get the most of you PPC budget.

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Content Marketing Strategy: When and How

Content Marketing as Part of a Digital Strategy.

Content marketing is primarily a way of attracting, engaging and eventually converting website visitors. Website content is the text, images, or video content that forms part of your user experience. Apart from your static anchor web pages that form your website, content marketing is more likely to be part of a blog, news, or FAQ’s.

Content marketing is one of the most important optimisation strategies. Every website needs to be found by its intended audience, without visibility, people cannot share and link to your site.

The more visitors, links and engagement a website has, the more ‘authority‘ a website possesses and the better its overall ability to rank in the search engine rankings.

Content plays a huge role in website visibility on Google’s SERPs. You can’t distribute subpar content and expect to gain likes and shares. Your content has to deliver value and be of interest to people looking for it.

Content marketing isn’t a one-off. As is often noted, websites should regularly deliver relevant content, the kind that people want to share and engage with. Without great content, you have nothing, and no matter what SEO strategy you employ, it will fail. No one will link to a site with little or poor content.

This applies to websites of all size. Obviously, for well established corporate sites, creation and content distribution is a bit easier but you can guarantee the competition is fierce. Big budget fight big budgets and the winner will surely be the one that has a centralised plan, innovative content and quick response times. Don’t just leave it to your agency of choice to come up with content plans.

Smaller websites just need to get started. Start writing quality content and get it online. Don’t stop until you have a following and you start ranking for your chosen area of expertise.

Content Distribution

Depending on who you are targeting will dictate what content you create, and how you distribute it. There are lots of channels including the big social networks and more traditional email marketing.

Engaging in content marketing is not easy by any measure, but this single SEO strategy will help you rocket just about any of your listings to the top of Google’s SERPs over time, as long as it’s done the right way. To do this, there’s a very specific method. You have to ensure that you build similar and relevant content that’s keyword specific on authority sites such as Medium.com, LinkedIn.com and Quora.com

To distribute content you have to ensure that you build similar and relevant content that’s keyword specific on authority sites such as LinkedIn.com and Facebook, and that the content has a single link from the authority site back to the main anchor content on your primary domain.

In Conclusion

Obviously, this has just been a brief introduction to the concept of content marketing. In summary, identify your customer, write content they will be interested in and distribute it on networks that they will find it on.

Share knowledge, special offers or interesting news and have more people find your website and spread the word. Don’t forget, this will take time!

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Low-Cost SEO for Small Business

Start Marketing Online with Low-Cost SEO for Small Business.

Many small businesses are thriving despite competition from big beasts such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Wallmart. Not to mention the many digital agencies that can charge thousands for an online marketing campaign. Low-cost SEO for small business can help them grow even quicker.

Small businesses have put a huge effort into service and product development, which has often meant that marketing outside their immediate sector has been limited. Many new customers come from word-of-mouth. Which is great, but there is much more that can be done in addition at a relatively low cost.

Once ready to increase sales and business growth, an online marketing program that includes low-cost SEO for small business is the logical next step. The question is, where to start? Online marketing and especially SEO involves a huge number of factors, a business owner can be easily distracted by the wrong focus. What to consider when embarking on SEO for small companies with a budget?

Outsource Low-Cost SEO

Online Customer Solutions deliver high-value, low-cost SEO services for small business. Fill out our quick contact form for more information about our services and low costs.

Do it Yourself SEO

There are many challenges including the website structure and content, historical traffic analysis, backlink creation, brand awareness etc.

Without historical data, the initial analysis needs to be done to work out the keywords and phrases that potential customers are going to be using that the small business website presents a solution for.

Carry out detailed research on the various keyword planner tools and live search results. It will be possible to narrow down your keyword list to transactional keywords that indicate customer intent. Use competitor analysis; this doesn’t need to be direct competitors, have a look what other similar companies are focusing on. Are there similar companies to yours in a different country that you can learn from?

Once you have an idea of what people will be typing that you want to rank for, you can start focusing on them. Optimise your site accordingly. SEO is not about attempting to manipulate the search results and your position in them. SEO has evolved and is now about understanding which people your website and services are going to be relevant to. Then helping them find your site.

SEO basics

A link to the basics of SEO is below. These include images and descriptive alt tags, keywords, internal links to key pages, title/meta description tags etc.

Website SEO – Manchester Web Developer

Local SEO

Getting a local business to rank high on Google’s search engine results used to be as easy as having a website (1), getting listed on some online business directories (2) and claiming your Google My Business page (3).

Once this 3 step process was complete, you have an ok chance of front page listing in the search results. This still goes a long way, but it is getting more competitive depending on how big your local population is.

A lot more local businesses understand the importance of local SEO – even if they don’t know this is what the 3 step process is. There are a lot more local businesses are vying for a high-ranking position making it more competitive.

Google Business results usually show the top 3 most relevant results next to a map. 2 are going to be organic and 1 position will be PPC.

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Google my business SEO Local

Small businesses can expand their local SEO by:

  • Optimising their Google My Business page. One of the most important factors for local SEO is for businesses to fill out as much information as they can on their Google My Business page. This includes — including uploading their logo, pictures of their business or products, their office/business hours, types of payments accepted, a keyword-rich business description and any other fields available.
  • Adding local content to their site: Focus on local content on your website. Mention news, local events and activities and how you are supporting them.
  • Get listed on business directories or local community pages. Most areas have dedicated facebook pages.
  • Have happy customers leave reviews on Google and other third-party sites. Online reviews are important because they make your business stand out, help you gain potential customers’ trust and they help your local SEO rankings. Get online reviews by just asking happy customers to leave a review! Make sure you give them a little guidance, for example, the review site URL (Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor etc) and any instructions they may need.

Backlinks

For smaller companies, backlinks are often limited. However, even on a budget, some things can be done which are easy and cost-effective.

In a small business marketing plan, make sure to include a number of press releases. Also send some article ideas to trade publications, if they like them and are willing to publish, make sure any articles you write are great quality, relevant, contain a few of your keywords and a good link back to your site.

Having a press release published by a good quality publication will appear online and potentially in print version as well. This will generate some good quality inbound links.

Furthermore, guest blogging, joining industry focus groups and taking part in online discussions are all good ways of generating especially relevant inbound links.

Regular Content

Be consistent. Regularly create pieces of content for your website and optimise them. Add a section to your website that you continually update. For small companies running a low-cost SEO campaign, creating a blog is a cost-effective way to create optimised content. FAQs

For small companies running a low-cost SEO campaign, creating a blog is a cost-effective way to create optimised content. Also, include a FAQ section or advice page.

Brand Awareness

Once you have created your content and posted it to your site, it is time to distribute it via social media. It can also be posted on the corporate or personal LinkedIn profile, added to e-newsletters and most important, optimised to attract search traffic and links. As a result of this activity, your small companies brand awareness will grow!

Monitor Results

Over time, monitor the results of your efforts using Search Console and Analytics.

Local SEO
low-cost SEO for small business graph

In Conclusion

Marketing online and low-cost SEO for small business on a budget is not impossible, but it does have a lot of elements. Furthermore, it can take a number of months before any results come through.

Finally, it is important to have realistic goals, be patient, and over time, these efforts create momentum which begins to snowball.

Find out more

Based in Cheadle , just south of Manchester in the UK. Online Customer Solutions provide low-cost SEO for small business.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help save you time and help you grow.

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Local Business Growth via Traditional Values & Online Marketing.

Online Mobile Marketing and Local Business Growth

Many customers in 2016 access the internet exclusively through mobile. Attracting these people to your business means adopting mobile as a marketing platform. Social media and a mobile friendly website are essential. Highly valued customers research and buy online. Achieve local business growth by attracting them to your store.

Social Media for Business Growth

Many customers these days expect businesses to be on Facebook. Even local businesses – even micro businesses. And it is not only to raise awareness and sell products.

Facebook is increasingly a social media platform for researching small business products or services. Reviews on social sites are more important than any other piece of information. People rely on them when deciding whether or not to use a business.

This doesn’t just apply to Facebook. Online reviews on any site help people judge local businesses. Google Business is especially useful for reviews. Positive feedback can help your PPC and SEO campaign as well as help credibility. Ask your customers for reviews!

Deals and Discounts

Combine a love of mobile and heavy use of social media with the love of a deal. Running a discount offer on Facebook linked you your website can quickly gather momentum increasing local business growth.

Emailing your customer base with an offer can also boost short-term business growth. Many people still prefer email messages over any other type of marketing communication when they’re on the go

Traditional Values: Local Partnerships

Partnering with local associations can help spread the word out about your company. Local schools or festivals are particularly good. This can generate social media content and attention.

Donations to good causes make you look good in front of your existing customers and helps you find new ones. Obviously, you aren’t doing this just for the business benefits. Doing good in your community has its own rewards!

Be good to your employees

The social media megaphone can really help you if your employees feel appreciated and valued. Being good to your employees will cause others to view your business more favourably.

Putting it all together

Achieving local business growth means you have to have the right mindset. Many people are already predisposed to favour local businesses.

  • Be true to your small business ethics.
  • Partner with other local businesses and associations.
  • Value and appreciate your employees.
  • Share what you’re doing on social media and your website.

This all assumes, of course, that you have a mobile friendly website and keep your social media updated?

Find out more

Online marketing company in Cheadle : Online Customer Solutions, provide websites, SEO and online services to help businesses grow.

Contact us today.

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Online Lead Generation – Help Customers Find You!

Increase Sales with Online Lead Generation

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Online Lead Generation in Manchester

Generate Business Leads with an effective Online Lead Generation Strategy.

Here we discuss the options and measures available when developing an effective online lead generation strategy. Help people looking for your products or services find your company.

Lead Generation via Paid Search

Getting your brand in front of the right people at the right time is key to growing your business. But it comes at a cost and you can very quickly waste a lot of your budget working out how it all works. See our article about negative keywords.

Website Design needed to support Lead Generation

Your customers want a simple intuitive user experience (UX), but this doesn’t have to cost the earth. Instead of spending money on expensive agency designers (although there often good reasons why you should!) you can save money by customising templates or using open source solutions.

Data-driven Lead Generation

If you already have a database of previous customers, analysis of it can identify trends and demographics that point the way to growing your business.

Content Lead Generation

There is no doubt that adding new fresh content to your website or social media accounts proves that you are active in your marketplace. This, in turn, leads to awareness, trust and eventually, to purchase.

Generate Leads via Search Engine Optimisation

Developing high quality, unique content will prove to Google that you are a trusted authority on a subject and that you deserve to be high up in the search results when people are looking for your service or product. The are over 200 elements to good search engine optimisation. Not even people at Google know what they all are. So be careful about people who claim to be experts and cost a fortune. All the best people can do is stack the deck in your favour. The objectives are always going to be to generate leads. Coming on the front page for a search term no one ever uses, or doesn’t visit into sales is not worth anything.

Social Media Lead Generation

An active social media presence can engage with both your customers and potential customers. People trust companies that take feedback seriously. It’s also a great way to spread ‘word of mouth’ endorsements. Ask for reviews and put them on your website. Make sure you don’t forget about Google+!

Local Online Lead Generation

The most important thing you can do starting off is to make sure your business is listed with Google Business. Create and account and Fill in the form. Add as much information about you and your service as possible. Google will send a postcard to your business address with a code on to verify that you are actually at that address. Complete the verification process and you will start to appear in the local search results when people are looking for your services.

Video Lead Generation

Start a youtube channel and make videos about your service; how are your products made? People are more engaged with videos than ever before.

Essential to Lead Generation Improvement: Measure Conversion Rate

Measuring the conversion rate of your visitors is the first step to improving it. Understand where your visitors are coming from and make the best use of your online marketing budget and deliver valuable lead generation campaigns. You landing page and website need to be optimised to funnel visitors to make an enquiry or purchase.

Find out more

Based just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business but specialise in helping businesses grow.

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.

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Negative Keyword Considerations

Negative Keywords are an essential part of PPC (pay per click) advertising campaigns. These are words or phrases that, when included in a search term, do not trigger your adverts to display.

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Negative keywords are completely subjective, what might be obvious for one campaign might actually be a keyword trigger in another. For example, negative keywords could include: “free”, “definition” and “instructions”. These would tend to indicate that the person searching these words are not interested in purchasing. But instead only looking for information. In some instances, however, this could be exactly they type of people you want to find.

As with normal keywords, negative keywords can take the form of broad match, exact and phrase. These can also be combined to completely lock a campaign down and ensure you aren’t wasting your PPC budget.

You may not want to show your adverts if a search is too broad. For example “Advertising”. The person searching this could be looking for almost anything. In this example, you may want to trigger adverts for “TV Advertising” but not for [Advertising]. You don’t want to block the word “advertising”, just when the search query matches [advertising] exactly.

Normally this problem wouldn’t crop up if your campaign was made up of just phrase match keywords, but this could be limiting your audience.

Depending on your company name, SEO position of your home page and competition, you might also want to block searches for your company. It’s just wasting budget and people will find you anyway (assuming you are number 1!).

Optimise your PPC Budget with Negative Keywords

One (slow and expensive) way of identifying negative keywords is to run a broad keyword campaign and constantly check the search terms that are triggering your adverts. It will very quickly become obvious how varied search queries can be, and how quickly they drain your budget.

There is little more irritating than have someone click your advert when, at least to you, it was completely obvious they were not going to find what they wanted on your website. It is exactly this that you need to predict and prevent. Not only will your conversions increase (hopefully you have setup conversion tracking!) you will probably notice that your quality scores rise too.

Make your keyword advertising campaign specific and focused to your landing page. Make sure if people are searching for exercise equipment, they don’t trigger your adverts for advertising classes!

Find out more

Online marketing company in Cheadle : Online Customer Solutions, provide websites, SEO and online services to help businesses grow. We work worldwide with businesses small and largeContact us today.

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Search Engine Marketing and Adwords – Manchester

SEM, SEO, Websites and Google Adwords. Manchester Based Online Marketing Consultancy

Search Engine Marketing can be used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and paid search activities. For example Google Adwords. Although some in the industry have adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search.

Related: Manchester Adwords Certified Partner

The below activities all form part of Search Engine Marketing:

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Appearing high up in the results for searches related to your company, services or product.
PPC (pay-per-click) – Advertising your company / product and paying when someone clicks on your advert. Ad Words being the most popular.
CPC (cost-per-click).
CPM – The cost you pay for your advert to be displayed to 1000 people.

Google Adwords – Paid Search Marketing

Google AdWords is by most measures the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers. Using Ad words and Analytics together provides insight and analysis. Measure your web traffic and marketing campaigns.

Online Marketing for Small or Home Based Companies.

In addition to Search Engine Marketing, the below are also otions for small and micro-businesses:

Social Media Marketing – if suitable, get on Facebook and recruit followers. Then start promoting your services.
Content Marketing – start a blog and create great content for people to find. (also helps SEO!)
Local Marketing – get reviews on your site, or (and this is essential) register your business with Google Business. Ask for reviews and remember to update it with images. Google+ also helps with SEO

Manchester based Search Engine Marketing company, Online Customer Solutions, help small businesses establish a web presence; refresh their current website and manage the digital marketing, including Google Adwords and other paid search.

Online Customer Solutions also support small and micro businesses in the Manchester area with Local Search advice, Social Media and Content Marketing.

OCS also provide generic IT advice and support, from purchasing to outsourcing and finance.

Find out more

Based in SK8, just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide Google Adwords and SEO solutions to a range of business, but specialise in helping small businesses grow.

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.

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Online Lead Generation for Small Businesses

Excluding referrals, Online Lead Generation is the most cost effective way of generating new sales for smaller businesses. For a relatively small budget, you can promote your products and services locally, nationally or even internationally.

Having an online presence is essential for all businesses and the sooner the better. You may already have a Facebook or social media presence, but a good website projects authority and expertise. There are ways to sell on social media but a website gives you much more functionality.

Lead generation is all about getting people interested in your products or services. The days of phoning people up and asking if they are interested are long gone. Apart from the fact that it just isn’t cost effective, 85% of land lines are now registered with the TPS, so can’t be called. People tend not to sit around waiting for a call if they need something.

The first thing people do is search the internet. Unless you appear on the front page of those search results, their business is going to go to one of your competitors.

What about the people that don’t know they want your products services?

For SME’s, traditional telemarketing and direct mail also falls down here. Telemarketing because less and less people are picking the phone up and it costs thousands a month. Direct mail, with the increasing mailing costs and people’s habit of just throwing junk mail in the bin, it takes a significant budget to get any kind of response. Even then, it is unlikely to generate a return on investment.

Online lead generation can help with this. Do you know what type of people are more likely to buy your products and services? If you do, then social media advertising (Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn etc) can display your adverts to these people in the locations that you specify. For example, you may be targeting new parents, Mums in the local area, Men over 40 etc.

Advantages of Online Lead Generation

  1. Have you business found by people looking for your products or services.
  2. Get your business in front of potential customers who don’t yet know that they need your service.
  3. Lower marketing spend.
  4. Control and transparency.

Find out more

Based South of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business, but specialise in helping small businesses grow.

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.

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