Tag Archives: social media

4 Simple Advertising Tips

Simple advertising

Advertising doesn’t need to be costly,  time-consuming  or complicated. There are many ways you can advertise easily and efficiciently here are 4 of my favourites:

1.  Target your marketing message

I’ve mentioned the importance of tailoring your messages to reach different audiences in a previous post. I have also touched on the fact that advertising often receives a bad wrap because historically it has been untargeted and ineffective compared to other marketing methods.

Suffice to say that if your advertising isn’t targeted not only are you wasting money but you’re also wasting the time of those who receive your marketing and are not in the least bit interested. Many of these untargeted recipients won’t resemble your target audience in any way shape or form, which is not beneficial for you or them.

The good news is that the Internet has made targeting  your audience easier than it’s ever been. Online advertising platforms  such as AdWords and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter make targeting easy.

Facebook ad targeting

Twitter ad targeting

2.   Amplify your message with paid advertising

The simple truth is that the organic reach of  marketing is declining. What I mean is that when you post something online, social media update, blog post etc. it is seen by a lot less people than would have been the case in times passed. The reason is that there is a lot more content being published on the web daily, so we have to work a lot harder for our content to be noticed.

Social media without paid advertising doesn’t scale, if you are a business trying to leverage the benefits of social media, ideally you need both organic and paid content.

3.   Measure success

Results count. If something doesn’t work i.e. move you closer to the goal you are trying to achieve stop doing it. So often we continue certain practices out of habit, passed successes or because ‘it’s just the way we do things around here‘. My advice is to proliferate what works and eliminate what doesn’t. A key way to measure success is to monitor the activity and behaviour that takes place on your website, Google Analytics allows you to do that. It allows you to see a wealth of useful information, such as the number of people visiting your website, the most popular pages, where visitors come from and a lot more. I highly recommend implementing Google Analytics,   you can do this yourself or have your web designer do it for you, it’s free and takes just a few minutes.

4. Test and refine

The Internet provides a great opportunity for us to test and refine our online advertising efforts. Enabling advertisers to increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and increase return on investment. You can test your advertising efforts in many ways but here are 2 key tactics:

  • Test your headlines and advertising copy
    The aim is to determine which headlines and wording is most effective at getting potential customers to take action. The desired action may be clicking a link, completing a form, visiting your website, purchasing a product etc. You can do this simply with Google Adwords, within  Adwords there is a tool called Adwords Campaign Experiments which allows you to test variants of your ad on a small percentage of your target audience.  Enabling you to monitor results before investing fully,  and placing all your eggs in one basket.
  • Test elements of your landing pages
    Similar to testing advertising copy it’s important to test your landing pages (the pages people go to when they click on your ads) to determine what layouts, designs and content are most effective at converting vistors to customers. Similar to Adwords Campaign Experiements, Analytics Campaign Experiments allows you to test up to 10 variants of your landing page.

Done wisely online advertising can be very successful, cost effective and simple for your business to implement. The key is to equip yourself with the right knowledge and use the right tools to get the maximum return on your advertising spend.

If you need help putting these simple advertising tips into practice feel free to give me a shout :)

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Are you one of the 50% of SME’s without a website?

no website

Yes you read right! According to Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2014:

“Only 50% have a website and on the whole, those that do are only providing basic functionality.”

If you are are one of the 50% without a website then this post is for you. I won’t bore you with all the reasons why you should be online, suffice to say that the UK is the most active eCommerce market in Europe and there are 1.2 billion potential customers online, including your competitors.

Despite this  29% of SMEs and charities still believe being online isn’t relevant to their business. In actual fact the internet is the number one global resource for finding information and sourcing suppliers. Believe it or not people are searching for your very business online, the only thing is you’re not there! So in this post I wanted to tell you about 3 easy and cost effective ways to get online fast.

1.  Social Media Page

Facebook page example

If you’re not ready for you’re own website yet then dip your toe in the water with a Facebook page these are easy and free to set-up. Here’s 5 top tips for creating an effective page:

    1. Customise your page e.g. take advantage of the vanity url, use apps and custom tabs
    2. Keep your page current with news, company info, offers etc.
    3. Engage, engage and engage some more - people buy from people so share your personality and update your page often
    4. Use multi-media – posts that include images and video receive a lot more engagement than those without
    5. Advertise – your own posts and updates will only get you so far, it’s work running some cost-effective ad campaigns, to boost traffic, especially if your page is new

 2.  Website Builder

website builder

A website builder is essentially an easy to use control panel that allows you to build a professional website yourself, prices start from free to about £30 per month. The 1&1 website builder for example is currently available for £0.99/month and offers:

    • Quick creation – drag and drop functionality to change layout,  pictures and add apps
    • Industry specific text and images, plus functionality based on your industry
    • Advanced functionality with 140 drag and drop web apps such as slideshare, shopping apps, contact forms, eCommerce apps and more

3.  Host a WordPress site (like this one)


You can purchase web hosting (the service providing space on the Internet for websites) and then build a WordPress site yourself in a few easy steps.

WordPress is the number one content management system in the world with more than 73 million websites globally. WordPress usage is growing fast. Approximately 20% of existing websites are built with WordPress

I’m a big fan, this blog is a WordPress site which I created myself within a couple of hours with no previous experience or knowledge of website design.

There is no need to go without a website, all three options mentioned above can be created yourself, for a  few pounds a month within a few hours. It’s literally that easy to get online and join the millions of businesses on the web benefiting from online success.

I spoke on this topic in more depth at The Business Show last month take a look at the video below for more tips and insights.

If you need help with any of the options mentioned above give me a shout and I’ll be happy to assist.

Speak soon,

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Facebook Advertising: Advertising Alive & Well Pt3

Facebook advertising 

For the 3rd post in my ongoing series Advertising Alive & Well I’ve chosen to hone in on Facebook as it’s the most popular social media network, has a well-established ad platform, is one of the most effective forms of online advertising and is one of the easiest to get started with. I did consider writing a post on the ins and outs of Facebook advertising but decided against that because there are already tonnes of very useful and comprehensive resources available. These guides describe in detail how Facebook ads work, the various types of Facebook ads, the do’s and don’ts and more, I’ve included links to a few of these resources at the end of this post. Instead I’ve decided to share 5 reasons why I think you should consider Facebook advertising, no matter what size your budget is:

1.       Popularity

No doubt you know this already but Facebook is by far the most popular social network on the planet, with 1.25billion Facebook users across the world with more than 33million of them in the UK. As such it enables you to reach pretty close to every niche group or demographic that you might want to reach.

2.       Targeting

Facebook has access to large amounts of data and insights that few other companies have. This means that you are able to target ads at a level of detail that has previously been impossible in the advertising world. Instead of keywords Facebook allows you to enter interests and demographics, which in some ways is a more human and effective way of advertising than targeting based on keywords.

3.       Affordability

You decide how much you want to pay and set daily limits. Facebook offers payment flexibility by allowing advertisers to purchase ad space based on pay-per-click (PPC) or cost–per-thousand views (CPM), this allows you to tailor your ad campaign based on budget. The famous John Wannamaker quote “I know that half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half” no longer holds true. With Facebook advertising you are able to see exactly what is working and what isn’t, you can then scale what does work and pull back on what doesn’t. This means that you can not only achieve high traffic volume to your Facebook Page or website, but more importantly, traffic that converts to action whether it’s a lead or a sale.

Advertising has become less art and more science.

4.       Image based ads and more

Pictures are far more effective at grabbing attention than text, Facebook allows you to include images in each ad which helps to increase engagement. Facebook sponsored ads are also an example of native advertising which is less intrusive than other forms of advertising as it appears very much like organic content in a timeline.

5.       A resource to learn more about your fans and customers

There is a nifty feature on Facebook Pages called Facebook insights which gives you a more detailed picture of what’s working and some indications why. Facebook Insights includes useful information such as:

  • Reach: how many people saw your ad
  • Demographics: who is actually liking, commenting, sharing your posts, are they from your target audience?
  • Benchmarking data: allows you to compare the performance of your page at various points in time
  • Where your likes have come from

Hopefully this post has given you a few reasons to consider Facebook advertising and shown you yet another example of why advertising is very much alive and well.

As promised here are a few resources that I’ve found particularly useful:

  1. 45 Fabulous Facebook Advertising Tips & Magic Marketing Tricks
    Info about selecting your campaign objectives, various Facebook advertising formats, how to control the costs of advertising on Facebook and more.
  2. Facebook ads that convert (video)
    I’m a huge fan of Sandi Krakowski, she is a Facebook advertising expert and offers a tonne of resources on how to advertise on Facebook like this video. With over 390,000 Facebook fans she not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
  3. How to master Facebook marketing in 10 days (ebook)
    More about Facebook Marketing in general with a little on Facebook advertising, as I’m such a fan of HubSpot I thought I’d share. HubSpot are inbound marketing experts and if you haven’t already I highly recommend visiting the HubSpot blog
  4. How to use the new Facebook Insights
    This post all about Facebook Insights is from Social Media Examiner another very good resource for all things social.

Speak soon,

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Social Media Planning

Plan ask questions

I’m actually in the middle of drafting a social media plan for a project I’m working on and I always shell a plan before I start filling in the content, it just helps me focus and complete the plan in a structured way. I find that when I don’t do this my mind runs in a 101 different directions and it takes me forever to complete it. So anyway, I thought you might find the shell useful, feel free to use the following questions as a base for creating your own social media plan, perhaps adding a few additional questions to satisfy your exact requirements:

  • What resources are available to manage social media?
  • What content already exists?
  • What content can be curated?
  • What content can be created?
  • What content can be repurposed?
  • What social networks should be included?
  • What tools should be used to make the process easier?
  • What might a content calendar for the first week/month look like?
  • What about social media advertising?

Well, I’m off to continue working on this plan but if you have any questions on social media planning feel free to give me a shout.

Speak soon,

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Social Media Love: Pinterest

I am undoubtedly a social media fan, but I’m selective about my choice of networks and tend to use them for different things. I associate each social network with different personality types and tend to use them accordingly, here are my 5 fav’s in rank order:

Network Personality Use
Twitter The chatterbox. Fast and full of timely knowledge Knowledge and network building
Pinterest The creative thinker. Intelligent and beautiful Inspiration and visualisation of ideas
Google+ The undiscovered talent. Interesting and powerful but underused To connect with particular interest groups (i.e. circles) and capitalise on Google’s clout
LinkedIn The professional. Conservative and quiet Updates related to industry news & career development
Facebook The popular kid. Necessary but boring General social media updates


As you can see Pinterest has fast become my second favourite social media spot. In case you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s simply a tool for collecting and organising all the things you love, it’s essentially a virtual Pinboard with photos of your favourite things grouped together un themed boards.

I actually joined Pinterest a couple of years ago but it dropped off my radar until recently. I had forgotten what a great social media platform it is. Here are a few reasons I’m such a fan:

1.       It stimulates creativity

For me it’s important to take time out and get creative, free your mind and play around with ideas. Pinterest helps me do that

  • I use it as a mood board to visually brainstorm ideas I’m contemplating
  • I use it to tell and build stories 
  • I use it to gain inspiration from others
  • I use it to share and provide information in a light and visual way

2.       It’s versatile

Pinterest doesn’t dictate how you use it, the design of the platform encourages freedom and flexibility for you to use it in whatever way you see fit. This has led to some stunningly creative boards, check out this Mashables post 10 Innovative Uses of Pinterest for some great examples.

3.       I just love pinning

The Pin-It button is a permanent feature on my toolbar it enables me to capture things that interest me as I travel the web so that I never lose or forget the many gems I find. I always have a notebook with me wherever I go because I find that good ideas hit me at the most random moments and it’s always good to have a pen and paper to hand. Pinning is like the virtual equivalent of this.

 4.       The layout is beautiful and inspiring

It’s like a treasure trove just waiting to explored.

If you haven’t already I encourage you to check it out, you can find my Pinterest boards here, I’d love to connect with you there.

PS: Speaking of creativity if you want to get more creative  John Adair’s 100 Greatest Ideas for Amazing Creativity is a really good place to start.

Speak soon,

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Tactical Marketing – The Art of Marketing Warfare pt 4

So what is tactical marketing?

it’s effectively a specific set of marketing actions that should be directly related to your marketing strategy. Up until now I’ve given you guidelines on the general direction your marketing should go. In this introduction to tactical marketing I will outline concrete marketing tactics that can be used to progress any strategy.

The  array of tactics is vast and varied, the list could literary be infinite so I’m going to save you the trauma of me trying to share them all, cut to the chase and list a mere 5 that will be most beneficial and relevant  to you in the early stages of your business. These tactics are affordable on any budget, instantly actionable, and can be mixed in numerous ways to suit your strategy.

There are not more than 5 musical notes but the combination of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

There are not more than 5 primary colours yet in combination produce more hues than can ever be seen.

There are not more than 5 cardinal tastes yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.
                                                        - Sun Tzu The Art of War

1. Establish your A-team

No man is an island and you will need support even if it’s just someone to bounce ideas off or send you a word of encouragement when the going gets tough.

Enlist a small team of advocates that believe in you, your brand and your vision. Keep this team small 2-4 people, these can be family, friends or colleagues. If a core team is committed it won’t require many of you to be effective.

You’re A-team will need to have 3 key attributes:

  1. Passion
    Passion is like petrol it energises, sustains and motivates at times when you would otherwise quit. These people need to be in it primarily for love not money – dare I say it, willing to work for free at times for the good of the business (but do reward them richly when your business grows).
  2. Skills
    You’re A-team will need to have skills that can help bring your vision to fruition for obvious reasons, but also because involvement will fuel commitment.
  3. Commitment
    You’ll need people that are reliable and do what they say when they say they’re going to do it.

 This may not sound like a marketing tactic but trust me, you’re A-team will be your most effective business promoters, business ambassadors and lead generators.

2. Nurture and build business relationships personally

As fabulous as the Internet is there is no replacement for building personal relationships. Scour your personal contacts and business connections to identify potential opportunities among them, arrange face-to-face meetings to share your business with them. It’s easier to sell to or gain support from people who know you.

3. Establish your online web presence

Whether it be a Facebook page, website or blog you need a web presence of some kind. Facebook pages are free, most blogs are free to set up besides the cost of web hosting, a good website builder that allows you to build a professional website yourself like 1&1 MyWebsite is also affordable.  With all these options available commissioning a costly web developer or designer is an unnecessary  expense, at least in the initial stages of your business.

4. Expand your online network

Social media is a must in this day and age and it should be an integral part of your marketing strategy; it gives you access to thousands of potential customers that would otherwise be out of your reach – so it will pay to accelerate your activity. This practical guide to social media for small businesses will show you how.

5. Email marketing – an oldie but goodie!

Email marketing is low cost, effective and a great way to build and nurture relationships with customers, contacts and prospects over time. It also integrates well with most other marketing channels. Start by building a list of business contacts that visit your website or blog, connect with you via social media or personal interactions. If you choose a WordPress blog creating a contact form to capture visitor email addresses is very easy to do. Communicate with your contacts to inform, teach and of course introduce products, services and sales offers. Whatever you do, do not bombard your contacts and burn your list.
3 tips:

  1. Target your emails with relevant information to the relevant contact
  2. Effective emails don’t require bells and whistles, text is often fine it’s the content that counts. The best example of email marketing genius that I can give you is Chris Brogan I actually love receiving his emails on a Sunday morning, sign up to his weekly newsletter to see what I mean.
  3. Communicate in a tone that’s natural and authentically you

Last but not least, here’s two resources that I highly recommend full of practical and easy to follow advice to really get your marketing off the ground:

  1. Read this book and follow the advice it will pay great dividends: DUCT TAPE MARKETING, the most practical marketing guide for small businesses by John Jantsch.
  2.  Sandi Krakowski’s 30-Day Challenge for building a successful blog. Sandi offers a wealth of great marketing advice on her blogwww.arealchange.com

Tactical marketing is a huge topic to cover so I will be drilling down into the details of specific tactics in many future posts, however, if you would like personal advice and customised recommendations on what you could be doing to boost your marketing please contact me, my blog visitors do get preferential treatment :)

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