We’ve talked before on this blog about how getting to know your customers is one of the most valuable things you can do when it comes to improving your conversion rate.
In a fast-paced digital world in which everything revolves around marketing campaigns and sales targets, it’s all too easy to become disconnected from the customer who’s actually buying your product/using your service at the end of it all. Read more
The internet can be thought of as an enormous playground for digital marketers. It’s teeming with useful, innovative and mostly free tools just waiting to measure, track and analyse your online presence.
Of course, if you’re serious about achieving digital results, it’s worth consulting a professional and outsourcing some of the hard graft. But there are still some quick wins you can achieve alone using these useful online SEO tools – you just need to know how to use them. From backlink analysis to Twitter follower optimisation, here’s our lowdown of seven of the best online SEO tools.
SEMrush is one of the best tools out there for competitor analysis. It helps you to find out the organic search ranking positions for your competitor’s sites, helping you to pinpoint the search terms it may be useful for you to target, and what you’re up against.
If you’re looking to do some link-building to help improve your rankings and authority, SEMrush can help you to work out whether or not the sites you’re looking to target are ‘healthy’ or not. You definitely don’t want disreputable sites pointing to yours, so this can be an invaluable part of your link-building strategy.
Buzzsumo offers insight into the most popular content online right now. Therefore, it’s perfect for brainstorming and finding ideas for content that’s already proven to deliver ROI. Not only does it provide inspiration for subjects in your niche, but you can also sort these by social shares across Twitter, Facebook and more, to help you figure out what has the most potential to go viral.
Our top tip? Click on the “backlinks” tab. This is where you’ll see the social share statistics of the most popular inbound links – giving you a ready-made list of link-building outreach websites.
This handy tool is owned by Moz, and is best used to measure your Twitter activity. One of the most valuable ways to maximise this is to identify key influencers in your niche, so you can connect with the key players who are really going to get more eyes on your brand.
Other highlights include the ability to track the success of your Twitter campaigns and analyse the followers of your competitors.
Ahrefs has been on the scene for a while, and for good reason. It’s still one of the best tools out there for link analysis and backlink research for link auditing.
Among other things, Ahrefs can tell you the following about a prospective website you’d like to gain a link from: how natural their link growth is, how many of their links are from high authority sites, and how many referring domains that site has. It crawls so regularly that it offers some of the newest and most up-to-date data on the web.
If you don’t already use Google Analytics – or any another analytics tool, for that matter – start now! Having a comprehensive understanding of the traffic coming to your site, who your followers are and where they’re coming from, is the only way to really measure the success of your site and how you’re growing over time.
Google Analytics has become increasingly sophisticated and in-depth in recent years, and now offers digital marketers unrivalled opportunities to delve into statistics. Even if you don’t like data, there’s something addictive about monitoring and being on top of your analytics.
Majestic has long been a go-to tool for SEO experts. It offers much the same backlink data as Ahrefs, but is the largest link intelligence database on the planet and updates its index several times a day. It’s also extremely useful for reporting on SEO performance data. Majestic will help you to understand what specific content on your site is getting links, and provide you with customisable reports to help guide your plans.
Using Authority Labs is a great way to track your rankings, both current and historical, to give you an accurate representation of how keywords are ranking over time. You can also compare yourself against competitors for keywords, to see how you measure up to the competition.
Hampshire digital agency, Clever Marketing, uses all manner of useful online SEO tools to make sure your website is visible, ranked in the search engines, gets traffic and generates leads too. If you’d like us to be an extension of your business, we’d be happy to discuss how we can be your very own digital marketing department, conducting your SEO and managing your PPC for you.
How to know when it’s time to expand your business
Congratulations! If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that your business is now less start-up and more grown-up. That’s no mean feat – growing a business can be tough, so you’ve made a huge achievement already.
For whatever reason you’re considering expanding, and in whatever capacity (new venue, more staff, more products), we understand that it can feel daunting.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, what if things go wrong, is the timing right?
These are all common and natural things to cross your mind, but they shouldn’t stop you taking that leap. But neither should you take it before you and your business are equally ready.
Here are the key questions to ask yourself which will help you to know if and when it’s time to expand your business.
Are your customers loyal?
Note – this is a very different question to: how many customers do you have? The loyal ones are the customers who are most valuable to your business, because they return again and again, providing a baseline of consistent profit and growth.
It all comes down to the balancing act of customer acquisition and retention; alluring new prospects is always good, but keeping them is even more important. The amount of repeat clients you have will help you to understand the quality of the service you’re providing and how stable your profits really are – or whether you’ve just been lucky.
Are you making a profit?
This one is fairly self-explanatory. If you’re making a loss, or even just breaking even, you don’t need us to tell you that it’s probably not the right time to consider expansion. Ideally, you need around three years of consistently growing profits to justify such a move.
Moreover, growth should be steady. A recent boom or seasonal increase alone may be risky to base your entire expansion plans on.
Do you have to let people down?
This sounds like an odd one, but bear with us. If your business just isn’t big enough, or isn’t in enough locations to service the needs of all of the prospects approaching you, this is a clear sign it’s time to expand.
If you keep losing out on potential revenue because you don’t sell a particular product, don’t serve a certain region or just don’t have the manpower to cover the request, seriously start to weigh up what it would take to service these people effectively, and if it’s worth your while.
What is the state of your industry?
As you’ll know by now, certain factors influencing the growth of your business are completely out of your control. The outlook for your chosen field is one of them. Is the industry set to grow or decline in coming years?
It’s worth investing in market reports or talking to a consultant to back up your gut theory. If the outlook for your chosen field is positive and competition is still relatively low, you’re on to a winner. If not, you might want to consider diversifying, or staying put for now to wait out the storm.
Is your business stagnating?
Contrary to popular belief, if your sales have slowed or stalled, it might not be time to throw in the towel just yet. This could be a sign that you’ve reached the optimum level of what you can deliver at your current size or budget, and expansion or additional investment is needed to inspire growth. It may be that you’re stuck in a rut, and need to look to the future to pre-empt your customer’s next move.
Are you struggling to keep up with demand?
If you’re consistently snowed under or struggling to meet deadlines for your current customers, it can feel tough. Taking on more business is the last thing on your mind. But this is a sure-fire sign it’s time to change and adapt your business to cope with demand. Whether that’s hiring a new pair of hands or purchasing a new premises, the related cost will be balanced out by the new business you bring in. Recognising this precise tipping point is key, as consistently not meeting deadlines is also a way to lose those treasured, loyal customers – fast.
Do you actually want to expand?
This may be less of a black and white answer than the previous six listed here, and more of an instinctual one. Think of how your business started, and what you wanted it to be. Most people welcome increased profits, but few anticipate at the outset the related work, effort and time. How will expanding your business impact your life?
Do you have the time required to put in the graft, or will your business have outgrown you? Sometimes it’s ok to like things as they are. Whether you decide to expand or stay the same, you need to feel just as ready as your business.
So there you go. Are you thinking of expanding your business? What key things have you had to take into consideration? Will you go big or go home?
If you need to step up your business and need Hampshire Digital Agency Clever Marketing’s help, we’re here to help you re-brand, run your print, email and PPC campaigns, fix your website and do SEO that actually gets results.
“I’m not trying to write a novel, I’m just trying to sell a product”
We hear similar arguments time and time again when talking to businesses about the importance of copy writing. The thing is: how to write better sales copy, the kind that pulls a reader in, builds trust and results in conversion, is as much of a delicate craft as writing fiction. Why?
“Copy is a direct conversation with a consumer”
Copy writing is an open dialogue and a valuable line of communication between you and your customers. How you treat that dialogue can have a massive impact on your sales. Think about your own buying habits. Are you more likely to trust a website riddled with spelling errors, or one that features accurate, interesting and clear copy?
In addition, thanks to Google’s countless rounds of algorithm updates, relevant and high quality copy writing is more important now than ever before. So, if you’re not a natural-born Ernest Hemingway, how can you make sure your writing is up to scratch? Simply follow these 5 golden rules, from some of the most iconic names in copy writing.
“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.”
David Ogilvy is one of the giants of the golden era of advertising, and was called “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry” by TIME magazine in 1962. He also has some of the most valuable pieces of advice to offer when it comes to writing to sell.
The above is perhaps the most poignant. When selling products and services, many businesses experience a disconnect between the ad they’re writing, and the customers themselves. In essence, they almost forget that it’s their colleagues, loved ones and friends who the ad is aimed at. It’s easy to make the mistake of generalising and treating a prospect like a one-dimensional character, rather than an individual.The best copy treats the reader like a peer, creating a story and hooking them in. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, or your copy loses all its power. There’s nothing wrong with being specific.
The best copy treats the reader like a peer, creating a story and hooking them in. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, or your copy loses all its power. There’s nothing wrong with being specific when you write better sales copy. For a deeper dive into the mind of David Ogilvy read his epic tome Ogilvy on Advertising.
“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have the cheapest or the best product in the world to achieve great sales. Above all, you just need the reader to trust you. These days many of our purchases are made online, which is also a notorious playground for spam, scam and shady characters. Trustworthy and credible websites are the ones which will enjoy the highest conversion rates.
So, how can you make yourself appear trustworthy? Tell the truth, for a start. Because to be honest, no one is going to believe you if all you do is sing your own praises. Your sales pitch becomes all the more believable with balance.
When telling your story on your website, include the rocky start at the beginning. Talk about the things that went wrong. If your product comes with some limitations, be upfront about them and your customer will thank you for being genuine in a sea of scam artists.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” David Ogilvy
Back to David Ogilvy now and another timeless gem. Research “how to write good copy” on the web, and you’ll be inundated with blog posts all centred around one essential component: the headline. The headline is the part that captures your reader’s attention and determines whether or not they go on to read the rest of the copy.
It follows then that you should invest some real time in crafting the perfect headline. Some general rules of thumb? Keep it short, simple and to the point. Headlines are also prioritised by Google when indexing your page, so keep it relevant to the rest of the subject matter on the page.
“People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.” Dale Carnegie
Never was a truer word spoken. Once you understand this essential rule, your writing will never be the same again, because you’ll have realised that sales writing has almost nothing to do with you and your business, and everything to do with your customer.
This relates back to point one, and how you talk to your readers. But it also has to do with what you actually say. I don’t want to know if you have multiple warehouses all over the country. I want to know that wherever in the country I am, I’ll still receive the product quickly. It’s all about translating your writing into customer-centric copy – that’s when you’re onto a winner.
“People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” Howard Gossage
At the end of the day, no one likes to feel like they’re being fed a sales pitch, so your copy doesn’t need to relentlessly have a foot on acc-sell-erator (see what we did there?) If you make it human, unique, creative or interesting enough, it will attract readers anyway. At the heart of good sales copywriting is the problem that you can solve for the reader. They might not even know what this problem is yet – but as a writer, it’s your job to find out.
Looking to write better sales copy but just don’t have the time? That’s OK, we understand, and we can help too.
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