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7 vital questions to ask before hiring a marketing company

Nothing frustrates us more than when we see businesses paying out hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds each month to a marketing company that isn’t giving them the level of service that they should be. For example, in marketing attention to detail is vital – a common aspect often overlooked. If you are considering hiring a marketing company, make sure you ask these questions:

1. What do you need to know about my business?

How is a company meant to market your business if they don’t know the ins and outs of it? Many marketing companies have the same marketing strategies for businesses in different industries, which is rarely effective. Marketing strategies and action plans need to be tailored to your business. This is so they can reach out to your target markets in the best way.

We have a 28 Point Discovery Session we go through with you in the initial process. This covers everything we need to know about your company, your products and your services. It includes your background, client demographics, sales processes, current marketing efforts, and more.

2. Do you have the same passion for my company as I do?

Passion is important – how can a company market and promote your business if they don’t love it themselves? Larger marketing companies work for so many different businesses that you might be concerned that their work will be robotic and not personal to your business.

At Bellüber, we work with clients who we believe have the potential for lots more growth, something that we will assist you in achieving through our tailored marketing strategies and implementation.

3. Do you know how important it is for me to get a good return on my investments?

Do they have lots of experience in owning and running businesses? A good marketing company will understand the day to day issues you face with managing your time and resources for marketing as well as how important it is to get a good ROI.

We analyse every aspect of the marketing activities we implement, through to the sales that result from them. We then adapt the strategies and activities to reflect the results.

4. Will you analyse my competitors?

Every company has competitors, and it’s important for marketing companies to get to know these well. They should research how your competitors market their businesses and analyse what is most effective, as part of the extensive research. This is something that marketing companies can overlook!

In part of the initial process, we also put together a very detailed competitive analysis of your competitors, in a table where we can easily compare all of their different marketing efforts. This is summarised with a SWOT analysis, identifying each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, along with your opportunities to take advantage of and threats to your business. We also provide a list of recommendations as a result.

5. Do you pay attention to detail?

As we said before, attention to detail in marketing is key. Your marketing content (website, social media posts, printed media and so on) is what your audience will see and make a decision on, so it’s vital that it is up to the highest standards, and in particular has no spelling or grammatical errors. When choosing a marketing company, take a good look at their website, social media posts and/or emails, to ensure they pay attention to what they put out there.

6. Will I be kept informed of the actions being taken and the results?

It’s vital that you are aware of what is being done as well with your marketing. You want the marketing company you choose to keep track of (and tell you) what is working and what isn’t, then focus on the activities that get the best results.

We provide regular monthly reports of our activities, with recommendations on what we need to do next, in order to achieve the best results.

7. Will I be in a long term contract?

While contracts are important for protecting both the client and the provider, a good marketing company won’t try to lock you into a contract that doesn’t meet your needs, right from the beginning. A lot of initial contracts last too long or are more restrictive than necessary. A marketing company may start to pick up their efforts at about ten months into a one-year contract in the hope of signing you up for another year.

We provide you with a six-month contract, completely tailored to your specific goals and requirements. During and after the six months, we analyse the results of our activities and the return on investment to you. We then give you these choices:

  • To opt out of marketing (this is very rare as our clients realise how vital it is to continue)
  • To proceed with a second 6 month contract, tailored to take account of the previous 6 months’ results
  • Continue on a monthly rolling term with no commitment
  • We train someone in your team who can then take over the activities (with our guidance)

Whether you are considering us or another marketing company, make sure you ask these questions first.


content marketing calendarDownload our free Content Marketing Calendar

Use this template to create a full schedule of activities for marketing your business over the next 3 months.

Click here for more info and to download.

How to review and improve your website

Many of our clients are surprised at how many important things they are missing from their website which can improve their marketing, growth and sales. These range from site loading speed to your navigation menu. Here are some of the factors that we check apply to our clients’ websites…

The homepage shows USPs and benefits

You have such a short amount of time (reportedly just 6 seconds!) to grab a visitor’s attention before they move onto another website in their search results. An important way to entice them immediately is by highlighting your unique selling points on the homepage.

The homepage immediately tells the visitor what you’re about

It’s important that your homepage shows the visitor straightaway what you offer and how you can help or benefit them.

The URLs contain keywords/phrases

The page URLs need to have relevant keywords/phrases in them, e.g. about-us could be ‘about-typeofcompany-location’ so the URL could be www.yourwebsite.com/about-business-coach-london which would help you appear higher in results when the search term ‘business coach London’ is entered.

Links to social media pages

Not only should you have links to your social media pages on your website, but these should be high up the page – ‘above the fold’.

Google Analytics integration

This enables you to view your site statistics. It provides the number of visitors, where people on your site came from, and more. If you want to improve your marketing and get more visitors, your website needs to be visible on as many platforms as possible. Tracking your visitors and where they come from is critical in knowing what marketing tools work.

picture1Meta tags

These are codes in the background of your page containing words and sentences that search engines can read and display in results. People often put loads of keywords in the code hoping that Google will then place them in a higher position. But Google is cleverer than that. Title and description tags are vital as these are what is shown for your page in search results. These need to stand out from your competitors and grab the attention of the people searching.

Keywords and phrases in the content

Think about the words your target market will enter into search engines – anything they might want that you provide. Ensure the content of your site includes these keywords and phrases. For example, if your target market includes businesses and you give advice on cash flow, think about what a business owner might enter into a search engine to find advice on that topic and make sure that phrase is within your content.

Site colours

picture2Many websites that we have redesigned have had too many colours and fonts! The colour scheme needs to be simple and consistent. Links/buttons should all be the same colour to help visitors become familiar with navigating around the site. Don’t use more than 4/5 colours in the site’s main content or it will look untidy and unprofessional.

 

 

Using stock photos

Avoid using those cheesy stock photos on your website. There are websites where you can download great quality royalty-free images that look professional which include Pixabay and Unsplash.

picture3The website is mobile friendly

Around 50% of website visitors are via mobile phones. Your website should be able to adapt in size for a mobile or tablet. Google are now giving mobile-friendly sites priority positions in search results performed on mobiles, as you can see in the image.

Navigation labels

The labels on your navigation need to be clear and concise, as well as relevant to what the pages are about. They should also be enticing – for example instead of ‘Blog’ it could say ‘Free Advice’ and instead of ‘About Us’ it could say ‘Get To Know Us’.

Regular blog posts/news/articles

A great way of keeping your website updated regularly is by having a blog. It will also show that you’re an expert in your industry; building the ‘know, like and trust’ with your potential clients. Blog posts could be top tips, ways to avoid something, etc. These need to include keywords that your target market are likely to enter in search engines.

picture4Having ‘Where did you hear about us?’ on your forms

This is a simple way to keep track of how people filling in your forms on your website heard about you, to see which advertising methods are most effective.

There are clear calls to action

On every page of your website there should be clear calls to action to encourage visitors to take the next step in your sales cycle, whether you want them to subscribe, contact you or make a purchase.

Testimonials and reviews

Saying how great you are is one thing but having other people say it is so much better. Case studies and testimonials can show how you have helped other businesses.

It’s all well and good knowing what needs to be on your website to make it most effective, but do you know how to implement these features so they can be most beneficial? At Belluber we do this for many different businesses – if you would like us to review your website and give you a personal list of recommendations that apply to your business and target market, please get in touch.


Marketing TipsDownload our free marketing tips whitepaper

Download this whitepaper for useful marketing tips that you can implement into your business immediately.

Click here for more info and to download.

5 tricks you may have missed that can generate more business

Most of our articles and updates focus on how to get more business via online marketing methods such as Google and social media. But, it’s important to consider life outside of SEO and PPC, and these methods shouldn’t be dismissed.

Business was being generated long before the internet began. Although technology is being used more and more, every business should still consider other methods instead of putting their eggs all in one basket. In case their successful lead generating method no longer delivers the results they need.

So we’ve listed 5 other ways to generate more business that if you’re not doing at the moment, you might want to consider. If these are done right, they can really help to increase your customer base whilst being quite cost effective.

Exhibitions

To make exhibitions work from a brand awareness point of view and a direct sales point of view, you need to choose the right ones to get your money’s worth. You’ll also need to take a few roller banners, promotional items, a laptop plus your products you want to sell. Getting these together will cost, but it’s a one-off investment that can cover several exhibitions, so it’s worth it.

Pick exhibitions that are either niche to your industry or localised. Also try to visit them before you agree to exhibit, to see how things works and the turn out, as well as the other businesses exhibiting. Most places require a fee for you to exhibit so it’s important that you pick the right place.

Postal marketing

You will have seen a massive drop in the amount of advertising you’ve received in the post over the past several years. Whilst some may take this as meaning postal advertising doesn’t work anymore, others will see it as a great opportunity. By sending something with a handwritten address, you can almost guarantee that it will be opened. This is simply because we’re not used to getting so much post these days.

Of course, there are costs involved in this, in terms of developing effective promotional material to send. But with the right level of thought and planning, this could really be a winner. Especially for the more traditional people that aren’t as confident in the world of online advertising – the kind of business that may not see your digital marketing efforts.

Local networking groups

Networking groups require you to go, get to know others and in turn, let others get to know you. They’re not just something that you go to a couple of times and never go back to. But with a bit of effort, networking groups can be effective, especially the smaller, independent ones. Search around for some local networking groups and try them out, as most are free on the first visit. Then choose a couple that you think are right for you. Even if you try for a few months and it isn’t for you, you may still get some good contacts.

Facebook groups

This approach is a long one, as you cannot simply go wading into groups and start bombarding them with your services – not if you want results anyway. You need to join local Facebook groups and national business networking groups (e.g. Local Business Network). But before you jump straight into waving your company banner around, join in the conversations, build an authority and then the results will start to come. By building the know, like and trust in these groups, people they are more likely to buy from you. If you can work hard at it, not only will you increase brand awareness, you will generate leads.

Localised sponsorship

From local charity events to football teams, sponsorship can be really effective in your community and doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. Plus at the same time you’re giving something back, which is great. If you sponsor the right event or team, the long-term brand awareness is potentially massive. Imagine sponsoring a local kids football team. Not only will your logo be seen on match day and in the resulting photos, but every child has a parent who has friends and family, all of which will see your company logo on their kit. Ring around some local teams or keep an eye out for local events to see if you can offer sponsorship.


content marketing calendarDownload our free Content Marketing Calendar

Use this template to create a full schedule of activities for marketing your business over the next 3 months.

Click here for more info and to download.

4 reasons why Richard Branson is better at social media than you

With nearly three million Facebook likes, more than seven million followers on Twitter and nine million followers on LinkedIn, Richard Branson joins Elon Musk and Mark Cuban as one of the most prominent entrepreneurs on social media. He follows several social media best practices that elevate him to the top of the pack. Success on social media goes well beyond likes and follows. Use these four practices to establish leadership, drive leads and create relationships on social media.

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10 brilliantly free stock photo websites

If you’ve ever had to search for free stock photos on the internet, you’ll know what an annoying hassle it can be. Free stock photos are difficult to find, with many stock photo companies charging £10 or more for a single photo. Then even when you can find free stock photos, often they’re low resolution or watermarked.

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The key elements of content marketing

This seven-step guide can be used for anybody who needs inspiration on any type of content for their business.
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How to use Instagram effectively for business

People say that brands that are visually appealing, such as food and beverage businesses or companies in the fashion industry are the only way you can succeed on Instagram, one of the most popular social media platforms. I think they’re wrong. Not having a visually appealing brand doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with Instagram. There are plenty of ways that your business can benefit from using this platform, especially with the use of trending topics and hashtags.

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Everything you need to know about Twitter’s 140 character update

Twitter has made a big change to the way tweets work: longer tweets are here!

Last month, Twitter cut back on what types of content will use its 140-character limit. Now, media attachments (e.g. photos, videos, GIFs and polls), quoted Tweets and @names in replies are no longer counted against the 140 characters that make up a tweet. This means people can attach media to tweets without sacrificing characters, and it’s made public conversations a lot easier.

Full details on what’s changed

  • Media attachments: A URL at the end of Tweets is created from attaching media files, and will not count towards the character limit (the URLs in the Tweet will be counted towards the character limit as they do today).
  • Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names won’t count towards the 140-character count (this update is yet to be rolled out).
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: You can now Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself if you feel like a good post went unnoticed.
  • No more “.@username”: New Tweets that begin with a username will now reach all your followers (meaning you will no longer have to put the “.” before the “@username”, which is what people had been doing to broadcast Tweets broadly.

4 ways to make use of Twitter’s 140 characters

  1. Provide more context in replies

One great benefit of this update is that @names will no longer count against your characters. This opens up more space to provide additional text that might have taken a couple of tweets previously. If you’re responding to a customer query, you could share your reply in 140 characters but also add a GIF or image saying “Thank you for contacting us”.

  1. Use visuals more often

Studies show that visual and media attachments on tweets are a great factor in boosting engagement and retweets. One study by Twitter found that photos average a 35% boost in retweets and videos get a 28% boost.

It has been hard to convey your message in your tweet text in 140 characters when also including a media attachment. But now, Twitter users can utilize the full 140 characters and still include media. For business owners and marketers, this means more opportunity to include stunning visuals, product demo videos, and more.

  1. Quote yourself to share longer thoughts

It’s common to break up a tweet into a couple of sections to completely elaborate and share thoughts. But with Twitter’s quote option, you can share two tweets that are intertwined and easy to follow – meaning users won’t have to visit your profile or scroll through their timeline to see the first part of your tweet.

How does this work? Just post your first tweet, and then quote that tweet and add the rest of your message in the 140 characters available to you in the second tweet.

  1. Opportunity for better conversation

Twitter is all about conversing and connecting with others. One of the biggest factors in this update is that we can fully embrace the 140 characters available to us, giving us the opportunity for better conversation.

At Belluber we have set up and run Twitter profiles for lots of different types of companies. If you’d like to find out more on how we can help your business, get in touch.


Download our free social media whitepaper

“Using hashtags effectively on social media”

Click here for more info and to download.

7 recent Facebook changes affecting Facebook advertisers

In the past few months, Facebook has made a lot of changes. These include:

  • News feed updates
  • Control the ads you see
  • Blocking ad blockers
  • New video metrics
  • Redesigned pages
  • Custom audiences based on time on websites
  • Updates to lead ads
News feed updates

Showing more personally informative stories

Your news feed will now favour stories that are “personally informative”; determined by your own actions.

What is “informative”? Generally, anything that is related to your interests, contains news about the world around you, and engages people in broader discussions. Facebook says:

“That could be anything from recipes, to local issues, to global current events. The stories rate as informative and help create a new prediction about how informative we think you’ll find each story.”

Facebook then looks at how that story might be “personally” relevant to you:

  • What is your relationship with the person who clicked on it?
  • What do you click on, comment on, and share?

This adjustment could bring back some of the reach and engagement that news and media companies lost during other news feed changes.

Control the ads you see

Facebook has officially announced improved control over the ads you see. You can now view what interests advertisers can use to target you with ads via your ad preferences. You can remove or add interests to improve the relevance of ads you see.

This does not mean that users can completely opt out of ads, it just means they have more control of what ads they see.

Blocking ad blockers

In the same announcement as controlling the ads you see, Facebook also announced that ad blocker software would no longer work when users accessed the social network from desktops:

“As we offer more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.”

If you aren’t aware, software like Adblock Plus has been created for people to add a plugin to hide ads from their newsfeed. This certainly affected Facebook’s revenues, but it also impacts the advertisers who leverage its audience to drive their business.

Within two days, Adblock Plus came up with a workaround – although Facebook immediately addressed it. This is like a cat-and-mouse game between the two companies, but one where Facebook is the cat.

How does this affect advertisers? Well if Facebook is successful, it means increasing distribution on desktop placements. With increased distribution, costs may lower.

New video metrics

Facebook has brought out several new metrics to help publishers measure the impact of their videos.

Audience demographics

Publishers can now see metrics for minutes viewed by gender and age, as well as geographic locations. In each case, they can compare demographic engagement of a video to that of the typical video posted by that page.

View engagement with live video

Publishers get a graphical view of engagement as it happens during a video. See at which points there are the most reactions, comments or shares.

Video viewing from shares

Publishers now have access to reports of views and minutes views from their original video from those connected to the page, versus those who viewed it from a share.

Redesigned pages

After testing changes to the page layout all year, Facebook has made an official update. Here are the main changes to expect:

Updated layout

Your profile picture no longer overlaps with your cover photo. So if you’ve done something creative that links the two, this is a heads up – your profile picture is now positioned on its own at the top left of the page.

The cover photo dimensions are the same (828px x 315px) with the profile picture being square (160px x 160px). The page name and username are now underneath the profile photo instead of being an overlay on top of the cover photo.

More prominent buttons

If you’re using the call-to-action button, it is now bigger, brighter and more prominent.

Improved navigation

Tabs now appear as a list of links down the left hand side.

Overall, this design is much cleaner. Other items that were on the left side previously are now on the right. Facebook has also removed ads from the right side of pages.

Custom audiences based on time on websites

An exciting update: publishers can now create audiences of people who are most active on their websites.

This was previously only available through the ads API, but some advertisers now have access via the Facebook Ads Manager interface.

Updates to lead ads

These are the following updates to lead ads:

Download links in Power Editor and Ads Manager: One complaint from advertisers is not knowing how to find the lead once lead ads are running. They are otherwise buried within the Facebook page publisher tools.

Download only new leads: Instead of having to download the entire file again, advertisers will now have the ability to download only the new leads captured during a specific date range.

Lead ad custom audiences generated automatically: Facebook recently introduced lead ad custom audiences. These are brilliant, allowing advertisers to create audiences who have opened, submitted or opened but didn’t submit a form. But now these people will be generated automatically.

Scrollable forms: A user engaging with a lead ad form used to need to click multiple times before submitting. But now with the scrollable form, Facebook say this will result in an improved user experience and a higher conversion rate.

Not all of these updates are available to everybody yet. But they will be soon!


Download our free social media whitepaper

“Using hashtags effectively on social media”

Click here for more info and to download.