The Web Writer

Starting a new business? Avoid these 5 marketing mistakes

Starting a new business? Avoid these 5 marketing mistakes

Stressed lady at computer

Setting up a business can feel like you’re spinning plates. There’s a hundred things to do, a thousand things to think about, not least financial pressures! It’s all too easy for marketing become an afterthought – or to be rushed into without a clear strategy in place.

But good marketing is essential for a business to survive. Your customers won’t find you without it. At best, marketing mistakes will cost time and money down the line when restoring your brand’s image.

I’ve learned how to promote a small business effectively – sometimes the hard way! – and I’ll share the common pitfalls to avoid, so your business can get it right from the very start.

1. Promoting before researching the industry

You’ve a great product or expert service to sell. Of course you want to get in front of consumers. And you’re under pressure to see profits ASAP – especially if you’ve invested capital for your new business to take off.

Read moreStarting a new business? Avoid these 5 marketing mistakes

The complete small business guide to writing SEO content

The complete small business guide to writing SEO content

Rocket flying into space

 

If you run a small business, it’s vital your website shows up in search results or your customers won’t find you.

But the way Google ranks pages is complex and evolving. Tackling SEO can be overwhelming – especially if your time and budget is in short supply! Can your small business improve your google rank to compete with bigger companies?

Yes it can, and I’ll show you how.

This complete guide to writing SEO content has everything you need for your small business to meet Google’s key ranking factors in 2018.

First off, some SEO basics:

What is SEO, exactly?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the process of improving your Google rank so you’ll be seen by people searching for the product or service you provide for free.

With so many businesses fighting for the top spot, hitting the first page of the search results doesn’t happen overnight. But you can boost your SEO over time by writing content that meets Google’s key ranking factors – the ways Google measures your web page to assign it a rank. Here’s how:

1. Write each page to resolve a query

Before you write anything, step inside your customer’s shoes and identify what they search for.

Read moreThe complete small business guide to writing SEO content

Small business SEO essentials: keyword research made simple

Small business SEO essentials: keyword research made simple

PC with Google

 

You want your small business in front of people already looking for your product. Use the right keywords, and you show up in Google’s search results just when your potential customers need you.

But keyword research has some massive challenges, especially if you’re busy and on a budget!

For starters, Google keeps changing the way it uses keywords to rank pages. Then there’s fierce competition for keywords from other websites all vying for the top spot. And countless articles giving conflicting advice, offering their own tool as the answer (for a fee, of course).

It’s all too easy to find yourself picking ones at random in the hope they’ll work. Sound familiar?

But it is possible to find the right keywords without spending hours on analysis or a fortune on fancy tools.

Yes, really!

A relaxed researcher

In this step-by-step guide I’ll show you the easiest way to find the keywords you need – and how to use them.

First off, just to clarify:

What are keywords and why are they so important?

Keywords are the search terms your potential customers enter into google. They can be single words or phrases. Add these to your content and you’re telling both Google and your searchers that you’re a good match for the query. This means Google will rank you higher – and searchers are more likely to visit your website.

Here’s how to get your keywords:

Read moreSmall business SEO essentials: keyword research made simple

8 free marketing courses that will benefit any small business

8 free marketing courses that will benefit any small business

Professional clutching book in front of blackboard

With everyone glued to their smartphones these days, digital marketing is crucial to your small business’s success. And if you’ve a busy schedule, self-paced courses are a great way to learn the skills to promote your business through channels like online advertising, social media and blogging.

But drop a google search to find a course and you’re bombarded with countless options, all promising superior results.

Being a caring, sharing sort, I’ve picked out the best online courses you can take –completely free– which give the range of skills you need to engage with your customers and grow your business online. Happy learning!

1. Digital Garage from Google

This is a broad intro to digital marketing, broken up into a series of bite-size videos. The concepts are very clearly explained, and if you’re not too computer-savvy or a novice to marketing, this is a great starting point.

There’s an emphasis on advertising options, and woven into the helpful info is a gentle plug for Google’s services. So keep in mind any option that’s promised to work wonders could be more effective for one type of business than another.

Read more8 free marketing courses that will benefit any small business

5 ways your new business will pack a punch online – for free

5 ways your new business will pack a punch online – for free

POW!

 

Did you know over 90% of shoppers now research online before they buy? Going digital is hands-down the best way to reach a vast audience.

With so many ways to promote your business online, you’re spoilt for choice. But some are more effective than others. How to avoid spending money on tactics that don’t work?

Help is at hand! I’ve learned the best way to promote a small business (through trial, error and too much coffee) and I’m happy to share.

Follow these tips to get your campaign off to a flying start – without the sky-high costs.

1. Get a website that beats the competition

You don’t need to spend a fortune on flashy graphics to have an excellent website.

Think of your favourite website, and chances are it’s clean, simple and easy to use. You can create a website just like this using a free builder like WordPress or Wix. You don’t need any coding skills (phew!)  and most templates they offer are fast to load and responsive across different screen sizes – a must for today’s smartphone-addicted world.

Read more5 ways your new business will pack a punch online – for free

3 key features of a compelling web page

3 key features of a compelling web page

Groovy keyboard

Isn’t it tough to stand out on the web these days?

Prospective buyers are ruthless in their research, jumping from site to site on their quest for the ideal product, spoilt for choice but starved of time.

Maybe you’ve upped your game and made your website look great and load fast, stretch and shrink to fit the screen of PCs to smartwatches. But your visitors still rocket away from your site faster than you can say ‘’welcome’’, and you suspect your content is the culprit.

So what will make your content stand out from the rest?

Many techniques for online writing work better on some websites than others. Hiring a professional (nudge, nudge) is a sure-fire way to utilise these. But there’s 3 basic things that will improve any webpage and keep visitors in your orbit:

1. Make an impact from the start

Your title is THE most important part of your content. Get this wrong, and click. You won’t see your visitor for dust. The content you worked so hard on won’t get a first glance. A great title is short and snappy, and does two things:

Read more3 key features of a compelling web page

Google’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

Google’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

Google's Digital Garage Icon

I’ve recently completed Google’s Digital Garage course. It’s an introduction to all aspects of digital marketing, from optimising your website for organic search to tips on video production. There’s 23 topics, with videos, quizzes and end of topic assessments to keep you on track.

At first glance, it seems there’s nothing not to love about the course. It’s current, comprehensive and free. But it’s had some flak for promoting its products under the guise of helping digital newbies. So…

…Is it worth your time?

In an article posted last year Dr Steven Dumbleton argues the course exaggerates the importance of digital marketing, misleading small business owners into spending their budget solely on digital. Others have noticed a sales pitch in many of the topics, while more recently Carolyn Mcintyre points out that cheating to get a certificate for online courses ‘’…is actually quite easy to do.’’ A quick search will give you the answers, so does this limit the value of adding it to your CV?

I think the course is both life-saver and sales pitch, and here’s why:

Read moreGoogle’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

What the heck is a copywriter, and why do I need one?

What the heck is a copywriter, and why do I need one?

Geek with laptopWondering what a copywriter is, exactly? You’re not alone!

It’s not a term that’s in popular use, and you might assume a copywriter has something to do with copyright law (nope, confusingly the words sound the same). Or maybe you’re thinking the sleazy world of Mad Men (nope, too busy working for those shenanigans).  Here’s what a copywriter really does, and how one will help your small business grow:

In a nutshell, we write words or text that persuades people to do something.

That something might be to click on a link, to buy your product, to donate, to visit, to sign up for a newsletter…you get the idea!

There’s a copywriter for anything that needs persuasive words; letters, billboards, radio ads, jingles. The list is endless, but most copywriters will specialise in one area. Online content (like me), direct mail experts, technical or legal writing, and so on. So it’s a good idea to shop around for a copywriter who will write the stuff you want.

If I’m writing content for you, here’s what I do:

  1. Tons of research

And I mean tons. I’ll look at your industry, the people who buy from you, why they buy from you. Their demographic, and their hopes and dreams if I can. Then I analyse your competition to find out what makes you different – and better than your competition. I’ll look at the keywords and search phrases your customers use.

Read moreWhat the heck is a copywriter, and why do I need one?