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Lazy language – the cardinal sin of copywriting

MarketingEmma CottleComment

It has never been easier to communicate with your customers online, but with the proliferation of social media and blogs has come a number of bad copywriting habits. Do you fall into any of these common copywriting traps? 

Why use direct mail in the 21st century?

Strategy, MarketingEmma Cottle

 

There has been a seismic shift towards digital in marketing communications over the last few years, and we often find ourselves telling dubious clients that direct mail is still a very good option to promote their business. 

This recent study by Proactive Marketing found that 70% of consumers feel like they receive too many emails – which, when we think about it, is something we can probably all empathise with. InfoTrends found that 66% of direct mail is opened – and 86% of direct mail is read for a minute or more, compared to an average 11.1 seconds for email.

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider Direct Mail:

1. It stands out and cuts through the clutter

In contrast to the daily deluge of emails into people’s inboxes, a carefully-targeted piece of direct mail can capture their attention. Once you have piqued the recipient’s interest with a visually pleasing and clearly branded letter, you are more likely to get your message across.

2. It’s more reliable and more likely to get a positive result

Direct mail response rates outperform digital channels by a long shot, as found in a recent study. Direct mail achieves a 3.7% response rate, whereas digital channels see a combined response rate of just 0.62%. It is a more expensive medium, but you can’t argue with those statistics.

3. It’s more personal

Email users are in a rush – they are checking their inboxes on their commute, whilst at lunch or before dinner. They don’t have time for emotions, and are only using a little of their headspace to absorb the content. Direct mail can provide readers with both space and time to absorb material in their own time. 84% of consumers reported that personalisation made them more likely to open a direct mail piece. 

4. You can integrate it

Using direct mail doesn’t mean that you have to use this medium in isolation – far from it. Research suggests that using more than one method increases effectiveness by 24% on average over using individual methods on their own.

Have we convinced you? If you’d like help creating compelling direct mail for your campaign, let us help you communicate your message. Call us today on 01392 423060.

Building Relationships with Your Customers Through Storytelling

MarketingSarah Thom

 

Storytelling has always been an integral part of our lives; from listening to the stories your parents read to you as a child, to when you’re telling stories to your friends. It’s a powerful psychological tool, used to evoke feelings and emotions within people and build relationships – something that has not escaped the attention of companies and brands in marketing themselves.

Consumers no longer want to just buy the “best” products, but want to buy from businesses that share their beliefs and values. It’s because of this, that storytelling has become an important tool in the tactical marketing toolbox.

Marketing through storytelling is the indirect sell, it positions your business to the consumer, rather than explicitly sells the product itself. And it can be used by businesses big or small.

So how do you do it?

The cornerstone of any successful storytelling campaign is understanding your businesses own characteristics and values, and how these resolve the pain points of customers who buy from you.

By pinpointing the answers to these questions, you’re not only on your way to being a storytelling success but also understanding the strengths of your brand.

Below we give you some handy pointers on how you can build up engaging storytelling in your campaigns:

 

 

● Don’t just share statistics – people remember stories much more than they remember facts and figures.

● Use real stories, or at least ones based on real stories – you will receive a negative response if consumers perceive you to be false.

● Use your employees, they are a great resource – ask them what they like about your company and why they chose to work there. Then use these stories in your campaign.

● Use descriptive language – the aim of storytelling is to evoke feelings and emotions, so make sure that you use language which will do these things. Imagine a time when you picked up a book to read, or found a blog post, but when you started to read it you found that you felt nothing – did you carry on reading it? Or did you discard it and forget it altogether?

● Write about WHY you do what you do, not WHAT you do. Your unique story and ethos behind your company is what will draw people in and keep them interested much longer than your latest product.

 

 

Storytelling is a great way to build stronger relationships with your customers. So, why not get started on your story today?

Third-party email lists – beware of the pitfalls

DigitalEleanor Yeo

 

Being able to communicate directly with your customers is vital to any business. One of the ways that's become more and more popular with businesses, when keeping in touch with their customers, is email communication.

Whether it is through a monthly newsletter, or just a quick email to remind them that you are there, email marketing campaigns can be very successful in getting people to return to your company again and again.

But building up your email contact list takes time and tactics. Getting people to give you their information is getting increasingly harder, as people are more reluctant to give out information which they fear may result in a deluge of emails or letters.

For this reason, some businesses resort to buying lists from websites and other companies. The theory is that because these people have already signed and given consent for their information to be used by one company and third parties, it doesn’t matter if they haven’t given it to you directly. But things are not always what they seem... such recipients are highly likely to perceive your email as ‘spam’ and label it as such.

We recently came across an example of where a business had purchased a list of thousands of new email addresses to send their newsletter to – meaning they had more than doubled their contact database overnight. The company that they bought the list from, assured them that the respondents had genuinely signed up to receive emails from companies such as theirs, so they thought that they had nothing to lose. Sounds simple enough.

However, what they hadn’t realised is that buying email lists can have a negative effect on your business particularly if recipients have never heard of you. On this basis, such recipients are highly likely to perceive your email as ‘spam’ and label it as such.

Email marketing platforms, such as Mailchimp, are very strict when it comes to the people who use their service. If you send out a ‘spam’ email, then they can impose harsher restrictions on adding new and genuine subscribers, shut down your account or even fine you. Even if you may not have intentionally sent out a ‘spam’ email, if too many of the recipients label it as such, then providers will act against you.

Buying third-party lists can also create a negative perception of your business among the people purchased. If people see your brand associated with ‘spam’ emails, which they did not sign up to receive, then negativity will grow and potentially spread.

So, what do we recommend to increase your email contact database?

Grow your list yourself and do it organically. Increasing awareness of its existence and possibly spending money on incentivising people to sign up is far better than spending money to buy the contact details of people who are not warm to your organisation.

The Best Times To Post On Social Media

Digital, MarketingEmma Cottle

You’ve created some exciting, relevant and audience-focussed content for your social media channels. Now, the big question – when should you schedule the posts for maximum impact?

We’ve read some of the latest studies into consumer behaviour to provide you with a recommended outline below – however, the best times to post on social media will vary depending on your target audience, platform and content. Our advice to clients is always test, test and test again. Also, if you’re as addicted to social media as we are, be conscious of the times that you are using each channel and this can also give you a guide on the best times to schedule posts – particularly if you fit within your target demographic.

LinkedIn
This B2B social network channel is targeted at professionals, so the best time to catch people on this channel is during the work week, when this target audience is most likely to be browsing LinkedIn. Studies have found that the morning commute, lunchtimes and the journey home from work are good times for posts, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Evenings and weekends are largely a no-go. So, ensure that your social media activity on LinkedIn reflects this.

Twitter
Twitter is hugely popular amongst mobile users, with people using it as a welcome distraction on breaks and on their commute. The optimum time for social media activity on Twitter is during the working week from 12 – 3pm and again from 5 when the working day is over. However, as Twitter is so popular and accessible, this is changeable and will depend on your target audience – so testing and variation of times is required for this platform, to find what works best for your organisation, audience and end goals.

Facebook
Facebook is a great channel for reaching the consumer audience, and it is also becoming increasingly popular as a B2B platform, recently surprisingly outranking LinkedIn and Twitter among B2B decision-makers. Advice varies, but generally the highest rates for engagement are on weekdays from 1 – 4pm, the best days being Wednesday and Thursday. Weekends are also a great time to post content, but an ideal time is harder to pinpoint. Another case for more testing here. Facebook is perhaps the most personable platform, allowing for emotional reactions and offering higher character allowances – so keep the content fun and engaging.

Tip: Use Facebook analytics to track your data and see when your audience is online.

Instagram
Fortune 500 companies overwhelmingly post photos on Instagram during business hours, with posts spiking between 3pm – 4pm. It is recommended that posts are scheduled during the working week, from 12pm to catch users checking their phones on their lunchbreaks, and then later in the day as they wind down and commute home.

Pinterest
Pinterest users are most active in the evening during weekends, and activity spikes on Saturdays from 8 – 11pm. The worst time for Pinterest is during working hours. Also, be aware that a staggering 80% of Pinterest users are female, and 90% of all posts are created/shared by women.

Happy posting!

What is Corporate Social Responsibility and how can it benefit your business?

StrategyEmma Cottle

More than ever, organisations are becoming aware of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and growing more confident in vocalising their own commitments that they have made to society – whether that is in the form of charity donations, changes they are making to help the environment or offering services free of charge. This has come after a shift in marketing which has evolved from product-based to consumer-based to value-based marketing.

First of all, what exactly is Corporate Social Responsibility?

It aims to ensure that companies conduct their business in a way that is ethical. This means taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact, and consideration of human rights. There has been increased pressure from employees, customers and government bodies for businesses to be more transparent about their activities and maintain acceptable standards in their business practice.

Communicating your CSR commitments improves brand trust and loyalty both internally and externally, as discovered by this study by Nielsen in 2014 – who found that 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries would be willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

There have been a couple of excellent examples of this recently. Dell have outlined their Legacy of Good Plan, which details 21 ambitious CSR goals that they intend to achieve by 2020. These include designing out waste and creating a more sustainable supply chain. By highlighting their strategy, Dell are evidencing their long term commitment to society and the environment at large – giving them an advantage over their competitors in a market that is increasingly aware of ethical credentials.

Another example of a great CSR strategy comes from L’Oreal Paris, who have partnered with Prince’s Trust to improve confidence among young people. L’Oreal Paris have evolved from their ‘Because I’m Worth It’ strapline, to ‘All Worth It’, echoing their commitment to boosting young people’s self worth. L’Oréal Paris will run confidence courses quarterly at each of the 18 Prince’s Trust centres, addressing issues such as body language, communication and employability.

These are examples from large organisations, but any commitment – however small – is valuable. Emailing receipts to cut down on paper use and raising funds for a nominated charity are a couple of easy examples of making a commitment to CSR. At McQueenie Mulholland, we have made a commitment to offer marketing support to charities and local organisations and participate in fundraising events.

If you’re struggling for inspiration on what you could do to make a difference to society, we can help. Give us a call today on 01392 423 060.

What content should you post on each social media channel?

Strategy, DigitalEmma Cottle

Social media acts as the voice for your brand, and is increasingly becoming the first port of call for potential customers doing their research into the product or service that you offer. After all, social media is free, instant and accessible to an engaged audience of potential customers.

You may have read our recent article on the best times to post on different social media channels. But what is the best way to communicate with these audiences? The answer is that it depends on which channel you are using. Although it may be tempting to duplicate content across all of your accounts, and upload identical posts in bulk – spending time curating your content for each platform will pay dividends – we promise.

However, there is one overriding rule – make it engaging. Think about the most engaging people you know. They are most likely 1) interesting, 2) attractive 3) the most engaged themselves. This also applies for your content.

Here are some tips for successful content on each platform:

 

Facebook

  • Your posts will perform better with photos – Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images

  • Organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos (13.9%) and photos (13.7%)

  • B2C marketers place greater importance on visual content than B2B marketers – making Facebook the perfect platform for more visual content

  • Using emoticons will get your post more likes

  • Question posts have twice the engagement of non-question posts

Twitter

  • Tweets including images and hashtags can double engagement

  • Tweets with image links get 2x the engagement rate of those without

  • As with Facebook, photos are more engaging for Twitter users

  • Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17% more engagement – but tweets with links perform the best with 120-130 characters

Instagram

  • Invest the time to create interesting images to increase engagement

  • Use hashtags and don’t be afraid to use a lot! Spend some time curating a list of relevant hashtags

  • Use images that support your brand’s voice and ethos

Pinterest

  • Try adding text to images to give each product some context

  • Write keyword-rich descriptions and boards

  • Always add a link to your pin descriptions

  • Don’t just show your product – show what you can do with your product

  • Share tips and inside knowledge

  • Tell your company’s story in pictures

LinkedIn

  • Each post should focus on a specific topic that highlights your unique expertise

  • Write interesting, attention grabbing headlines, which include industry keywords

  • Add pictures, videos and presentations to your post. As with other channels, visual posts will receive more engagement
 

5 Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

StrategySarah Thom

Social media has created a whole new marketing opportunity for businesses. It’s a place where businesses can build brand awareness and a potentially larger customer base without spending thousands on traditional marketing activities. But there are a few misconceptions about social media marketing that need to be debunked:

 

 

1. You need to use every single social media platform

There are lots of social media platforms out there and there can be an urge to create business profiles on every single one. This can be a mistake; instead of having a presence on every platform, focus your social media marketing on the channels that your customers or potential customers are more likely to use.

2. Social media marketing gives instantaneous Return On Investment (ROI)

The misconception about social media being an instant marketing success is one that can only lead to disappointment. Actually, a lot of time and effort needs to go into your social media marketing before you reap the benefits, to reach new customers and raise your brand awareness you will need to produce quality content consistently and post regularly.

3. Social media is free

You may not need to pay to set up a social media profile, but you will need to put in a significant amount of time and effort to maintain and grow them. If you want to significantly increase the reach of your campaign you could consider paid advertising on your platforms alongside your normal social media posts – paid advertising is significantly faster at reaching new audiences and customers than organic leads alone.

4. Social media is time-consuming

You may need to put in significant time and effort into your social media strategies but this doesn’t mean that it needs to be time consuming. There are lots of scheduling tools out there to help you manage your social media effectively. Tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite are invaluable for cutting down on the time required to maintain a great social media strategy.

5. More followers = success

Many businesses think that getting more followers is the surest way to social media success; but infinitely more important is increasing the amount of engagement you get. Social media is about building relationships with your customers and raising brand awareness.  But as before, engagement doesn’t happen straight away, you will have to work hard to build up the relationship with your followers and engage them in conversation.

 

 

The most important thing to remember about social media marketing is that nothing happens overnight; a lot of time and effort has gone into accounts which have seemingly become overnight successes. If you’re thinking about how to take the next step with your social media strategy then call us today.

What you need to know about using social media for your business

Digital, MarketingEleanor Yeo

We recently came across a situation where one of our brilliant clients wanted to start up a social media strategy for the first time. They’d dipped their toe in the water of Facebook on a personal level, and had heard from another marketing agency that they absolutely had to have profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for their business too.

Which begs the question we asked them, why?

Why do you need profiles on all three social media platforms? We weren’t saying that they didn’t, but we were asking them to think about what they felt they would get out of them. When they told us that they didn’t really know, it got us thinking about what advice we can give people when they’re unused to social media.

We are the first people to recommend that clients use a variety of channels and platforms to get their message across, both to customers, to suppliers, to the media and to the wider public. But we also recommend that this is done in a targeted, planned manner, and that a schedule is written as part of a wider marketing strategy. But what should be included in this?

A few things to think about here:

 
  • Do you know the differences (in terms of consumption and demography) between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat?
  • Do you know your local press and how best to interact with their readers?

  • Are you aware of who your current followers are on each channel? Depending on your product/service, it might be that it’s your suppliers who interact with you on Twitter, whilst it’s your customers who follow you on Instagram. Make sure that you’ve looked at the analytics of each channel – do your research!

  • If you have a newsletter, who is it that reads it?

  • Do your social media posts reflect the messages of your business / brand as a whole? Do they reflect the messages that you put out on your website? In your blog? In your newsletter? Consistency is key.

  • By all means, use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule some of your social media posts. But don’t rely on this for all your social activity, we recently wrote a blog about how to keep your social media, social. You also need to be able to respond to comments, questions and opportunities as they crop up, and if you aren’t sure whether you are going to be able to manage this, it’s worth getting in some additional support to help you.

 

 

We love helping organisations interact with their customers, their suppliers, the media and their local community. We would always ensure that this is done with the support of a plan, so that messages are consistent, timely and aimed at the relevant audience.

If you need help with this or with any other marketing activity, please contact us today.

7 Top Tips to Make Your Social Media, Social Again

Strategy, DigitalSarah Thom

Social Media has become one of the main ways that businesses reach out to their customers online. But with so many different channels, it can seem like a daunting task to keep your eye on them all at the same time. To overcome this, many businesses use scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite to manage their various accounts. But whilst these tools can be very helpful when it comes to scheduling posts and managing your social channels, it is important not to rely on them completely. 

Audiences have come to expect more from businesses on social media than a few posts per day; they want to be able to reach the business and talk to them in real time. This is where some businesses fall short of expectations; they schedule all their posts beforehand and then put social media to the back of their minds, not responding to comments or questions as they happen.

This has led to a push for businesses to ‘humanise’ their social media. When customers (existing or potential) engage with you they don’t want to feel like they are being ignored, or talking to a robot, so it is important to show people that there are real people behind the account.

Here are our top tips for making your social media, social!

 

1.     Use everyday language – people don’t want to see posts filled with business jargon. Use the language that you would if you were talking to them in person.

2.     Post pictures – and not just professional ones! Share the everyday pictures with your followers. This will show your fun side and that you are real people, and not just a business.

3.     Make sure your social and your business presence is aligned – if your business is known for being quirky and fun, then make sure that this persona comes across online as well. There should be a seamless transition from the physical location of your business to your virtual accounts.

4.     Acknowledge mistakes – everybody makes mistakes, it’s life! So, if you make a faux pas then don’t just remove it and pretend it never happened, own up to it and acknowledge the mistake. Your followers will respond much more positively and forget the mistake a lot sooner.

5.     Engage with your followers – ask questions and respond to comments with personalised answers. Your customers will love you for it.

6.     Customise content on your different channels – some things that work well on one channel won’t work as well on another, and that’s ok! Don’t schedule all your posts to go out on all your social channels at the same time, it will quickly become boring for your followers if all your channels look the same. Spend time finding out what works best on each channel and personalise posts for each one so that they all have their own distinct style.

7.     Mention people – If you’ve just had a business meeting with a client then mention them in a post, or if you have got a new supplier then broadcast that out on your social media with them tagged in it. Building relationships with people is what social media is all about, so take advantage.

 

Make Evergreen Content the Backbone of Your SEO strategy

Strategy, DigitalSarah Thom

Evergreen content is an important component of any content marketing strategy, but what exactly is it?

Put simply, it is content which hasn’t got an expiration date.

Writing content for your blog helps your website rank well in search engines. But, whilst some content will only be relevant for a certain period, evergreen content stays relevant and therefore should be targeted at your top keywords. This is because, content which is evergreen has the potential to rank your website higher in search engines than content that has a ‘shelf-life' e.g content that includes information that is time-sensitive. 

Some great examples of evergreen content include:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages

  • How-To articles

  • Industry Tips

  • Product reviews and testimonials

Some examples of content which has a ‘shelf-life’ are:

  • Content with statistics or data that is subject to change

  • Current trends

  • Pop culture references

  • News reports

  • Product releases / service updates

We often advise clients to mix up their content marketing strategy so that there is a selection of blog posts which are evergreen and ones that are time-sensitive. This will help with the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your site, which obviously could result in more visitors to your website.  
With more people researching companies and products before they purchase, your content marketing strategy is more important than ever. And evergreen content can be the difference between your website being ranked highly in search engines or not.

Are Influencers a Worthwhile Marketing Strategy for Small, Local Businesses?

StrategySarah Thom

There’s a new face in the marketing world, the Influencer.

Influencers are quickly becoming the ‘go-to’ for companies to reach those consumers who are turned off by traditional marketing and advertising strategies.

But, what impact can Influencers have on small, local businesses?

If you are a local business, and trying (yet failing) to reach a certain demographic or audience, then local Influencers are a great marketing resource to turn to. In doing so, they can promote your brand to their own unique audience and raise awareness of you to the very people who trust their opinions.

The rise of the Influencer is linked to the increased use of social media; the two have risen concurrently as millennials have turned to social media to follow their favourite celebrities, and look to them for the latest trends, attitudes and products. In turn, new personalities have risen to the fore around subjects, cultures, campaigns and geographies to become Influencers in their own right (due to the size of the digital following they enjoy).

It is this position of trust which makes Influencers so powerful. They influence their followers’ decisions through subtle, and more natural endorsement of a company or product, which can be much more positively received than more obvious traditional marketing methods.

So, you’ve decided that you would like to work with an Influencer, but where do you start?

It all comes down to selecting the right influencers. In doing so, as a local business, you will need to know:

-       Who are the people you want to reach?

-       Who do they follow on social media?

The answers to these two questions are the foundation of making the right choice about the Influencer to use. If you don’t pinpoint these details before you begin then you’ll spend time and money on a campaign which has limited impact and, therefore, may not give you a reasonable return on investment. But done correctly, Influencer marketing can have a huge impact on your business.

If you’re thinking about using Influencer marketing for your business then contact McQueenie Mulholland today.

The 6 Principles of Persuasive Marketing

MarketingSarah Thom

At the core of any marketing campaign is the desire to persuade consumers to buy your product or service. However, to be able to persuade somebody to do something, you must be in a position of influence.

Getting yourself into an influential position to the consumer is no easy feat. But, these 6 persuasive techniques have been found to positively influence consumers decisions and are used in many marketing strategies.

 

 

1.     Reciprocation: When we receive something, we feel obligated to buy more from the person who gave it to us. This technique is everywhere, from free tasters of products, to freebies given to us if we purchase a product.

2.     Authority: Being an authority in your business sector is important when it comes to influence. Consumers buy from people they trust, and who do people trust more than authority figures? Think about the things that make you an authority in your field, and shout about them to your customers.

3.     Commitment: If you get someone to agree to do something, they feel more committed to other things you ask them to do. Many business websites use this principle; when people sign up to their newsletter they will ask them something else immediately afterwards. It is used in shops too; many shops will now ask customers to sign up to their loyalty scheme, or purchase an additional product when they are at the checkout.

4.     Social proofing: This takes the form of testimonies from previous customers. If you use these on your website, research suggests visitors are more likely to make a purchase. This is because your business has been socially verified by other people. Research also shows that more people are now looking at product and business reviews before committing to them. So now is a great time to get your customer testimonials on your website.

5.     Likeability: This is perhaps the most basic rule of the world of business, good customer service is essential. One key aspect of good customer service is a quick response to consumer messages. Another aspect is your persona. If you respond to comments in a positive and polite manner then consumers will have a positive impression of your business. There are loads of examples online of where customer service has gone wrong, which has had devastating consequences for the business in question.

6.     Scarcity: It’s human nature that if we believe there’s only a limited supply of a product, then we’ll want it even more. To see this in action, you need look no further than an Apple store when they release a new phone. Whether there is actually a short supply or not of a product is always questionable, what matters is perceived shortage. People don’t want to miss out on anything, which is why this principle works so well.

 

Newsjacking: What is it and why do businesses do it?

MarketingSarah Thom

The idea of newsjacking is simple; take a current event or news story and relate it to your business. But why do businesses do it, and what are the consequences if it goes wrong? 

The term ‘newsjacking’ was popularised in 2011 by David Meerman Scott, in his book ‘Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into A Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage’. And to see it in action, Twitter and other social media is the place to go.  

Social media has had a huge impact on marketing:  it has never been so easy to keep up to date with current events and breaking news stories from around the world. Newsjacking relies on this and uses stories and events to promote and build awareness of brands.  

There are two main ways that businesses can newsjack breaking stories; through social media and blog posts.  

Social media is the more instantaneous way to get involved with the story; though don’t be too hasty – always get your posts checked by others to ensure that they have the correct message that you want to send. Images relating to news stories or current events, with witty captions and hashtags have been used successfully to gain interest on social media.  

Blog posts are another great way to get exposure from breaking news; if there is a huge development in your field or something related to what your business does, then writing a post about it and putting it on your website can really pay off. Being one of the first people to write about a topic will help raise the awareness of your brand and you will be seen to be at the top of your game and an authority.   

Newsjacking may be a great way to capitalise on breaking news stories; but you should approach with caution. Not all news stories are suitable for newsjacking, and if you’re not careful, you could end up causing irreparable damage to your brand. To ensure that you don’t fall into this trap there are things that you should consider before you proceed.  

Is the story positive?

Would it cause offence to anyone?

Is it relevant to your brand?

Does your brand audience care about this topic?

Being critical about the news story you want to comment on is vital, to ensure that you don’t damage your brand or alienate your audience. Does the story have a connection to your business? If it doesn’t then it is best to leave it alone, else the result seems forced and won’t inspire consumers to your brand.  

Likewise, if your target audience does not care about the story then newsjacking it will fall short of your expectations, and you will look like you are just piggybacking on any big news story, whether it is relevant to your business, or not. 

Newsjacking attempts which go wrong can have serious repercussions for businesses. It can damage your reputation, create negative brand awareness and it may be hard for your brand to bounce back and regain the trust which it had before. If you try to newsjack an item which has negatively affected people, then you could be viewed as insensitive and trying to capitalise on the suffering of others (both of which are not good for business!).  

Have a look at the examples of bad newsjacking in this article to see how it shouldn’t be done. 

However, if it is done right then it can have enormous benefits. Brands have seen their tweets reposted thousands of times through brilliantly executed newsjacking, which leads to increased brand awareness and potentially, more sales. This article by The Content Marketing Institute has some great examples of successful newsjacking

Aside from brand awareness and sales, you could also gain SEO benefits. If you write about a news topic which is relevant to your brand, before the story peaks, then your blog post could be referenced by people writing about the topic later. This has great benefits for your SEO.  

The impact of social media on marketing shows no sign of fading; therefore, as a business it is important that you are using it to its full potential. Newsjacking relevant news stories and events could reap enormous benefits for your business, but always be mindful and make sure the message you put out there is the right one!  


If you would like advice on using social media for your business, then contact us today and we will arrange an informal chat with you.

How Social Media Changed Marketing

Digital, MarketingSarah Thom

The world of marketing has undergone a sea change in recent years. Gone are the days of traditional marketing efforts; as people spend more and more of their time online, the age of digital marketing is in full swing.

Social media has played a large part in the transition from traditional to digital marketing; it offers businesses and consumers alike new ways to communicate. Companies can tailor their marketing efforts to certain demographics with more accuracy and efficiency and build personal relationships with their customers through such platforms as Twitter and Facebook.

But with great power comes even greater responsibility; social media, as well as being a powerful tool for communicating with customers and building lasting relationships, can also be used as a platform for consumers to air their grievances against a company publicly, which can create a disastrous PR problem if not handled correctly.

Countless stories abound of companies who have handled grievances on social media with grace and even humour in some cases.

Take, for example, the guy who recently used Twitter to inform Sky Scanner about a mishap on their website, which suggested a 47 year layover in Bangkok. Sky Scanner’s response to the mishap has been praised as they took it all in their stride and approached it with some humour as well as getting the problem solved and sending the guy some free goodies for his trouble.  

Social media is a 24/7 platform; therefore, it is essential that all issues which arise through it are dealt with in a timely manner, the longer that comments are left unacknowledged then the worse the situation can get for the company in question.

The easiest way to ensure that comments to not fall through the net, is to set up an alert for whenever your company or brand is mentioned online, this ensures that you can deal with any impending issues directly and avoid negative PR. Mention and SumAll are great tools which allow you to do this.

The importance of social media within the marketing world is only set to increase, so make sure that you are taking advantage of all it has to offer by setting up a social media strategy for your company or brand.

If you would like to talk to us about how to implement a social media plan or your digital marketing strategy, then contact us today and we will be happy to help you with any queries that you may have.

How could data analysis help your business?

Marketing, StrategySarah Thom

In a world which is as fast-paced as ours, it is easy for businesses (especially small businesses) to forget or even not understand their target customer base. This is where data analysis comes in. By analysing your customer data, you could gain valuable behavioural insights into your target demographic, ensuring that you gain maximum returns on your marketing strategies in the future.  

Whatever your sector, it is really important to know who your target audience/customer is; you could be targeting the wrong demographic for your product or service and missing out on a lot of potential sales which could be possible if you analysed who it was that was actually buying your product.  

We have had years of experience, analysing data sets from different companies and identifying insights which have helped them to increase their sales through the information retrieved from customers. Knowing who your customer base is essential in marketing your product or service; if you don’t know who this is then how do you know who to target your marketing strategy at?  

We are here to help you understand your customer base through detailed analysis of your data, and we will also give you important insights into how to maximise your marketing strategies so that you will see the biggest return on your investment.   

Content Marketing Matters

Marketing, DigitalSarah Thom

Content marketing has grown to be one of the most formidable forces within marketing today.

Consumers have grown accustomed and blind to the more traditional marketing methods of print and TV commercials. Therefore we, as marketing agencies, have had to find new innovative ways to cut through and attract the attention of customers. This is where content marketing comes in.

The Content Marketing Institute, which is an online resource with leagues of information about content marketing, states that:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action’  

The idea of content marketing is to give customers interesting information about your particular sector, and thereby gaining their belief and trust as a company which knows what they are doing. It employs indirect sales-pitching techniques, discussing things other than the products or services which the company provides, but has a proven record of generating sales as consumers return to the companies that have successfully won their trust.

There are a number of different types of content marketing, some examples are; infographics, podcasts, videos (sometimes ‘vlogs’) and blogs. Whatever the format, the key to this type of marketing is to inform the consumer, not try to sell them your products.

For example, if your organisation is a charity, then infographics can be used to concisely show viewers how you impact the need you address and where the money that you raise goes. With attention spans now lasting an average of 8 seconds, the quicker that information can be portrayed to the reader the better, and infographics are a great tool for this.

Podcasts and videos have also seen a huge increase recently, just look at YouTube. More people than ever are consuming audio/visual content and it is a great resource which can be utilised for content marketing. The amount of people who listen to podcasts has reportedly risen to 75 million from 25 million in just 5 years. One of the best things about using podcasts is if you use an application such as iTunes to upload your podcasts, then whenever you upload a new one to your website they are automatically downloaded to iTunes and then can be accessed by millions of people without them visiting your website. Podcasts have also been shown to influence listeners behaviour; a survey conducted showed that 63% of people had bought a product promoted through a podcast.

Blogs are also a useful way of incorporating content marketing into a business. Writing blogs about your sector or issues which are important to your sector on your website and promoting them can be a very effective way of increasing your standing to consumers. Being viewed as an authority on a topic or sector has positive implications for your business and how you a viewed and spoken about by the public.

With consumers becoming more savvy about spending their money and less influenced by traditional marketing channels it is more important than ever to utilise different techniques to attract new customers and convince them that your product is worth buying. Content marketing is the perfect way to do this.

People are more informed than ever before, and this thirst for knowledge about different subjects is likely to increase rather than decrease over the next few years. Businesses who employ content marketing are therefore more likely to see the benefits and have a competitive advantage over those who do not use these marketing techniques. 

Search Engine Optimisation: Simplified

DigitalSarah Thom

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the process by which a website is made more visible on search engines, like Google. The process is really important if you want your website to gain prominence online and increase the amount of customers which visit your site.

There are several layers to SEO, firstly it is important to index your site properly. This is done to essentially tell search engines that your website exists and that it needs listing in rankings (otherwise people searching online would not be able to find you). By indexing your site, you’re at least giving it a fighting chance of being found when people search for a product or service which your business provides.

Secondly, it is important to research what it is that customers search for online when they are looking for a business like yours. For example, if your business is a florist in Exeter (where we’re based), then people would probably be searching for ‘local florist’, ‘florist in Exeter’ or ‘flowers’. Research into this reveals how much given terms are searched for and where opportunities lie. It is important to know this information as you can utilise these keywords on your website to ensure that when people do search for these terms, your site ranks highly on search engines as a suggestion. It is not helpful if you use the wrong keywords on your site as this can result in people coming across your site who are not actually interested in your business.

Finally, we have content generation. This can take a number of forms, from blogs and visuals to webinars and articles. The kind of content which you use on your website is dependent on your business, for example webinars would not be suitable for every type of business. Content generation is important as it invites people to visit your website and engage with your business, which can ultimately lead to enquiries and sales. It also shows your customers that you are an authority in your field that they can trust. And trust is valuable when encouraging people to link to your site, buy from your site or even review your products/services.

As more and more business is conducted online, it really is becoming even more important to ensure that you are giving your business every chance of being found in search engine rankings.