Local SEO – do I need it? Is it important?

In short, yes, everyone needs to be doing local SEO (search engine optimisation). 

Since Google updated their local algorithm over 18 months ago, local search is still a big part of what happens on Google and other engines like, Bing & Yahoo.

Sure there is a cost to this for businesses in terms of achieving top returns from this area of digital marketing, however some of the elements within it are FREE.

The key element to local SEO is your Google My Business listing.  This is free to set up, so if you don’t have one – get one, literally go and do it now!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is simply the practice of optimizing a website in order to increase traffic, leads and brand awareness from local search. Local search is determined by where a user is searching from (their location) and where they are searching for ie – plumber in Sheffield

In order to appear in more searches locally it is important that certain key factors are worked on to improve your local SEO.  Things such as finding local keywords, optimising your Google My Business profile and building “NAP” listings or citations.

What is a “NAP” listing? It stands for Name (Business Name) Address & phone Number.  These three elements are essential for search engines (particularly Google) to recognize who you/your business is and so it can then decide that your information is valid and you are a trustworthy business to show in these local searches

3D Isometric Flat Vector Concept of Digital Marketing Agency, Writing Creative Content, SEM and SEO.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO is important for all businesses but particularly those that operate on a local basis or a specific geographical area.

As for the why, well there is a massive trend towards local search on the internet right now.

Here are a few fascinating statistics to highlight just how big SEO is for local businesses.

46% of all searches in Google have “local intent” (Search Engine Roundtable).

“Near me” searches have grown 150% faster than traditional, local-based searches (Google).

29% of all Google SERPs contain a local pack in the results (RankRanger).

74% of consumers that search for something or somewhere local on their phone they get in touch or visit a place that day (Google).

So it’s clear that local searches make up a huge chunk of the SEO world.

And if you can get your local business in some of these searches, there’s a good chance they’ll be contacting or visiting you and become customers!

How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO effectively works like “normal” Google search does.

When someone does a search, Google scans through its index to provide the best results for that person’s query.

What makes Local SEO unique is that Google uses a different set of ranking factors to rank the local search results.

This is important to understand as this can have a positive effect on your organic rankings on the (SERP’s) but also your listing in the Google map pack section

In fact, local SEO has a set of unique ranking signals, including:

  • The location that the person is searching from

This is only important when someone does a “near me” search

  • NAP citations

Really important factor.  Having correct information across the internet is vital to give Google and other search engines the trust to show your information.  If your information is not correct this will have a negative impact

  • Presence of Google My Business listing

Most important! Everyone needs a Google My Business listing.  They are free so go ahead and get this set up

  • Keywords used in Google My Business profile

Once you have your Google My Business profile set up, it is important that you then fill the profile with relevant keywords, which can then influence where your listing will be seen.

  • Sentiment of online reviews

Naturally if you have all bad reviews, you are going to struggle to convince anyone to choose your business, let alone a search engine!  Most businesses have positive reviews and an occasional bad one.  Don’t worry too much about the bad one, respond to it, reach out the person and show you are dealing with it even if you think it is not a valid review.  By responding, send a positive message to the search engine and also to potential customers checking out your reviews.

  • Keywords used in online reviews

The words used in reviews are also a factor.  So respond to the positive reviews too.  Your customers will write something nice but it might not have any SEO value.  By responding to reviews gives you the opportunity to put in words or phrases that you want to appear for

  • Number of “check-ins” at that location

If you have a shop, restaurant, café – this is important that you encourage people to check in.  The more popular a location, inevitably, the higher up it will appear in the listings.

Most elements of Local SEO you can manage yourself, it simply comes down to time and patience.  Most people have limited in both and that’s where businesses like mine come in.  We can help get you set up and managed to deliver a relatively quick uplift in your local SEO results and the costs are relatively inexpensive.  If you would like to know more about our products and services click here or to get in touch call us on 01603 339075 or email hello@bluespacemedia.co.uk

Did you know? Five key SEO facts and figures.

SEO for small business

SEO (Search engine optimisation) is important for any business who wants or needs traffic to their website. Whether you are a full e-commerce site or whether you are driving traffic. To influence them to purchase a product or service. It is essential that your website has a solid grounding in SEO or a plan around SEO to support your business.

The SEO industry is worth $80billion globally. So there are plenty of people investing and utilising SEO as a key element of their digital marketing strategy.

First Page of Google is key

  1. The number one fact to start with is that the on average, the number one organic position on google (desktop search) has a click through ratio of around 37%. That is huge!

When it comes to the  first page of Google, statistics show that you cannot underestimate it. In fact, as you move down the first page, the CTR drops, with the majority of people choosing one of the top three results compared to anything else that they will then come across in their search.

Google for small business
Google Ads

Search Engines are where it is at

2. Search engines are still pivotal in driving website traffic. They drive around 93% of all traffic to websites.

Sure social also drives some traffic but you cannot ignore the search engines. A very high percentage of people use search engines to then land on your website shows that you need to be high up on those results pages and be as relevant as possible.

SEO or Paid Ads?

3. Well actually both! Marketers have shown that by utilising SEO and paid ads that campaign results see a 25% more clicks and 27% more profitable, than those using them individually.

4. It is said that SEO is 5.66 times better than paid ads! Have you ever considered how effective SEO is? Now you have the answer.

Namely, organic SEO is effectively considered more trustworthy than paid ads by people carrying out the search. There is a thought that companies can buy their way into the position without it being the best option for a consumer, which leads to people paying more attention to the organic results than the paid ads.

Marketing plan, context, content, storytelling and social media paper notes concept on gray background.

Content is key

5. Updating and republishing your existing posts or content with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111.37%.

Blogging & content SEO is already proven to be an effective tactic. Additionally, this approach has the added bonus of taking advantage of the previous links and SEO work that’s been done on the old blog post or content while also using newer methods to push the content higher. Adding images should pull in even more attention thanks to the role that visual content plays in attracting people.

Bluespace Media can help you with your SEO, Local SEO and paid advertising or social media campaigns. Get in touch and give us a call on 01603 339075 or drop us an email hello@bluespacemedia.co.uk

Facts and figures from https://seotribunal.com/blog/stats-to-understand-seo/

Top 6 digital marketing tips to support you when you reopen your retail business, restaurant, pub bar, or coffee shop.

Marketing tips for retail business opening after lockdown

Here are six marketing tips and advice to ensure a smooth re-opening and getting your digital presence to help support your physical re-opening.

With the government announcing that non-essential retailers can open from the 15th June.  Also the hospitality and leisure industry open from the 4th July with some restrictions. The remainder gyms, sports centres, swimming pools, cinemas and bowling alleys will gradually open over the next couple of weeks.

Hopefully these six marketing tips will help support your physical re-opening and give you some additional insights of things to consider.

  1. Tell Everyone you are open!

Sounds simple right.  But with everyone using so many different social media channels and search engines. You need to ensure you are seen and your information is updated on these channels. Whatever channels you are on, get the message out there and think about starting other channels you have not used before.  If you have an email database make sure you send out an announcement via this channel too

Highlight the safety measures you have in place

Many people are rightly nervous about leaving the sanctuary of their homes, and are naturally concerned about their safety and wanting and needing to be confident before visiting shops, hotels, pubs, bars & restaurants.

Let people know what measures you have taken, post images of the signage used and the sanitser station you have.  Give people confidence their risk and exposure has been mitigated by you.

marketing tips restaurants opening after lockdown
Restaurant display,announcing reopening after the corona lockdown,cooking, culinary concept on blackboard. Good copy space

        3)  Tell people why they should visit

If you have a special offer, (anyone), if you can provide great advice (specialist retail stores), if you have local products and produce (restaurants, pubs, bars), If you have unique products or services.  Give people a reason to visit you.

Update your Google Listing

Your Google listing is really important. Make sure that you let search engines know the changes you are making to your business.  Update your opening hours and again add the images of your store front.  Maybe you can offer a pick up option? There are some people who might still be too nervous to visit retailers and restaurants. Because of this, it might help to encourage more of them to visit you.  If you don’t have a Google My Business listing – get one, you need one.  It is free!

       5) Use your social media channels

Social media channels should be used to not only push products and services, but also for actual customer service.  As already mentioned some people might want to or be able to visit your location but still want access to other products and services.  Whatever product or service you offer. Use your socials’ to provide a personal service, maybe create a short video at the start of each day about a particular product or service you offer.  This will help generate interest for people to visit your physical retail space but also provide a useful hook for those who can’t or won’t be able to visit and they can then engage with you online.

marketing tips for hotels & B&B's opening after lockdown

Make the most of your LOCAL credentials

If you are local retailer, restaurant, coffee shop, make the most of your local status.  This is the most important of the marketing tips! So people are going to travel shorter distances. So now is the best time to reaffirm who you are and what you do in your immediate local area, because this will help you stand out from your competition.  Given the economic impact that has already happened people are more in tune to support local.  Make sure your Local SEO is up to date, make sure that any online advertising you do is targeted to a smaller geographical radius to maximise this. Definitely promote this “local” point across your social media channels

Bluespace Media is a small sales and marketing consultancy/agency based in Norwich, Norfolk.  We work with small businesses to help them get a better, ”bang for their marketing buck”.  If you need some help, advice or would like to talk to us about how we can help please get in touch via our contact us page. As the owner of Bluespace Media I am passionate about supporting small business and I have written a short E-book that shares some key tips and advice for any small business to get the best out of their marketing without breaking the bank. It’s only £3.99!!!  Get your copy today from Amazon.

SEO – What is it? Why do I need it? Who needs it most?

SEO Services
SEO for small business

What is SEO?

SEO & Local SEO are vital ingredients for a small business to get any level of long lasting success online.

Search engine optimisation (SEO), is a digital marketing strategy. It gets your business found easier on the internet.  It is a key strategy that will help your website rank higher on the first page of Google within the organic results.

All search engines have an algorithm or ranking system. These systems prioritise the order of link and websites. This is based on keywords or phrases entered when someone uses search.

These algorithm’s can be influenced by a variety of factors. Most of which, can be positively affected by undertaking and performing SEO on your site.

Why do I need SEO?

It is likely that your business can be found in a variety of ways depending on what people search for.   If they type your actual business name. It is almost certain, you will be the first link they see. 

However, when people type in specifics around a product or service. It is likely there will be a number of other businesses, who might appear before you see your website or other mentions of your business.

By working on the content around keywords and updating your website regularly. This will help Google, (and others) to rank you higher. You will then move up in the organic listings when people search for these terms, keywords or phrases.

8 out 10 searches on the internet end with people clicking on the organic search results. This is the fundamental reason why businesses should make an effort with their websites. It pays to be on the first page of the listings on any search engine.

Who needs SEO the most?

Start ups

As a new or start up business, you are already at a disadvantage compared to your competition.  The internet is a very loud and noisy place, and you won’t have enough online reputation or recognition to cut through the noise. SEO can help.

Online services

Any business that provides an online service, is a SaaS company or an e-commerce business. As one of these businesses, you will need to have strong SEO for your site and products.  Search engines are your primary source of traffic. High rankings will give consumers not only a high level of trust of where to buy or what companies to engage with. They also more likely to make an online purchase.

Local companies/Self-employed/sole Traders

If you provide a service or are a business serving a small area. Having a website and appearing higher up in search is essential.  Appearing higher up in search gives you credibility. It also gives your potential customers confidence in choosing your business.

As a local service provider or businesses, there is a double benefit for you.  Local businesses now get two bites of the cherry after the Google local update.  Now, they appear in the map section as well as the organic listings.

Local SEO
Local Search
Local search for small business

All businesses can benefit from good

These are the three key business types that can really benefit from SEO. However, the reality is that all businesses, in all sectors benefit from SEO.

SEO, should be undertaken as part of an ongoing marketing plan. This can help the business to be found easier in search engine results and more importantly for terms and phrases that are relevant to that business.  This will help you find the right enquiries and ultimately more of them.

SEO is an ongoing tactic that should be used with a long term view in mind, and a programme that is ongoing.  The benefits of doing this with a marketing professional is that it is trackable and results can be shown on a month by month basis so you can see real improvements.

For smaller businesses, a full SEO package might be too expensive.  However Local SEO is much cheaper and can provide real tangible results to those targeting more concise geographical areas.

5 More marketing tips to help during a time of crisis.

Digital marketing
Online advertising
Digital marketing Norfolk

After the first 5 tips on digital marketing in a crisis, here are 5 more!

After the first 5 tips of digital marketing in a crisis, here are 5 more!

These are slightly more in depth and require some knowledge of marketing and digital elements to implement. As with lots of the recent content, there are fundamental themes running through this article that need continued attention, even when we aren’t dealing with a global pndemic; Digital content, website visibility (SEO & ads) & Social media.

 As with most things in digital marketing there is always a need to check, update & repeat – it is never ending as the digital marketplace is constantly changing and consumer behaviour continuously evolving.

During this COVID-19 outbreak and because of the changes to the way we all go about our daily lives, more people are online for even more time.  People are planning for when this is all over or restrictions are relaxed, so whether you are painter & decorator, landscape gardener or a builder or conservatory company, people will be looking and wanting your services, but they will be taking more time to decide who to choose.

Now is the time to get your website polished, ensure your local SEO is up to date, get those reviews sorted and make sure Social is covered

1. Website visibility

As mentioned, consumers are most likely online, coping not only with the boredom of lockdown, but also genuine people who were thinking about using a product or service before lockdown started. If you want them to notice you, and choose you, you need to be where they are, especially when they search for your products and services. Search engine optimisation is the primary marketing strategy in this aspect. Ideally, you should have these key things in place:

Run a technical website audit. Simple technical errors make it hard for Google to index or read your site. That’s why it’s important to perform an audit to know which parts of the website need fixing. Simple things like meta tags and image size will be having a negative impact.

Content is king, it really is.

  • Re-evaluate your keyword strategy on your site. 

Remember, keywords are the way in which prospective customers and clients find you. You need to understand what keywords and phrases that they use in search and it is a core component of your overall marketing strategy. Over time though, search volume for keywords change. In fact, the very phrases change, especially in the time of crisis. It’s then important to reconsider what keywords you should prioritise in your content.

  • Create targeted content. 

Almost every business will have fewer client and customer interactions right now This will give you more time to evaluate what exactly your audience often brings up in actual sale exchanges or questions the ask your business. Think about the top questions you encounter or top things they consider when purchasing your product or service and incorporate these into your content.

  • Update your old content. 

A simple and easy win. Yes, Google likes fresh, new content, but it also rewards even simple tweaks like changing the date of the article to reflect the newer version. Include sprucing up old blogs and content pages in your marketing plan.

Local SEO
Local Search
Local SEO Norfolk

Key for local businesses

2. Improve local SEO

For a small business, Local SEO is the most important of the digital marketing tips we share. Almost every business will have been affected by the government’s policies around social distancing. As a result, consumers will naturally question if you’re open and operational, which of your products and services are available? and much more. This is why you should never forget the power behind local SEO in your marketing plan.  Review your business listings in different directories. Update them, as necessary. Pay special attention to your office or store hours. If you can have past clients write reviews, better. With a couple of good ones, you can increase your credibility. Remember, that trust factor is especially crucial in a crisis. Bluespace Media can help with this as we have some dedicated Local SEO packages to help with that.

3. Boost your blogging efforts

Now that you may have more time on your hands, hit the search engines with more of your content through blogging, and, if you can, get some guest bloggers involved. This has multiple benefits for you during this troubled time. For one, it will boost your site’s credibility and by extension, your search engine rankings, through backlinks. There’s greater probability then that the consumers who are using the internet to pass the time will find you once they hit enter on the search bar.

In addition, you will be able to reach a wider audience, who can be potential clients and customers. Imagine getting published on an authoritative online fashion magazine or finance blog. Think about the avid readers you’ll be catching with your blog posts there. Thus, don’t forget to include this in your plans

Marketing is also about sales

4. Utilise all sales channels.

With lockdowns in place, physical trips to the shops or your office or warehouse aren’t possible right now. It’s vital for you to explore alternative channels to sell your business, its products and services. Naturally, digital is the way to go. Set up a page where people can order products online. This can be in simple Google Forms posted on your social media page or a well-designed website with online shopping features such as carts and digital wallets.

Meanwhile, if your main business is offering services, like an estate agency recruitment consultancy, financial services or marketing agency. Try to make yourself visible through webinars or premium content subscriptions. Lots of people at home are looking for ways to relieve boredom, or genuinely pass the time in a positive way. If they can tune in to your online training and learn a thing or two, then that’s not a waste of time, is it?

5. Utilise social media more

While social media is now a given in every marketing plan, don’t just settle for setting up a winning fan page.

Make sure you are using all the functionalities of the key social media platforms you use for your business.  Don’t leave any stone unturned, by adding a few products to the shop section on Facebook might just get you a few extra enquiries, or shares and peak some interest in your business.

Social media is not all about likes & shares.

Knowing and understanding your audience is key.  People can’t go out and engage in personal interactions as of the moment. With that, they’re craving for some semblance of community. If you can provide that sense of fellowship and belongingness, then engagement with your customers and clients will increase. One effective way to provide that experience is to create your own social media group.

It’s better if the group can be centred around the lifestyle or advocacy your brand represents, rather than the brand itself. People don’t like to be sold to, especially during this time. But they will most definitely support your finance or recruitment company if you give them exclusive advice on how to best use their money during the crisis.

Times are changing, and so should your marketing strategy. Re-evaluate your plan and incorporate these strategies. The outbreak may be over in a few more months, but what you decide to do here now can surely bring a significant impact to your business in the long-run. These digital marketing tips can and will help any business so good luck implementing some or all of the tips here!

Bluespace Media can help with implementing all of these marketing ideas and much more.

5 Effective digital marketing strategies in a time of crisis.

5 Effective digital marketing strategies in a time of crisis

The Coronavirus outbreak in the UK has had a major effect on the business sector and every industry. Companies have been forced to shut down offices, factories and having to sort work-from-home arrangements for employees.  Some have had to resort to simply running with a skeletal workforce.

Regardless of what actions have been taken, virtual meetings have quickly now become the new normal, as individuals and teams connect together in video conferences. Mostly, the topic of these online conversations is how to engage clients and customers despite the social distancing and lockdown factors that are preventing nearly everyone from running a normal business operation in the current climate.

With that considered, it’s crucial to have a strong marketing strategy now more than ever. As we are now living in very uncertain times there is a need for better business plans. Many businesses will have suffered immediately from this situation, loss of revenue in the region of 70%+ is not uncommon at this moment in time.

With that, consider including these 10 strategies in your marketing strategy plan to survive, even thrive, in this pandemic or any other crisis for that matter:

What to post? Content and context

  1. Know your audience – think of their needs

Everyone is anxious over these uncertain times, it’s natural.  Everyone will have been affected in some way. First and foremost, they are concerned about their health.  What if they catch the infection, how are they going to deal with no income if they have to self-isolate or maybe worse.

At the same time, they are fearful for their daily survival: how they can keep their cupboards stocked? What if they lose their jobs? How they’re going to pay for bills? and many more. This is the perfect opportunity to look for ways to meet the real needs of your audience.

If your business is in the finance industry, consider producing regular content about protecting money during this Covid-19 crisis. If your business is in the food sector, give tips on how consumers can prolong the shelf life of food items. The bottom line is, anticipate their needs and from there, address them one by one.

Content is King

2. Focus on being personal

A key element to having effective digital marketing strategies is content and context. It may feel like it’s tough to put a human touch on services, with social distancing & effective lockdowns being observed everywhere. However, it is possible to be personal with clients even on digital platforms. The key, as always, is authenticity in the marketing strategy.

Produce video content, sharing how you as a team have been coping with the crisis yourselves and what your plans are in protecting your clients and consumers. This way, your audience would see that there are real, equally vulnerable people behind your strong, professional brand, and would likewise feel that they’re cared for.

3. Tweak your language and imagery

As well as the topics and tone of the content is vital.  Ultimately the t text and visuals you use in any messaging should be chosen very carefully before they become part of the marketing plan. Here are some reminders when reviewing your content:

1. Avoid using puns or headlines that link to the crisis. Under normal circumstances, ‘hot spring fever sale’ sounds very tempting to draw people in. However, it’s not very tactful to use it during a time when people are literally getting sickly, fatal fevers. Think about the language you use.

2. Rephrase other common terms. Replace phrases like “keep in touch” or “drop by the store” as these won’t be relevant now. Replace with subscribe to the newsletter or visit our online store (if you have one) be a little softer with the messaging.

3. Drop visuals and images that show close, physical interaction. Images of social gatherings are likewise not as relevant as they should be right now. Be more choosey when selecting images at this moment in time.

Social media – more, more, more

4. Educate or entertain when posting on social media

Most of the people you will be trying to talk to will now be in their own homes, dealing with the fact that they now have a lot more time on their hands now. They are more likely to be on their phones or tablets, surfing the internet, using social media and chat apps. . Make their time online worthwhile by giving them meaningful content. Provide them with either education or entertainment. 

One of the most simple and highly effective digital marketing strategies would be to offer health related content on your Facebook page,  Talk about basic hygiene, reminders about social distancing, when people can and should go outside etc.

While you may not be in the healthcare sector, or have any real healthcare credibility, this “off-brand” content is acceptable, as people would want to keep themselves informed about the virus. Use different media, such as photos, gifs, and videos. As always, cite credible sources. If you want to keep content brand-related, do it with tact and empathy in mind.

As for entertaining posts, maximize interactive content that will engage your audience, Polls are a good choice. Ask them what their top lockdown grocery essentials, top exercise tips, top songs they are listening to or maybe how they’re coping with the lockdown situation

Multiple social channels is a must.

5. Create a social media group

Social media is now a given in every marketing plan, don’t just settle for settle for a winning business page or fan page. Think about the first tip: know your audience. People are not able to go out and engage in the personal way we would all like to at the moment. So with that in mind, they will almost certainly be craving for some sort of community engagement. If you can provide that sense of fellowship and belongingness, then engagement with your customers and clients will increase. One effective way to provide that experience is to create your own social media group.

It will be better if the group is created around the lifestyle or advocacy your brand represents, rather than the brand itself. People don’t like to be sold to, especially during a time of crisis. However, they will most definitely support your finance company if you give them exclusive advice on how to best use their money during the crisis, or a garage giving them advice how to look after their car during this time, or a builder providing insight in to how best to do small DIY jobs.

Times are changing, normal will be a lot different to what it was before and so should your digital marketing strategies. Re-evaluate your plan and incorporate these current strategies. The outbreak will hopefully be over in in a few more weeks, however what you decide to do here now can surely bring a significant impact to your business in the long-run.

Bluespace Media can help business who need help with their digital media, online presence or social media channels. We have lots more free tips and advice in other articles on our blog

6 Quick wins for any business targeting the B2B market

Make a habit, boost your business

Targeting the B2B market is only slightly different to marketing direct to consumers. Apparently it takes 3 weeks or 21 days to form a habit. Use this Corona down time to start a good habit for your business. Here are six quick wins that will help any business if you are targeting other businesses or commercial enterprises as customers

  1. Get your business on the key social media channels

You might favour Facebook or Linkedin for your business currently because its your preferred platform and you use it on both a professional and personal level. However, your customers and prospective customers are all very different. Some of them will use Instagram, whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Youtube. You need to be visible on all of themPost content on social media channels every day.

Get Social savvy and reach more people

2. Post content on social media channels every day.

Sounds impossible right! Well at the moment we have all got the time, so make it a regular habit. Creating one bit of content can be repurposed to suit the other channels, but make sure you don’t just copy and paste. You will need to adjust the tone (more professional for Linkedin) and don’t forget each platform uses (hashtags #) this will help your post get a wider reach and potentially more engagement.

3. Add 5 new connections on Linkedin every day

Having a professional network of like minded contacts on Linkedin is a great way to increase your reach, to promote your brand, products and services. There are many people on Linkedin with 1000+ connections which makes it a useful way to get information out to a large audience quickly.

Social media is a key element whether you are targeting businesses or consumers. Bluespace Media can help if you need some assistance or advice with your social media.

Prospect build now and benefit later

4. Find 15 new leads or prospects

If you don’t have a database – then make one!.

Add data to your prospect database every day. Whether it is a business you know of, or has just opened. Or you have seen in a directory listing or newspaper advert. Maybe a connection from social media or someone you meet at a networking event or down the pub. Add them to your lead or prospect database.

5. Send 10 introduction emails every day

Even though this time is not maybe not for direct selling, people still need to hear from other businesses. Take this opportunity to introduce your business, who you are and what you do.

6. Call customers and prospects.

This is a lonely time for everyone, even if we are locked down with loved ones. With physical contact not possible the best we can do is speak to people via telephone or video call. Calls should be like your emails, introductory and not “salesy” at all. You need to show empathy and literally just have a conversation. It almost certainly will not end up with a sale now, but it might be remembered in a few months time and you will reap some rewards then.

So when targeting the B2B market, these 6 ideas will give you a robust and continuous plan that if adopted will become second nature. Like with anything it might not feel natural at first but over time it will.

10 Digital Marketing ideas for small business & sole traders.

Digital marketing ideas
Digital marketing tips

Ideas for digital marketing might not be top of your list right now.

We currently find ourselves in a very unique situation. Whether that is on a personal level or on a business level.  The world is facing a very serious challenge with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, there is always hope, and you should try and stay as positive as you can.

Many businesses both large and small have been greatly impacted already. Particularly affected are the small businesses, sole traders and the self-employed.  Food shops and pharmacies, have been left with empty shelves. Other shops forced to close and restaurants and cafes are now shut too.

As a business owner, sole trader of self-employed freelancer, you’re likely looking for ways to survive this situation. Everyone is shifting their budgets and prioritising on what to spend and what to cut.  

Stay positive – it will get better!

One thing is certain, this situation will not last forever. It maybe a month, maybe a few months, but do what you can now. This will help to ensure your business can survive. It will be able to continue when things get properly moving again.

It is natural to focus on the negative as everyone will have been impacted negatively. However, it is the end of these quotes and phrase that businesses, self-employed and sole traders should hang onto….it is going to get better!

At a time when much of the UK economy has come to a standstill. Business owners, sole traders and the self-employed need to keep pushing forward. The reality is that they will need to be positioned for a strong second half of 2020.

It is absolutely essential that small business and sole traders, cut costs where they can in order to survive. However, the message here is do not cut too deep and too quickly. The digital marketing ideas contained within this article can be achieved at low costs and in some cases FREE!

Keep marketing even though no-one might be looking right now.

The government has announced a series of measures already and provided some clarity and support for those self-employed, and whilst you might not be able to carry out your day to day job or trade, you will be able to ensure your business, whatever it is can continue in name through continuing with some elements of advertising and marketing

History Shows If You Cut Less During Down Times You’ll Gain More in Better Times

Historically, businesses that have chosen or are able to apply the more progressive idea of either refocusing spending or highlighting areas to target during a recession have outperformed businesses that had to make or chose to make  sweeping cuts, according to studies that analysed recent recessions outlined in a blog post Thursday by CXL.com.

Harvard Business Review study of 4,700 public companies analysed three years before, during and after recessions. The study identified the percentage of companies that outperformed their rivals: 21 percent for businesses that opted for a prevention focus (more cost-cutting) and 37 percent for a more progressive focus. The study found that “firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest profitability (21 percent) of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”

10 Digital marketing ideas to consider

digital marketing ideas
social media
  1. Connect with your customers and future customers on social media

Everyone is dealing with the impact the coronavirus outbreak in one way or another. Whether you’ve tested positive or not, whether you are self-isolating because of symptoms, whether your income has been severely affected. We’re all taking precautions. We are effectively working through a lock down scenario, having to stay in our homes and our children are not able to go to school. We can’t visit our friends or relatives and we can’t eat at our favourite restaurants or go out to the cinemas.

This is a time to really show empathy to others and help out where you can. This is a time we all need to be sensitive — and not too salesy or pushy — but it’s a great opportunity for your brand to stand out during a difficult time. There will be more people on social media now while stuck at home. They will be scanning for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated nation.

Also, use your business to contribute to area food banks or assist the elderly with their grocery shopping. And promote your good deeds with social media marketing to help build your brand during this time..

Digital marketing ideas
Google advertising

Don’t be invisible

2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

With more people at home there are more people are online right now than in their cars or at work or in a cafe. Search traffic has increased significantly over the past week and will continue to climb as we all hunker down not only in the UK but globally.  Many of you will be glued to your computers and phones looking for updates within our community.  People are also looking for entertainment and ways to pass the time for themselves and their families. For some, that will include shopping online.

Anything online right now will be consumed more than ever before. This is not the time to be hidden online. You should be using search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies to climb higher up on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) so your business can be easily found. This is not a time for a business to go into a shell and poke out your head every few days to see if the sun has come out

Google & Facebook have both seen massive increase in useage.

3. Google Ads (PPC – pay per click) advertising is a good idea right now

Naturally with more people at home in front of their screens, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to use Google ads and PPC to connect with their customers and potentially gain a competitive advantage.

It will be more expensive right?  Nope – quite the opposite actually.  It is actually a great chance to save some money within your digital marketing budget. On average, cost-per-clicks have decreased by 6 percent across all verticals since last week according to some digital outlets and cost per click (CPC) is likely to continue to decrease in the coming weeks, reducing the amount of money an advertiser pays a publisher for every ad click. That gives your business another opportunity to scoop up that lost market share from others who might be pulling back during this time.

Digital marketing ideas

4. Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition

Digital marketing ideas such as search engine optimisation are vital.

SEO is  a process that helps your business increase organic traffic to your website and move past your competition. Everyone wants to be on the front page of the Google SERPs — and at the top of the list — so that when your customers search for certain keywords you’re the company they end up calling. To climb to the top of the SERPs takes time and strategic optimization strategies. If you don’t continue to optimize your website and content daily, you lose valuable ground in the search results and your freefall could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

What you don’t want to do is halt an SEO campaign. That can be a critical mistake for your business. Your leads and revenue will suffer. But if others choose to pull back on SEO, it’s also a perfect time for your business to push even harder to surpass your competitors.

The economy is starting to pick up

5. Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

One of the key digital marketing ideas is be prepared.

As we noted earlier, the coronavirus outbreak should fade (just as it has in China) after a few months. When normality returns and business and consumers’ spending habits stabilize. You have to remember that SEO is more of a long-term strategy. What you do today for your SEO campaign will affect your organic search traffic two months from now. Pausing your SEO campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your revenue potential two months from now when the coronavirus starts to become a distant memory.

6. Unique Circumstances Provide Opportunities for a Special Offer

During this uncertain time period, you have the opportunity to show support for your customer base by offering special discounts that will keep your revenue flowing. Identify your product-market fit and create a special offer. Many people are at home browsing, looking for discounts to save money during a time of unrest. It’s a great way to engage with your customers and keep a steady stream of revenue that will keep your doors open. You can push out your special offers through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media.

We have created some specific digital marketing ideas and created some packages for small business, sole traders and the self employed to cater for all budgets.

Digital marketing ideas
local seo

Local search is absolutely vital

7. Local SEO is now More Relevant than ever.

This is the most important of the digital marketing ideas for small businesses. We have all reduced our travel and are staying close to home due to government advice that is in place. In the rare times when we do leave our house, we’re looking for nearby destinations for services and supplies. So you want to make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.

Our local pack SEO is an ideal solution for all those businesses who want to reinforce their local and community position of who they are, where they are, what they do and why choose them.

Customer service is going to be key

8. Be prepared to adapt as a business and keep your customers informed

The current circumstances we all find ourselves in, caused by coronavirus, is naturally a fluid situation, your business should also be fluid. This is a time that you should find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by people staying at home. For instance, restaurants are shutting down right now because customers aren’t dining in. You should make sure you’re offering free delivery services. Local restaurants, pubs and local produce centres are now offering delivery Also, let your customers know you’ve increased your sanitary practices and how you’re doing that specifically.

But other businesses can adapt right now, too, as we stay in. Gyms have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but why not offer online workout classes right now? Dentists could offer online consultations. Trades people could offer online quotes from customers planning work through sending pictures or videos. All of these opportunities can be boosted with strategic social media campaigns.

Keep calm and carry on

9. Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move

It’s easy to make knee jerk reactions given the situation. However, that’s not how you want to react if you want to implement a smart digital marketing strategy for for small business. You never want to make a panicked move if you can avoid it. You will always want to use metrics, where available, and analyse all of the potential data you have available before making a decision.

Knee-jerk reactions usually don’t end well in digital marketing. Take caution when quickly reacting to a sudden shift in the economy or market.

Digital marketing ideas

10. Use this Down Time to Finish Your Digital To-Do Lists

The last of our digital marketing ideas.

Now that you’re not commuting to the office or taking in-person meetings, your schedule has likely freed up some time for you. These marketing items that may have fallen through the cracks and been overlooked can now be addressed.

Perhaps your website needs a fresh look with a redesign. Now is the time to get those websites updated or built. You can overhaul your website in two months all while working remotely.

This is also a great time to have a conversation rate optimisation specialist perform a CRO audit of your website to ensure your call-to-actions (CTAs) are turning leads into customers.

Also, it’s an ideal time to do an SEO audit of your website to ensure you’re maximizing your optimization strategies.

If you have any questions about how Blue Space Media can help your business during this time please contact us online or call Kevin on 07502 353905

Tips for small business during lockdown & as things return to normal.

Small business have been massively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and many have and will continue to struggle as we come out of this lockdown period. Here are a few tips for small businesses and sole traders to help navigate this tricky period.

  1. Stay Calm

Easy to say, harder to do.  The current situation will affect people and their businesses at different times.  Keeping a level head will ensure that you make informed decisions to help you and your business.  No knee jerk reactions or decisions.

  • Don’t bury your head in the sand

It’s easy to just ignore the situation and carry on regardless.  That is not a good strategy, we are all going to be affected by this situation.  Look at all aspects of the business and see what areas you can either pause or stop and what areas are worth focusing on.

  • Conserve cash

Physical cash is going to be important to all businesses.  Avoid all unnecessary expenditure.  Take a look at your outgoings and decide what is essential and non-essential in your business.  Maybe extend this to your personal expenses too.  Where you can defer payments, ask for payment holidays.

  • Keep Marketing/promoting

You may be under financial pressure but you still need to maintain a presence of some sorts, either digitally or socially.  You may need to reduce your expenditure or take some of the activity in-house.  But keep doing something, it is important to keep your digital presence maintained in some capacity.  As and when this situation does pass, the noise in a marketing sense will be very loud and difficult for some to break through if you have stopped completely. Of all of the tips, this is the most important tip for small businesses! Bluespace Media offer a wide range of marketing services and packages for businesses of all sizes and budgets.

  • Forecasting/planning

It will be difficult for many businesses to forecast and plan effectively in the current circumstances, but you should certainly keep track of what is actually happening on a daily/weekly basis, as if this situation extends into a few months you will be better prepared for that scenario and if this situation extends beyond 3-4 months as predicted.

  • Stay Healthy

Easier said than done!  But what I mean here is daily exercise.  Get into a routine of doing something every day, whether that is a cycle, a run, a HIT routine, Yoga etc.  This will not only add to your general well being it will also help to keep you positive mentally. Eat well, again difficult but make a conscious effort to eat the right things

  • Keep in touch – Reach out to others

Everyone, I mean everyone, with a business large or small is going to suffer in some way, shape or form, during this situation.  Whether it is loss of trade, reduction in customers, it will have a material impact on every type of business.  Stay in touch with business friends and associates and don’t be afraid to talk about the reality of the situation.  On the other hand be a good ear for those that might need your support and advice.  At this time we are going to need to support each other more than ever.

These are just a few tips for small businesses to use during this period. At Bluespace Media we are committed to helping and working with small businesses who want to improve their online presence. Get in touch to see how we can help.

There are more free articles tips and ideas on our blog page. http://www.bluespacemedia.co.uk/blog

5 Free Marketing tips for a small business, sole trader or self employed.

Free marketing tips might not be top of your agenda right now. However, these tips will be useful now or anytime in the future.

The current situation caused by the coronavirus has left many small businesses, with severely reduced work and income. Directly impacting and creating cashflow issues. So if your cash flow is severely impacted then naturally you will need to cut expenses where you can. The marketing budget is normally the first to go. However, you will still need to market your business, your products and services. This will ensure you are around on the other side when this situation gets better! It will get better!

Bluespacemedia has put together a useful list for any small business, sole trader or individual entrepreneur. It gives you some ideas of what you can do to boost your business without having to spend any money!

Get a website, its that simple

  1. Website

The first of our free marketing tips is simple, get a website.

Even if you don’t think you want or need one…..wrong!  You DO! 

Search engines are still the number 1 source of digital traffic. Additionally, voice search (Alexa, Google, Siri etc.) is also growing quickly. Both will return searches that come from indexed web pages and without one, you simply won’t get found!

There are a number of free website options out there and for anyone starting out in business that maybe can’t stretch their cash to pay a developer to help then one of these “off the shelf” options will do to get things started.  Companies like Wix, Godaddy, Squarespace.

These websites are limited in terms of SEO value, but as a reference point for customers and prospects they are useful enough in the first instance and give you some much needed digital inventory.  Over time a more detailed and search engine friendly website would be the aim and that’s when you could engage with a marketing professional, agency or web designer.

Use the free tools google offer

2. Google My Business Listing (GMB)

The best of the free marketing tips is get a GMB listing.

Another powerful FREE marketing item for all new businesses to get set up.  Many businesses I speak to think they have to pay for this, they don’t.  This is a completely free listing and it is not difficult to set up.  Simply type Google my business into Google and from there you should have a listing in a few simple steps.  Sometimes it takes a few days to go live but ultimately it then gives you another point of reference when someone is searching for your business. 

Like with all the free elements discussed in this blog the key is to get benefit from them you need to put some effort in to them to keep them up to date in terms of content and images and posts.  As the saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink – you can get a free google listing and people can see it but they won’t do anything unless the profile is informative and relevant.

Social media is more than just the platform you use

3. Social Media Channels

Don’t just stop at a Facebook profile – set up as many as you can.  Twitter, Youtube, pinterest, Tiktok, linkedin.

Yes it will take you some time and there will be platforms that you don’t use or maybe never heard of, but your customers, future customers and prospects will certainly be using some or all of them.

It is free to set up a profile on all these platforms and it is free to post and message on them too – all have a paid element for advertising and promotions if you want to use this but in essence the starting point is free.  As well as being able to showcase your work and seek out potential new customers in need of your products and services, the major benefit of having social accounts is the SEO value that they will give to you.  By having them linked to your FREE website gives you important backlinks and the content you post is of use to search engines as content to return in the search engine results page.

However as with anything free, it is only as good as you make it. You need to post regularly and make those posts interesting and engaging to get the best out of this free digital asset.

Directories are useful for backlinks

4. Yell.com listing

The UK’s number 1 online directory and the effective online version of the old Yellow Pages is also worth registering your business and activating your FREE listing.

It’s another way to ensure that anyone looking for your products or services, your business is in the mix.  Also anyone searching by your company name can easily find you.

Simply go to Yell.com https://www.yell.com/free-listing/#/ and follow the instructions.

This gives you a place to list your key contact information and website and also gives you the added benefit of listing products and services.  Naturally it is limited and you don’t get all the benefits of a full listing, nevertheless it provides another useful backlink which gives you another positive tick in the SEO box

5. Other directories and relevant websites

Depending what industry/area your business serves there will be lots of other directories through publishers and websites and blogs that let you add your details for FREE.

Again the benefit is getting your information in as many places as possible so that wherever people are looking your information is accessible.  Every backlink you can get is a bonus and gives you increased SEO value to search engines.

Whilst all these things are free they do take time and effort.  Sometimes time can be a very rare commodity and can hamper progress, if you find yourself in this place then that’s where a marketing professional can help. Bluespace Media is here to help any business that wants to improve its presence online.

Top 5 tips for a successful online presence

There is so much to marketing and promotion online these days. Whether you are an online retailer or whether you are a traditional crafts or tradesman a digital presence, and a good one is absolutely essential.

So what can you do to ensure you maintain and improve your online presence?

  1. Regular content/updates/posts

Search engines, particularly Google love content and it definitely prioritises newer content over older content. So if you haven’t posted on your social media channels or updated your website in awhile this will certainly hamper your online presence and your organic ranking. A lot of smaller businesses simply don’t have the time and thats where marketing companies like Blue Space can help!

2. Get a website

I am amazed that some businesses still don’t have a website. Some are convinced they just need a Facebook or social profile and that is enough. The truth is the majority of the population are still using search engines to find out their information, research products and services and buy. Without a website you are definitely missing out on loads of prospective customers!

3. Reviews

The review culture is here to stay and it is becoming more important than ever. It used to be exclusively for the hospitality and travel industries, but now it is in every type of business and service. Reviews are also a key factor in Google’s search algorithm, so proactively seeking reviews, getting reviews and responding to reviews is a must for all businesses.

4. Video content

A lot of people are put off by the thought of a corporate video. It’s cheesy, I don’t like being on camera – all the excuses under the sun to not have one or need one. However, video content is massively important for a successful online presence. Google indexes rich content (video) higher than static content (images) so it is a useful part of building a better online presence, better organic ranking and you will be one step ahead of the competition.

5. Advertising online

No one ever clicks on the adverts….yes they do! Not everyone does but enough that companies like Google generate billions in ad revenue. Having some online advertising as part of your online marketing is another way to ensure your business, brand or product is seen at the right time when people need your products or services. Advertising on places like Google and Facebook are much more effective as they are based on a cost per click basis – meaning you only pay when someone clicks on your advert.

These might the most basic 5 points but they are the basis for a successful online presence that will help deliver customers and enquiries to you.