Marketing Advice

Yup, you’ve got a successful business and have now followed the hype, jumped onto the online bandwagon and set up a website. This may have just been a check box exercise – after all, a website’s handy to have, or maybe you had dreams, desires and goals for your online presence?

Come ‘go live’ day you feel both trepidation in case something goes wrong, then a huge sigh of relief as everything works and your business bursts into action online. Will the investment of both time and money into your website pay off or will your shiny new site go unnoticed and unloved?

Your website should be your most effective marketing, lead generation and sales channel by a huge margin. You know the benefits of being online so I won’t go on about them, but what actually happens when you launch?

Well, unless you’re extremely lucky, you’re not the only person in the world offering your products and services. Your competition are all out there as well (or soon going to be) so you need to stay ahead of the game.

This is where online marketing comes into play – a little bit of love for your website will help it exceed expectations and be a valuable asset.

So, how do you do it? SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. Now, you may have just cringed when I said that – there are so many myths going around about it, scare stories and confusion.

What it boils down to is ensuring your website appears as close to the top of the results pages in a search engine for a users search term.
In reality, very few people will ever access your website directly by typing your full web address into their computer – but will use a search engine (like Google, Bing or Yahoo) to search for your brand name, or even just a product or service you might sell.

The search engine will then present the user with what it thinks are the most relevant results for that search query. Therefore, it’s important that you let search engines know what search terms your site would be a good match for, and the search engine will work out how good a match.

What it really boils down to…
  • Having great, well written, regularly updated content on your site
  • Correct ‘semantic markup’ – that’s how your pages are coded. You’ll never see this, but all-important search engines will and making their lives easier can only be a good thing.
  • Links back to your site from others – the bigger the site linking back to you the better

There’s a lot of factors behind SEO, but get these three right and you’re going to do yourself a lot of favours.

SEO isn’t a quick fix or easy answer, it will take a bit of time, however it’s more a case of thinking differently rather than learning new skills or baffling yourself with new information.

What you can do to help your own SEO…

  • Keep in mind the sort of terms users would be searching for that would apply to your site and use them throughout your website
  • When adding pages, make sure the content’s easily readable, contains these key terms (and variations of them) and is really informative and useful
  • When writing content, link key phrases and words in it to relevant pages of your site
  • If your website platform allows you to, include these key phrases in page titles, meta descriptions and keywords. These are generally able to be set on a per-page basis and this feature should be part of your initial spec list.

Getting the basics right yourself isn’t difficult, however if you have a website already that’s not quite hitting the mark or your site just needs a bit of a refresh and some TLC come and talk to us.

We’re able to help improve your existing web presence by improving your site structure, helping you pick a keyword list and managing the implementation of your SEO strategy.

H1 Design will even provide reporting so you can see who’s using your website – how many visitors you get, where they’re located and what they do on your website. This allows you to see real business benefits to all the work we carry out.

Using this information as well as our marketing knowledge and experience, we can help turn around your online presence and ensure your website is a valuable business asset.

A couple of sites we’ve been working on lately are Turtlegates – Expanding Safety Barriers and Permatex – Automotive and Industrial Adhesives.

Jamie Sterling – H1 Design

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Blogging Tips

  1. Allow and encourage comments

    Allows a rapport to be set up with your user base, and may lead to more visitors and links to your articles

    Blogs are intended to be a two-way communication tool for both the author and the reader

  2. Give the option to add to Facebook, Twitter, etc

    Social media is a great advantage, as it allows your users to post your article and a link to their profile for all of their contacts to see, driving up visitors and interest.

  3. Categorise and tag posts

    You should get into a practice of creating and using categories to organize articles on your blog. This allows your users to jump to specific sections and areas that interest them.

    Tagging your own posts, and allowing your users to tag posts, also aids Search Engine Optimization and gives your users the ability to view popular topics without searching or having to navigate heavily around the blog.

  4. Automate posting to Facebook, Twitter, etc

    If you encourage your current customer base to join your social networking pages, you can use this as a tool to keep them updated as well as finding new business through their contacts.

    There are a number of ways to automatically publish new articles directly from your blog to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  5. Allow people to subscribe via email or RSS readers

    It is unlikely that your readers will constantly return to your website to check for new articles. Instead, you should provide them with a way to be automaticall updated when you post to your blog.

    RSS feeds, and associated software programs, allow you to do just that.

  6. Make posts useful but personal

  7. Somone who posts a tutorial or free advice and knows what they’re talking about are more likely to be contacted over someone who doesn’t.

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Effective Briefs

At the start of the year there is always a flurry of marketing activity. Naturally, every company wants to have the best possible start and push ahead with marketing campaigns to promote their products and services. So here are a few pointers to make sure that you develop a great brief for us creatives to work with.

  • Give a general overview of your current situation and what objectives you want to achieve
  • Set realistic sales and profit targets. This will also drive how much you’re willing to spend marketing your products and services.
  • Determine who your key customer target types are. Be as specific as possible. It may be that different messages will apply to different customer types.
  • Any marketing campaign should be benefits driven.
  • The easiest way to do this is to take your product features and add ‘which means that’ to turn them into benefits.
  • Find the one benefit that is most motivating for your target customers. This allows the campaign to have a focus. (One main benefit might only be applicable to a specific type of customer, so always think about the individual customer types when writing the brief)
  • Explain how a customer can achieve this benefit. Think about the product or service and imagine you’re the customer – how do you think / feel about it? Look for any valuable insights.
  • How would you sell this product to a friend who is part of the target market? Try and explain in one meaningful sentence why the product or service will be beneficial.
  • Don’t focus on a creative concept or try and write headlines and copy. Focus on giving good information and allow H1 to use their experience to deliver a workable and creative campaign.
  • Don’t fill the brief with technical information. This will come later.
  • Write down all the words that make the product unique. Then try to construct sentences out of all the words you’ve written down.
  • Google your competitors. You might find information you haven’t thought about or focus you on what makes your products and services unique.

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Customer Segmentation

segmentation Focus your business on the customer and what they want by using reliable information to achieve the best possible results. A good starting point is customer segmentation, a marketing term for dividing your customers into manageable clusters or groups. This process allows you to target customers with messages, products and offers which are specific and relevant to them. There are various ways to segment your customers. Here are a few examples:
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Affluence
  • Historical spend
  • Loyalty / frequency
It is not difficult to obtain customer information, the trick is to understand why you want it and what you can do with it. Not knowing how to segment your customers doesn’t mean you won’t have a successful business – but guaranteed, knowing and utilising the information will dramatically improve your marketing and in turn your sales and profitability. The most successful marketing campaigns come from knowing your customers, both existing and prospective. So to explain why customer segmentation is important: Thomas started working for a national builders merchant who didn’t segment customers. This meant, that whatever marketing material was produced, every customer on the database of 250k+ received it (the Scattergun approach). One of the first things he implemented was customer segmentation in order to target the right people with information that was relevant and of interest. ___________________________________________________________________ EXAMPLE Brick Brochure What would have happened with scattergun approach?
Scattergun Customer Segmentation
Target customers Everyone – including plumbers, plasterers, painting and decorating, etc Customers with historical spend on bricks and associated products Customer classifications linked to brick usage
Quantity of customers 250k+ 30k
Printed brochures (including quantity for branches) 300k 60k
Mailing costs @ 25p ea £62,500 £7,500
Saving on mailing alone £55,000
Just by segmenting the customers Thomas managed to:
  • Deliver the right message to customers interested in bricks
  • Save money on printing
  • Save money on postage
  • Focus the company marketing so customer started to receive information applicable to them
  • Allowed marketing campaigns to be measured
Just by applying customer segmentation improved the overall marketing output, the quality of the material, the relationship with customers and the accurate measurement of campaigns versus cost. Effective marketing should improve sales and profitability. If yours doesn’t, then speak to H1 Design and make sure your marketing is making a positive impression to your bottom line.


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