• February 28, 2017

    8 ways to get more Visual Content in your blog

    Visual content for blogs is a must have in 2017, and there are so many benefits – it improves site SEO, more blog views, increased time spent on page, improving your brand image and more.

     

    But, you don’t always have to create it yourself – In this post, I’ve laid out a few different types of great visual blog content, and the different methods for producing it yourself, or finding a good piece that already exists.

    Creating Visual Content vs Finding and Curating It

    Content you’ve made for your blog will always be more relevant to your audience and perform better, because it’s made by you, and for specific purpose.

    However, we know there’s not always the time and/or budget for original visual content, and you have to look elsewhere for visuals.

    The key is to find a good balance, and figure when it is really necessary to create your own, and when you can use something that’s already been made to illustrate your point.

    Photos

    I guess the first thing people think of in terms of visual content and a blog is photos.
    If it’s relevant, just take some photos, phone camera usually have a fairly decent lens these days – certainly good enough quality for a blog post, providing you have good natural light.

    Types of photos that can work well for blogs, are specific product shots, or photos of your staff, events you’ve been to, your space, any gadgets you use. Showing your company culture can make you much more personable and add a real voice to your blog posts.

    If you’re not up for photography, a few places to find specific imagery are Wikimedia Commons & Flickr CC – just make sure you get the attribution right (sometimes you need to add the author for example).
    Or for more generic stock photos you can head to Death to the Stock Photo. They pride themselves in being non cheesy, which is great! However, any photos you choose still need to reflect your company, so pick carefully – it really needs to be applicable to the blog content and reflect your brand accurately.

    Graphics

    Often, a photo isn’t enough – you need a few words to fully explain your point, and help people remember your content better.
    If you have some design knowledge, then Photoshop or Illustrator are great for creating fully bespoke graphics, that will be the most relevant to your content  and really represent your company in terms of style.

    However, If you’re inexperienced in design, then I would head to Canva. Canva is a free service, and if you have no clue about design / layout / colours/  fonts/ whatever, don’t worry! It’s extremely user friendly for creating visual content that works well.

     

    Remember that while you may want to use lots of font and colours, often less is more. And as always it needs to be in keeping with your brand and easy to digest.  It’s worth picking 1 style and keeping within that, or only varying slightly while you’re finding your feet. This will create more unity.

    Infographics & Charts

    If your blog post is numbers based at all – an infographic is perfect for Condensing lots of information into an easy to understand format.  Rather than just a list of numbers, you can represent them visually, and give much more impact.

    There’s many ways a professional would make these – if it were me, a mix of Illustrator and Indesign probably (but I’m very nerdy) – and keeping a nice grid layout for good comprehension.

    Creating infographics may seem daunting if you’re less nerdy, but again, there are foolproof ways if you have solid data! Canva also has great functionality for this and so does infogr.am. You’ll have lots of options for the best way to visually show your data.

     

    To find premade infographics, you can look on infographicsshowcase, SlideShare and coolinfographics but one of the best ways to find infographics most relevant to your industry / niche is searching in google using your specific keywords + infographic.

    Graphs & charts

    If you don’t need a whole infographic, but you just want to illustrate one point at a time with a impactful chart, you can create these easily by using Google Sheets or Google Slides.

    They may not be the most ‘beautiful’, but they will be extremely relevant to your web audience and a useful asset to display data, and make it more easily understood.

    Videos

    Videos are known to be impactful on blog posts, and it can be fairly easy to create them. You can go the DIY route and have a go (but do invest in a tripod!), you can make a video with your smartphone – and the end quality will matter less if the content is good.

     

    Videos that are good for blogs are; animated infographics, tutorials, client case studies (whether animated or filmed) short videos with staff about specific topics, showing new products / premises, yuor if you’re more regular with production, then you can start a Vlog. A vlog is a great way to add a human face to your business, and give real, personal feeling, insights to customers.

    Tips for Using Video on Your Blog - Tubular Insights

    If you want to step up your game, you can hire a professional. If you’re using a video production company, I would recommend filming / producing a few videos at a time to create some economies of scale – especially if it will form a series, this means you’ll have a consistent output and a consistent look.

    Again, finding the time and resources to create blog videos may not always be possible, but there’s so many videos already online now, we’d hope that at least 1 shows your point!

    Finding relevant videos can be a bit of a minefield but Youtube, Ted Talks and Vimeo and are good places to start – have a keyword in mind, and keep trying variations of that until you find it. If you find someone or a channel who creates good videos quite frequently – it’s worth bookmarking!

    Summary

    It’s been shown that visual content on your blog will earn you higher engagement, and there are so many options – with different levels of difficulty and cost – so just find what’s right for your company right now. You can invest as little or as much time as you want, and still have more impact with your blogs.

    In an ideal world, we’d always create our own content, but not everyone is at this stage. So, the key with finding the right content for your blogs online is very careful consideration – question each item – does this speak to my audience, does it suit my brand, does it say what I want to say, does it have the right tone for my site?

     

    If you’re ready to start producing bespoke content for your blog, and you want a hand with graphic design or video for your company, have a look at our portfolio and get in touch!

  • January 25, 2017

    Highlights from 2016

    We’ve had quite the year in 2016 – so here’s a quick highlight reel to show what we’ve been up to. And just a snippet what lies ahead.

    New Clients

    2016 was certainly a busy one. We worked with 34 new clients (as well as loads of our existing customers) last year across USA, UAE, UK, and throughout Europe. Though sadly as studio nerds we don’t get to visit all this great places, we can only imagine!

    Motion Design

    We’re constantly upskilling here, and although Victoria is trained in fine arts and graphic design – classes specifically for design for motion didn’t really exist until very recently. So we jumped at the chance, and we completed the highly regarded School of Motion Design Bootcamp Course. 

    Character Animation

    Not one to be left out of the fun, our animation expert, Harry, has been delving further into the work of 2d character animation and rigging.

    It’s pretty tricky work rigging a character correctly, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to movement – and getting it realistic (not just kerky and sporadic). He completed training at the end of last year to further improve – and  we’ve had some great results!

    New Sectors

    For us, 2016 saw a low of new video and design work across the medical, education and technology sectors in particular. We love learning about new businesses and organisations  – and their markets. There’s nothing like a video production to help you learn in depth about a new field relatively quickly. It’s so interesting!

    Working Internationally

    We now have a second base at LX Factory in Lisbon. From Summer 2016 and continuing into this year we’ve been working between both locations. It’s great, Lisbon has really grown as a creative and technological hub in Europe.  

    This year ahead

    OFFF Festival

    So we’re heading to  #OFFF17 . It’s a multi disciplinary design and art festival in Barcelona. In their own words “It is more than just a Festival hosting innovative and international speakers, it is more than a meeting point for all talents around the world to collaborate, it is more than feeding the future.”

    We’re looking forward to hearing from some amazing speakers and meeting some like minded people!

    3D

    We’re also making some great advances with 3D design and animation. This is still under wraps at the moment, but we’ll be unveiling some great new 3D projects soon and are looking forward to fully expanding our offering.

    Gif Page

    We’re working on a web page just for our gif animations. It’s going to a be fun and very silly, there may or may not be a dancing taco…

    Lastly – if you want to see some of of our latest projects, whether design or animation head to our lovely Portfolio Page. We update it all the time 🙂

  • January 23, 2017

    Captions in Web Video – A Quick Guide to maximise your message

    Browsing online we’re seeing more and more videos showing with captions – what’s this all about?

     

    This is due to the rise of mobile video which is growing massively, latest research shows mobile video views grew 6x faster than desktop views in 2015. (Invodo, 2016)

     

    One of the main problems for marketers, is that mobile users may not always have the sound turned on – or want to turn it on. So although the visual message may come across – crucially half of the video could be missing.

     

    So how do you get your message across if your video is voiceover or interview based? This is the same issue, whether filmed or animated video production.

     

    Captions are a great way of letting people preview the video content, and letting them to decide to watch with the volume turned on. Or letting them take on board the full message, when volume isn’t an option.

    Making the assumption people will always listen from the start is a mistake.

     

    However, sometimes you may not want or need captions, and it’s not always straightforward.

     

    3 Main Types of Captions

     

    Animated Captions – inbuilt into the video that just show highlights and keywords

    Open Captions – like subtitles but can’t be turned on and off – they’re embedded within the video

    Closed Captions – abilities to turn the subtitles on and off, set by the video player.

     

    Social Video

     

    If your marketing is very social media based, for example facebook adverts, (and who would blame you!) 100 million hours of video per day are watched on Facebook. (Tech Crunch, 2016) There can be a lot of silent video playback, so you’ll want to incorporate full subcaptions, or make your visuals very self explanatory. The latter is only really possible with animation or motion graphics based videos. 

     

    And so now more often on facebook and youtube we do see full subcaptions are being used. Which means people can still get the content, but without having to turn the sound up –  it’s a great user focused approach.

     

    For those heavily invested in social video, Open captions is a great option, as it gives you more flexibility with the design than video player generated closed captions.

     

    This means your video will never show without captions by mistake, the full message will always get across.  

    Example of Open Captions from AJ+

    Obviously they still need to be clear, so you can’t be crazy with font choice or colour, but you can be sure they don’t overlap with any visuals, the font is suitable, and you have full control of the process.

     

    If you’re still dabbling with social video production – then Closed Caption system is a great way to start and increase engagement.

     

    Website video

    For your website, you may not need full subcaptions. If your service or product is heavily B2B – you may still have a good majority of desktop users, who have access to speakers or headphones more easily.

     

    So for a website video or a video just for presentations, you may find that a few key highlight messages, animated nicely do the trick along with the voiceover.

    Animated captions - that just show the keywords of a sentence

    The best to way to find out if your visitors are coming by mobile, tablet or desktop, is to check your wenbsite analytics for the screen size and device used most frequently. You can also check the time on page – to see if you’re putting off mobile users with your site.

    There are a few downfalls

     

    It can take a bit of effort and knowledge required to produce the right files for Closed Captions – it requires generating an SRT (or similar)  file, which is basically a text file of the script that is formatted so that each line is associated with a time code – so if you’re not familiar it can be a little daunting and time consuming.

     

    Facebook and Youtube now offer automatically generated captions – woohoo! But sometimes what it hears is incorrect, so this is not a foolproof method. Especially when you’ve spent time and money producing a video to generate sales (imagine loads of a typos in a proposal!).  

    Here’s a quick example where I have put Youtube Closed Captions on a preexisting video. You can see the client didn’t plan to have this, as the captions over overlap the animated text somewhat. And Youtube initially did quite a bad job of guessing the captions! So, it’s not always straightforward.

    If you’re not up for a DIY approach, You can hire companies to easily make a perfect transcript if you’re getting errors, then upload that SRT file to youtube or facebook.

     

    If you choose to have animated captions that are ever present and part of the video design – then it’s crucial they are timed well for those who are listening and match the voiceover – as hearing and seeing them as different messages will create a little confusion.

     

    This seems obvious, but marketers are still doing this! It’s so difficult to take one message fully on board if you’re hearing another.

    Getting started

     

    So to get started, first look at your analytics and your marketing efforts.  Is your audience website and desktop based or do you drive large amounts of traffic through social media and mobile?

     

    After you have a clear idea of your own users you can decide what level of captions to use.

     

    It’s good to know this info at the beginning of a video project, so that nothing is overlapping that area of the screen, or that the video producer can add animated highlight captions which capture the message in an elegant way.

     

    If you already have videos online on youtube or facebook – see if the automatically generated captions work for you – and there you go, you’ve already increased watching potential!

     

    In the meantime – check out our newly updated portofolio, and see a wide range of web videos with animated captions!

  • February 3, 2016

    10 Inspirational Business TED Talks for 2016

    TED talks are enjoyed by millions world wide. They really capture our spirit of human interest and the invention new ideas.

    Here are a few of my favourite TED talks on the business of business. I’ve picked these videos to cover a fairly wide range of topics and discussion points; from marketing, motivation, being creative in business, to productivity and leadership. As I believe as a business person, you should have a grasp on all these concepts – even if it’s not strictly your department.

    Why read yet another long blog post, when you can watch a short video with a truly motivational speaker and feel really inspired and alter your perspective. So while you have a few moments spare, watch a few of these carefully curated and thought provoking business TED talks – and let me know which ones stimulate you!

    1. Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

    2. Margaret Gould Stewart: How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)

    3. Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules

     

    4. Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader

     

    5. Josh Luber: The secret sneaker market — and why it matters

    6. Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

    7. Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed

    8. Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

    9. Seth Godin: The tribes we lead

    10. Yves Morieux: As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify

     

    Although it can be said that they simplify concepts too much for entertaining bite-size viewing, sometimes you just need that little boost and a break to help refresh and make you think little differently.

    Let me know your favourite Business TED Talks! I’d love to watch.

     

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  • November 12, 2015

    12 Best Blogs To Follow About Marketing

    12 Best Blogs To Follow About Marketing

    If you’re a Marketer, and you want to stay on top of the latest techniques and learn best practice – here are some great, well written, frequently updated and informative blogs.

    Here, I’ve given a mixture of theory and practical ideas covering a wide of different areas within marketing.

    Hubspot

    A good allrounder for Marketers – they post at least once per day!

    Really practical advice for all levels of knowledge.

    http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing

    Buffer

    This blog is great for Social Media Marketing posts. They regularly post a mixture of case studies, tools and trends.

    https://blog.bufferapp.com

    Neil Patel – quick sprout

    This guy knows it all. the blog is full of really in depth informative posts about web marketing, content marketing, SEO and getting your website seen.

    http://www.quicksprout.com/

    Moz

    This blog is more about the SEO side of things – which is equally important when we’re talking about business online. Moz are the go to people for SEO advice.

    https://moz.com/blog

    Vidyard

    This blog focuses on Video Marketing – very insightful and great for the video niche. They cover all aspects of making video, sharing it and measuring its performance.

    https://www.vidyard.com/blog/

    Adobe

    The Adobe Digital Marketing blog is quite varied – and focuses on visual and content marketing. A good combination of marketing, and design and usability.

    http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/

    Marketing Donut

    A nice concise marketing blog with good key take aways and easy to follow advice.

    http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/blog

    Think With Google

    Showing studies on interaction with website and user insights. Great data to have when planning your own strategy.

    https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

    Content Marketing Institute

    Does what it says on the tin – they are all about Content Marketing. A huge amount of resources for those interested in delving into Content Marketing.

    http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/blog/

    Econsultancy

    Another good all rounder, but quite different – and very much data and statistics based. It also covers e-commerce well.

    https://econsultancy.com/blog

    REELSEO

    Another highly established Video marketing blog – but often more about Marketing with Youtube. And more recently covering video and social media.

    http://www.reelseo.com/

    Marketing Magazine

    The latest news in Marketing – this is less about techniques or tips. But a good way to keep up with what is going on right now in the world of Marketing.

    http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/

    Hopefully, this should give you a good pile of marketing reading material. 
    If you have a blog that you like to keep up with, that I’ve not included here, please let me know!

     

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  • November 3, 2015

    How to Write a Business Blog Post that Gets Read

    How to Write a Business Blog Post that Gets Read

    It’s frustrating when you put time and effort into a blog, and it hardly gets seen and read – or even worse – if you don’t even know where to start when it comes to blogging for your business.

    Here are some practical tips to increase your blog viewings to get more of the right people reading it, and get it found in search engines.

    Audience

    Think about who buys from you – you’re not writing for yourself, you’re writing for them!

    What is their job ? What is a typical day? What are their challenges? What blogs do they read? What social networks do they use? How old are they? Are they married, do they usually have kids?

    Hopefully this kind of thinking will really get you into their mind set.

    Not all about you

    So now you’ll realise, they don’t just want to read about your product or service.

    They may be interested in it, but posts just full of special offers are only interesting to those who are already considering your business. You need to appeal to those who don’t even fully know about you yet. What else would they be interested in? Do you have any insight into the industry or related issues?

    For example, if you’re a Kitchen company, you can post about top recipes for the season, new styles that are in fashion, co-ordinating the right colours, tips for picking the right taps / chairs.

    The list is endless and none of it needs to be directly about your company.

    But it is providing useful or interesting info to your potential buyer, and so the benefit is two fold.

    It shows you are an expert in the field, making you an industry leader – which boosts credibility. And regular blogging on these expert topics also makes you more likely to be found by search engines. Win win!

    Problem Solving

    People often search in Google with a question or query. So how can you solve their problems? Are there common question you always asked?

    Be prescriptive and give real help or advice – if applicable explain how to do something, or really go about it, not just describe a process superficially.

    Images

    You really must add images to your blog posts. It makes them look more engaging, exciting and it will aid the memory of whoever is reading, whilst also helping to establish credibility.

    There are plenty of places where you can get free stock images for your blogs. But it’s also advisable to use your own photos where applicable, as they may be much more relevant.

    Generally a photo every 350 words is considered good – a recent study showed the world’s 100 most popular blogs followed this rule.

    My conclusion from this is that it breaks up the text a little and give the reader a small rest with something visually engaging, before the carry on reading.

    Here’s an infographic video on the Picture Superiority effect – for info on image retention too.

    Writing Style

    These days, most blogs are written in a more conversational tone. Even if you’re writing a business blog aimed at other businesses, you don’t need to be very formal – you’re still writing for a human. And it’s not a scientific paper after all!

    Personally, I write in quite a casual way, but it’s very important to keep the grammar, spelling and punctuation perfect. As slips can really let you down and you lose your credibility instantly.

    Statistics

    Where possible, give evidence for your statements. This isn’t applicable for all blog posts, but if you’re trying to convince people of an idea and you’re making bold claims, then you need something to back this.

    It doesn’t need to be metric based, though it helps if there are figures and facts that relate to your idea. You can also give real life examples (like a case study) as evidence.

    For example, here’s a quick one from Hubspot in this year – “Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.”  So go forth and blog!

    Length

    The old guidelines for blogs posts used to be 300 words minimum. Now, the average blog post is around 400 – 600 words minimum. Many of my favourite blogs have posts regularly 1000 words or over.

    You don’t need to write quite this much, but you can see the trend is for more in depth knowledge. people are really searching online to learn something, so shallow content doesn’t cut it any more.

    Title

    Your blog title and first few lines matter more than you think. They are the first thing that viewers see before they even decide to read more, so keep it exciting and fairly short (less than 70 characters).

    Lists with numbers always work well (though the post should reflect this), and don’t be afraid to use strong words to create excitement. ‘How to’ type titles, or questions are also popular devices.

    Generally, I have 3-4 attempts at the title before settling on one – it’s definitely worth spending some time on. Think, would I read this post, based only on this title?

    Really this topic deserves a whole blog in itself, so read this good one from Hubspot – A Simple Formula for Writing Kick-Ass Blog Titles

    Linking

    You can link to your relevant pages, if they are indeed relevant – it will help to boost your page and it helps guide the viewer.

    But please don’t spam the page and add lots of links that have no relevance! Keep it just to a few.

    Here’s a quick example for a Printing company. The link is the text that is bold and underlined.

    Here’s a recent leaflet print project we did, that demonstrates this example of paper folding and cutting well.

    This allows the viewer to explore further, if they want to, and is directly relatable to the blog post.

    Another way of linking, is to link to similar blog posts you have written on the same topic.
    Another example.

    If you’re interested, you can learn more about designing flyers in our in depth post How to Create the Perfect Flyer

    These all aid the viewer, and lets them discover more, but interlinking also boosts your site SEO.

    Formatting

    People don’t read online, they merely skim. Many usability studies over the years have shown that people do read very differently online to printed materials. So long paragraphs get completely missed.

    As well as short paragraphs, it’s best to keep sentences short – usually under 25 words.

    If you’re making a list, then you can use bullet points to aid reading. They catch attention and are often well read.

    If you want to bring emphasis to particular words or phrases you can also make them bold.

    It’s also important to make good use of headings to separate the content out – allowing people to scan to the section they want.

    All of these factors allow a user to scan through your post – finding just the parts they are looking for and the main parts you want the user to read. .

    Summary

    If you incorporate these ideas into your next post, soon enough, you will get the type of results you’re hoping to achieve from your blog posts. And if you want a hand, to boost your marketing – then just let us know

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  • October 19, 2015

    CHECKLIST: 9 Must Haves For Your Website

    CHECKLIST: 9 Must Haves For Your Website

    Here is an easy checklist to make sure your website is working for you – follow these 9 steps and you’ll be well on your way to getting more visitors and more enquiries.

    1. Imagery

    Websites with images always look more appealing – and more memorable.

    But don’t fill it with extremely generic stock images, you need images that really relate to your business, and to your audience.

    Photos of your premises / products / staff are all great, as long as they have been professionally taken! They will have more of a emotional impact on web visitors than generic images of models pretending to work.

    Remember, keep file sizes low otherwise they affect site speed!

    2. Quick Speed

    Google now check your site speed – and it can affect your search rankings.

    A slow website will more than just hinder usability for visitors – if it takes too long, they will simply leave.

    But now you will actually lose rankings, it if continually takes seconds and seconds to load.

    Here the Google page where you can test your site speed

    There are a number of factors that can affect this, but once you know it’s a problem, your web dev and the web hosting company should be able to help you.

    3. Call to Actions

    In order to gain more enquiries from your website, you should use Calls-to-Actions (CTA)

    A CTA is basically a button – here is a simple version

    Get a free Quote

    They make it easy for visitors to enquire – a button is always more enticing to click that just a text link.

    If you use an image CTA, you can add more information and let them know why they should click – these are used to for any download materials you offer, not just direct enquiries.

    Here’s an example of a CTA from Studio Rossiter

    White Paper CTA Download

    4. Easy Navigation

    When a website gets older, and you keeping adding more and more pages, the navigation can get quite tricky – trying to squeeze everything in – and it is no longer helpful to the user.

    Make sure the navigation is nice and simple.

    Visitors need to know where they are, how to access other parts of the site and always – how to contact / or find the cart if you’re providing e commerce.

    5. Large Text

    More and more computer monitors are getting bigger – so where standard website text used to be size 10 -11 – it’s now better to have a 14 or above!

    The text should be able to update, depending on the screen size – so on a mobile, it needs to be substantially bigger. It gives the reader maximum readability on a variety of screen sizes.

    6. Responsiveness

    You’ve heard it before – but it’s so important – your website must display well on a variety of devices. Otherwise you will lose visitors as quick as they came.

    It’s not just for visitors being able to read and navigate your site well. Again, Google will reduce your search rankings if your site is not mobile friendly – so make it a top priority!

    7. Great Content

    We know that online people only skim read online – so the need for well written, clear, and well formatted content is imperative.

    It needs to be specific and relevant, and concise – and kept up to date.

    Large paragraphs won’t be read, so keep to bullet points, lots of headings and short sentences – this’ll make it easier for visitors to find what they want to read about.

    8. A Blog

    To boost your website’s prominence on the web, and to give returning visitors something new – a regularly updated, expertly written blog is a great idea.

    It also lets google know you’re an expert on your subject and that you update the site regularly – which is good!

    What should you write about? You can feature testimonials or reviews, any related industry news, top tips, new ideas and more – get creative!

    9. SEO

    SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) will help your website to be found online. Often it’s worth bringing in an expert to make sure this is done properly, but there are a few small things you can do.

    Start by researching relevant keywords, and making sure your site includes them. Make sure every page has a proper Meta Title and Description. Make sure all images have Alt Tags.

    There is a great Beginners guide to SEO here by MOZ – this will give you a good idea of where to start!

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  • October 12, 2015

    A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Local Online Marketing

    A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Local Online Marketing

    For a lot of local businesses, you rely on word of mouth – which can do wonders if you get known. But what if you want to expand further than that?  How do you make sure potential local customers can find you online?

    Website

    Make sure your website is top notch – it needs to look modern and be full of up to date information. Paying someone to build it once 4 years ago and then leaving it alone will simply not do any more.

    Particularly, it needs to be optimised for mobile users, as more and more people are searching on the go. A new Google Study showed that 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit after conducting a local search – you can read this in depth study about local and mobile search here

    So make sure your address is prominent, so they can come find you – this sounds obvious, but sometimes it’s overlooked, and can be tricky to find!

    Keeping an active blog (once or twice a week at least) is also integral, as you’re constantly letting search engines know that your site is a great source of new expert information on your company’s industry – and so in turn, you get more traffic.

    Google Places

    If you haven’t already, add your business to Google Places.

    For any location based searches in Google, for example “hairdressers Wigan”, Google maps results still appear at the top of the listings, before any website listings.

    It’s also an opportunity to get Reviews – which (if good!) boost your credibility.

    It’s important to make sure you’re not missing here. It’s free add for your business and is quite straightforward.

    Social Media

    As a small business, it can seem like quite a lot of hassle to keep posting on social media platforms, but the truth is, that’s where your potential customers are!

    There were over 1 Billion users on facebook last week, so get active on social!

    You can post a variety of things, not just special deals – think about what your audience would also be interested in (it doesn’t always have to be about yourself). A few times a week should be enough to start with and be sure to include any good photos or videos, as they always get more views.

    You also need to make sure your profile is fully filled out, and has all your address contact details, opening times, phone number etc on.

    Business Listing Websites

    Add yourself to any local business listing websites – for any reasonable sized town there’s usually a few free sites where you can add your company details. This is just a small step, but you want to cover every option.

    A few UK wide sites include Yelp, Thompson and Free Index.

    Network

    Get to know other local business in the area if you don’t already. Local connections, whether online or offline can be invaluable – you never know when something pops up and you’ve been recommended by someone local to you for the job.

    A good place to find and connect with other businesses / people is Twitter.

    Sponsorship

    Sponsoring local events is always a good way to get your name known to the local community. As there’s the build up promotion online as well as the printed material etc on the actual day.

    However, before you hand out any money, find out exactly how big the event is, what their target market is likely to be, and whether you’ll be added to their website as part of the deal  (which is a big plus).

    This research will ensure that your business gets seen by the right kind of people, and not time wasters who won’t need your services.

    Hopefully these ideas will give you a quick taster of the work that needs to be done to ensure you reach full potential with your local online marketing.

    If you need a helping hand, or have any questions, please let us know.

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  • September 28, 2015

    22 Ideas to Boost Your Event Promotion

    22 Ideas to Boost Your Event Promotion

    Here are some  ideas and practical tips to help you make sure that everyone who needs to know, knows about what you’re planning!

    1. Write a press release – Keep it no more than 1 page. It needs to be descriptive, with all the main details, but not boring please!
    2. Send the press release out to local and related magazines and newspapers along with a photo or event logo for them to publish.
    3. Run a small contest that asks users to like and comment on a post on facebook or use a hashtag if on twitter to get your name out.
    4. Produce 1 or 2 promo videos to let people know very quickly what to expect – it creates a big impression.
    5. Follow related people on Twitter. Generally the more people you follow, the more will follow back, so if it’s a gig, then follow music lovers in the area, gig promoters, music news, bands etc.
    6. Get in touch with any local bloggers who are related to your industry – eg fashion or dance – ask them to come along and cover the event.
    7. Make sure your website has a very easy to find tickets page, and that the home page is written and designed for guests, and not just gaining staff.
    8. Keep blogging on your website with the latest news – not only is it good for guests – but it’s good for Google (Google will see you have an active site and push your further up the rankings).
    9. Ask any speakers / performers  to write a short guest post about their involvement or themselves for your blog.
    10. If your performers or speakers are not big on writing, then do an interview with them – and post the transcription as a blog post instead.
    11. Email your subscriber list – you can do this once per month before the event, as long as you have interesting news for them and don’t spam them too often!
    12. Produce lots of graphics – for use on the website and social media. Of course you need the main poster, logo and leaflets, but it’s also good to have supporting graphics to post on social media, for example announcement of news or a ticket promotion.
    13. Don’t make the graphics yourself, even if the event if fantastically organised – amateur design will make you look bad and can put people off.
    14. Get some photos taken for online use – eg behind the scenes / the venues / the staff / any pre show activities that look interesting. Social posts with images get way more views and clicks.
    15. Get leaflets printed and distributed around town – get as much help as you can with this (it’s a tiring job)!
    16. Ask to put posters in local shops / cafes.
    17. Track down any related online forums that would be ok with you posting there about your event.
    18. On the day of the event, get some staff / volunteers outside the venue and around the local with leaflets.
    19. During the event, keep posting on social media with updates of what’s happening to generate excitement throughout the day.
    20. Make sure you photograph and video the event – for post event promotion.
    21. Produce a post event press release – recap what happened and send (along with a few great photos) to any press / news who are interested to posting the review.
    22. Produce a general promo video from the footage captured on the day – it’ll be invaluable for any new events you hold in the future.

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  • August 17, 2015

    A 2015 Guide to B2B Visual Content Marketing

    Throughout the buying cycle – B2B is getting more visual – no doubt. No longer is it down to just lengthy text based proposals and text websites to win deals and get ahead in marketing.

    There’s been a shift in sharing and online, it’s no longer limited to B2C brands.

    Studies from last year – particularly an in depth study from Demand Gen – have shown B2B buyers are sharing blog posts frequently, along with infographics and videos more and more.

    Peer referrals is still a very persuasive tool for marketers and are a high value channel for B2B so this type of online content sharing fits perfectly – and amplifies their peer reach.

    Infographics

    Infographics are a simple and increasingly popular way for a researcher or buyer to access a lot of information quickly.

    In 2014, 39% of B2B buyers identified that they share infographics on social media frequently – so it’s obviously worth looking into.

    Basically, It’s an easy to way to digest what could be complicated information – in a fun visual style.

    You can build and design these for free, but for that extra wow factor, there are plenty of companies who will do it for you – on basically any topic and any design.

    Video

    Video content has been continually on the rise for years – and this report from Demand Gen shows that during 2014 -2015 its popularity has not slowed down one bit – particularly for B2B – with an 8% increase last year.

    It’s the most effective way to show a consistent and easy to absorb message to a wide variety of people.

    It’s also so versatile – you can film, have animation, show news – anything. So customers needn’t spend ages reading long text pages on your site again – they can take in the information in, in a fun and memorable way.

    Video is particular helpful if your business is quite complex (as B2B often is!) As it’s the perfect medium for showing the abstract or complicated information in engaging, rich way.

    Presentations

    Presentations gives the users interactive element online – so they are able to learn at their own pace. And like any good visual content – they’re very easy to embed on your site and share with others.

    Slideshare is a great example of this growth – it’s simply a presentation hosting and sharing site – but year on year it’s becoming more popular – with a 7% increase in usage last year.

    Producing a presentation is relatively simple, if you start with a good design template and content, so amplifying your message and establishing credibility with a site like Slideshare is invaluable for B2B.

    White Papers

    White papers are still used by B2B buyers and specifiers to research topics before making a decision or even enquire.

    They are a great way of showing an depth information on a particular subject, and really educating the audience, but incorporated within great design, making it simple to read and absorb the knowledge.

    While they are text heavy, they often use a combination of charts, text and images – to make the user experience really rich.

    So although they are more geared towards text – importance is going more and more on great design and graphics – which makes it much more readable and enjoyable.

    Images and Photos

    Simply using more still images will make an impact – to accompany blog posts or product pages.

    They don’t always need to be as complicated as an infographic, a photograph or illustration will still have an effect.

    Within a blog post, an image every 350 is considered most effective according to Quick Sprout.

    It breaks the text up , and makes it easier to read in bite size chunks – take in the info, see a nice relevant image, then back to reading.

    Simply, It makes your blog more readable.

    Summary

    As a B2B Marketer – you need to cover a wide range of platforms and content types – and harness all of these and reach as many customers as possible.

    It’s worth having a team member who has real design skills as well as business knowledge – or contracting out the work to a professional company.

    It’s definitely a bigger job than you think producing all of this original content.

    However, this work far outweighs the downside – leaving your business to text only content only – you will soon be left behind.

    As always we welcome your comments – how do you plan to include and produce more visual content into your 2015 marketing strategy?

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Email: harry [at] digitalfinch.co.uk
Phone: 0161 818 2120
Location: Wigan, UK

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