All posts by Leigh Baker

Temperament Insights to Add a Bit of Science to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Once upon a time marketing was an arcane talent – a mystical understanding of human behavior that enabled certain magicians to understand their customers and make sales.  These days, an increasing number of straightforward tools are available to help business people develop the craft of marketing as a skilled practice.    One of these tools is the Myers Briggs temperament model.   Continue reading

Why Is SEO Like Housework?

1. It’s never “finished”

The Internet isn’t “finished” – so SEO can’t be finished. With more and more material on the Internet, changing social media platforms and usage, changing market trends and topics, there’s lots of “dust” settling.

2. A little bit regularly makes a big difference

Like laundry and dishes, doing a bit every day or week means the job doesn’t get too big.  Checking your keyword effectiveness, adding new content and sharing great ideas you find online is best done in small, regular blocks.

3. Having a strategy and a system makes it quick and easy

In SpeedCleaning <<insert link?>>, Shannon Lush describes how to put systems in place to clean your house efficiently when you’re time poor.  Similarly, a a smart system for SEO and digital marketing will make things easier.  Scheduling tools and idea capture techniques will maximise your results.

4. Spring clean every year for best results

As your business and your world changes, so will your SEO and digital marketing.  An annual review of your strategic direction, content and presentation will keep you looking good.

5. You can hire the work out

If your time is too scarce and too valuable to spend on maintenance work, get someone in to do it.  You need to be careful to find a quality service provider, <<link to separate post>> but once you’ve got good help, you can get on with your core business.  (While keeping an eye on the work, of course.  Your SEO provider is great at SEO – and NOT an expert in your business.)

 

4 ways that the right content builds trust

  1. It demonstrates that you’re sincere.  That you mean what you say.
  2. It demonstrates that you’re competent. That you have relevant knowledge, skills and capability to deliver.
  3. It demonstrates that you’re reliable. If you’re keeping up regular, consistent activity, you’ll show up as current and reliable.
  4. It demonstrates that you’re involved. That you see the client’s needs and concerns, not just your service features.

 

Content or Adwords – which is best?

Quality content is a strong long term strategy for Search Engine Optimisation.   But these days it’s only part of the picture.

There are places where paid Internet advertising is a strong option, whether its AdWords or Facebook Ads.  These include:

  1. Special promotions
  2. Product launches
  3. ???

To make sure you’re getting value for money, make sure that you’ve done  your homework, so that your paid ads are:

  • Strategic
  • Well-targetted
  • Tested and measured

A scatter gun approach will cost you money every time a poorly targeted ad gets clicked — and then bounces.

If you don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaign, contact us now.

Just What IS Content?

There are 3 main types of content:  core marketing copy; ongoing original content; and other external content you share.    Content is read by humans and also by search engines.  Humans need it to look good, be interesting and solve their problems.  Search engines want content to be consistent, trustworthy and  interesting to humans.

Three levels of content

Types of content

1. Your core marketing copy

Your website is the core of your digital marketing — your overall aim is to bring people who want your solutions to your website.  Once they’re there, your core copy is aimed — like all copy, in explaining your value proposition and building trust.

Even if your main source of business is offline referrals, your offer will often be checked out online — so it needs to be compelling.

2. Your ongoing original content

Once upon a time, a static website was enough.   These days, if you’re looking to get online traffic then you’ll do better if you regularly update your content.  Content here like slide shows and blogs will show that you’re up to date and have real value to offer.  In particular, search engines like ongoing activity.

The more original and engaging your copy, the more people will stay to read it and the more search engines will like your website.

3. Selected external content

You can generate interest and trust by sharing other people’s material online.  Your business character will be judged by what you share. If you make it interesting and relevant to your ideal customers then you’re putting your brand in front of them.

 

What types of content are there?

Content comes in many forms, and can include:

  • written articles
  • videos
  • slideshows
  • audios
  • photos and images
  • infographics

Different people process different modes of information, so a good combination of written material, audio and visual material will meet the needs of your human audience.   Make sure you know your own preferences, so you can avoid overdoing any one channel.

Keep in mind at all times that search engines are word based, so complement images and videos with quality text with strong keywords for better rankings.

 

What Do You Do Before You Do Digital Marketing? Insights from Good to Great

In a world where Internet presence is becoming increasingly important, it can be easy to be convinced to jump into a digital marketing program.  After all, every one is doing it — and being noticed is the first step in finding new customers.

The question is “Are you really ready?”  Have you done the ground work to present well, or are you going into an uninformed process that could result in the curse of the computer age – GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT?

Technology Last  (Good to Great rules!)

In 2001, Jim Collins published his research into the factors that turned good businesses into great businesses, performing well above their industry average over long periods of time. The title of the book is “Good to Great. Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t”.

Collins described a cyclic process of 6 steps that — pursued persistently — significantly increase and sustain outstanding business performance. He called this cycle of steps “the Flywheel”. You’re probably not here for business coaching, but just so you have the picture, the 6 steps are:

  1. Smart leadership first. Businesses with leaders who are smart coaches, not charismatic heroes are the businesses that thrive.
  2. Get your team right to get your business right. The people you need probably aren’t the same as you.  Build the right team and work with them in deciding what to do.
  3. Practice brutal honesty. Acknowledge what’s going on (and have faith you can deal with it). Create permission for the truth to be heard and dealt with.
  4. Know your core value proposition. Deeply understand the heart of the business you’re in – the place your passion, excellence and customer value meet.
  5. Name the rules — explicitly.  Develop a culture of discipline where everybody understands what the rules are for “our game” and what success looks like.
  6. Use relevant technology to accelerate business performance based on sound strategy.

The Core Application to Digital Marketing?

The right technology at the end of the right strategy will pay off big time — if you’ve done your homework.  Then you know what you’re selling and you know you’ve got the right people on your team to deliver:

  • Your message; AND
  • The value you promise.

Without knowing the value that your customer is really buying and being able to deliver on your promise, you risk spending a whole lot of money on the wrong message and (much worse) damaging your reputation because you’ve missed the mark.

Don’t play READY / FIRE / AIM — it’s way too expensive!

Leigh Baker is a writer and sustainable business coach specializing in the skills business owners need to turn innovative business thinking into strategic action.

CONTENT, COPY AND SEO – WTF? (What are The Facts?)

Content is a critical element in any digital marketing strategy — understand the role it plays and you can get more out of your marketing $$$s.  It’s the strong foundation of all your digital marketing and will reduce your overall marketing costs – so don’t underrate it.

The facts about SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is about meeting the needs of two audiences — your website visitors AND the search engines that bring them to you.  The basic facts of SEO are:

  • Search engines can’t read pictures and videos (yet).  This means SEO is primarily a game of words – but not words for the sake of words.
  • Search engines look “under the hood” — so it’s more complicated than just what’s visible in your content.
  • Search engine algorithms change constantly as they try to find the best possible information for their users — so EVERY “tricky technique” has a limited life span (and a potential future risk).
  • The Internet is growing – every day there’s more.  More web sites, more social media on more platforms, spreading more ideas.
  • Internet access technology is changing — with more and more different devices in use.
  • The Internet reflects human interests and concerns — which change constantly.

SEO is like housework — it’s never a “done thing”.  Keeping up with it on a regular basis prevents nasty surprises in your page rankings.

 

Quality content is critical

Without quality content visitors move on quickly.  Your bounce rate is high and search engines will notice – so your rankings will be poor.

Whatever gets a visitor to your site, once they’re there it’s the quality of your content that keeps them there. Even if your business is based on referrals, your website still has to sell you. Your content has to add value, it has to showcase YOUR value — and it’s got to look good.  Otherwise visitors move on — fast!

 

What is content, anyway?

There are three basic types of content:

  1. Your website’s core copy, which explains who you are and how you add value for your customers.
  2. Your value-adding ongoing content — the blog posts, whitepapers, videos, infographics, images and audio podcasts and that a) reinforce who you are and b) demonstrate how you add value.
  3. You can also use carefully  selected external content to inform your customers and demonstrate your values and your style.

With good content on your web site, you’ve got a wealth of material to drive your digital marketing strategy.

 

The name of the game is TRUST

Fundamentally, your web presence is an ongoing multi-media production that tells the story of you, your business and your customers.    Your web site is your primary web presence — and it’s there to create trust.

That trust is created in two separate audiences: you need trust from search engines AND trust from your potential customers.

  • If your coding is done well, and your content is consistent, you’ll get more trust and better rankings from the search engines.
  • If your content is clean, original, interesting and valuable, you’ll get more trust from potential customers.

 

Quality content is your best SEO insurance

If you’ve done that all-important marketing homework and have a really clear, customer focused set of value statements, you’ve built a great foundation for quality core copy.

If you’re putting genuine, valuable, original ongoing content out to your audience, your visitors will stay longer and explore further.

Good, clear, consistent core copy plus interesting, useful ongoing content is a sound SEO investment.  You’re working with the system.

If you spend time and effort on specific “tricks” it may pay off in the short term, but won’t last.  Once upon a time “the thing to do” was to have lots of backlinks — these days, junk backlinks to poor quality or unrelated sites will hurt your rankings instead of helping them.

 

What does this mean for your web site?

  1. Your web site has to look good (to your ideal customer) — if it looks like a dog’s breakfast, if it looks 5 years old, if it ‘breaks’ on smaller devices, you’ll lose traffic and you’ll lose potential business.
  2. Your content has to BE good — if it doesn’t explain your value, if it doesn’t demonstrate your value, if it doesn’t engage visitors to stop, look, listen AND take action then you’ll lose traffic and you’ll lose potential business.

Invest in your content and your message, and you’ll make the most of your SEO spend.

 

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What Is Content FOR, Anyway?

There’s a lot of buzz about content in digital marketing.  Once you understand what content IS, the next thing to understand about content is:

WHAT IT’S FOR…

The Twin Purposes of Content

Purpose of online contentTwo Purposes

1. Content is there to increase understanding of the value you deliver

The better people understand what you deliver, the better your results will be.  Good content increases understanding when it talks clearly and consistently about what your purpose is, the problems you solve and the results you deliver.

2. Content is there to build trust from your visitors

The world has a trust deficit at the moment, particularly online.  Your content needs to let your visitors know they can trust you and your ability to deliver on your promises.  Good content demonstrates that you are real, and that the solutions you deliver are valuable.

 

For Two Audiences

Content serves two quite separate and distinct audiences with different needs. BOTH these audiences need to understand the value you offer AND trust you are genuine:

1. The human visitors to your site

Your content needs to meet human needs for information, value and enjoyment.  It needs to be useful, it needs to be tuned to the different ways that people process information (images, words, audio, movies).  It will be extra valuable if it’s tuned to different learning styles and different forms of trust-measuring.  It needs to engage people and encourage them to action.

2. The search engines that bring traffic to your site

Search engines are looking for engaging, good quality information from genuine providers.   They measure quality in all sorts of ways — from the quality of your code to the consistency and originality of your text content. <<Link to separate post when released>>.

Quality content is consistent, original and well-labelled.  It particularly requires effective words (search engines can’t process images and videos – yet).

 

Is Your Content Delivering?

Tools like Google Analytics can give a good indication of how well your content is delivering.   If your visitors “bounce” off as soon as they arrive, you have a problem — could be with your look and feel, your content or your keywords.  If your rankings are low and your traffic is low, you may have a trust problem with Google, or you may be out of touch with how your potential customers are searching for you.

Don’t know — and don’t know where to start?  Our Digital Health check is a low-cost way to get an independent assessment of how your website and your content are delivering for you.  Contact Us today to get started. <<Link to contacts page>>

 

‘ Aint What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It

There’s an old jazz standard that goes (in part):

When I was a kid about half past three

My ma said “Daughter, come here to me”

Said things may come, and things may go

But this is one thing you ought to know…

Oh ‘t ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

‘T ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

‘T ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

That’s what gets results………………….

You can try hard

Don’t mean a thing

Take it easy

Then your jive will swing….

We live in a constantly changing world, facing a constantly shifting range of issues.  It’s easy to get caught in what one of my coaches calls “toxic seriously”.  Unwittingly, we can bring this to the way we message our clients and customers.

How we succeed in business and is as much about the style and grace with which we present our message as about the content.

Why? What? How? What Else? A 4MAT Guide To Writing Web Content

One of the emerging requirements for effective digital marketing is writing good content that will introduce you to prospective clients.  So it’s no longer enough to be good at what you do, you need to be good at educating people you don’t know about the value of what you do.

This can sound quite challenging, however the good news is that there are tools available to help you develop material for the customers you haven’t met/won yet.

One very useful tool with multiple applications is  the 4MAT learning styles model. I learned about it years ago in public speaking training and have used it ever since for speech writing and developing training materials as well as authoring magazine and blog articles.

Writing content that engages people can keep them on your site longer – and that will help your Search Engine Optimisation.

4MAT proposes  that different people like to learn differently, so when you’re writing for a general audience, you’re likely to get better results if you meet their needs.  It also proposes that there is a particular sequence which will make sure you collect and maintain the interest of the four different learning groups:

  1. Why? Imaginative learners need to connect what they’re hearing with prior knowledge and experience. Connect what you’re communicating with their personal meaning system.
  2. What? Analytic learners want to know the underlying theory and the authorities behind it. Give them information about the facts as experts see them.
  3. How? Pragmatic learners want to jump in – to get hands on and learn in the doing. Answer the question “How does this work (specifically)?”
  4. What Else? Dynamic learners learn by doing, and then explore what else they can do with what they’ve learned. Answer the question “What can this become?”

So far in this article, I’ve introduced you to two elements of 4MAT:

  • Why you should learn about it – because it will help you develop digital marketing content suited to a broad audience.
  • What it is – 4 learning styles, covered in a specific sequence.

The next step is How.  Different people have different ways of writing – this is what I do:

  1. Work out the topic I’m going to write on – usually this is an article title.  These sometimes come from discussions about “if only our customers understood XXXXX then we could YYYYY”.
  2. Jot down the 4 styles in sequence – why/what/how/what else.  (I like doing this on a white board if at all possible.)
  3. Expand the headings with words about my topic.
  4. From this stage I can usually write my article or post.

The final element of 4MAT is What Else.  So in this introduction to the process, I finish with the suggestion that you use 4MAT in other places besides blog posts.  It’s useful for a range of marketing material including slide presentations, speeches, training material and video scripting.    You might explore the preferred learning styles of people you interact with. Could what you’re trying to tell them be better matched to how they learn?

So next time you have a blog post to write or a message to get across – try 4MAT-ing it.