Marketing-Trends 2016

Marketing Trends for 2016

By | Marketing Trends | No Comments

With 2016 well and truly here, we thought we’d take a look at the marketing trends to watch out for this year so that you and your business are always one step ahead of the game.

 Mobile technology

Marketing has changed dramatically over the years and now, more than ever, it’s important that all of your advertising is streamed directly to people on the move. Gone are the days when people sat down at their desktop computers in the evening to explore the world wide web; instead, consumers are just a click away at all times thanks to mobile phone technology. If your marketing material isn’t optimised for mobile phones and tablets, you could find it far less effective.

Accessibility is key

If you’re not continuously being presented to your key target markets, the chances are they’ll buy from your competitors instead. As consumers explore new formats and social platforms, businesses must follow. For example, Snapchat is a relatively new social platform which is widely misunderstood, and as a result many businesses are missing out on its potential. Many high profile businesses and news services are beginning to flock to Snapchat thanks to the ease of sharing important messages, special offers and product launches directly to consumers’ phones without the need for them to go searching for it.

Time to become transparent

The advent of social media has made transparency in business ever more important as consumers have the power to not only instantly contact you from anywhere in the world, but also to air any complaints or success stories they might have. This means if your business isn’t 100% transparent, it could be public knowledge within a matter of hours.

Aim for the bullseye

Not only is social media highly successful when it comes to building brand awareness, it’s a great way of specifically targeting key target markets. Personalised data driven marketing (that is, marketing that focusses in on individuals who fit into a particular category by age, gender, location, likes, dislikes, etc) is becoming a highly important and successful tool to reach people who may benefit, or be particularly interested in your product or service, without spending money on reaching those who will have little or no interest.

 ‘Word of mouth’ is becoming ‘strike of keyboard’

Whilst social media is a fast-growing area of business, we mustn’t forget the power of SEO. If a consumer has discovered your advertising material somewhere, whether it be digital or not, the chances are that if they’re interested in your product or service they will use a search engine to find your website and further marketing material. Whilst an optimised website and well-written marketing content goes a long way to aiding your search engine ranking, consumer-created content is also becoming a key part of any successful SEO strategy. Just the same way as good reviews spread fast through word of mouth, the internet readily provides consumers with the opportunity to share their experiences and opinions instantly and to a worldwide audience. These reviews, whether good or bad, are becoming linked to your business through third party review websites, all of which could help, or hinder, your SEO.

As we enter 2016 with new plans and strategies, make sure you become more innovative, tech savvy and focus heavily on content creation that’s specifically targeted towards your customers’ individual needs, wants and desires, and you’ll soon see your customer base growing successfully throughout the year and beyond!

5-Biggest-Mistakes-Made-on-Facebook

Common mistakes made on Facebook

By | Social Media | No Comments

We all know that social media is an ever growing and highly effective source of communication with our existing customers and key target markets, but by making a few silly mistakes you can quickly and easily undo all your hard work. Customers can often be fickle in their opinions and decisions, especially when it comes to brand loyalty and parting with their hard earned cash. Think about it from their point of view; if you saw a business carry out something you felt was unprofessional on social media, would it knock your confidence in their capability?

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the five biggest mistakes that people make on their business’ Facebook page so you can avoid these common pitfalls and ensure your online presence is in tip-top condition!

The five biggest Facebook Marketing mistakes include:

1.Cross posting from Facebook to Twitter

It can sometimes be difficult to think of several interesting, fun or witty posts to share across all your social media platforms, especially if you’re posting more than once per day. Don’t be tempted to simply copy and paste the same update into each platform because you’re missing out on a trick – if an individual follows you on more than one platform the message you put on Facebook (for instance) may not interest them, whilst the same message in a reworded form on Twitter could grab their attention!

The other fatal mistake made by businesses is linking their Facebook page to their Twitter account. The main reason you are promoting your business on Social Media is to drive traffic to your website so people find out more about your business and enquire. Having the Facebook and Twitter linked is both counterproductive and can seem lazy to potential customers.

2. Liking your own posts

Whilst a large number of ‘likes’ for each post can be viewed as a measure of success in reaching your potential and existing customers, adding that 1 extra like can have a negative, rather than positive effect. If you are posting something into the public domain it is clear and apparent to all who read it that you would of course agree with the statement (otherwise why would you post it?), but amazingly by clicking ‘like’ as your business on your own post it can appear unprofessional.

3. Tagging people in irrelevant photos

Tagging people is a great way of grabbing their attention, but if it’s not relevant or doesn’t offer them anything of substantial interest it can have a hugely detrimental effect on your credibility as a business. Focus on creating excellent content that naturally grabs the attention of individuals who may be interested in your products or services and relay that message through the tried and tested means – don’t simply bombard people with information that they might not be interested in through unscrupulous means.

4. Adding people to a Facebook group without permission

As well meaning as it might seem to add someone to a Facebook group that you have just created, it’s not an advisable tactic. Whilst it can be a quick and easy method of gaining extra members in your new group, you may find a combination of low engagement and high rate of members choosing to leave the group – certainly not the desired effect! Advertise your group and mention it by all means, but allow it to grow organically and you’ll reap the benefits.

5. Forgetting to change your cover photo

So you’ve found or created a great cover photo that perfectly suits your business, looks professional and catches the eyes of visitors, so let’s leave it there for the next 3 years because it’s so great, right? Wrong. By periodically changing your cover photo it gives the impression that you’re an up-to-date and forward thinking business that would provide an excellent service and top-notch products to their customers.

So when you’re next venturing onto Facebook to increase your business’ profile, just remember our 5 biggest mistakes to make sure you don’t fall victim unwittingly!

If you want to learn how to get the most out of your Social Media Marketing, visit our training page to see how we can help.

Marketing Communications

How to communicate successfully

By | Food for thought, SMEs, Social Media | No Comments

Having seen a huge boom in the increase of online business and a greater awareness of the power of social media in recent years, it’ll come as no surprise that your online presence and business communications will always be scrutinised by your current and potential customers.

With so much choice available to your customers, they can afford to be picky and shop around. Successful communication throughout your business will ensure you create strong, lasting relationships with your customers, keeping you firmly in their mind when they require a product or service that you offer.

When your customers think about your business, chances are, they will think about their ‘first impression’, past experiences and dealings with you – not to mention your reputation, of course. There are several ways in which you communicate with your customers; through your blog posts, social media updates, website, newsletters and email correspondence to name but a few. Anything that entails you writing, posting or saying something specifically for the eyes and ears of an audience, regardless of the size (it could be one person, it could be 100), is a form of communication. You can probably see, then, why it is so important to always get it right!

Looking at your business communication through the eyes of your customers is a good way to analyse how you’re coming across and if you’re appealing to your target audience. Take note of the attitude, the tone, timescale (with regards to replies i.e. social media enquiries, emails etc.) and the content information of everything you put out there on the World Wide Web. This means your Facebook updates, Tweets, YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Google+ and LinkedIn articles, monthly newsletters, emails, web content and anything else where you connect and communicate with people.

The key things to think about are:

  • Don’t be a ‘Scrooge’, be approachable – are you inspiring people to make contact? A poor miserable attitude won’t motivate anyone to find out more about what you offer, whereas a happy and enthusiastic business will draw people in.
  • Knowledgeable – are you a leader of your sector? Make sure you demonstrate your extensive knowledge and experience with hints and tips, industry news and anything else your customers may find useful – knowledge equals trust, which then equals healthy customer relationships.
  • Correct use of spelling and punctuation – nothing says ‘unprofessional’ more than a poorly written blog post or an email riddled with grammatical errors. Make sure you read through and check what you have written – it may take 5 minutes but you can be sure you’re putting professional, well written content out there for all to see.
  • Be irresistible – your potential customer will want to do one of the following things; save themselves money, find the best deal/best added value, make money or purchase an experience that is second to none. If your business provides these things you need to communicate them with your customers – let them know what you can do for them!
  • Be responsive – endeavour to answer any queries as soon as you can. Leaving it three days until you reply to a potential customer could be enough to put them off, or at the very least give them time to find another business to make a purchase from. Reply to all correspondence in good time to save you missing out on a sale.
  • Rate yourself – would you be happy with your service? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself if you’re giving off a good impression? The saying goes ‘first impressions count’, but so do the second, third, fourth… Your aim should be to hold on to your customer, so make sure your communication is always the best it can be.

It’s important to remember that communication isn’t restricted to conversation over the phone or in person. When you understand this you can begin to look at everything you write, share and comment on and evaluate whether you’re communicating in the best and possible way to further your business. Everything exists in communication! Ensure you are getting your business ethos, personality, and benefits of your product and/or services across!

Social Media helps website ranking

How social media supports your SEO

By | Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media | No Comments

These days, social media sites are no longer an exclusive place to virtually hang out with your friends. Sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest have become both business and consumer friendly and the result has been incredibly beneficial to businesses around the world. Savvy business owners are realising the substantial potential to generate extra traffic to their website through successful social media marketing. Let’s take a closer look…

Did you know that it’s not just the big search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing that people use to find what they’re looking for? With more and more people turning to social media sites for their business needs (advertising etc.), increasing numbers of consumers are using these platforms to search for local businesses and services. Due to the ease of interaction and the ability to keep up-to-date with regular posts and updates, social media is a highly effective way of engaging with new and current customers with very little effort, time and outlay.

As a business owner, it’s important to boost your brand authority with your social media influence. You can do this by sharing relevant and interesting content, which provides the reader with valuable information. A regularly updated social media account will encourage and nurture your customer links – social shares are the new link building and it’s a quick, easy and effective way to build your online profile. Great content will get shared and reach a wider audience whilst you sleep, meaning your customers will actually help you with your marketing! The flipside of this of course is that if you allow your posts to dwindle from month to month then people may become disengaged from your brand and you could find yourself back at square one.

Remember, Google now includes recent and relevant tweets in search results, meaning that regular and valuable updates are now more important than ever. If you’re regularly tweeting insightful information and useful links, you can smile throughout the day knowing that not only will your tweets reach your followers (and possibly their followers, too, if they decide to retweet), but also anyone who searches on Google for something similar and relevant!

Don’t limit yourself to just Twitter though, Google also (rather unsurprisingly!) loves Google+! Not only does Google+ work wonders for your SEO by appearing high in Google searches with results containing links to your website (via your Google+ page), but Google+ ‘Authorship’ allows you to publish content to the web, with tags showing that you created it and links to your website. Want to know the best bit? Authorship automatically lets Google know that your article has been published and thus it will almost instantly appear in Google searches!

The key thing with the way Google (and other major search engines for that matter) ranks websites is that it is no longer all about keywords. SEO is becoming more human-friendly and thus is based more on the content you share with others and how relevant, informative and well written your content is. This means that now, more so than ever, content is King. Well-formed and interesting articles and blog posts are fast rising up the search engine rankings, whilst keyword heavy, uninspiring ‘sales style’ posts could leave you right down at the bottom of page 27!

Remember, the goal is to create super valuable content that people will love and understand. Once you’ve created it, share it across every platform you can get your hands on! People need to love your content so much that they’re inclined to share it through their own accounts, so get writing!

Social Media logos

Choosing the right Social Media platform

By | Digital Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Social media is one of the most useful tools available to your business but also one of the largest minefields around! Used correctly it can easily become your best ally and a great asset to your business, but used incorrectly it can do more harm than good. So where do you start and which platform is best for you and your business? We’ve compiled a little list to demystify the most popular social platforms out there and mixed in a few top tips and tricks to help you on your way to a successful social media experience

Facebook

With 1.19 billion users, Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites (and also one of the oldest too), Facebook is a hive of interaction and social engagement. This platform is particularly great for consumers due to the accessibility and ease of participation that Facebook pages offer, making it great for businesses that sell products. Facebook has several different features, such as ‘Insights’ that enable you to see how many people are viewing your updates and posts whilst Facebook ads are a great way to cost effectively promote your business to a wider audience in a quick time scale. This platform provides a fun way to build brand loyalty and awareness and drive traffic to your website with a clever use of links.

Twitter

Twitter is great for consumers and is also an effective way to network and connect with leading people in your business’ sector. Twitter says that ‘people are more likely (72%) to make a future purchase from an SME after they follow or interact with them on Twitter’. Another thing to take advantage of is Twitter Ads; these ads can help broaden the reach of your tweets beyond your followers, increasing your customer base and brand awareness.

LinkedIn

Launched in 2002, LinkedIn is a well established platform for professionals to connect and do business, specifically if you sell a B2B service. LinkedIn features a host of different groups based around industries, sectors and even regions, full of entrepreneurs and executives who are looking for business opportunities. LinkedIn even offers ‘Pulse’, a great publishing service for you to create and promote articles in order to increase your brand awareness and credibility by providing free and highly valuable insights, tips and tricks. LinkedIn is also a great place to advertise any job vacancies that you may have.

Google+

Only launched in 2011, Google+ is one of the most recent platforms, but is still packed full of opportunity! Based around ‘circles’ of people, you are able to share your thoughts and connect with other professionals easily and quickly, making connections and networking from your desk! Google+ sits nicely in between Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn when it comes to consumer/professional users, giving you a wide audience to connect with. This platform is also a little gem for helping your SEO, certainly one to include in your mix.

Instagram

Instagram is a must have platform if you have a very visual business or sell products, but not such a high priority if you’re an accountancy firm (but don’t rule it out!). Unlike other platforms, Instagram is about sharing images to grab the attention of your audience rather than text. Your pictures are shared to a wider audience via your chosen hashtags, rather than just your current connections. Packed full of consumers, Instagram is great for product-based businesses.

YouTube

Created in 2005 and bought by Google in 2006, YouTube has long been the go-to place for consumers looking for reviews, adverts and explainer videos. Because video is a very visual way to captivate your audience and get across a lot of information in a short time frame, along with being a highly ‘shareable’ media, it is set to make up 84% of all internet traffic by 2018, so get yourself on YouTube! YouTube is a great platform for all businesses, from product demonstration videos and how-to-tutorials to ‘Meet the Team’ introductions and customer testimonials.

 

So, hopefully we’ve given you a bit of an insight into the big wide world of social media! Don’t forget, if you want to find out more, just drop us an email at info@jigsawcommunications.co.uk to see how Jigsaw Communications can help you. Don’t forget we also run Social Media training courses to help businesses get to grips with Social Media. Find out more on our training page.

Customer Profiling - Transform your thinking

Customer profiling increases sales

By | Food for thought, Marketing Strategy | No Comments

Customer profiling may be a new term to you or you may have been utilising it for years, but either way, it is a powerful tool that many of us aren’t taking full advantage of. Customer profiling can increase sales, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty – all from changing your way of thinking when it comes to marketing! Sounds good, doesn’t it?

These days it can feel as though we are being bombarded with products, services and messages from companies across the globe on a daily basis. The things is, it’s far too easy for your business to get lost in all the ‘noise’ – this is where customer profiling can help you directly access the individuals that would actually be interested in your product or service, making you stand out from the crowd. It works by understanding who your customers are (both existing and potential), what they like and dislike, what they aspire to and what their spending habits are. The likelihood is that you may have various different customer profiles and that’s great! It means that you can direct your products or services to your audience in different ways and access a wider market.

Think of it this way; weedkiller isn’t exactly a ‘sexy’ product or one that you would often think of buying in your day-to-day life. A sunny, landscaped, weed free garden complete with BBQ and a glass of wine however, now that crosses a lot of people’s minds, especially on a wet Monday morning in a dreary office full of sniffling people! By tapping into how people think, what they aspire to and their habits you can successfully target your marketing campaign to offer the promise of a dream lifestyle, regardless of the reality. You may have already noticed that food producers picture slim people enjoying their indulgent treats, car companies picture their cars driving along sweeping alpine roads and Mediterranean coastlines and dating websites picture happy couples, madly in love on their way to the most romantic destinations this world has to offer.

Target your customers

Target your customers

Regardless of your sector, product, service, current customer base or target audience, customer profiling is a highly effective way of increasing turnover and reducing marketing costs by targeting your advertising to an audience that will listen, in a manner that will inspire them to buy from you and not your competitors. 

What’s more, you can use this information to engage with your customers through social media in a way that appeals to them; whether that be competitions, free trials or just a good old natter! Successfully using customer profiling is a valuable tool that everyone should take advantage of in their business, it’s just that good! Here at Jigsaw Communications we can tailor marketing campaigns from conception right through to final customer interaction, both before and after purchasing, to ensure you really are making the most of your available resources and gaining and maintaining happy, loyal customers – ultimately the goal of any business! If we’ve whet your appetite and you want to know more, give us a call or drop us an email for a friendly, informal chat.

Content marketing increases leads

By | Digital Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

How Content Marketing can generate sale leads

As a business owner, you’ll probably know that the internet is a loud place. It’s a market place full of the hustle and bustle of buyers and sellers. Sellers are vying for the attention of buyers who know exactly what they want but don’t know which to choose from the thousands of services and products just like yours, and the buyers themselves are trying to make sense of all the promises and oodles of information to ensure they make the correct purchase.

But how can you ensure your business and your products stand out from the crowds? The goal is to get people to know, like, and trust your brand. To do this, your content must be interesting and engaging and should aim to create a common interest between you and your followers.

The concept is pretty easy – you create content and then market it. In layman’s terms, you write a blog article relevant to your business, publish it and then share it through social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in order to acquire and retain an audience. The tricky part is coming up with a killer strategy and sticking to it, religiously and consistently.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing is a fundamental part of your digital marketing plan

But first, the content you create needs to be valuable and relevant in order to attract the attention of your target audience. Interesting and engaging content will drive traffic and strengthen the relationship between you and your audience. The type of content you write and where you market it is all part of your online strategy.

A punchy, informative and concise article or blog post has the capacity to attract and convert your audience into buyers and buyers into loyal customers and followers. By creating and sharing content you are essentially creating a portal into your business – a snapshot of what your business is about and what it does/provides. This engagement is vital in building a trustworthy and likeable business, which is what generates sales leads.

So, you’ve created your content, shared it across your social media channels and now what? Create new content, repeat. Old and repetitive information that you’ve already shared will not engage your followers because they are doing just that – following you. This means they’re looking for new and fresh content, something they’ve not read before from you. You really don’t want to be known as the business that nags and repeats the same old boring stuff every week because this will result in disengagement, a low reach and poor visibility; eventually people will unfollow you, meaning your hard efforts will be worthless. You need to market new content regularly, preferably daily.

Yes, content marketing is an ongoing and regular activity that needs updating, but it’s necessary to bring in and hold onto potential customers and ultimately generate sales. Good content will not only get people talking and sharing, which does wonders for word-of-mouth exposure, but your business will have a greater chance of ranking well in Google search results, perfect to help people find your business amidst the crowds of the ever-growing internet!

This may all sound very time consuming and might leave you thinking ‘all very well if I had an extra ‘x’ hours in the day’. If this is the case, you’ll find our articles on outsourcing very beneficial and you could shave hours off your ‘to-do’ list in no time at all!

Media Tim’s Social Media training – Module 1

By | Social Media, Training, Uncategorized | No Comments

I attended Media Tim’s Social Media training on Tuesday 20th January, and I have to say what a pleasure it was to attend.

The course was relaxed and yet really informative. Like most marketers I know the benefits of Social Media for businesses, but for my own business the biggest problem I have is planning what to say and when to say. The first module that Tim takes you through makes you focus upon your customer, how they think and the problems that they have that you can help them address.

Once you have managed to get your head around this, he then helps you to understand the best way to write your content on your blog and which social media platforms are best to use ensuring you use the right tone for each platform!

I’m really looking forward to attending his next module on LinkedIn next Tuesday (3rd February) at Maximo Learn in Bedford. Although  I still need to do my homework!!! I will report back on the next weeks module!

Don’t forget if you want to attend the training with me, click on the links!

For more information on Tim’s course check out the below links:

https://plus.google.com/109186133077205496771/posts/LukS41jw2gH

Book on the course: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/tim-brown-6667086187

Social Media Day-1-Module-1

Social Media Training

By | Food for thought, Social Media, Training | No Comments

I’m really looking forward to attending Media Tim’s Social Media training at Maximo Learn (www.maximolearn.com) on next Tuesday – the 20th of January in Bedford.

Like everyone I try to keep on top with my social media, sending out tweets on news and promoting the business and trying to start those all-important conversations with clients and suppliers. The one thing I’m looking forward to the most is getting a Social Media strategy in place and a plan of what I’m going to send out and when. I’m hoping that it should keep me focused and target those clients and industries that I would love to work with.

Tim looks at all social media platforms, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and how all of these together can help you promote your business. If you are interested in putting together a social media plan for 2015 for your business, why not check out Tim’s courses. They run in Wellingborough and Northampton as well.

For more information on Tim’s course check out the below links:

https://plus.google.com/109186133077205496771/posts/LukS41jw2gH

Book on the course: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/tim-brown-6667086187

I will post next week and let you know how I get on. – Laura

Marketing plans for 2015!

By | Marketing Planning | No Comments

It’s a scary time of year, when you start planning 2015, looking at how you want things to pan out of the business. So I thought we would start looking at the predicted marketing trends for 2015 and which strategies should be implemented into your marketing plans for 2015.

We all know that digital marketing is on the increase; however, a recent report by Accenture based on a survey of more than 580 senior marketers globally, found that more than a third believe that digital will account for 75% of their marketing budgets by 2019, while 35% say mobile will account for more than 50%!

Lets have a look at the insight into the digital trend and see what lessons we can learn…

Lesson 1 – Relax the brand controls

The consumption of digital media is on the increase and with this is the amount of content created by customers who love what brands have to offer, and sometimes negative feedback will be included. Embracing this the collaboration with customers can also increase co-creation of new products.

Lesson 2 – Humanise the brand

We talked about this is last months edition of Marketing Magic and according to research by Lippincott “Brands that behave like humans find more favour with customers”. Consumers now buy a lifestyle, and through making your brand more human you are becoming more transparent and moving away from customer cynicism.

Lesson 3 – Maximise converged content

It is believed that content marketing will be taken to the next level promoting it through paid-for social media strategy. Social Media won’t be the only determining factor in this evolution; mobile, smart TV’s and understanding coding will also play a part.

Lesson 4 – Get ahead of technology

With the introduction of Google Glass, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch and the new Apple iWatch that is coming out in 2015 – media consumption are changing rapidly. The level of consumer uptake or marketing applications is currently not clear, but what is clear is that you can’t be behind the times in your innovations or strategies to reach your customers.

Lesson 5 – Take more risks

Without risk there is no gain! Being versatile and reactive to any brand can be scary but sometimes it’s the big decisions that pay off. Don’t be afraid to look at what is news topical or current and put an opinion out there as long as you can react and rectify any negativity it is one way to raise awareness of your brand.

 Brands becoming more reactive can capitalise on 58 million consumer tweets a day, according to Social Media Examiner.

Lesson 6 – Stay ahead of gen Z

Keeping ahead of the next generation is never easy especially now when they are less patient and more difficult to impress. Therefore reaching them requires excellent content on the right media and the right time.

Twitter has changed the way media is consumed, from breaking news to viral content; the tech savvy younger generation no longer see the need for email, all they need is text and social media according to Marketing Week’s Secret Marketer.

Lesson 7 – Merge data with creativity

At its best data and creativity combine and result in the best program possible. Data has been captured for years; marketers saw the introduction of Tesco Club Card combine creative personalised marketing with data. With advancements in technology you can now monitor who is visiting your website which content they are interested in and how long they were there. Thus giving sales teams and marketers the data required personalised marketing and sales messages to convert into a sale.