We don’t like to brag but we can’t help feel a small glow of shared pride for the recent accolade BoxStuff and Generator Graphics have received from The Times.
A website we made called “The Ok Corral” is a family run vintage emporium for all those shoppers who love the idea of a car boot sale but can’t face the early start or madding crowds. Gratifyingly, The Times has just voted it one of ‘the coolest interior design websites’ and who are we to argue with the people who clearly know a good thing when they see it. We’re just happy to have been involved and wish it every continued success!
SEO (search engine optimization) has become a popular buzzword with companies looking to increase their ranking in online searches. But aggressive search engine optimization has had its day. For a time, it seemed easy enough to stick in some Google-friendly keywords and, hey presto, the website would shoot gratifyingly to the top of a search.
But Google became wise to this lazy marketing technique and realised that it wasn’t actually very consumer-friendly. I’m sure, like me, you’ve googled something and been frustrated to find that the site at the top of the search list wasn’t actually what you were looking for after all – it just happened to have a few similar words or one key phrase that matched your search. Do you order something from that website or subscribe to its feed? Almost certainly not – because it wasn’t what you were looking for.
So Google adapted its ranking criteria – not to make it more difficult for SEO marketers but to make it better for users. Its webmaster guidelines even state:
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”
Using keywords is no longer the silver bullet of web marketing. Great content is.
By great content, we mean items that people (that’s people with a capital P – not ‘puters) are interested in reading – and are therefore likely to share on their social media platform of choice (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc). Content such as:
Although this might seem a daunting list, Smashingmagazine.com reassures us that ‘the content you post does not have to be long, it just has to be link-worthy’.
And, I would add to that, regular. You want your customers and readers to not only like what you give them but to come back for more. To rely on you providing them with regularly interesting and helpful content. So pick one or all of the above features and think about how you can add them to your site.
If you’re not confident about writing news-worthy content yourself, you can outsource it but be sure that the copywriter understands your field and can deliver you relevant copy.
As Paul Boag explains, “If you create great content, people will link to it, and Google will improve your placement. It really is that simple”.
For more on this topic, read smashingmagazine’s article
For any business to thrive, it needs loyal customers. People who keep coming back because they’ve found a brand or service that they like and trust.
To earn customer satisfaction, businesses need to offer their customers not only a great product but also the best possible service. To be a pleasure to do business with. To make themselves useful – vital, even – to their customers.
As a business owner, ask yourself:
BoxStuff rapport makes all these things not only possible but easy. Both to use and to maintain.
With BoxStuff rapport you can:
You can also organise your contacts into different groups using tags, making it easy to target a specific range of customers (perhaps you want to invite local customers to a product launch – there’s no point targeting your customers who live too far away to make the event).
There is no software to install (you just need a web browser) and you never have to worry about updates.
Facebook. Isn’t it just a time-consuming way of seeing terrible and/or embarrassing photos of old school friends and long-lost relatives? People that, lets be honest here, you lost touch with for a reason.
Certainly, that’s one aspect (we wouldn’t call it a use!) of Facebook. But just as there’s a big difference between tabloid newspapers and broadsheets, the social network page that your business projects can be as entertaining, informative and vital to your customers as you want it to be.
Social networking, in all its guises, is no longer just a token modern add-on. It can and should be an extremely cost-effective marketing tool. Not just another online presence but an engaging way of communicating with your customers. But don’t presume that just because it’s a free service, you don’t need to spend anything on it. The currency here is time – whether it’s you writing those regular updates or a content marketer who manages it for you. Facebook, like search engines and human nature itself, likes fresh content. It’s not enough just to have a page with your company details on and one or two dated photos.
Make your page useful to your customers and, most importantly, entertaining. Post photos of your new stock by all means but also update your followers with any exciting company news, product launches, dates of forthcoming events, thoughts of the day, and share with them other news articles, web links or photos that match your brand image.
People are more like to respond to posts that make them smile than bald facts or blatant adverts. And they’ll also be more likely to contribute their own comment if there’s a question somewhere in the post. Remember, it’s comments and ‘likes’ that increase Facebook interaction, by ensuring that post appears in commentators’ newsfeeds – and is consequently seen by their friends list. More worryingly, if there’s no regular interaction between your follower and your page, Facebook will simply filter you out of their daily newsfeeds. And if you’re not appearing in anyone’s newsfeed, then for all intents and purposes you don’t exist on Facebook. For more information on how Facebook operates its filter, see: http://socialmediatoday.com/augieray1/978431/complete-facebook-success-formula-every-marketer-should-know?ref=popular_posts)
Of course, Facebook may be the biggest social media site out there but it isn’t the only one. Twitter can operate either alongside your Facebook account (link them via your account settings) or independently. Twitter updates may only be 140 characters long but you can also add photos, video, links and articles to your tweets, making them another very useful way of getting your message out there. Here’s Twitter’s own take on how best to tweet: https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/best-practices/
Photo tagging platforms such as Pinterest are a great, visual medium for the time-poor. By creating online pinboards, your business can project a desired image. As well as featuring your own products, you can share images of things you admire, inspirational pictures, places, people and even recipes you like. Followers can then share your images on their pinboards and so with their followers. It’s quick and easy and instantly gives your customers a snapshot of who you are, what you do and why they should like you.
Quick and easy as all these platforms are in differing degrees, they do all take time. 43% of small business spend 6 hours or more per week on social media. If you were investing in any other marketing activity, you would no doubt allocate a schedule and budget to it. But because it’s easy, we make the mistake of thinking we can do it ourselves and try and squeeze it into our existing schedule. As www.socialmediatoday.com says: ‘Business owners shouldn’t do everything themselves’…’Too many small businesses that try social media marketing either don’t do it right or don’t do it long enough, or both, and then give up, thinking it doesn’t work”. (http://socialmediatoday.com/feldmancreative/984596/if-you-dispel-social-media-time-suck-you-probably-suck-it)
Whether you are a solepreneur, small business or a large corporate, social media can no longer be ignored. We’re not saying you can’t do it yourself but do take it seriously and set aside enough time to update regularly, keep content fresh and make it work for you. Or outsource to someone who can.