Last month, I attended day 1 of the Internet Retailing Expo at the NEC, a yearly event that offers retailers and marketers the opportunity to take part in a range of workshops, conferences and one on one clinic sessions with a number of industry experts. I took part in a workshop with Alex Henry, Director of Client Solutions at Monetate and Rebecca Smith, Head of eCommerce at Boohoo.com; this gave an inside view on the power of advanced personalisation and how it impacts the customer experience.
The power of personalisation
There are many great websites that get thousands of visitors each month. Each of these visitors are unique, they have their own background, interests, goals and dreams. But the problem we face is that we are delivering to them all the same website experience. We are displaying to them the same content, images, promotions and offers.
Every customer is unique
Personalisation allows us to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. Data is already there and available, and we can use this to create a tailored and unique experience for each visitor.
It is no longer enough to invest time and money into attracting visitors to your website. We need to look at what happens when these visitors land onto our website. With very little regard given to the unique nature of each visitor it’s no wonder that bounce rates and conversion rates are very minimal.
The impact of personalisation
Personalisation allows us to meet each visitors needs faster and more efficiently than ever before. This is achieved by offering the visitor the most relevant content at all points throughout their journey on your website.
Through personalisation we can build up the relationship with the visitor which will help to increase their loyally, satisfaction and increase conversion and sales.
How to get started with personalisation
Many webmasters have data readily available, whether it’s from your website analytics or your customer data. Here are a few ideas to get started:
The profile of the visitor, this looks at what devices they are using, are they using mobile or a tablet, what browser they are using and any demographic information.
Historical data, if they made a previous purchase, what categories they are interested, what pages have they visited, what is their average order value.
Contextual and situational data, we can look at the time of day, geographical location, and contextual information that can help us to decide what products to promote and what services to push.
Personalisation has now become an essential part for retailers, it is no longer optional. Customers now have their expectations, expectations across all different devices.
Personalisation will not only apply to retailers but soon all websites will have the need to personalise. Our competitors are a click away so it is now more important than ever to turn those visitors into loyal customers, personalisation is one of the ways to achieve this.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day at IRX 2015. It was great to see how other organisations have developed different solutions to help their business move forward online. I enjoyed talking to other like-minded people to see how their solutions will fit together or bolt on to their current online retail setup.
I also thought the hot chocolate at the event was very good!
Attending the IRX event confirmed much of what I knew about the marketing world, but it helped to open my eyes into what others in the industry are doing. Listening to speakers who had an extensive amount of experience working in the marketing industry, only helped me develop a passion more for the job that I do.
I always say, “the best way to learn, is to listen to those who have learnt.” Taking the advice from industry professionals has helped me to look into the bigger picture of marketing, and I have learnt that it is all about establishing your message across different platforms. The idea of marketing is to understand your customer, and be able to meet their needs, by working on how they interact with your brand and your products. Gaining feedback, and reviews is a great way of being able to understand how people perceive your brand.
During the event, I began to understand that whilst the industry is indeed complex at times, and is always evolving and changing – many of those that are in it, all want to help each other make the most of those changes; and that’s a really reassuring thing to know. Whilst many may be competitors, there are far more who want to help and that’s what I feel sums up the IRX expo – it was there to help and inform marketers.
Those speakers who shared their business experiences have seen a lot of the digital age develop from the very early days of when PCs became the new craze – and their insight is a lot different to how I perceive digital technology, as I was a lot younger at this time.
Technology for me was part of growing up, but listening to those who did not necessarily grow up with it, has given a different – but a very valuable insight. I have learnt that although things are always changing, it’s how we make the best of those changes in our jobs, and marketing careers that will shape the future of how the companies we work for will grow.
What I Learned From Attending IRX 2015 – What Small Businesses Can Learn from a Big Brand’s Approach to Social Media
Last week some members of our team attended the Internet Retailing Expo at the NEC. Launched by InternetRetailing Magazine, the IRX offered a full programme of workshops, one on one clinics and conferences, all delivered by industry experts in various fields.
I attended day 2 of the event in order to visit the Digital Sales & Marketing conference that was held, featuring talks from a number of industry experts. One of the most interesting talks that I attended was given by Claire Higgins, Head of Digital Marketing at Selfridges – Social Media to Tap into Customer Mindsets and Drive Forward Business Strategies. It was fascinating to learn more about how a renowned brand like Selfridges approach social media. This retailer case study triggered me to think more about what small businesses can learn from big brands when it comes to social media.
Engage, Engage, Engage, Not Sell, Sell, Sell
This is where many small businesses go wrong – social media should not be used as a hard sell. It is important for businesses and brands of all sizes to think about what it is that customers want to hear; the easiest way to find this out is by talking to the customer and finding out what is important to them.
Through social media, businesses can regularly share interesting and relevant information with their followers, encouraging them to like or share, re-tweet, favourite or reply to. Social media is not about selling – its real purpose is to help educate customers and followers, building their credibility and trust in their brand as a whole, as well as their products or services.
Social Media Should Be a TEAM Effort.
The Selfridges outlook on social media is: Together wE Achieve More
Many small businesses may leave their social media efforts to their marketing team alone, or in many cases, a single member of staff. What small business can learn from a big brand like Selfridges is that social media is too important to leave to a single employee or department and in order fully realise the potential of social media and see the best possible results, organisations must come together.
As social media is all about reaching the customer and engaging with them, creating social media content should be a joint effort between the marketing team, sales teams and any other customer facing employees. Although the writing and posting to the business’s social media platforms may be left to the marketing department, any customer facing staff should be able to offer some insight into what the customer wants to see/hear/or read.
Finding the Right Tone Is Important
Social media gives your business the chance to communicate with your customers through a single voice – so it is essential that you create a voice that is professional and suits your brand. Whilst it is important to let your social media team’s personalities to shine through in social posts, it is important that they continue to convey a consistent tone that is positive, authoritative and professional. Social media should allow customers to connect with passionate employees that will help to build up the customer’s trust in their brand.
Social Media for Customer Service
One of the main results of our increasingly reliance on digital technology is that we are very impatient and want all information as quick as possible. If customers have a problem or would like more information, they want to be able to resolve this as quickly as possible, whether this means checking your website or contacting your customer service department. Another side effect of the continuing development of digital technology is that rather than using a telephone, customers are happier to contact a business via social media if they have a problem. It is important for businesses of all sizes to respond to and resolve customer problems as quickly as possible. Whilst it is unrealistic for businesses to provide 24 hour support in most cases, it is always best for businesses to aim to respond to any customer problems within a day.
Hi, my name is Amanjeet and I have recently joined SEO it Right as a Digital Marketing Executive.
When you finish university you have high hopes that you will get a job that you enjoy, and have a real passion for – I am pleased to say that’s exactly what happened with me when I joined SEO it Right at the beginning of this year.
Sometimes it’s not as clean cut to find your ideal job, and I went through a few before I finally settled into something that I really wanted, and love doing. My passion for writing came from a very young age, and I built up my writing skills through studying Media Studies and English Literature for A Levels, which then progressed to my degree in Journalism.
When I joined SEO it Right, it was more than I expected – but this was a good thing. Each day is a challenge, and no two days are the same. I can gladly say that I enjoy my time working as a Digital Marketing Executive here at the company. Working with a lovely team, I feel I am able to openly share ideas, and chat with everyone.
Working in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere always works well. It is also nice to know that you have the support of your managers who praise and acknowledge work that has been done well. Receiving recognition is something that SEO it Right do really well, and I have felt this from the very beginning.
The experience working here so far has taught me a lot. I have built up communication skills and feel confident visiting clients, and talking about their ideas, and goals. The work I do involves a lot of content writing, and as this is great as writing has been my passion from a young age, it certainly is something that I can say I love doing every day.
My role is varied and I feel as though I have settled in pretty well. I learn something new every day, and being able to work with different clients really gives opportunities to develop good working relationships. Working for SEO it Right has really opened up my mind to how things are digitally changing and challenging so much every day, and technology is much faster paced than I thought! This is a huge advantage for working in digital marketing as the industry and our company is constantly evolving.
Working at SEO it Right has only helped increase my passion for writing, and I am proud to be a member of the team.
Your tweets will soon be visible in Google search, meaning that anything you tweet about could potentially help your business to be found online.
Twitter has once again struck up a deal with Google, which means that tweets will soon appear in Google search in real time. What does this mean for your business?
Well, if you don’t already use twitter, now is the perfect time to get acquainted with its quick and easy interface for sharing news, getting into topical conversations and carrying out vital customer service.
If you’re already au fait with the Twitter interface and use it regularly to grow your brand awareness, this latest announcement should have you quite excited, as it is a way to make your twitter content reach a wider audience.
With the promise of search visibility, however, there is more pressure to get things right so here are our 5 top tips to help you improve your engagement through Twitter:
- Understand your Twitter audience – there is nothing worse than seeing companies copy the same social updates across all of their platforms. Not only does it suggest you can’t be bothered to tailor your message to your audience, but it will also generate less engagement. The majority of people use Twitter like a news feed – scanning down the tweets until they find something they are interested in – which makes it a great platform for saying something newsworthy, topical or even challenging. Keep it short and sweet
- Make use of the right resources – when you send a tweet there are a few things you need to remember:
Link back to your website, blog, landing page or other resource – to enable the reader to find out more information.
Use hashtags – not only will these help your tweets be found more easily, but they also enable you to join bigger conversations
Use images – as people quickly scan their Twitter timeline for interesting tweets, those with images are more likely to catch their eye, so using images is a great way to increase engagement
- Don’t be afraid to ask – if you’ve got something important or newsworthy to share, don’t be afraid to ask for a retweet or RT. By keeping your tweets under 110 characters people will be more likely to engage with your updates as they can retweet and include their own comments.
- Tweet at the right time – depending on your audience there are certain times of the day or days of the week when your tweets will have a bigger impact:
B2B – engagement is higher on weekdays. 12 noon and 6pm have the best click through ratio and if you’re looking for retweets try 5pm
B2C – engagement is higher on weekends and Wednesdays
- Know when not to tweet – knowing when to tweet is crucial, but so is knowing when not to. If you overdo it by posting too many tweets in a day, then your audience may start ignoring you. Also remember to keep the mundane task talk to a minimum – it might be ok for celebrities to announce they are having a lie in or enjoying a slice of toast for breakfast, but brands need to steer clear of this banality unless they can put a really interesting spin on it!
Promoting your Tweets just got easier
Twitter has also recently introduced a quick promote feature – making it easier for businesses to promote their tweets to a wider audience. Whilst it doesn’t have the sophistication of the Facebook paid promotion feature in terms of defining your audience, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
If you need help building your brand on social media why not give the SEO it Right team a call on 0121 308 0219 to find out more about our social media campaigns?
At SEO it Right we like to support the local community, and we’re proud to announce that we have sponsored a junior football team for the third year running. This year we’re sponsoring the Boldmere St Michael’s Under 9s team, a brand new team which was only recently developed.
Boldmere St Michael’s Football Club has an excellent reputation for developing some star footballers, and this year they have decided to introduce a junior team which will allow budding footballers from the local area to develop and hone their skills and to be exposed to some fantastic opportunities. Back in July they acted as mascots for the senior Mikes team as they took on the Aston Villa development squad. Although the Mikes sadly lost, the boys thoroughly enjoyed being led out onto the pitch by their peers.
The team’s managers and coaches include Ralph Simmons, Neil Yates and Paul White, who have worked tirelessly to put the team together and have spent hours with the boys coaching and training them in preparation for their Sunday morning matches. So far the season is going well for the boys, and they have won all four of their matches.
We think the SEO it Right logo looks great on the home team tops, and if you see the boys playing on a football pitch near you, be sure to give them a wave.
If you require any help regarding increasing your online marketing presence, then we’d love to hear from you. Simply give us a call on 0121 308 0219 or visit the SEO it Right website.
You may or may not be aware but on 24 July 2014, Google rolled out another major algorithm change, this time focusing on local search results. Dubbed Google ‘Pigeon’ by Search Engine Land in the absence of an official name from Google, the algorithm was intended to align local search results with the web ranking signals used generally in search, however there seems to be more to it than this.
Remember some time ago Google showed its distaste of directories? Well now they are back. Yelp complained that they were not getting the visibility they deserved and that Google was manipulating the search results with its own content rather than Yelp entries – even if the searcher was using the term Yelp as well. Lo and behold, the pestilent pigeon flies past and Yelp are restored to page one for many local search terms along with other big name directories.
Google claim that this update improves local search results and makes better use of distance and location ranking parameters. I think they have just dealt a major blow to local independent businesses and retailers who cannot compete with the SEO signals being sent out by the major directory sites.
Besides, who likes using a directory anyway? It is basically search within a search and nobody that I have spoken to in the aftermath of the Pigeon will confess to being bothered to use a directory.
So what now for local search?
Is page 2 going to become the new page 1 for small local businesses doing their best to compete against the mega sites and bulging purses of the big boys?
When doing my own local searches for tradespeople in Birmingham for example, the majority of page one is taken up by Yell, Thomson Local, CheckaTrade, Freeindex, Trustmark, Rated People and myBuilder.com – to the point where for some search queries there is only one actual business listed on page one (local map results aside).
I would suggest that this move is just another one in the Google master plan to force small businesses into paying their way to the top via AdWords, which of course we all know they don’t have the budget for.
It’s too early to see the real impact of this update but if you are concerned please get in touch with the SEO it Right team today to talk about your presence online.
If you are just starting out on your commercial social networking journey or have reached the point where you need to enhance the work of your Online Marketing or Social Media Company with your own responsive socialising, then we may have some tips to help you on your way.
When looking at other companies and wondering how they built their presence up online you could be forgiven for thinking they have earned that position simply because of their size, but social media, like organic search is not just about domination by the big boys, it is about clever marketing strategies and hard work.
Ideally you will need to be working towards building up a network of quality followers but this does not happen overnight – building a following takes time and effort and it is a continual process.
There is no doubt that now is the time to act if you haven’t yet figured out how to tweet or have a dusty corporate Facebook page with no updates and no likes. Search is becoming increasingly social and with Google rolling out algorithm updates more quickly than you can reel off the list of black and white animals it tends to favour, it makes sense that everyone should be looking to drive traffic to their site socially and not just relying on organic search.
So where do you begin building your brand socially?
First I think you need to approach social networking in the same way that you approach the design and wording of your website or marketing materials – by identifying your USP – what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd.
What do you do that your competitors don’t?
What can you deliver that no one else can or what can you deliver that is better than everyone else?
Identifying what it is that makes your brand unique will stand you in good stead as you start your social journey.
Social channels cannot simply be used to sell – in fact if you think that tweeting or pinning up images on Pinterest is going to be all about peddling your own wares you need to take a step back. Creating a presence socially is about giving something back to the community, to your potential customers, it is about creating something of interest which may then lead to increased brand awareness and a rise in sales.
Building a Following
In order to generate more interest in what your business stands for and the products or services you provide you will need to build up a following of like-minded people who will care about your ethos and the services you offer. Quantity isn’t everything so don’t be tempted to follow any old profile simply to get the follow back, targeting the right kind of audience will be more important as these are the people that are most likely to be interested in what you have to say. If your business is local, look for people in your local area and other businesses that may have need of your services or that you may be able to collaborate with rather than approaching those people in another region or country who will, in all honesty, not be able to access what you are offering.
A great way to build up a following is to join groups or even create your own. This can work particularly well on platforms such as LinkedIn or Google+ where you can identify yourself or your business as a leading authority within your industry.
You also need to get a better understanding of your customer demographic and know who your competitors are. There is nothing wrong with trying to emulate the competition so long as you ensure that you are honest about why you need social marketing – to improve brand awareness, to increase traffic, to increase communication with customers or to reach new audiences – and that you put your own spin on everything and make it unique to your business, your brand and your ethos.
Also don’t act in isolation. If you want people to like and follow your business you need to ensure that you are socially active and follow/like other people. Join relevant groups and start making a name for yourself and share others’ content if you feel it would be of interest to your own readers.
Asking for Help
Of course there are social media and online marketing companies out there who will be more than happy to assist you with your social marketing, but even at the highest price tag and with the best intentions they will never know your business as well as you do. Any social media marketing that you pay for needs to be supplemented with your own responses, status updates, comments and community development because at the end of the day it is your reputation that is being built.
Ask anyone what they think of SEO and you may sense a negative response in the offing. Even if that person has an SEO provider they are completely happy with, the 27 spam SEO emails they receive each day from India and other far flung places has probably contributed to giving the industry a bad name in their eyes. If connotations of spam were not bad enough, the issue is supplemented by the underhand tactics our search god Google uses to manipulate SERPS to suit none but their own needs. With changes to Google algorithms causing loss of rankings, loss of visibility, loss of sales and in some cases the loss of a business, there is a lack of trust in the marketing strategy that provided this visibility in the first place.
Call it what you will but it looks like SEO has become a dirty word.
For a long time the term ‘SEO’ hasn’t sat particularly well with internet marketers, purely because the name itself suggests we optimise search engines. We don’t do this because if we did we’d have spammed the hell out of Google and got the search giant to slap a manual spam action on itself! We optimise websites for organic search but that is now, only the beginning of the story.
As competition levels swell and progressively more brands demand a place online, marketing has become so much more than simply SEO. Gone are the days of building huge amounts of backlinks to a website using optimised content and specific keywords. Now it’s all about making a great first impression, then sustaining and compounding that level of interest. Websites need to be full of interesting, engaging content to fly under the Panda radar and poor quality links removed ready for the next Penguin refresh to demonstrate to Google that you are on your best behaviour and have learned your lesson. It is no longer sufficient to simply publish content, you need to syndicate it socially, get people talking about it and prove that you are a brand worth engaging with. How do you do this? By spending more money with an SEO, or if you have the budget, hiring an in house team of search and social gurus. Dream on.
If SEO is a dirty word then perhaps you’d rather do it all in house, save yourself the shame of working with these minions from the internet underworld, or, better still, maybe you don’t need it at all? Perhaps that new website that you have spent your entire marketing budget on will deliver all the shiny, new traffic you need to make your fortune online? Again, dream on.
What is often neglected in the debate about beating algorithms and recovering from black-and-white-animal-related nightmares, is the fact that without optimisation, websites simply can’t be found, putting us back at square one. This suggests SEO is not an option, but a given. However, if the term is tainted what should we now refer to our services as? Online marketing? Digital marketing? Internet marketing? They surely do a better job of describing what we do?
Online marketing certainly offers a more precise description – after all that’s what we do – market businesses online, but with the consumer just getting their head around the SEO concept how much confusion will bringing in a new term cause? Many will rightly argue that they have used the term ‘online marketing’ all along but if they had any sanity or financial hunger pre April 2012, they will have optimised the heck out of certain SEO related keywords to ensure when people were searching for a little online voodoo, they showed up on page one.
So call it online marketing, digital marketing or SEO, it means the same thing – it is just the service behind the name that has changed. Search Engine Optimisation helps you reach new audiences, increase traffic, improve search visibility and engage with potential audiences online. So too does digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and so forth. If SEO is a dirty word then so too is any other synonym and if you call yourself an SEO you’ll have a history of spyntax to apply here.
Posted by Frances Berry
We get to grips with the technical side of SEO by speaking to Riz, our very own technical whizz kid!
Riz, what is your role within SEO it Right and what does a typical day involve?
I am an SEO Developer at SEO it Right and the role is extremely varied! There’s not really such a thing as a typical day as the industry is constantly changing and there are always new questions and requests from clients. However, you can very often find me carrying out onsite analyses for new clients, providing technical support for existing clients, helping to maintain the server and developing responsive websites. I also work on ongoing projects when I can.
How has your role changed since you joined the company back in November 2011?
The role has expanded significantly – we now have to contend with different threats to the server, responding to requests for responsive websites as well as anticipating technical issues so that we can provide a pro-active service rather than a reactive response. The onsite checks are far more in-depth now too, as my level of knowledge has increased and I am able to try and test out new tools.
When looking at a website for a new or potential client, what are the initial areas you will check?
I would check if the website is canonical and if there was any duplicate content throughout the website. It’s also vital that Google Analytics has been set up and Google Webmaster Tools has been enabled. Google Analytics will help clients to see the traffic on their website and any messages and warnings from Google are also shown in Webmaster Tools. Amongst other things, I’d also look at tasks such as checking to see if there is any social integration on the website.
What do websites need in 2014 to be considered SEO friendly?
I believe that for a site to be SEO friendly, it needs to be user friendly. In the past, SEO was all about optimising sites for the search engines, but nowadays it definitely needs to focus on providing a good user experience for the visitor. Having sites which are responsive and can be easily viewed from a mobile device as well as building sites which are easy to navigate are vital, if people can’t see the site or can’t use the menu properly then they’re just going to bounce straight off. It’s also vital to have effective social integration on the website too, so perhaps adding social sharing plug-ins to allow visitors to share interesting content.
What area of your role would you like to develop and learn more about?
I’m currently studying to become a Google Adwords Certified Partner. Paid advertising is becoming more and more important for many customers so it will be good to have an in-depth understanding on how Adwords can help businesses to be found online. I am also looking at schema markup on websites, which will help structuring data which search engines can have direct access to. This will help improve the display of search results by providing the searcher with extra information from the webpage.
If you weren’t a Developer, what career path would you like to follow?
I guess I’d love to be a food critic, particularly as I have a sweet tooth!
Many thanks to Riz for taking the time to answer our questions, but if you still have some burning technical questions, feel free to contact the SEO it Right office on 0121 308 0219.