What Outward Bound taught me about Digital Marketing

outward-bound-logoHeard of Outward Bound?

It’s kind of hard to explain, but let’s just say it’s an outdoor adventure course that’s designed to push it’s participants to the limit.

Anyway, back in 2013, I was lucky to spend a week at Outward Bound with 12 complete strangers.

We ran, sailed, hiked and kayaked until we were exhausted.

We spent nights alone in the bush with just possums keeping us company.

And we talked about our purpose as humans, and what we really wanted out of life.

But aside from all the adventure and Dr Phil moments, there’s something that’s stuck in my mind ever since the course – something that one of our instructors said. Let’s call him Shem, because that’s his name. Read More

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Why Search Engine Optimisation isn’t a thing (anymore)

Heard of Search Engine Optimisation?

I won’t bore you with the details, but the thinking is that it’s possible to improve where your website sits in google search results, for certain search terms – and it’s called S.E.O. for short.

Anyway, I’d like to suggest that S.E.O. isn’t a thing anymore. Because Google is smarter than that. Read More

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Why your business can’t ignore email marketing

Think email marketing is dead?

If so, I can understand why.

Because most email newsletters are un-targeted, generic sales pitches that deliver little or no value.

But I’ll let you in on a secret – the problem isn’t email.

The problem is with the content, not the medium – so blaming email is shooting the messenger, literally.

The trick with email marketing is to write about what your customers want to read about, rather than falling into the trap of writing about your business or what product you have on special this week.

Why your business can’t ignore email marketing anymore

Your customers might not be on Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram – but they probably have an email address, because it’s practically impossible to exist in the modern world without one (sad, but true).

And whilst email might not be sexy – it works when it’s done right.

After all, how else could you contact each of your 1,853 customers without racking up a travel bill that looks like a telephone number?

5 hallmarks of great email marketing:

  1. Personalised with the recipients first name (eg, Hi John,)
  2. Short and easy to scan, skim read or refer back to if needed
  3. Delivers customer value (is entertaining, inspiring, educational or informative)
  4. Links to longer content if needed (keeping the email short)
  5. Is soft-sell in nature (because no-one likes being sold to anymore)

Sending an email newsletter soon?

If so, avoid this mistake that I made with my first email campaign.

Not email marketing yet? 

Get in touch if you’d like to chat about email marketing for your business.

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5 hallmarks of a good website

Does your business have a website?

If so, this article is for you.

You see, we’ve seen a fair few websites in our time, and there are a couple of things we’ve noticed…

We’ve noticed that there are three types of people who care about the success of your website:

  1. You (representing the business)
  2. Your web-designer
  3. Your audience

And we’ve also noticed that each of these people have particular needs.

For example, you (your business) needs a website that’ll attract sales; and your web designer needs a beautiful website that’ll look great in their portfolio (and there’s nothing wrong with either!)

But your audience? Well, they have different needs – and the sad thing is that they’re often forgotten about entirely (probably because they’re not at the meeting with yourself and your web-designer).

What your audience needs (from your website)

I’m sure you’ll agree that this isn’t exactly rocket science…

Your website visitors need:

  • An easy-to-use website
  • That has the info they need
  • Where they’d expect to find it

After all, it’s your customer’s experience with your website that’s going to decide whether they take the next step towards doing business with you.

So does your website meet the needs of your audience?

5 hall-marks of a great website

1. Clarity

Your audience is going to spend their time looking for the info they want. So, while you might have loads to say about what you do, don’t write a book if you can avoid it.

Got a topic that requires plenty of explaining? Use headings, subheadings, quick phrases and bullet points to get key messages across – as these help your reader skim-read to find the info they’re looking for.

Pro-tip: If you want to go in-depth, save it for your blog – a place where people are looking for specific details. That way you can get the google benefit that comes from writing detailed information about your particular subject. Read More

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Headings 101: Why you need to start using heading tags when blogging

Heading Tags illustrationHere’s a question – how do you add structure to your blog articles?

Do you give it a title, write a few paragraphs and break those up with subheadings? If so, you’re onto a good thing – it’s a great formula, and most importantly – it makes your blog easy to read.

But did you know, that the subheadings within your article should be tagged as headings?

Don’t know what I mean? Let me tell you about heading tags… Read More

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Business owners: How to get your website found

Wondering how to get your website seen?

If so, this article is for you.

In short, it’s a really simple explanation of how Google works.

And the best part? It’s written in plain english – enjoy!

Business owners – How to get your website found

The 3 things you need to know (when it comes to having your website found)

1. Keywords.

This is about understanding what your potential customers search for when they use Google.

If you sell “black cats” then that’s a good start, but there are also plenty of other keywords or phrases to consider: Big black cats, black and white cats, how to wash a black cat (very carefully!).

Ideally you’ll want to target a large enough range of keywords so that you have enough people (potential customers) searching for your service or product.

Too broader range of keywords and it can be too competitive, too narrow and there might not enough people searching – make sense?

2. On Page.

This is about whether your website has been created with google in mind.

Most web designers know how to build a nice looking website. But not all will do the keyword research required to help your website get found for the right terms and phrases. Read More

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Revealed: The anatomy of a blog article

Struggling to turn your ideas into concise, compelling blog articles?

If so, I’ll let you in on a secret…

The best blogs have 6 components.

You could think of these components as body parts – each one adding value to the whole by performing a specific, necessary function.

So if you want your blog articles to live and breathe they should include each of the following… (let’s dissect!)

The anatomy of a blog article

The Anatomy of a blog article

1. Headline:

Your headline must sell the article to your reader and get them to the next line of your article – if you’re reading this, it’s probably because my headline did its job.

For bonus points include keywords if you can, but you must remember to write for your reader first – Google comes second.

2. Declare the problem:

The goal here is to get your reader nodding their head in agreement.

Most of the time, people will come to your blog looking for solutions to a problem; show that you understand their problem and they’ll want to know about your solution. Which leads to… Read More

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Blogging: How to write a Listicle

No, I didn’t misspell testicle.

Because today’s article is about listicles.

Even if you don’t know what a listicle is, you will have read hundreds of them online – and the best part is that listicles are a blog-writers dream.

What exactly is a listicle?

A listicle is a blog article that’s presented in the form of a numbered list, for example:

  • 10 signs you need a new accountant
  • 7 ways to cook pulled pork
  • 5 steps to improving team morale

As you can see, listicle’s can be about almost anything – as long as the topic is of value to your particular audience.

3 reasons why listicles rock

Listicles are great because… (warning, this is a mini-listicle) Read More

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How to get new customers by guest blogging

Wondering how to expose your business to a bunch of potential new clients?

If so, this article is for you. But before we dive too deep, let’s cover the basics first…

What exactly is a guest post?

A guest post (also known as a guest blog) is a published article that’s written by a guest author.

For example:

  • A healthy food website might publish a recipe written by a celebrity chef
  • A law firm might publish an end-of-year tax guide created by a local accountancy firm

Why you should consider guest blogging

Guest blogging is worthwhile because it exposes your business (and expertise) to an entirely new audience – an audience that’s outside of your existing circle of influence.

And the best part is that once published, guest posts are timeless. Each article serves as a 365 days-a-year sales person for your business – not like an article in the newspaper which simply gets thrown in the bin.

Benefits for the guest (the author of the article)

  • Exposure to a new audience
  • Links directing readers to their website

Benefits for the host website

  • Content without effort (a quality blog article without expense)
  • Sharing knowledge on a subject matter which isn’t core expertise

I know it’s a cliche, but guest posting really is win-win (*sigh)

How to find guest blogging opportunities

Let’s face it, NZ is a pretty small place – so you probably know the websites you could approach to request a guest blogging opportunity.

But with that said, there are a couple of things that can help: Read More

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3 steps to starting a new business blog

Looking to create a business blog?

Today’s article demystifies the process for starting a blog, and covers the important (and often over-looked) first steps.

Need a reminder on the merits of blogging? See what cockroaches and BBQs taught me about blogging.

So you wanna start a blog…

It’s tempting to jump in and start writing your first post, but with a bit of research and planning you’ll give your business a much better chance of being found by your potential customers (isn’t that the goal?).

3 steps to starting a new business blog:

1. Conduct keyword research

  • Write a list of all the keywords and phrases you think people use when searching for your product/service in google
  • Use the google keyword planner to determine the search volumes for your list of keywords (this is the average number of people who enter each search term into google each month)
  • Take note of the most popular keywords from your list (those with the highest search volumes that closely relate to what you sell)

Notes: Skip this keyword research step and you’re simply hoping that someone will stumble across your blog by accident. Looking for more detail on keywords? See this guide to keyword research.

2. Write a list of article headlines

  • Brainstorm a list of blog article headlines that:
    1. Include the most popular keywords (from your findings above)
    2. Actually provide value or solve your customers problems
    3. Will make people want to read the full article (remember, the headline is the teaser!)

Read More

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