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Now that the dust has settled and we're all starting to get used to the idea of being in quarantine. It's time to start thinking about what's next. It is quite clear to businesses across the world that the economic impact is going to be huge.

First thing first, if you are still operating you need to let your customers know! Your website should be communicating that you are still open for business and any changes that might have happened due to the current climate. Likewise, if you are temporarily closed, please let your customers know this too. Let them know it is not the end, and let them know where they can still follow you and engage with you (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc).

If you are a Pixertise customer please email us with your notices and we'll update your website for you!

We have posted a pop-up message on Peppe's Italian Restaurant's website informing customers of their current situation.

Can you get me to Number 1 on Google?

This is the question I get asked as a website designer more than any other.

To help answer this I want to discuss what is SEO and should you be paying someone to do SEO for you?

One of the most common spam emails myself and my clients receive (and forward to me) are emails promising them the number one spot in Google. Very often including some fake jargon and “a report, we carried out on your website showed…”

Unfortunately, business owners can sometimes fall for this trick, panic and think their website is underperforming on Google.

Small business owners also put a huge emphasis on being number 1 in Google. Is it good? Most certainly. Is it needed to be a successful business? Certainly not.

There are of course other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo but when Google represents 90.77% of the market share for searches, it really is the focus of any SEO. So, I will refer to SEO in terms of Google for purposes of simplicity.

Your position in Google is relative to your competition, their success in SEO and their digital marketing that you are competing against. Not only that, Google play their cards close to their chest on how it ranks websites. The age of your business, your marketing budget, how many competitors are in your market and many other factors also need to be taken into consideration.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

SEO can be split into 3 main categories:

On page SEO: This is the content that exists on your website, the wording and what people can see and read. The aim is to have well written comprehensive information or media that your target market will likely be searching for. On page SEO is not just about saying who you are and what you do, but it also includes trying to identify the answers to the questions and information your target market is looking for. You want the content of your website to answer as many search queries as possible, so you show on as many SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as possible.

Off-page SEO: Everything that is on the internet that refers to your website. These are inbound links, also known as backlinks. The aim here is to have as many reputable websites referring to your website as possible. Social media sites, news sites, blogs, industry websites and business indexes are all great places to have a link back to your website. The more trustworthy and relevant the website is linking to yours the better.

Technical SEO: This is the technical side of your website, and how your pages are coded and designed to rank well in search engines. Compression, images, metadata, clean code, website speed, security certification and more are all factors that Google considers when ranking your website. Your website should be designed well, coded to industry standards and follow SEO best practices for best results.

Search Engine Optimisation is a huge topic with numerous theories, tips and tricks, hundreds of different “you must do this secret to reach number 1 in Google” and numerous SEO “Experts”

I’ve been building websites for over 10 years, I’ve read numerous articles, websites, expert opinions, watched countless tutorial videos and seen first hand with the websites I build and manage what works.

Google puts emphasis on content more than anything else. Well written, intelligent content answering people’s questions in an easy to digest manner. Google is in the business of answering questions as quickly as possible.

Google ranks the websites that are providing the highest quality answers to the searched query from the most relevant, fastest, safest and most trustworthy websites first.

So, if we reverse engineer that, for your website to rank first in Google you must have:

Should I be paying someone to do SEO for me?

Effective well performed SEO can create long term benefits, it can create ongoing leads from organic enquiries. Rather than a short-term spike in enquiries that a Facebook advert may obtain for example. Moving just a few places up in a SERP can have a significant effect on your organic (free) enquiries.

Whether or not you should be paying for SEO and just how much you should be paying for SEO all depends on your marketing objectives, current position and budget.

The first step for any SEO agency or expert when hired by a business is to carry out an SEO report on that website. The report will look in depth at your website, it’s load speeds, the content, which sites link to it and what keywords it ranks for currently. By analysing the 3 sections; On Page SEO, Off Page SEO and Technical SEO they can make recommendations and create a plan of action.

You may need to consider hiring an SEO expert if your website is any of the following:

You may also need help from an SEO Expert or Digital Marketer if:

To have the best chances of ranking 1st for your desired search terms you need to be adding rich content to your website on a regular basis.

Then linking to that content and your website from other websites such as Google Business Listing, Facebook, Twitter etc. The best content is videos, photos, articles, Q + A's and news pieces. This could be adding your latest projects, writing expert articles, walk through videos of your business and more.

Technical SEO can be performed in a relatively short time frame and then it becomes small tweaks. On page SEO (Content) is then the most important aspect to ranking high in Google and it is a continuous process. This will most likely require you, the business owner, to set aside time to designing, mapping and providing that content. If you need help with generating that content such as professional photos, film making, copywriting, suggestions and recommendations then this is where a Digital Marketer can help. These are the services that are valuable and worth investing in and all help towards your SEO.

SEO needs to be considered as a part of a larger marketing plan and budgeted accordingly.

There are no magic tricks or fast methods when it comes to ranking high on Google. It takes time, it takes work and sometimes it takes a bit of good luck. If someone offers you a quick, guaranteed 1st place google ranking, be wary. If someone is offering to help you write and produce bespoke customised content that is targeting your desired market, then consider their advice.

Looking for some SEO help in Worcestershire?

Here at Pixertise we can help you with your websites search engine optimisation and digital marketing. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email us at [email protected]

The definition – “Marketing is the management process of identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumers wants and needs profitably.”

Small business owners often make the mistake that Promoting and Advertising equals Marketing.

If you notice in the definition, there is no mention of advertising. This is because advertising is a by-product of marketing, you must first do your marketing before you can do any advertising.

To break this down further, marketers often use the 4 P’s of Marketing – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. It’s also important to note, it is usually in that order.

“A product is an item that is built or produced to satisfy the needs of a certain group of people. The product can be intangible or tangible as it can be in the form of services or goods.”

“The price of the product is basically the amount that a customer pays for to enjoy it. Adjusting the price of the product has a substantial impact on the entire marketing strategy as well as greatly affecting the sales and demand of the product.”

“You have to position and distribute the product in a place that is accessible to potential buyers.”

“Promotion is a very important component of marketing as it can boost brand recognition and sales. Promotion is comprised of various elements like: Sales Organisation, Public Relations, Advertising and Sales Promotion.”

Understanding these four components and how they integrate and effect each other is key to successful marketing.

Note: At Pixertise we often use the tag line “Online Marketing”, which is technically an incorrect usage of the terminology. What we really mean is “Online Business Promoting” or “promoting your business online” but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. The word marketing is so often misunderstood with advertising that “Online Marketing” is a more recognisable and understandable term for our customers than “Online Business Promoting”.

It is likely, that if you are reading this post, you have already defined your Product, Price and Place. You will have also most likely dabbled in some form of promotion. It is important to note that although the first 3 P’s (Product, Price and Place) are usually well established, they are not permanently fixed and can and should be continuously reviewed and developed further. Markets and their consumers wants and needs change rapidly and often. A successful business should always be looking to track and adapt to these changes.

Because these first 3 P’s are established, they take more time and in-depth analysis to make any changes. Too much for us to cover in this website post.

Our name Pixertise is derived from the combination of pixel – “a minute area of illumination on a display screen, one of many from which an image is composed” and advertise – “to make something known generally or in public, especially in order to sell it”.

So we are going to focus the remainder of this post on the last P – Promotion.

Promoting your Small Business

How you go about promotion will depend on your budget, the message you want to communicate, and the target market you have defined. Businesses can run several promotions targeting different market segments, methods and messages, either simultaneously or over time.

It is important to know where a website sits in terms of promoting your business. A business website is a multitude of components:

A website can be all these things and more, it is the centre pillar for promoting your business. Without a website, it is difficult to meet the full potential of promotions. Consumers are inquisitive, they want information fast and a website is the most effective way to satisfy these needs. Your website is a workhorse, converting curiosity and promotions into enquiries and sales. Your website runs 24/7 and works whilst you sleep, as such, any promotions you carry out should always return to your website.

Building a promotion.

Tell your customers WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY. If you want to stand out from the competition, you must be DIFFERENT. The more you conform to be like everyone else, the less successful you will be. The core of any successful promotion is providing a targeted reason to use your business. That could be a benefit, saving, something new, experience etc. You then want to convert your promotion into a transaction with the use of call to actions and conversion tools. A promotion should be seeking a commitment to an action via a visit, communication, booking or purchase.

We need to switch the order of WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY which is for the customer to WHY, WHAT, WHO, WHEN and WHERE for building a promotion.

WHY (are you running a promotion) - Start with your main objective then set goals to reach that objective. Why are you promoting and what are you trying to achieve? A business is most likely running a promotion to increase sales but there are numerous strategies, methods and plans to achieve this objective. You need to take a step down from this top-level objective and set a smaller goal. Most common goals for promotions are brand awareness, product awareness, price awareness, place awareness, customer retention, new customers and direct sales.

WHAT (are you going to promote) - Next you need to decide on WHAT you are going to promote. Identify your revenue streams, products/services, places, unique selling points, benefits and business ideologies. Once you’ve identified these, choose one that works best with your WHY.

WHO (are you targeting) – Break your target market down into market segments. Look for common characteristics such as shared needs, common interests, similar lifestyles or even similar demographic profiles. Chose a market segment with a potential high yield.

WHEN (are you going to use this promotion) – When can be either a set time, event or following an action. It is good to have a mix of timed promotions and reactional promotions. We have created a simple 12-month planner for 2019 to help build your promotional strategy. This is for timed promotions. Event promotions are when something is occurring for example if you are a tradesperson and you are working at a customer location, you can promote during this event with a banner outside or parking your van with sign writing in a visible location. Reactional or on action promotions is when an action has been taken or completed, e.g. when a customer buys a product you provide them with a catalogue or voucher for money off of other products you sell.

WHERE (are you going to run your promotion) – There are infinite places you can run a promotion. Some examples are: In person, a point of sale, direct mail, newspaper, websites, social media, print, events, banners, sponsorship, YouTube, Google.

Now you have your WHY, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE for building a promotion it’s time to start putting it together. We have put together a free promotion template for you to download and print out as many times as you like. Don’t forget a successful business will be running multiple promotions at a time.

Can we Help?

Here at Pixertise we can help you with building your promotions. Including Graphic Design, Advert Design, Photography, Promotional videos, Marketing Workshops and Outsourced Business Promotions. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email us at [email protected]

Facebook is a powerful marketing tool which can reap great rewards. It is cost-effective, affordable and target orientated. We advise all our website customers to use Facebook to market their business and build relationships with their customers. Below we will give you a quick guide to getting started on Facebook.

Step 1 - Create a free Facebook business page

In order to create a Facebook business page, you are required to have a personal Facebook account.

Now here lies a common problem. A LOT of small business owners shudder at the idea of creating a Facebook profile. They are averted to using Facebook and giving up their details and being contactable through Facebook.

The best way to avoid this is to create a Facebook profile purely for your business. Then as soon as this account is created lock your profile down in the security settings. Change your settings so that you don't show up in search results and change your settings so your information can only be seen by you.

Once you have a profile set-up or if you already have a Facebook profile visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to start creating your business page.

Step 2 - Flush out your business page

Now that you're set up with a business page you'll want to build it up into a marketing tool for your business.

Add as much information as possible, including address, opening times, about your business text and images.

A good profile picture is a must and ideally will be your business logo. If you need help with any social media graphics such as logos, covers or adverts feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we can provide pricing for our graphic design services.

Make sure to add your website address to your facebook page, this is a must and will help with link building (the more links that point to your website the better your website performs in search engines).

Invite all your friends to like your page to get a quick boost in likes. The more people who "like" or "follow" your page the more people your posts will reach.

Step 3 - Start creating posts

A Facebook post is what you're here for, a post is an update to your page's followers. When Facebook first started it was a "Status update" these have now evolved into posts, which can contain anything from text to links, photos and videos.

Originally when you posted on your business page all of your followers would see your post in their news feed. Facebook has changed this and instead have algorithms in place to decide who to show that news too, and does NOT automatically push it out to all of your pages followers/likes. This is where boosting / sponsoring comes into play, which we'll get onto in a minute.

You want to write a post that is interesting and will catch people's eye. Posts with images perform much better than those without. You should also always include a link back to your website so that they can quickly click to find more information. 

We recommend a news page, portfolio or blog on our customer's websites, which you regularly add content to / updates / articles and then link to from your Facebook page. Or post when any new information is added to your website, such as updates to your opening times, or adding to your product range etc.

Step 4 - Boost your posts

Boosting your post on Facebook is relatively cost-effective and can produce good results. Boosting or sponsoring a post is when you pay Facebook to show your post on timelines of people you choose through targeting. These people don't need to be following or to have liked your page in order to see your boosted posts.

I recommend a budget of between £5 and £20 to get started and see how people respond. You can always add more to your budget and extend the length of time it runs for. A £5 budget targeting your local area will display your post on around 1000 Facebook timelines.

This is where it is key to make eye-catching posts with photos or links to catch peoples attention and what to click on your post to find out more.

Facebook boosts can be targeted by location, age, gender and even down to hobbies or interests. The more filters you apply the smaller your pool of potential profiles becomes, so be careful applying too many filters.

Step 5 - Keep it going

Now that you are all set-up with a business page, you want to keep updating it regularly. You should look to add a new post to your page at least once a month depending on your type of business. If you're a small business I'd also recommend posting no more than 2 posts a week. If you flood customers with posts they may unfollow you as a consequence.

You can also set up autoresponders for Facebook chat, you can turn Facebook chat on or off for your business. You can also list products, services, prices, opening times and more. You can also turn on or off reviews for your business. Play and experiment with your Facebook page and spend some time building it up. A well flushed out and popular business page can add great value to a business.

You've got an awesome website sat ready to go, but nobody is visiting yet! Email campaigns are a great way to connect to your customers and direct them to your website. Building an email campaign is free and relatively simple with these quick and easy steps.

Step 1 - Create a free MailChimp account

Visit MailChimp.com and sign-up for a free account. MailChimp is one of the most popular email campaign providers and has a great set of really powerful, user-friendly tools to build gorgeous email newsletters.

A MailChimp free account provides the ability to manage, send and create email campaigns for up to 2000 email addresses for FREE.

If you pass 2000 subscribers you're doing great and you can pay to upgrade your account, or you can talk to us at Pixertise about alternative solutions, such as sending email campaigns directly from your WordPress website.

Step 2 - Build your List

Now you have an account, you now need a list of subscribers/email addresses of the contacts you would like to send your emails to.

A great place to start is your email account, visit your email account and export all your email contacts into a CSV. You can now upload/import this list into MailChimp and manage the contacts here. Go through them and clean up any that are not needed or inappropriate and leave all the good email addresses you would like to mail.

You can also add an email list sign-up form to your website. A great example is PF2 health clubs who offer a free trial via their sign up form on their website www.pf2.co.uk this is a great way of rewarding your visitors for signing up and growing your contact list. Pixertise can add a sign-up form to your website for you!

If you have an existing website with users or customers, you can also export these and add these to your list. There are plenty of other methods of building mail lists including old-fashioned surveys, running competitions and paying for bulk email addresses.  Generally, the addresses you accumulate yourself are better quality.

Step 3 - Create Your Campaign

MailChimp campaigns are your emails to a group of subscribers. Start off by selecting create campaign, choosing "Create an Email" and following the easy to use campaign builder in "Regular" mode. We recommend using one of the inbuilt layouts as this makes things much easier.

MailChimp will ask you who you want to send the email to, you can select either a section of your subscriber list or the whole lot. For your first one, you want the whole lot. You may, after you've sent your first email, want to send the same email to new subscribers who subscribed/were added after you sent the first email. In this case, you would select all subscribers since the last send, MailChimp gives you an easy to use way of doing this.

Step 4 - Design your Email

Now the fun begins, you can start putting together your email. Great images make for a great looking email, so choose your image wisely. We highly recommend using free stock image provider pexels.com or unplash for some great images. Here at Pixertise, we have access to over 400,000 images so if you can't find the right image just ask and we'll let you take a look through ours!

If you're a customer with Pixertise we will have provided you with at least 2 logos and 2 graphics for marketing purposes. Use these if possible to keep all your branding consistent. If you need more graphics made pop us an email and we'll whip some up.

Use your website colours to reinforce your branding.

Make sure all images and buttons link back to YOUR website, even if they go somewhere else afterwards, always direct traffic to your website first then provide a link from there to the content referenced. This increases traffic to your website and in turn, will help improve your rankings and site performance in search engines.

Try and make your email INTERESTING, give people a reason to open your email, draw them in with a subject line which includes your location and your market so they can quickly discern if its relevant to them.

Once they are in, give them more to read or see. Link back to articles, blogs, or news on your website. Give them rewards for opening your email, discount codes, promotions or interesting news are always great to include.

Here is our example email

Step 5 - Check and Send

Once you're happy with the design of your email, TRIPLE check all your spelling, grammar and links. Once you click send it's too late to make a change. Make sure you get everything correct the first time. We highly recommend Grammarly which provides a plug-in for web browsers to spell check all input fields. It really is fantastic.

If you're active on Social Media make sure your Social links are set-up correctly and linking to the right pages. Send a test email to yourself and a friend to double check it all looks OK, check on both a Desktop PC and Mobile Phone.

Checklist:

Once you're all checked, you're ready to go. Send at an appropriate time, when people are likely to open your email and not be disgruntled. Sending 2000 emails at 4 am can get you on the wrong side of your customers. 9.30am, lunchtime, or early evening are good times to send. Don't send too early in the morning as you'll get washed out by all the other emails people will be checking when they first sign on. Don't send too late as people will be switched off, relaxing and more likely to ignore your email.

You're All Done!

Sit back and watch you email fly. It will be put into the MailChimp sender and will take around 10 minutes to process. You will often get a few out of office replies straight away, and occasionally some email addresses will bounce, they are either incorrectly typed or no longer exist.

Good luck and have fun sending your email newsletters! Feel free to add us ([email protected]) to your list as we'd love to see your designs.

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