Content Ideas: 5 things you didn’t know…

The second part of my Content Ideas (For your blog) series is focussed on the goal of drawing your customer closer to you. A really good way to do this is by helping them get to know the brand better, this will help to build a stronger connection and acts as a really interesting read, it’s also content that will be very unique to you. Finally, it gives you something to talk about and can act as a great way to build a variety of Social Media posts that will help bulk up your Social Media plan.

To help you understand what this kind of Blog Post would look like, I have done an example below.  In this case, as I am the brand, my 5 things will revolve around getting to know me.

Blog Post: 5 Things you didn’t know about Renu Ravalia

  1. I am a middle child and I have 2 sisters, one is based in London and the other in Nigeria. Therefore, I have visited Nigeria twice and I absolutely loved it!
  2. I used to write content for online fashion magazines FashionBeans and Push It. I would love to get back in the Fashion Writing and this is one of my goals for 2018.
  3. Although I work in Digital Marketing now, I actually studied psychology and spent my early career working for non profit organisations. To this day, human behaviour still fascinates me.
  4. I meditate daily, twice a day. Meditation is a massively important part of my daily routine, as is spirituality.
  5. My favourite food in the whole world is Chinese and more specifically Dim Sum, I could eat a Char Sui Pork Bun any time of the day. (although traditionally Dim Sum is only served at lunch time)

Tip: Don’t forget this is a good opportunity to also use a selection of key words related to your product/service to improve your SEO.

Content Ideas: Important issues

Throughout my digital marketing career, my job has been to come up with relevant content for blogs with the aim of build following and making the content a little more interesting to draw the consumer in as well as encourage them to build a real connection with the brand (and in the long run, loyalty). People often say to me that they don’t know what to write about and this does take some time and energy, this is why brainstorming and then having a content plan is so important. Keen to help you all get a little more familiar with what kind of topics you could be talking about, I will be sharing various content ideas starting with Important Issues…

I think it’s really important to talk about things that mean something to you. I also believe very strongly in practicing what you preach, so this week, this post will focus on an Important Issue. A great way to keep your content current is to look at whats happening in the world at the moment.

Blog Post: Mental Health Week 

I am focussing on an issue that has been ignored for a long time and is now getting a lot of attention. This week in the UK it is Mental Health Awareness Week. This years theme is focussed on stress, something that I have struggled with myself.

Recent research reported that 74% of people surveyed have felt so stressed that they have either felt overwhelmed or felt like they couldn’t cope. 4169 people in the UK undertook the survey in 2018. (Commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation and undertaken by YouGov). This percentage is scarily shocking and really highlights why it is so important to build awareness around the issue. My personal stress was triggered by work (one of the main reasons that led me to leave my full time job).

‘A staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.’ – Mental Health Foundation 

How to manage stress in the workplace?

1. Have a break
When you feel stressed at work, taking a break and leaving the environment is a good way to mentally get some respite.

2.  Talk
If things are getting really on top of you and you are struggling to cope, talk to someone about it, talking is a great form of therapy.

3. Seek Help
There are various organisations that can teach you how to manage stress. Giving you the resources to help cope. Check out Let’s Talk for more information.

If you are suffering from stress and want help on how to cope, you can get lots of great information on the Mental Health Foundation website here.

And finally a video worth watching…

 

 

SEO: The Basics

I have spent a lot of my time working on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With a small budget, it can really be the driving force for bringing traffic to your website, so it is 100% worth spending a little time working on SEO. If this is something you are not familiar with, here is a very brief explanation of SEO.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages, therefore increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic that your website receives. 

There are two types of SEO: On page/Onsite SEO and Off Page/Offsite SEO.

ON PAGE SEO

On page refers to your page copy i.e. Meta Description. Page Title. Alt Text. Heading Texts. Before looking at working on this type of SEO think about what key words you want to be optimised for. This should always be the first step to creating your SEO Strategy.

To win on page, make sure your pages are well structured (Making sure you use Headings H1 and subheadings H2) and use specific keywords (to avoid google getting confused about where to send traffic to). Also ensure every single page has:

  • Alt text
  • H1 & H2 (heading texts)
  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Keyword within the content

OFF PAGE SEO

Off page refers to creating an online and offline footprint away from your website. This is done through creating back links to your website from Social Media, Articles, Blog Posts, Discussion Boards etc. If you have valuable back links, google will know that you have great content that will add value to your audience, so you’ll rank higher.

To win off page you want  to link internal pages using the keyword that best defines that page and remember, the more relevant or legitimate the website your back links come from, the better you are likely to be ranked. If your ready to take the next step and build a strategy around your SEO, then Moz have a great article with lots more detail. You can read it here.

To Summarise

SEO is an ongoing process and requires time, so remember to be patient. And a few final words…

1. The first part of your SEO strategy is to decide which keywords to rank for, be specific, start with a broad list, and then whittle it down using Google Keyword Planner.

2. Once you have your list, keep a record of the keywords you are optimising for and where you rank and keep visiting these keywords so you have visibility of your position.

2. To remain at the top of the page, make sure your also use these keywords within the content on your website including in your blog.

3. Also work on getting quality inbound links. For example: By Guest Blogging for a website or working with trusted digital influencers.

4. Analyse and monitor. Monthly analysing will help you to change your strategy if things aren’t working, so stay open to change.

4 strategies to support your business growth online

There are hundreds of things you could be doing to help increase traffic and see that traffic convert into sales but if your a small company and budget is limited, it can be hard to decide which areas to focus on.

Bearing this in mind, I have wracked my brain and I have compiled a few suggestions, depending on what you want to achieve, each of the 5 suggestions is targeted at a specific goal. There are many more goals which might come up on the way but these are the ones that have worked for me.

GOAL – To build trust 
SOLUTION – Customer Reviews 
61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, and they are now essential for e-commerce sites. (Source: Econsultancy). Invest in Customer Reviews – TrustPilot and Feefo are two platforms who can help with this, in my experience Feefo was definitely more affordable and don’t forget to ask for a shorter trial period if your not 100% convinced.

GOAL – To maximise access to your loyal customers 
SOLUTION – Email Marketing 
Do you have a database of customers? Do you send them regular newsletters? The advantage of newsletters, is those people who subscribe are obviously interested in your product, so are more likely to make future purchases. Make sure the newsletters are interesting though (and varied), you don’t want to bombard people with the same thing so they end up unsubscribing. Newsletter companies I have used are: Campaign Monitor, Campaign Master & Mailchimp. All of which have analytics, so you can check CTR and Open Rates. This will help you to create a clear email marketing plan.

GOAL – To give customers everything they need in one place 
SOLUTION – Detailed Product Pages 
Once your customer has reached your website, the aim is to make them convert. A great way to encourage purchases is to ensure your product pages are as detailed as possible. A good example of this is British Brand John Lewis. But if you can’t get them to buy, at least help them to remain on the website for as long as possible by linking products to other pages on your site that might help to convince a purchase. I have often linked products to stories written in the blog section or plan stories that can be linked to products.

GOAL – To build quality content
SOLUTION – Blogs 
We all know how important is to be creative with content and having a blog will help you do this but remember, it isn’t good etiquette to talk about yourself all the time, so think outside the box. This is where your content marketing plan can also really come in handy, and remember to keep the posts regular, if you share these on your social, you can also track how many people visit your website from your social channels via the blog post – a good way to see what interests your audience and plan similar content. If you can create content that relevant and interesting, you’re also likely to see an improvement in your page location on google.

 

4 things small online businesses need to do to comply with GDPR

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is effective from 25th May 2018. It is relevant to ALL businesses, including the small ones, as every company holds data in some way or form.

The aim of GDPR is to give citizens more control of their personal data but there has been some confusion around exactly what needs to be done in order to comply and avoid those hefty fines. If you’re a little lost and confused, here are 4 things to start your GDPR journey. Now I’m not saying this will be it but at least you’ll be able to get the ball rolling.

  1. Update your privacy policy

Be completely transparent in your policy offering information about what personal information you hold, where and how you hold it and what you intend to do with it.

  1. Ask newsletter subscribers to consent to receiving newsletters.

If you have a newsletter subscription list, get this list to consent to receiving future newsletters. Offer them the choice to either continue receiving communication or the opportunity to opt out in a clear and open way.

3. Use a positive opt-in

If customers are opening an account with your business, don’t use pre-ticked boxes of default options, there needs to be clear consent and consent needs to be kept separate from terms and conditions.

4. Allow all customers to opt in (or out)

You will hold information about each customer who has ordered from your website, some of these might also be subscribed to your newsletter but some may not, to avoid missing anyone on your lists, allow all customers the opportunity for you to either keep the data you hold or remove it, as well as the option to opt in for future contact.

What else do I need to do and where can I find information?

It is likely that there are more things that will need to be taken into consideration and if I have to be honest, some of these things still don’t make 100% sense to me.

However, I found this great resource to give a little more clarification about the main implications of GDPR – GDPR for Small Businesses and if all else fails, speak to a consultant, I was advised to use GDPR Advisor UK

Day 2 Insights: Millennial 20 20 Event, London

My personal focus on Day 2 of the Millennial 20 20 event was to understand more about the future of retail and innovation.

Below are some of the key insights from the day as well as some examples of inspirational brands that are great examples of where the future of retail is going.

Future Retail

‘People first, profit second’ – Andrew Murphy, Group CIO, John Lewis – technology needs to have sustainable value.

Companies are struggling with challenges that aren’t customer facing such as Modern Slavery Act which demands more transparency along the manufacturing process as well as BlockChain technology which is disruptive to the supply chain.

‘Technology is business, business is technology’ – Julian Burnnett, CEO & Exec Director, House of Fraser

Retailers need to stay ahead. Taking a bigger view on what technology means to staff as well as customers.

Brands that get the most ROI will be the ones that imbed technology deeply into their core values. If technology allows to make the consumers life easier and better, then the technology will always be successful.

Millennials want to be like their icons, strategies should incorporate this into Marketing Plans.

Example: Harrods brings Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s make up Artist to London for a masterclass.

If brand understand their customers and what makes a difference to their life, brands will survive.

Brands need to be more transparent and going forward will need to put more emphasis on improving their environmental footprint. It is important products have sustainability and many brands are looking at how they can be more sustainable.

Retail is going to be revolutionised in the next 5 years and brands needs to be ready for this by aksing themselves:

–      What is your purpose

–      What are you trying to do

–      How can you make products attractive to the new generations who have higher expectations.

Brands need to change their way of thinking!

Marketing & Retail Innovation

‘It’s not an age, it’s a mind-set’ – Ric Flo, Rap Therapist & Millennial

Millennials Vs Gen Z Vs Boomers

Uniqlo was a brand commended for: Collaborating with creatives & offering good quality products.

ASOS is a great example of amazing customer experience.

All three generations said they prefer to go into store to feel the quality of the product. Buying in store allows for human interaction which was important for the buying experience.

Brands need to be authentic and relate more to the community, being forward thinking and using fresh, unique and creative ideas to win consumers attention.

Quality is still of upmost importance. A brand criticised was Zara: Prices have increased but quality has not.

What is the future for independent brands?

The general opinion was that smaller independents seem to be able to relate to the person better and can connect better with the consumer.  Bigger brands are now seeing the advantage of collaborating with small young independent brands. I.e. H & M

Cited: Nike advert – Relatable and current

CASE STUDIES

Gymshark – Stay close to the community & Pop ups

Brands are shifting from traditional retail stores and are now using showrooming, multirooms and pop ups to display products.

More brands are using the pop up concept. Gymshark have built a strong social community and give back to this community. They stay close to the fan base by using the pop up concept. They know their customer (16-25 Year Olds) and focus on this customer base. They have adopted an influencer marketing model, these icons are used brand ambassadors.

TOMS – Giving back & Influencer Collaborations.

TOMS is dedicated to giving and is very vocal about it using a 1 for 1 giving model where they provide shoes, sight, water and safer birth services to people in need, not only does this show the brand is doing their thing for the community but it also allows the consumer to feel involved in the giving process, an added incentive to buying a TOMS product.

Secondly, they understand the importance of influencer collaborations. In 2017, they collaborated with popular Street Artist and Instagram star James Goldcrown who is behind the ‘Love Wall’ Murals in LA & NY. Choosing to collaborate with someone with similar values is not only respectable but also shows forward thinking.

TOMS LAUNCHES NEW COLLABORATION WITH STREET ARTIST JAMES GOLDCROWN

To summarise

Ideas leading consumer behaviour: Is the brand Sustainable. Is the brand leaving an environmental footprint. Can the consumer trust the brand. Is the brand giving back to the community.

From a brand perspective: Data should be used to lead marketing and decision making and for innovation. The effects of Crypto Currency should be considered in the future. Is the brand giving off an authentic message. Be conscious and give back. Personalisation is still very much in demand. Stay ahead with technology. Chatbots are as a viable solution to traditional messaging systems. Plan your next 5 years now or get left behind.

Final Note: Be clever with UGC, Millennials are more interested in influencers they can relate to.

Day 1 Insights: Millennial 20 20 Event, London

 On the 13th & 14th March, I attended Millennial 20 20: The future vision for retail, marketing & commerce. The event was dedicated to exploring the future of retail with a special focus on the effect millennials/Gen Z will have on the industry.

Here are my insight from day one.

Round Table: How AI & weather can predict customer behaviour.

  • Soon to be released – An independent survey by IBM that interviewed 1000 retail executives on the impact weather had on business. Two exclusive insights – the weather effects business because it stops sales orders delivered on time and effects inventory turnover.
  • Potential Revenue growth from improved weather insights are significant and important
  • 3 business challenges where weather is concerned. 1. Creating Value. 2. Integrating weather data. 3. Decision Making
  • Previously the strategy in regards to weather was Cope & Avoid but businesses can’t afford to do this anymore. Now the strategy is Anticipate & Act.
  • Case Study – P & G team with the Weather Channel to do the ‘Haircuts Campaign’ leveraging bad hair days.

Pantene Bad Hair Campaign

Marketing & Advertising

  • Be honest in your approach to marketing and advertising. Cited: Ed Sheeran. Nike
  • Brands need to – Be consistent. Be Disruptive. Be Principled. Be Real
  • Build trust. 92% of consumers rely on friends and family for advice and recognition
  • Experience needs to be across every channel, at every point of the experience.
  • User Generated Content – Allow others to talk about you instead of talking about yourself. Your content needs to be authentic. Millennials can tell ‘real’ from ‘fake’. Let your customers tell your story.
  • The importance of AI – Companies are using AI to trawl through reviews, find insights and improve company objectives to address these issues.
  • The importance of data – ‘Without data you are just another person with an opinion’
  • Know your customer, where are your customers. What platforms. What is important to them. Strategies need to be targeted at different generations X,Z,Y.

Social Marketing

  • Conscious Marketing by TOMS – Doing good is good for business. Test social content, in the conscious marketing space, customers like imagery with transactions, branding but only in a particular way. NO poverty porn. NO vague. No fakeness. Make consumers feel empowered.
  • Give consumers freedom in creativity
  • When social planning. Choose your strategy. Cite. Blossom Hill – Paid Media only – use influencers to tap into organic reach. Focus on key calendar events.

Fireside Chat with Paul Lindley, Founder Ella’s Kitchen – Why business has a conscience and thinking like a toddler

  • In the workplace – Motivate people. Share your mission so they can get excited about it too. Reward and recognise. Find ways to deepen authenticity and trust.
  • Grow down. Don’t play by your rules. Be prepared to fail. Think like a toddler. Get in touch with your inner child. 98% of toddlers think creatively day to day.
  • Cited: Mentos Advert: ‘Connecting with people is simple, with a little help

Follow my blog to see insights from Day 2 at the Millennial 20 20 event.