Why use Video and GIFs in your email marketing

Posted by frank harris on 11/03/16 16:29

GIF_in_email_marketing.jpgThe GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a 1980’s creation that has remained a popular method of adding motion and animation to email marketing, helping campaigns to stand out from the crowd. So how can we bring back the 80s into our modern email campaigns but leave the spandex and bad perms firmly in the past?


The difference between Gifs and Video

Although the GIF file is a video feature, there are important differences you need to know.

  1. Video has sound, animated GIFs do not.
  2. Some formats of video have high resolution and high picture quality, but the GIF has just 256 colours available.
  3. Video size is larger, GIF size is smaller.

A GIF is a valuable addition to an email, allowing you to add animation without clogging up your customer’s inboxes (large file formats, slow to load, are an easy way to lose subscribers). GIFs with all their low-picture quality have managed to retain an air of nostalgia, are a useful way to tap into your persona’s psyche.

GIF-tastic email marketing

Still not convinced about how valuable GIFs could be? Well, video email marketing has a 280% return on investment in comparison to plain-text? GIF emails have a slightly lower ROI but it’s still an improvement! Now, how do you incorporate them into your email campaigns?


Remember animated GIFs and Flash are not guaranteed to work in all email clients, so run a test to see how the email will appear in different inboxes. That way, you’ll pick up on any discrepancies and be able to tweak the campaign before it goes out. Fortunately, email clients are more likely to support GIF than video, so this too much of a problem.


If you can’t find the GIF you want, it’s easy to create one yourself and there are plenty of free software programmes to help you put one together. However, make sure GIFs are as relevant as any other image included in your campaign – forget the cute cat.


Also avoid using JavaScript – most email clients block it as a security precaution and this creates an automatic barrier to stop your message reaching its intended recipient. Don’t fall down at the last deliverability hurdle!

Common mistakes

Microsoft Outlook uses Word to render HTML email, so GIFs and animated content don’t always display well. Compatibility issues can cause only the first frame of the GIF to display which can render them effectively unfit-for-purpose as an eye-catching element to your campaigns, and users have to set the GIF to repeat which gives a poor user experience.


To make up for this, produce your file so that the first frame contains the most important information and is seen immediately without a need for animation. If in doubt, include a static image which tells the story of your animated content.


When you’re designing emails that contain animated content, remember to plan how to minimise the impact on the overall campaign if the animated content fails. Whilst of course this can happen to the best of us it’s always good to have a back-up plan.


On a practical note, edit your animated content prior to uploading it into your email software as this gives better control over the file size. It’ll save you a lot of heartache than trying to edit the image in your email software.

4 Quick Animated Content Marketing Ideas

  • Fashion brands and retailers could create a GIF that puts together an outfit from your new clothing line.
  • Show how a product works through a step-by-step demonstration.
  • Technology deals can be animated with images on their screens.
  • Open your inbox now – we guarantee there’ll be dozens of GIF-laden emails to give you some inspiration!


Depending on your industry and how you are using animated content, remember to consider how your email will come across if the video element fails. Test with a variety of email platforms and also test your email without the video content to see how it looks.


If in doubt, simplify your email campaign or look for professional advice, we’re here to help!


For more reasons why you should use images in your B2B marketing campaigns, follow the link below:-


Using Images in Social Media Marketing

Tags: small business marketing consultant uk, email marketing, b2b email marketing

Reasons to Hire an Inbound Small Business Marketing Consultant

Posted by frank harris on 13/10/15 08:44

FMH_0814Every now and again you have to say why you’re in business and what one can do for others. So here we go!


Many business owners operate under the false assumption that inbound marketing consultants are only affordable for larger companies. In truth, there are many benefits to hiring a small business marketing consultant, as outlined below.

What Marketing Consultants Do

First, here’s a look at just some of the areas that a small business marketing consultant can help small companies:-

Overall business evaluation.

It’s hard for new business owners to evaluate their young organisations. A small business marketing consultant can pull from years of business experience to assess the weaknesses and strengths of a fledgling business.

Strategic planning.

  • Business consultants must have:-
  • A strong educational record in business.
  • Extensive experience as a business leader.
  • Exceptional understanding of how business trends work.

These features allow consultants to provide suggestions on how a business can succeed. After learning about an organisation and identifying major opportunities and obstacles, a small business marketing consultant should be able to create a strategic plan to lead the firm to success.

Marketing design.

Chances are your small business marketing consultant can produce outbound material as well as inbound, e.g. ad copy to draw in new customers. Beyond designing small business marketing strategies, consultants can construct complete both outbound and inbound marketing campaigns, so can wear many different hats while helping your business succeed.

Project and process management.

The consulting lifestyle appeals to many people in the business world. Indeed, most small business consultants are top business performers who have decided to shift to a different way of life. This means small business consultants usually have project management and process design skills, which they can employ to improve your business’s performance.

How Small Businesses Benefit

Now that we’ve reviewed just what a small business marketing consultant does, let’s explore the benefits of hiring such consultants:-

A fresh perspective.

Contracting with a consultant as one of your small business marketing strategies will bring you an unbiased, fresh perspective. Internal conflicts and ongoing office politics can limit one’s vision. Outside consultants are free of preconceived ideas about your business, so they can provide a fresh perspective.

High-quality help.

As mentioned earlier, most business consultants have transitioned to consultancy from a great business career. In other words, you’ll likely receive top-shelf advice from your consultant – and for less than the cost of a single employee.

Peace of mind.

Partnering with a small business marketing consultant can help you feel calm and confident about the future of your business. With peace of mind, you can better focus on your company’s core offerings and drawing in new business.

Cost and time efficiency.

You get great bang for your buck when you hire a small business marketing consultant. Since most marketing strategy planning consultants charge hourly rates, you avoid paying employee-related taxes by hiring them. Moreover, consultants are experienced, versatile professionals capable of handling everything from social media to long-term strategic planning. Rather than bringing in a new crew of writers, marketers, project managers and designers, you can pay a trusted advisor on an as-needed basis. Hiring a small business marketing consultant maximises cost-efficiency.


Clearly, there are multiple benefits to partnering with a small business marketing consultant. From creating comprehensive small business marketing strategies to performing overall business check-ups, marketing consultants can help your company shine.


So what are you waiting for? Just follow the link to get a FREE initial consultation to see where we can go together:-


free online marketing consultation

Tags: small business marketing consultant uk

How does your Small Business make Decisions?

Posted by frank harris on 22/09/15 15:10

dreamstime_xs_15342806-1People talk a lot about agile processes, but it’s the agile decisions that really count.

How does your small business make decisions?

This is a dangerous question.


We don’t,” is common.  People then describe a catalogue of prevarication and delay. Meetings to discuss the situation. More meetings to discuss who should be at those meetings. Debate about objectives. Arguments about quality standards. Actually making the decision gets lost along the way.


Some small businesses bury their decisions in bureaucracy. Throw enough rules and policies at a decision, they reckon, and it’ll eventually give up and make itself.


And some places have the reverse problem – decisions are made too quickly. Machismo-laden executives vie with each other to appear more decisive. They make dozens of decisions at each sitting. Whether they’re grounded in any sort of reality, whether anyone has any will or ability to execute them – that’s someone else’s problem.


Not a pretty picture.


We can’t design good products without making decisions. We can’t execute projects. We can’t deliver successful marketing campaigns. Decision-making is at the core of any business.


From some research into organisational decision-making I have viewed some matrices to get at those perceptions. Four common patterns emerge from them:-

  • Decision vacuums. These happen when two groups each think the other is responsible for a decision. For example, project managers think that product managers decide when to schedule a release, while product managers think that’s a project management decision. Net result: no-one makes the decision.
  • Decision stand-offs. In this case, two groups each think they own the decision. That can lead to infighting – people expend more effort arguing about decision rights than making the decision. Or they each make their own decision, leading to inconsistency and confusion. Lots of small business websites show signs that this has happened
  • Misplaced empowerment. Senior people think they have devolved decisions to their subordinates, but those subordinates don’t recognise this. Executives often think they have “empowered” their project teams, for example, while those teams feel pretty powerless. Micro-management often undermines “empowerment”.
  • Abdication. People recognise that someone senior is responsible for a decision, but that person (or group) never actually makes the decision. This is like a vacuum, only more insidious – vacuums eventually come to light when people push their peers for a decision. It’s a lot harder to talk about abdication.

Recognise any of those?


Many large ocompanies have policies that address these issues. For example, they have process models that contain extensive charts of RACI (Responsible-Accountable-Consulted-Informed) tables that set out who is responsible for each decision.


But people ignore these. Maybe they never read them. Maybe they forgot about them as they got caught up in the details of their projects.  


Maybe they read different parts of the manual and hence got tangled in its ambiguities and inconsistencies. Practices often differ wildly to official policy.


Nonetheless, it’s worth thinking about how your small business will make decisions  Agree in advance, and you’ll avoid a lot of pain on each decision.


Start from one of the four basic models:

  • Monarchy. A single person or group makes the decision, on behalf of the entire organisation.
  • Federation. Representatives from each affected department or team come together and decide by some sort of voting mechanism.
  • Feudal. Each department makes its own decision, without reference to anyone else.
  • Anarchy. Every person makes their own decision. (Anarchy sounds scary, but it works well for some types of decision. Why sweat the minor decisions, for example?)

You don't have to use the same model for all decisions.  And you can combine the models in various ways – consult widely via a federal model, but make the final decision monarchically, for example.

The key is to keep it fairly simple, and be prepared to be flexible.

Plan, but expect your plans to change when you run into messy reality.  


Above all, keep thinking about how you will make decisions – bureaucracies and tangled hierarchies emerge because no-one is tending the organisational decision making processes.


Decisions are critical to our success. In a rapidly changing world, we need to constantly take in new information and use it to adjust our course and steer towards our goals. People talk a lot about agile processes, but it’s the agile decisions that really count.


When it comes to online marketing campaigns maybe the eBook linked to the button below may help you:-


How to Run a  B2B Website Marketing Campaign

Tags: small business marketing consultant uk

How does Google judge quality content in B2B Website Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 07/12/14 12:22

google_logoAs a small business marketing consultant, I talk about the need to provide quality content on your website if you want to rank well in searches. But how do search engines identify quality content?


Successive Google algorithm updates (culminating in the recent Panda 4.1) aim to refine results so that they match the intent of the search query and deliver the most comprehensive, accessible and well-written answer.


Put simply, Google are always looking for genuine quality content, and are increasingly smart at finding (and dismissing) pages that try to get round the system.


For example, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm restructure enables it to better understand the meaning behind search queries as well as the semantics behind content.


So what should you focus on if you want to produce content that search engines will recognise as high quality? Here are five key factors that we have identified from our rearch as a small business marketing consultant:-


1. Holistic content

Content should not just be focused on optimising for single keywords – but should cover the topic comprehensively and be based on individual subjects or topic areas that are based around keywords and a variety of related terms.


This change is because Hummingbird and the move to semantic search means Google is now much better at recognising the intent of searchers when they enter a search term.

Companies should include content phrases in order to be more holistic – and, at the same time, make content more relevant for users with different search intentions. 


A good way of doing this is to look at content in terms of proof terms and relevant terms, as both have a strong positive correlation with high Google rankings.


For example, for a search term such as “iPhone 6 plus” proof terms such as “Apple” or “mobile” are words that are strongly related to the primary keyword and highly likely to appear at the same time.


Relevant terms such as “bending” or “screen size” are a bit more removed and part of a sub-ordinate topic cluster, but still important.  


2. Length of text on the page

Back in 2012 when Searchmetrics analysed the factors that correlate with pages that rank highly in Google, they found a higher number of words on a page had a negative correlation.


That trend continues as the average length of a top ranking result is now around 975 words/8,313 characters.


Obviously this is not just a question of writing more words – search engines are looking for quality content that is relevant and contains content clusters, rather than unconnected, single keywords.


3. Readability of copy on the page

As part of the aim of delivering usable results, Google is also considering the readability of the text - i.e. how easy (or difficult) it is to read particular pages.


Generally web content that aims to appeal to a non-specialist audience should be straightforward to read and understand if it is to rank highly.


It‘s important to create content that fits the search intention and the needs of your specific targeted user group.


4. Less advertising on the page

Sites that rank in the top 30 positions generally include less advertising than average according to our analysis. As a small business marketing consultant, my research indicates that Adlinks and Google Adsense integrations both correlate negatively with good rankings.


This continuing change reflects the desire from people to find and read holistic content, rather than be distracted by advertising. 


5. The presence of images

While perhaps not worth a thousand words, photos and videos seem to be viewed favourably by Google as well as making a page more attractive to readers.


The top ten ranked sites in Google’s search results tend to have between 6-8 images on a page for example. While it is likely that this will be capped by Google in future, ensuring your content has relevant, high quality images will help when it comes to ranking.  


Google is getting better at identifying quality content and its succession of algorithm updates will continue to downgrade the appearance of poor and spammy pages in its results.


If you want to achieve strong, long lasting search visibility then you should make sure that producing a regular stream of high quality content for your target audiences is a key part of your strategy.


Content is essential in SEO which is all this article has been about. But do you fully understand SEO in B2B marketing? No, well find out more by downloading the eBook from the link below:-


Understanding SEO in  B2B Online Marketing


Tags: small business marketing consultant uk

5 Tips for Successful Small Business Marketing Development

Posted by frank harris on 24/09/14 09:02

b2b small business marketing development resized 600

Managing the development and B2B website marketing of your business has a lot in common with conducting an orchestra!

1.  Business Development Is Not Increasing Sales

For those of us involved in B2B website marketing, managing the development of your business has a lot in common with conducting an orchestra. It’s a case of encouraging and leading the various differing components of your business forward, in harmony, to the same point at the same time to produce an extraordinary effect. You need to develop your unique product or service to meet the highest level of customer expectations and you must do so at a price representing fair value and at a cost which generates a fair profit.

2.  Understanding profit does not equal cash

Profitable businesses fail every day. Many small business owners chase growth and revenues forgetting the basic facts of cash management. Profit equals Revenue – Costs but until you have received payment you are in a cash negative position. Ideally you would ensure that you have sufficient cash reserves to meet three to six months of costs. In the early days of a business keep fixed expenses as low as possible, use a virtual office and work from home if possible, keep full time staff to a minimum, pay cash or do without non-essential plant and equipment. This helps if you have a quiet month or even two.

3.  Intuition Versus Fact

Don’t build a business around a product or service you like or you would buy. Undertake sound quantitative research to determine what your prospective customers want and buy then see if you can develop an even better product or service at a price they are prepared to pay. Don’t be tempted to compete on price alone. If company A has been making its product for many years and you realise you could source and sell that product at a good profit for less that’s a good value proposition to you not your customer. The market is less willing to change supply on price alone but if you can offer a better value/service proposition where they get a better product and improved customer service you will have a much greater chance of success.

4.  Business & Financial Planning

There is an old saying “if you don’t know what you want you will probably never get it” and that’s certainly the case in business. A well thought through and documented business plan outlining your core objectives, market analysis, product development, marketing strategies and detailed financial budgets is essential. This is an area where you should consider the use of a mentor or an external consultant to help you get it right. Your financial plan should include linked budgets for P&L, Cash Flow and Balance Sheets. A beautifully bound business plan kept on a shelf is a waste of space it has to be a living breathing document understood and read regularly, reported against monthly and the strategies varied as needed to meet your actual versus budgeted position.

5.  Respect all Stakeholders

A successful entrepreneur understands that the stakeholders in a business are not just the shareholders. The stakeholders include employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders and advisors and they are vital to the success of failure of your business. Spend time with each stakeholder, respect them, listen to their ideas, take their ideas, discuss your plans and your position with them. Take them on your journey as partners. Keep them honestly and openly informed and they will join your team and give you their full support. Again many businesses fail because they don’t earn the respect and support of their stakeholders. 

Building a successful company is hard, it requires a lot of commitment and courage as well as a little luck and of course having a great product and team. Watching your idea become a product and a product generate revenue that becomes a successful company makes it all worthwhile. Working with your stakeholders and mentors, following and constantly updating your plans and finances will go a long way to ensuring success. To get that business you need a great marketing strategy.  Check yours out by a comparison with my views as expressed in the eBook below:-

A Guide to  Small Business Marketing in 2014

Tags: b2b website marketing, integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, get more sales

10 things not to use in B2B email marketing subject lines

Posted by frank harris on 31/07/14 08:23

b2b email marketingWriting an email subject line requires creativity as well as careful analysis of what customers respond to.

It’s not easy coming up with varied topics that get reader’s interest while not becoming monotonous or relying on sales and promotions.

Luckily there are a huge number of case studies that help to give those involved in B2B email marketing inspiration by revealing the type of content and tactics that will increase engagement. But that doesn't mean that the subject line can be neglected in favour of the email content.

Responsys director of strategic services EMEA Jon Stanesby said that the subject line is crucially important, so shouldn't be seen as something that can be altered at the last minute.

The subject line should come first and then other elements should follow as it’s absolutely vital to impress here.

To help, I’ve come up with 10 things that should be avoided to ensure you don’t carelessly harm your KPIs.

None of these rules are written in stone and it’s up to marketers to test their own campaigns to find out what does and doesn’t work for their own customers.

  1. Personalisation

In a recent Econsultancy survey 94% of businesses stated that personalisation is critical to their current and future success.

However too much personalisation in email, such as using the recipient's name in the subject line, can have a detrimental effect according to Stanesby if they are of cold call nature.

Personalising subject lines too frequently also diminishes the effect and is best avoided.

2.  Overt requests for donations

Research by MailChimp found that subject lines that make a request for charitable donations have a negative impact on opens, thus reducing clickthrough rates.

The word ‘donate’ was found to have the most negative impact, while ‘helping’ and ‘fundraising’ were the least damaging. However the latter two words can of course be used in a wider variety of contexts.

3. 'Last Chance'

MailChimp also found the phrase ‘Last Chance’ had a hugely negative impact on open rates.

Obviously people don’t like to be reminded that they’re missing out on something they’ve already been emailed about.


Nothing says spam quite like a capped subject line. It makes it difficult to read and is unlikely to have the desired effect of grabbing the reader’s attention.

As you can see in this example, nothing says “I’m dodgy” quite like a capped up subject line offering a ‘LEGIT LOAN @ 3%’.

Sadly it seems that Gmail also feels that Apple and Advertising Week Europe are worthy of the spam bin!

b2b email marketing

5. The words 'confirm', 'join' or 'assistance'

Baydin identified seven words that were unlikely to provoke a response from recipients. They were confirm, join, assistance, speaker, press, social, and invite.

6. Vague or uninteresting subjects

Communications blog AWeber found that clarity boosts open rates.

It tested clear, concise subject lines versus more creative versions across 20 subject lines and was sent to more than 45,000 subscribers.

The results are not that surprising as the creative examples were often vague or uninteresting, so did little to grab the reader’s attention, so the clear subject lines far outperformed the creative versions:

b2b email marketing

7. Too many characters

Stanesby said that though the rules change between different industries, generally firms should avoid long subject lines.

20 to 30 characters is plenty because consumers won’t read more and most of the wording will likely be cut off on the screen, particularly on mobile devices.

Indeed the effect is magnified on smartphones, and with upwards of 40+% of emails now being opened on mobile devices it’s an issue you can’t ignore.

It’s not possible to narrow it down to a specific length as there are other factors that play a role, however data from Mailer Mailer indicates that the sweet spot is somewhere between four and 15 characters.

8. Exclamation marks!!!

I’ve failed to come across any research that proves that including several exclamation marks in a subject line is going to put the recipient off as it has the look of spam.

In fact a glance at my inbox shows that brands are more than happy to use exclamation marks, as well as caps and the word ‘free’, which is often cited as a blacklisted term that is sure to trigger spam filters.

b2b email marketing

Even so, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that using more than one exclamation mark looks spammy and should be avoided.

9. Trickery

Adestra found that consumers are not fooled when marketers add in ‘FW:’ or ‘RE:’ to the subject line to give the appearance of familiarity.

In fact the respective click rates were 47.5% and 42.6% lower than average. So don’t try to outsmart your customers as it’s underhand and they’ll likely see through it.

10. Bad content marketing or marketing bad content

Adestra also found that certain forms of content marketing can actually harm open rates.

For example, using the word ‘report’ saw opens drop by 23.7% while CTR fell by 54.8%. The same is true for ‘webinar’ with the stats dropping by 16.6% and 70.7% respectively.

Conversely if the content is good, people will consume it. So 'news' (+34.8%, +47.7%), 'bulletin' (+15.8%, +12.7%) and 'video' (+18.5%, +64.8%) work well.

Those are my tips on negativities with regard to email.  To view the positives of what to do then download my eBook from the link below:-

12 Core Components of a  “Five Star” B2B Email

Tags: integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, online marketing specialist, b2b email marketing

4 Content Curation Tools to Consider for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 18/06/14 08:30

content marketingContent marketing – creating and sharing your own blog entries, videos, infographics and more to attract customer attention and drive sales – is a great strategy to promote your small business. However, great doesn’t mean easy.

Many small business owners have discovered that consistently creating, sharing and promoting original, high quality content is a difficult, time-consuming task. Things become more complicated when you realise that to be an effective content marketer, you don’t just need good content, you need a lot of good content.

What Is Content Curation?

That’s where content curation comes in. Content curation involves gathering, organising and sharing online content that you think your customers will really appreciate. This content doesn’t have to be directly tied to your products or services, but instead speak to topics you know your customers are interested in.

For example, a wedding planner could collect all kinds of content about wedding dresses, fresh flower arrangements, cake design, etiquette and more. Even though the wedding planner doesn’t provide any of these services, they’re obviously topics of interest to their clients.

Today’s customers are always hungry for information. You don’t have to do the work of creating this information yourself – but by providing organised access to it, you enjoy the benefit of having a reason for your customers to engage with your brand, often directly on your website.

Content Curation sites such as paper.li, Rebel Mouse, and Storify automate the content curation process to some extent. These sites make it easier to find content that will be interesting to your customers by searching websites and social media for the keywords and topics you indicate are most relevant. Some sites also offer the ability to include content recommended by other users.

Free or Low-Cost Content Curation Tools


Create a daily, weekly or monthly customised newspaper delivered directly to your subscribers’ inbox. It allows you to automatically draw content from the sites and social media platforms more relevant to your customers. Ensure to take advantage of the editor’s note feature that allows you to speak directly to your readership.

Rebel Mouse

Organise and display all of the content from your social media presence in one central, visually compelling location. If you’re like the typical small business owner, a significant amount of the content on your social media site is not material you created yourself, and is instead items you shared from other sources.

Rebel Mouse allows you to make the most of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn content.  RebelMouse can be embedded in your company’s website, adding a valuable element of dynamic content for SEO purposesStrategic use of the Event functionality can help you maximise the return from any events your business attends, participates in or hosts.


Combine your own content with content you’ve found online or had recommended to you by other Scoop.it users on Topic Pages. Slightly more labour-intensive than Paper.li, Scoop.it allows business owners to send out a monthly newsletter for free; weekly newsletter functionality becomes available at the paid level.


Collect content from across the Web and publish what you’ve found on Storify’s platform, which can be embedded in your own website.  Easily shared content is a great way to connect with your customers. At the paid level, Storify offers privacy settings which make it an ideal tool for internal communications regarding market research and other online inquiries.

Smart Inbound Marketing

Content curation can be a valuable tool to add to your marketing mix. Before you move forward, however, take the time to think through what you’re going to accomplish with your content curation efforts.

It helps to think of a content curation platform as a custom newspaper or magazine that you’re creating for your customers.  You want to be very clear about what type of content you want to feature. What topics are you going to discuss? What type of tone do you want your publication to have?

Creating parameters for the content you want to feature will make the selection process easier. It’s much better to be organised and systematic than it is to try to fly by the seat of your pants.

Commitment is the other consideration to take into account. Content curation platforms allow you to connect with your customers often. However, you need to objectively analyse whether that level of engagement is sustainable for your business.  Just because content curation is less work than creating original content, it doesn’t mean it’s no work at all.

Focus on quality. It’s much better to create a good newsletter or magazine that’s updated weekly or even monthly than it is to put something of lesser quality out more frequently. Smart integration of content curation platforms into your digital marketing toolbox can make the process relatively easy – and even a little fun.

Whatever you do, your blog, social media platforms, email marketing etc. all need to be optimised to get you the best results. To find out more about this just click on the link below:-

How to Optimise your  Internet Marketing Channels

Tags: internet marketing for small business, content marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, b2b web marketing

Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by frank harris on 06/06/14 08:21

social media marketing servicesWe’ve all seen how social media marketing can take a small business and make them a worldwide, household name. Social media takes word-of-mouth and elevates it to a whole new level. When social media marketing is handled properly it can help a business achieve success. However, if it is not done properly then it can quickly plummet a business to the bottom. You must learn to manage social media correctly to avoid a negative effect on your business.

Social media marketing takes planning and forethought. If you do not have a social media plan then that is your first mistake. A plan is an outline of where you want to go and how you plan to get there. A solid social media plan will help prevent mistakes by helping you to focus on your goal. Some common social media mistakes are:

Random Posting

All content posted via social media needs to be focused towards your personas and to represent your brand well. Stay on target and remain focused. Don’t just put out random posts in order to get something out there. Remember, if it’s not relevant then it is useless.

Personal Instead of Business

While social media is meant to be social, remember that you need to stay in a business mindset. Your business profiles should be for exactly that, business. That doesn’t mean you can’t relate to your audience, but you don’t want to tell them about the fish you cooked for your kids either. You need content that people can relate to that makes you more personable, but you must always keep a business mindset.

Using the Same Content

While it is great to link your social media profiles to your website, there is always a need for fresh content. Don’t just cross promote the same content and think that it’s going to be enough because it won’t be. Keep content fresh.

Post and Watch

Posting content once a month and then sitting back and waiting for something amazing to happen is a waste of your time. Content needs to be streaming constantly. It keeps people coming back for more when you have something new to say.

Giving Away TOO Much Information

While you want to always put out new information, you don’t want to give away all your secrets either. Once you do that, why should anyone come back? You’ve already said everything you needed to say. Keep content fresh and new, but as with anything, give them morsels and not a meal.

Ignoring Your Audience

When people read your posts they often have something to say and so they will comment. If you ignore these comments then you are ignoring your audience. No one likes to be ignored. We like to know that when we say something, someone is listening. If you ignore your audience eventually they just won’t visit your profile anymore.

Sales, Sales, Sales

While you may be selling a product or service, if everything you have to say is a sales pitch then people will eventually get turned off. Customers do not want to feel like every time they visit a site you have nothing to say except “buy me”. You want an even mix of sales and information flowing. People like knowledge and they like to buy things, but too much of the sales approach can turn your audience over to the competition.

Expect results from you social media marketing efforts

It’s proven that a well developed social media marketing plan that is used properly can be a very powerful marketing tool. Avoiding the mistakes listed above will help you to stay on the path to success and not failure.

There are many pitfalls in social media and there is a lot to consider in planning your social media strategy. One thing you must do is keep up to date with what your main channels are up to. To get that just download the FREE paper from the link below:-

How to React to  Changes to Social Networks


Tags: get more traffic, b2b website marketing, social media marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, inbound marketing

B2B Web Marketing – Thinking of great blog subjects

Posted by frank harris on 14/05/14 08:15

b2b web marketing ideasFrom Tweets to blog posts to Facebook page wall posts, there is a lot copy, messaging and engagement to push out to your B2B web marketing audience. This is why the inbound marketer’s role is one that requires so much creativity. Content has to be timely, accurate, relevant, thoughtful, unpredictable, informative – even funny. The same old content day in and day out can get stale, losing that community engagement you were after in the first place.

The question is: "where do you come up with fresh ways to accomplish that seven days a week?"

What should your company be blogging about?

The following list of ideas is meant to inspire the content you create for your community. Broad and generic in focus, it’s not meant to focus too strictly on the technology that helps you carry out these ideas and offer something for everyone. We hope this brainstorm helps you think of some fresh ideas of your own.

Multi-media and Visuals

  1. Show a step-by-step guide on how to do something in a screencast, how-to video, or show the steps in a series of photos.

  2. Create a music video for your company and post it on the blog.

How-to’s and Tips

  1. Write a how-to article. Give instructions with screenshots or photos on the steps someone needs to take to do something.

  2. Point out common mistakes in your industry and offer solutions on how to fix or avoid them

  3. Offer a list of benefits for doing something.

  4. Share a list of some things to avoid.

  5. Relate your how-to content to a current event or a celebrity. Example: “5 _____ Lessons from Lady Gaga” or “What the Election Teaches Us About ____”

Use Existing Content

  1. Take the contrarian position. Find someone else’s article that you agree or disagree with. Introduce your blog post with what you specifically agree or disagree with it, and support your argument with a few concise points.

  2. Do a weekly or daily links-roundup of relevant news for your community.

  3. Find tips in other content, create a list of those tips and give links to those articles as the sources.

  4. Share an excerpt from an eBook or whitepaper with a call-to-action to download it for the rest of the information.

  5. Share an excerpt from an upcoming webinar with a call to action to get the rest of the content in the webinar.

  6. Share your slides from a recent presentation.

  7. Share conference takeaways.

  8. Do a round-up of last year’s/last month’s/last week’s most popular posts.

  9. Re-interpret existing content: Collect the top motivational YouTube videos for your audience, top eBooks, top webinars or infographics.


  1. Respond to industry research with your own perspective. Offer a fresh angle to spark conversation.

  2. Do a survey with Survey Monkey among your community members and create an infographic based on the results.

  3. Do a poll of your Twitter community with a Twtpoll or your Facebook community with a Facebook Question and post the results on your blog.

  4. Do an in-depth case study about one company, or offer a few examples of how other companies do something successfully.

Thought Leadership

  1. Record an interview with an expert in your field and post it to your blog.

  2. Get experts to offer a tip and do a round-up of their recommendations.

  3. Feature guest posts from industry experts.

  4. Publish responses to frequently asked questions about your industry.

  5. Create a list of trends to watch.

  6. Compare and contrast: Different products, different approaches, different companies, different people, different places, etc.

  7. Do a review of other non-competitive products or services that your community cares about.

  8. Be a journalist: Be the first in your space to offer industry takeaways about breaking news.

  9. Explain what a current event or topic in the news means for your industry or community. Example: “What ____ Means for ____.” “Why _____ Matters for _____.”

  10. De-bunk common myths.

Make it About Your Community

  1. Interview your favourite customer.

  2. Post a Flickr slideshow of pictures from a recent event.

  3. Run a contest and give away something relevant to your community.

  4. If you have company news to share, talk about it in a way that makes it about the reader. Example: If someone gets promoted, talk about how they were successful. Inspire your audience.

  5. Publish a post relevant to the current season or holiday.

  6. Outline the top practical use cases for your product, service etc.

There you have a whole load of ideas which I hope help you. Now you got your ideas, know how and where to deliver them?

Download this eBook to give you the full picture:-

7 Steps to  Delivering Successful  Content Marketing

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing ideas, content marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, b2b web marketing, online marketing specialist

B2B Web Marketing - Optimise your Internet Marketing Channels

Posted by frank harris on 06/05/14 08:43

b2b web marketing optimisationFor some, the word “optimisation” in relation to B2B Web Marketing, conjures up thoughts of complicated mathematics and data analysis. It can seem like one of those things that only a true “data geek” could ever hope to understand.

At its core, however, the science of optimisation as it relates to B2B Web Marketing, is really quite simple: it's all about making improvements. It's about taking what you already have and then - through experimenting and measuring - finding out ways to make it even better.

Optimisation of your digital experience is the only way to know what is working and what isn’t for your brand. So where do you start? What rules or tips can you go by to make sure you’re taking the right path to the ultimate digital experience?

Consider this this saying - “Never stop learning. If you learn one new thing every day, you will overcome 99% of your competition.”

Optimax is in the business of helping you improve your digital experience! So take a look at some of our learnings and see how you can implement them yourself:

  • Keys to success: dedication, honesty, focus, flexibility.

  • Practice Areas: redesigning websites for high conversion, landing page test plans and strategy, and internal optimisation team training.

  • What gets measured, gets done. 

  • Common Pitfalls: one-size fits all template, “best practice” design, stopping at the landing page, set it and forget it, and doing nothing.

  • This is the time to forget about your branding. Now, relationships are created with information, not people.

  • Gaps between visits are just as important. “What are they doing when they’re not on your site?”

  • User experience is sweet spot in middle between art, user goals, business goals, and science.

  • A consumer is a brain. They can either be system 1, which is fast to make choices, emotional, and works off the subconscious. Or they can be system 2, which is slow to make choices, rational, and requires attention.

  • Let your customer think he’s free in his choices.

  • Three things happen when you make a software paradigm transition: users reconsider commitments, rules of good product design change, and leaders usually underestimate the challenge.

  • Content marketing is the art of providing relevant, valuable content to your customers without selling or interrupting them.

  • Content marketing pillars: create share worthy content, analyse relevant sites to share with, and track performance.

  • Email Marketing: Rule #1 Respect the inbox. Make every email a “gift.”

  • Content is not about quantity first and quality second. You want to produce the kind of content that engages.

  • For blogs, the object of the headline now is to get you to click.

  • The blog shouldn’t be about your product; it’s about your reader.

  • The mobile and responsive traps: legacy, fear, confusion, and boredom.

  • 99.5% of smartphone mobile web sessions do not result in a buy. However, 65% of email is now opened first on mobile.

Anyway back to Optimisation of marketing channels!

The goal of my latest eBook isn’t to overwhelm you with algorithms and formulas; instead, it’s to highlight some best practices you can implement (and some experiments you can run) for optimising your blog, landing pages, SEO, email, and social.

Keep in mind that while we’re addressing these marketing channels individually, the real power of inbound marketing comes from using them in unison. A holistic approach will ensure that your visitors, leads  and customers always have a great experience, regardless of the channel they’re interacting with you through.

To get the story on how to optimise the following channels:-

  • Blog

  • Landing Pages

  • Email

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation

  • Social Media

All you need to do is download my latest eBook, with the title of this page, by clicking the button below:-

How to Optimise your  Internet Marketing Channels

Tags: internet marketing consultant, SEO for small business, b2b website marketing, website marketing strategy, small business marketing consultant uk

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