Trig Point Marketing and E-Commerce Consultancy
Welcome to Trig Point Marketing Consultancy, providing Marketing Support and Consultancy across the South East of England including Sussex, Hampshire and London our specialism being Marketing Strategy for SMEs. You can now follow us on Twitter, where Marketing Strategist Dave Cousin will be giving his latest thoughts on Marketing and keeping you up to date with all new news and developments on this site.
I have now moved on to a full-time role elsewhere and Trig-point is no longer trading I will in the near future be relaunching this website as a private marketing blog. I hope my previous clients will remain in contact I thank you for your custom in the past and of course let me know if there are any assets/work which I still have that you need copies of.
Traditional advertising in media such as Print, TV and Radio are starting to look like rather unwieldy and blunt instruments, each expensive while being difficult to target. Types of promotion that target individuals using other individuals are much more powerful and effective, though people aren’t cheap for the right products and services they can bring much better value.
For FMCG and other simple offerings where traditional ads can explain the important benefits of a product, which will be the same for everyone, then traditional media still works but not for detailed services and products that are bespoke or need to be sold on different points to different people.
We are of course talking partly about direct sales and telesales but also online sales, and the support and research required to make sure that your sales efforts are on target.
There is more to online sales than e-mails, you have Social Media as a way to reach people as well and you can communicate with people in forums by identifying queries that your offering relates to.
There are other ways to use man, and woman, power to gets sales as well with few if any extra costs: making them far better value for many businesses than traditional ads still, or a great support to them. Consider then how many Social Media or SEO experts you could employ for what you currently spend on buying media?
Social Media is great for bringing about awareness, building brand values and also delivering customer service and bringing about sales by giving people the information they need and are asking for.
SEO can build up visitors and sales with relevant traffic by finding relevant keywords from people with clear buying intentions or with queries they are looking for answers and information for. By also setting up landing pages you can give people the most relevant information to boost your chances of making a sale either through the site or elsewhere.
Perhaps then marketing jobs, at least in Online Marketing or Sales, will be one area where jobs will remain available in tough times; demand has stood up well thus far and costs for traditional media are slow to come down as marketers and management become aware of the better value of alternatives.
Contactless payments are being pioneered in the UK by Orange and Barclaycard where you can wave either your card or your phone with a special sticker on it over a compatible payment terminal and for payments or up to £10 you won’t even need to enter a pin number. Is this attractive though to customers, or for that matter to store owners who may need to invest in new payment machines?
From a marketing point of view the question is can contact-less payment boost sales, either directly or by improving the in-store experience? First though we need to understand do customers want it? And from what I have seen so far: not really. Yes there are a few early adopters who will use it but this is likely to be the same kind of people who were early adopters of mini-discs or laser-discs and will go for anything as long as it is the latest technology.Personally if I want to save time I’ll start by not wasting it working out how to set up my Barclaycard so I can use Contactless Payments.
For most people though practical considerations are what is important including costs; for contactless payment the cost is the risk you take by having something that can be stolen from you and used to make a purchase with your money, and it isn’t just potential monetary loss but the risk of being mugged for your contctless card or phone with contactless payment sticker on: whether this is a real or imagined fear isn’t important as it certainly seems to exist: the question is will it pass?
Then there is how much of a benefit there really is to counteract this risk: contactless payment is being marketed as a replacement for your wallet or a replacement for cash. It isn’t any more a replacement for cash than your bank card though and like your bank card, which can’t replace cash because plenty of places don’t accept cards, the same will be true for contactless payment: unless we start considering phone to phone wireless payments, which are something a little different, but even then charges may be a sticking point.
Right now though all you can get rid of is your bank cards if you swap them for a sticker on your phone, or rather just your Barclaycard, meaning any business and personal debit cards you have will still keep your wallet bulging without much obvious thinning.
So what if you could have contactless payment for all of your cards, if you used the cards themselves you would still have to get the right one out of your wallet and you can only have one sticker on your phone. There’s a lot more in my own wallet besides credit and debit cards anyway: as well as cash I have Driving License, Gym Card, Oyster Card, Donor Card, Library Card, Cinema Card, National Trust Card, NI Card, Tesco Clubcard a supply of Business Cards and of course my Caravan Club Membership Card: until these can be transformed into one card or sticker my pocket will remain bulging.
For certain stores, mainly those selling food and drink to go, it may make sense for contact-less payment to get people in and out more quickly, but then I had a Starbucks Card before and still never used it though all that needed was a swipe, in fact its still probably somewhere in the depths of my wallet now.
A couple of tips for SEO: things that are increasingly important post Panda and Penguin to make your pages seem more natural and improve your rankings in Google.
If Google give you six tips on how to do your SEO then you certainly listen. As always Google aren’t trying to trick you, it is in fact some SEO techniques that try to trick them, not those that we use of course.
Google want to work with you though to make sure that you create great sites that they can then put to the top of their results as relevant good quality results for searchers. These six tips for SEO, aimed more at Webmaster’s than SEO professionals, show that:
‘Do Something Cool’ is the first tip for SEO Google came up with, basically they want you to make your website stand out from your competitors. As for how this helps with SEO they don’t say but there are three possible explanations, one is that by being unique you can rank for long tail keywords with little competition, second is that your content is more likely to get organic links and tweets and likes on social media, lastly is that good content will have a lower bounce rate that is now taken into account by Google since their first Panda update.
So Google’s second tip for SEO is include relevant words in your copy, this isn’t quite saying include keywords though. Regardless of what keywords you put in you should try and use relevant words throughout as well as your keywords; keywords in a page which Google can see have nothing to do with the rest of the page’s content will be ignored.
Be smart about your tags and site architecture, another one aimed at webmasters especially but you should know this anyway really: though perhaps not if you are new to the web, managing your own websites and learning as you go? This is an important part of SEO though and something you should read up on and is well worth getting right if you haven’t already, you could also contact us for a site audit of course.
Did you know that Google will actually tell you if your website displeases them, this is invaluable and is possible by signing up for Google’s webmaster tools. Google advise you to do this so they can send e-mails and in these they’ll tell you of problems including if they’ve come across links they deem to be part of a link building scheme: you can then take action before they penalise you.
The fifth tip is to attract Buzz, by which they mean get organic links and shares, likes etc on Social Media and Social Bookmarking sites. They basically want real people to show they like your pages and they’ll rank you higher. It’s important to remember as well Google do pay attention to likes, tweets, shares and of course +1s of your site as a ranking factor now.
Google’s last tip is to stay fresh and relevant, they obviously are aware that a lot of the content online is out of date and that more recent content is going to be more relevant. By keeping your site up to date not just by adding new pages but by updating old ones you can rank higher in Google.
Keyword research and link building are of course absent from this list, these six tips for SEO though are all things that website owners and designers can do themselves without the likes of use SEO professionals getting involved.
Matt Cutts’ comments in an interview at SXSW have set the SEO world alight; it has been a big topic with discussions continuing all week among those working in SEO and also those owning websites who use SEO services. The term Google SEO penalty has sprung up and those a little behind have been left asking what is the Google SEO penalty? A few are saying it signals an end to SEO, it may well be that these people haven’t really read or heard the interview though, either that or it means the end to their type of SEO: blackhat SEO that in reality has been sick for a long time and that no half decent SEO consultant should be using.
That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been those using blackhat SEO of course, often these people are looking for quick results: bringing traffic but little real value and they have been the bane of site owners for a long time already, and of searchers who do from time to time come across valueless sites with little or nothing to do with their search.
These websites are what Google want to get rid of; Google lets be clear have nothing against good quality sites with good quality content and that is what the Panda update has been all about. You are allowed to use relevant terms on your site as long as you don’t go over the top: Matt Cutts after all did say in this interview that he was looking to level the playing field in terms of: “those people doing over optimization or overly SEO versus those making great content and great sites. ”
Google want great content to appear high on Google and so SEO techniques such as the ones we use at Trig-Point are still completely valid. Our campaigns rely on the creation of great quality content, building relevant (one way) links and using relevant keywords. This is important for site owners too as otherwise you aren’t going to get people staying on your site.
What many think Google may be doing is getting better at semantics and having robots that are able to understand better what a site is about and whether pages on it are good quality and relevant and whether keywords are relevant to the rest of the site.
As for using too many keywords the strategy we follow at trig-point is to use prime keywords at only around 1% of the total content of a page: well within the realms of what you might naturally use when writing without thinking about it. We also are careful about how many keywords we use; Matt Cutts’ comments about penalizing those using too many keywords we feel simply vindicate out existing strategy.
The other main thing Matt Cutts mentioned was giving an SEO penalty due to too many reciprocal links. We very rarely use any reciprocal (two way) links or other link exchange programs that try to circumnavigate Google’s algorithm, which rarely have any success long term.
Some sites with very little SEO may benefit from Google’s proposed changes it seems but Google won’t stop relying on factors indicating quality such as great, regularly updated content and easy to use navigation and some good quality links; perhaps quantity will become less of a factor though for links and we will follow developments here closely.
As we have mentioned before the key to SEO in our opinion is to try and work with Google to tell them what you have, not to try to trick them. For good quality SEO specialists using white hat content focused SEO strategies SEO penalties shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
1. Research local themed keywords
For your small business SEO you really should use keywords that contain the name of your local town, county or larger area you cover. You are instantly competing against less people meaning you have a better chance of appearing on results; also click through rates from searches where people have used a location are higher: many who don’t use a location realise their mistake and search again remember without clicking any results. .
2. Create interesting content
Not all content has to be sales copy, especially when using keywords that don’t indicate a clear buying intention information can be better to keep people on the site, educate them and get them to trust you as a business not desperately trying to sell but who know what you are talking about, remember small business SEO is about much more than just getting your results to appear on Google.
3. Use landing pages for your primary keywords
Landing pages are great because once your small business SEO efforts have got people on to your site you can boost your chances of them staying and going elsewhere on your site. A landing page about exactly what people have just searched for will be much more likely to stop them clicking back to Google: especially important as Google now track how much time people spend on your site and rank you lower if you don’t have sticky pages.
4. Make sure you have unique titles and descriptions for each page
On those landing pages make sure each one has a unique description and title in the HTML: which Google and other search engines use for showing in results and deciding what keywords to rank you for and where. Your SEO may get you to position 1 for a keyword but if no one clicks on it your small business SEO will be useless. Customers read a description briefly before clicking normally and they spot keywords they have searched for so include them.
5. Include keywords for your specialisations and each product
Remember that a lot of people won’t be searching for a company type but for a specific product, service or even the problem they need a solution to so look for keywords for all of these and research groups of keywords for every service and product you have. If for example you are a locksmith, SEO options include looking for keywords relating to key cutting, lock repair, emergency locksmiths and how to fix a stuck lock to name but a few.
6. Look for long tail keywords with low competition
Don’t choose the most obvious keywords: everyone will choose and compete on these for their SEO be they small or large businesses. Let big companies dominate the high traffic keywords if they want and spend a lot doing it; focus on long tail keywords, unless you have a good enough page rank to compete for top positions on other keywords. You can get to top positions for dozens of low competition keywords for as little effort as a few very competitive words, remember your small business’ SEO may also suit more niche terms.
7. Look at competition in detail when choosing keywords
When deciding whether a keyword is worth using you need to consider how easily and how quickly you can get to the first page, and ideally the first four or five positions, to get a reasonable amount of traffic. When you look at keywords you can look at different measurements of competition, most are based on how many sites overall use keywords. What you need to know though is how many people are actively optimising their site for that keyword and what pageranks they have relative to you: to make the most of your small business SEO pick your battles wisely.
8. Build relevant links
Google use not just keywords on your pages but on the pages linking to them to decide the content of your pages, make sure then that you get links from relevant pages ideally containing your keywords; on a directory add them to your description but ideal is a link from an article though about what your page is about.
9. Make sure the markup of your pages is up to scratch
Use the W3C validator to check for issues and get them fixed by your web designer, some are more serious than others but Google like tidy sites. Also look out for issues such as missing alt tags and any scripts that run on your pages making content or menus unreadable to a search engine spider. For SEO remember that keywords and content have to be visible for Google to rank you and links visible for pagerank to spread.
10. Build links that will pass pagerank
Some links pass no value and are ignored by Google and other search engines, these are called no follow links. Some websites avoid passing value by using the no follow tag that tells search engines basically ‘I don’t endorse this link’. Many websites do this automatically, if a site has mainly no follow external links then if you try to get a link too chances are you will also be given a link that has no SEO value.
With do follow links you still need to make sure you are getting links from pages with some pagerank; make sure your link will be on a specific page with pagerank as the pagerank of the homepage may be high but the page your link will be on may be low. Lastly remember that the number of other external links will affect the value of a link to your site so try to get links on pages with few other links where possible.
If you are a small business based in or around Sussex you have to watch your budget carefully at the moment, many will have a local focus and therefore think locally with their advertising: local advertising after all is often cheaper.
So perhaps you will advertise your business in the Yellow Pages or a local newspaper? Unfortunately though fewer people are using such publications for their information search to find a solution to their problems or find specific business types. Yellow Pages realise this and that is why they will give you a free website with a listing, they are aware that the paper version of the Yellow Pages is heading for extinction.
B2B businesses especially will find their clients are looking online, and often using recommendations through Social Media sites such as Linkedin to choose who to do business with. Many think of the internet as international but you can think locally with your online marketing, for any business in Sussex SEO is a great option to focus on getting not just local consumers and businesses on to your site but also local prospects.
With SEO you are putting your website as a search result in search in front of those people who are searching for certain words and terms; by choosing what words and phrases you want to appear for you can make sure you are appearing to people who have with their search shown an interest or even a clear buying intention.
This means for a Sussex business SEO is low risk: you can check how many people are searching for keywords in advance and see how many sites and which sites will be competing with you to get to the top of Google’s and other search engines’ results.
For some keywords you will find that there is a lot of competition and you can then work on other areas of SEO to get above other websites for that word or you can choose other keywords that have less competition.
The great think for a business with a local focus, including many Sussex businesses: SEO can help you appear for people searching for businesses in a certain location. By using phrases such as Sussex SEO, instead of just SEO for example we compete against only other local businesses and we get much more relevant traffic.
It is important to consider how often when you search you put in a local area as well as a business type or even the specific product or service: most people do this and so you can actually get better results by using this tactic for your Sussex business’ SEO.
The other important thing to remember with your SEO campaign when considering different options is that you can do it on a small scale with a few keywords at first and then if it works for you expand it, a lot of the work involved such as creating regular fresh content for your website you can do yourself, perhaps in any downtime. Also importantly for your Sussex business, SEO, unlike most other types of marketing, once done keeps bringing traffic so you keep reaping the benefits without having to spend any more.
Taught by Dave Cousin this course will show your entire organization how everyone can get involved in promoting your business cheaply and effectively on a daily basis.
Dave can either spend a day with you at your company giving you specific advice to suit your business or we will be holding a seminar in the near future where Dave will aim to give you the information you need to go back to your organisation and roll out a culture of everyday promotion by all.