Category Archives: Digital Marketing

It’s easy to ignore marketing when the phone is still ringing but is is smart?

Not paying attention to digital is not ideal if you’re a small business owner but for whatever reason, it happens.  There are many owners of established service businesses in particular,  who have happily grown over time through word of mouth and newspaper or Yellow Page advertising (remember that!?), or, they have invested in a website many years ago and then done nothing since.  With a well established client base there is no immediate need to ‘go digital’ or put too much energy into your website because your business is well established.  It’s easy to let marketing fall to the side when your phone is still ringing.  We all know someone in this situation I’m sure.

But as a business owner you will increasingly face competition from newcomers who understand how to leverage digital to communicate.  Your competition is changing and before you know it, so are your customers requirements. Business will be getting a bit ‘quiet’.  Fairly common scenario even in 2018 to find a business that has not yet embraced ‘digital business’.

Marketing is key to growth.  It allows you to reach more people.  When you are out and about today I want you to look around and notice what everyone is doing.  You got it!  Looking down.  At their phones.  The moment anyone has downtime these days it’s straight to the phone.  All hours of the day you will reach people via their mobile phones.  This is the world and it’s not going to change.  If your business is not yet embracing digital then you might be missing some opportunities for growth or worse your business might be slowly declining.  If you rely purely on repeat business this does eventually diminish over time.

Food for thought.  What action will you take?

If you are considering a new website or a website redesign then we would love to talk to you or meet face-to-face to bring you up-to-speed with what’s possible.

Not all WordPress websites are priced equally

Today I am writing a quick tip regarding WordPress websites because as you may already realise, there can be massive variations in pricing WordPress websites even in Brisbane.  As a business owner you might not be aware that these different solutions exist and you might not have a grasp on what you are paying for when you commission a new website or a redesign.  So I hope I can help to give a little context to the different solutions below. or, did you know there’s a difference?  One of these offers a hosted solution and the other a self-hosted solution.  While it might seem quite attractive to have the hosting taken care of it’s not ideal for a business so I always recommend the self-hosted WordPress solution.  Right now I believe as a business owner you need to have complete ownership over your digital assets.

A purchased or free WordPress theme verses a custom built WordPress theme?  A purchased or free theme has a low cost because it’s used by many different businesses.  It can be a great solution when your budget needs to be spent elsewhere but they can also be complex to set up and time-consuming so in the end the quick install is offset by the hours of figuring out how it all works.  There will be lots of updates needed as they are patched often.

When you purchase a custom theme you get just what you need so often these themes load faster and are less confusing and need fewer updates.  With a custom theme there is more enquiry into how your business will use your website and what you expect the outcomes will be.  This information allows your developer to craft a solution that does the job rather than trying to fit you into a pre-built solution that was developed to fit a million different scenarios (often the reason these pre-built sites load so slowly).

A business solution verses a website ready for DIY content?  With the lower cost websites it’s often just a theme loaded and you are left to decide on the site architecture and provide content with no advice.  I cannot stress enough how important it is for an established business to talk to an expert regarding site architecture.  Even if your website is just there for background checks and credibility (as opposed to generating new business via search), you will still need to consider good UX for the sake of your site visitors.

There are good reasons why some websites cost a lot less than others and the three points above are key.

Organic SEO and Adwords Management for Small Business

“I’ve been paying a company for months and I’m not seeing results”

There are good, bad and downright ugly search engine marketing companies out there.   I like to think Creative Mode is one of the good guys girls.  To qualify that statement,  sure some people just want to go the quick and dirty route (and that’s OK too if that’s what you want) but the way I like to do SEO (search engine marketing) is via best practice over the long term.  Profile building over time will deliver results far better for small business owners who tend to need more bang for their buck.  Organic SEO is close to my heart because that’s where I started many years ago but also, people trust it more.

So let me explain what the go is here.  Adwords vs Organic SEO.

Google Adwords Management

Let’s start with Google Adwords.  Often called pay-per-click advertising or PPC if you like acronyms.  This is about buying traffic.  Pure and simple advertising.  You pay to be seen.  You can pay more and you are seen more.  You stop paying and you disappear.   What people often don’t realise is that how much you pay depends on the quality of your website landing page.  The more relevant your website is to the advertising, the less you pay.  So anyone who is managing your Adwords advertising service really needs access to your website in order to do a good job.  Ideally you want your landing pages to be separate from your usual website navigation and you want to track conversions.  After all conversions are usually the goal not the traffic.

What’s involved in an Adwords campaign setup is (at the basic level): research the market, setup the landing pages, create campaigns, watch and adjust.  There’s a lot of work initially and this is very much dependant on knowledge of the business and the location they operate in and also whether it’s a fairly generic service or something specialist or with a very small niche market. Once everything is set up, there’s a time period of watching and learning, making small changes, adjusting bids, trying different ad copy and adding or removing keywords – basically getting to know the search market for that topic can take more or less time depending on the market.  After things are humming along you can just tweak it every now and then and keep an eye on conversions via reports.  Sometimes campaigns will be specific and time sensitive, other times you might just have a generic long running ad group.  How that works depends on your goals, your market and how aggressive your your chosen strategy is.

Organic Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing

Organic Search Marketing is so great for small business.  If you do this the right way you can literally obtain top five Google listings and sit there without having to continually pay for advertising.  Organic search marketing is about getting traffic to your website because it’s relevant to the search phrases people type in.  When your website is well-built and the content matches the search phrases, you can attract new visitors without having to pay for them.  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website match the search phrases and this can seem difficult and time consuming to those who don’t understand but it’s actually quite simple once you have your website set up.  It’s also just basic marketing (that you should really be doing anyway), but structured in a way that attracts visitors to your website.

What’s involved in organic search marketing is not rocket science.  At a basic level this is what you need: a well built website with the right structure; content that is relevant to your market and your targeted search phrases; fresh content regularly, links from social media sites to your content, links from other websites to yours.  If you have someone managing this for you they will no doubt start by whipping your existing website and content into shape to make sure it has that all important structure (this is the optimisation part).  This will help a little to start with and you can usually then see fairly quickly how much work is ahead depending on where your website sits in the results already.  The process of search engine marketing includes keyword research, content development and optimisation, regular new content creation, social media management and of course goals setup and reporting in Google Analytics so you can track and improve on results.

DIY Marketing or Hire a Professional?

There is certainly a lot of information available for free if you choose to learn to manage your Adwords and Organic SEO yourself but there is also a knack to it as with most things.  I am not a huge fan of DIY unless you already have marketing skills (and spare time to learn) because in my experience this is the slow path to business growth.  Hiring a professional to take care of these tasks is faster and more effective.

The Year of ‘Doing’

Master of Marketing - Alicia Laing

Welcome to ‘The Year of Doing’.

As you may be aware, during the last three years I’ve been completing a Master of Business Administration degree with a specialisation in Marketing Management.  So in 2018 I come to you as an MBA qualified marketing professional and expert digital marketer with more than 20 years local Australian experience to back up the theory.

It was a difficult three years,  juggling business, family and study but also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  On completion, I’m left with a greater vision for my business and even more energy to help all of my small business clients with their online marketing in 2018.  The knowledge I’ve gained has given me strong focus, confidence and renewed dedication to the small, medium and micro business sector in Australia and particularly Brisbane.

After three years spent reading and reviewing what others have done it’s time to start ‘doing’ and put the knowledge into practice.   There are so many distractions for small business owners in and around the everyday ‘core’ work.   This year my goal is to help as many small business owners as I can to hone their marketing focus and resources through the Creative Mode service.   I want you to know that your marketing is well and truly taken care of and you don’t have to worry about a thing because … I’m on it!

Please feel free to contact me any time for a chat or to discuss your #digitalgoals for 2018.

Warm regards,
Alicia Laing