Opinions on business,
marketing and related technologies.

Interview: Dean Murphy Founder of Crystal Adblocker App

Dean is an app developer who Ben met when he was invited on to the delightful Mac & Forth podcast.

Ben was particularly interested in Dean’s app Crystal, an iOS ad blocker that in many ways it actively works against the companies in an industry adjacent to ours, advertising. Although we see ourselves as the good guys when it comes to promotion.

Ben finds out how Dean started in app development, identified his very specific niche and got his app out to market.

 

 

Image Credit: Founder Dean Murphy. Banner Image Credit: Girl Holding Crystal Ball courtesy of Pexel

Something Inventive 29: Bath Digital Festival Special – Part two

In this episode as well as giving you a round op of the days events we also feature an interview with Jim Morrison the festival director and ask him pointed questions such as ‘why are the workshops so far apart’.

Part one available here

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

 

 

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

  • Bath Digital Festival 2018
  • Secrets Of Successful Calls-To-Action and Landing Pages
    • It’s about motivation – Convert action and urgency
    • Test. Test. Test.
    • Exit pop ups can bring in more clicks for email signup
    • (In their tests) video less effective on landing page when the offer is simple
      Gertie Goddard, Noisy Little Monkey
  • Revealing The Mysterious World Of Marketing Automation
    • Lead nurturing campaign: Early research -> CTA -> landing page -> Follow up emails
    • Lucid chart for high level flowcharting of user experience
      James Mulvaney, Noisy Little Monkey
  • The Psychology Of Sales Emails
    • Nurture people towards a close: Attract -> Convert -> Close
    • It’s all about them. Use the word you more than we/me and yse their name in the email subject line
    • Use video as part of proposal process
    • Use a PS, often people skip straight to this
      John Payne, Noisy Little Monkey
  • Evershare.io – Where Fans Can Buy A Share in a Song
  • Why Your Business Needs a Blog
    • Share the why (your story) in your blog. To help with this describe what you do to a friend or colleague then ask them to summarise it back to you. This is your story.
    • Give stories to customers so they can share them and convert others
    • People use Instagram because they are looking for images they can step into or a person they can be.
      Sal Godfrey, Sal’s Kitchen
  • The Tech is Not Enough
    • Bring the audience to you. Find out how to help them
    • Understand: who will face this challenge? Who do they trust for recommendations? How can I reach them?
    • Maximise content: what do you have already? What can you easily create? Video has 130% additional engagement. What else does your audience need? Create stock image library of product images or shareable content
    • Maximise engagement: look for a slow burn acceleration. Ask questions? Polls! What are there anxieties/fears/hopes? Pick the right tone of voice. Listening to customers and adding features that add value.
    • Make your tech shine. Move from spec (what is it made from) -> Features (what does it do) -> Benefits  (how does that help me) -> Value/Impact (why customer busy).
      Emily Perkins, OggaDoon
  • Bristol and Bath Cyber meet up
    • Company of the lovely chap Ben met at the bar www.showup.global
    • Shout out to these guys for an interesting event with free beer!
  • Successful CTA and Landing Pages
    • Simple, clear, targetted, bold
    • Dont be afraid to lose your site nav on landing pages
    • On exit popups were more effective than bottom-right panels
  • Designing for a better World
    • Draw up your own goals and aims, as an agency or freelancer
    • It’s ok to say no to a project but keep it professional
    • Its ok to work for an ‘evil’ company if you are trying to change them for the better
    • Check your pension and what it is funding!
  • Digital Brands__ready
    • 50% of purchases are on phones
    • Traditional shopping model totally altered by peer reviews and trust
    • 81% read reviews before buying a product. 1 in 3 comment or interact with brand in some way. 79% wont buy from again if mobile experience was bad
  • Lean Content – Jo Duncan
    • Simple, Single Channel, Straightforward content
    • Really, really put yourself in your customers shoes. Feel what they feel.
    • 80% planning / 20% doing
  • Why you need a blog
    • Write new posts once a week or 2 weeks ideally
    • Give people a story to talk about and to share
    • 300 – 1000 words perhaps
  • Bring a product to market
    • People want problems solved, but not get sold to
    • Who does your audience trust?
    • How-to’s, guides and manuals really important.
  • Equality in workplace discussion
    • Returnships – for people returning to work after career break – new concept
    • Offer fair paternity/maternity policies, dont get stuck in traditional policy
    • Home or flexi working opens up new potential workforce
  • Really interesting anecdote; when a successful male recruiter used his colleagues’ computer while she was on holiday it mistakenly added her email signature to his emails. He found that he got loads more negative responses from recruiters in particular.

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Bath Digital Festival

Hey, looking for constructive feedback? Then SayHola

Happy people holding speech bubbles

How do you ask for feedback from your customers?

I don’t mean to sound negative but, these days, in this saturated business environment, only those businesses who listen to and act upon the feedback received from customers have any chance of succeeding. It is this feedback that gives one company the edge over another.

But how do you ask for feedback?

Look someone in the eye and ask them what they think of your service or product, and they are likely to say something along the lines of ‘wonderful, fabulous, best bacon roll I’ve ever tasted’ or something similar.

But are they being truthful?

No one likes to give negative or ‘constructive’ feedback directly. Many people are just too polite or too busy to criticise openly. Saying everything is ‘fine’ is easy, even if it’s untrue. I do it myself, all too often, and then kick myself for not giving that business the opportunity to grow and improve. If customers answer the same way – that everything is ‘great’ or ‘lovely’ every time, there’s nothing you can do with that. There’s no room for improvement.

You need to know that your coffee tastes weak or your web design is not up to scratch, otherwise you’ll start to lose business and you won’t know why. But more importantly, you need this feedback to convince new customers to buy from you. They don’t know you, your product or your reputation – why should they buy from you? A good review can explain why your product is the best and remove all doubt from a potential customer’s mind.

So, what can you do, as a business, to ensure that you get the feedback that really matters? You improve by asking the right questions, of the right people, at the right time.

Let me introduce SayHola, an independent review site that allows your customers to feed back to you. A SayHola review can tell you why customers decided to buy from you, how they use your product and most importantly, why they love it. By adding this to your website, you can improve conversion by showing you understand your customer’s needs.

Simply sign up with SayHola, send your customer a request to review with the link, which they click on to leave feedback about your business. Really, it couldn’t be simpler. It gets straight to their inbox, and they leave an honest review, and you can receive the feedback that really matters.

Here’s the process:

  1. You send your customer to SayHola and they click on the thumbs up or down to say if they are happy with your service.
  2. If they pick thumbs up, they are then presented with the opportunity to write a testimonial for you. If they select thumbs down, then we change the question slightly to ask how to improve the experience.
  3. After they submit their feedback an email will then be sent to you with the details of and rating of the review which you can choose to share publicly.
  4. If you also use Google My Business, Facebook or Twitter then your customer will be taken to another page to provide additional reviews on these services.

If you want the opportunity to ask for your customers’ views on your service or product, then sign up for a free trial of Sayhola.

Something Inventive 29: Bath Digital Festival Special – Part one

Al and Ben have been on location at the Bath Digital Festival, soaking up talks and workshops on everything to do with technology, marketing and business. We thought we’d do something fun for this episode and have to recorded our experience through-out the two days in video as well as audio.

We hope you like it. Part two available here

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

 

 

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

  • Bath Digital Festival 2018
  • Janusz Stabik, Grow Your Digital Agency
    • Compete on knowledge not price.
    • Grow to sell even if you don’t sell it – Think franchise
    • Review your strategy (where we’re going and how we’re going to get there) every 90 days
  • New frontiers in digital creativity – Nick Ellis, Halo
    • Purpose is the why. Know this and you will deliver valuable insight
    • Blogs are ‘b****cks’ on the whole
    • Hear your audience, listen to your instinct
  • Jamie Ellul, Supple Studio
    • Just say yes!
    • Follow your passion and the paper (aka money) will follow!
  • Kate Gorringe,Mr B & Friends  7 golden rules:
    • 1. Be creative, not digital first.
    • 2. Stop colouring in wireframes.
    • 3. Blend real and virtual worlds.
    • 4. This rule was skipped over…
    • 5. Let your imagination run wild.
    • 6. Never forget your brand purpose.
    • 7 be a cynic.
  • Pedigree SelfieStix case study
  • Build a Computer Game – Charlie Coggans, Mayden Academy
    • Great fun building a HTML, CSS and Javascript game
  • Digital PR and SEO @stekenwright
    • Don’t forget about Bing (it helps answers Alexa queries)
    • Google looks for EAT in your site, and sites linking to you; Expertise, Authority and Trust
    • Good content can beat inbound links
  • Secrets of Social Media -Paul Wickers – Huggg
    • Look for the Human story, not just data journeys – and meet the real people
    • People remember how they feel more than other factors
    • For every success story, there are multiple failure stories
  • Swoon Gelato
    • Social media is extremely time-consuming
    • Peoples attention span dropped from 14 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2018
    • Try and turn a negative into a positive on social media
  • Lightning Talks
    • Talk to customers
    • People learn in different ways
    • Limit your time in fixing a tough problem to 2-3 hours (timeboxing)
  • Digital Creativity
    • Your brand is co-owned by you and your customer
    • Purpose before profit
    • Don’t just colour in wireframes to create your site design
  • Immersive Stories
    umm, there’s lots of clever people researching the future of AI right now

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Bath Digital Festival

The stickiness factor – How video will help your SEO ranking

We have all been there, trying to get our site to be number one on the google search engine and have felt that no matter what we do, Google seems to move the goal post. However, there are many things you can do to make your site appeal to the search engine algorithms and to get your site up to speed with the ever-adapting requirements.

Google loves video content

I will let you into a little secret; ever since Google has owned YouTube there has been a significant increase in how video affects their search engine ranking. In fact, I would be bold enough to say that Google prefers a video to a 2000 word blog. Why? Because watching a video is easier than reading an essay. Don’t get me wrong, written words very much have their place and are an important part of getting your website to rank but it has been speculated that by having a video on your landing page you are 53% more likely to  be on the first page of Google, blogs that include a video are 57% more likely to be read and this is projected to grow, as technology and the digital era continues to develop to be 75% by 2020.

Search engines will always favor sites with quality and relevant content as it increases the amount of time that is spent on the site, reduces the bounce rate and increases the number of pages visited per session. This is often referred to as the ‘stickiness’ factor, the longer you can keep your customers engaging with your site the better Google will rank it.

A video can speak a million words

As the saying goes if a photograph can speak a thousand words, what can a 60-second video speak? 1.5 million words to be precise. In a matter of seconds you can convey a vast amount of information in such a short space of time. In this time you are able to build a rapport, integrity for your product and an honest connection. In a world where many of us find it hard to put down mobile phones, a video should be at the top of your marketing toolkit.

After Google, the second largest search engine on the internet is, in fact, Youtube with 1000’s of hours of content being uploaded daily, and 30 million viewers engaging a day. Why not tap into this network? Quality content will only draw traffic back to your website and help boost your SEO, which will help push you up the search engine rankings.

If it’s possible, you should also try to transcribe your videos, highlighting keywords which are relevant to your site. The Google algorithms can index this content which helps them to determine that video is relevant to your site which will also help boost your SEO ranking.

Finally, make sure you also share your videos on your social accounts, it’s easy to do and the more social signals you gather i.e. likes and shares will only help build your site’s reputation on Google.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

How to make your website visitors feel welcome

A recent visit to a hotel left me confused. I didn’t know whether I was in the right place – I couldn’t make out whether it was actually a hotel or a conference centre. There was no reception desk or concierge and there were few signs to direct me, so I made a swift exit.

In contrast, Husband and I stayed at a lovely hotel in Belgium. The reception was spacious, sophisticated, clearly signposted and the concierge was friendly and welcoming. They even offered us some coffee and Hors oeuvre upon arrival. We were impressed!

Why am I telling you this? Because your home page is the entranceway to all the wonderful things that your website is offering so it should be impressive. Don’t be that first hotel.

Your homepage is about more than just a few words and a few pictures. It has an important job to do. Just like the Belgian hotel, your homepage should be welcoming, with lovely décor (good design), clear signage and a friendly concierge (clear and welcoming copy) and clear directions to your room (the product or service you need).

So, what’s important to include in the homepage?

Your design

Grab their attention without being overbearing. Well-designed websites are no longer about standing out through busy design, bold colour and all-singing-and-dancing graphics. There’s no need for bells and whistles, that just confuses the eye and sends readers off in a panic.  To stand out these days you need to use the less-is-more approach, using design that it easy on the eye. By all means, express your creative side, but be subtle and delicate. You want a refreshing quality to your home page – some calming, soothing design with simple creative appeal.

Your brand

Like the grand desk of a 5-star concierge, the logo for your company should be represented clearly but not too overpowering. It should include a tagline that gets to the heart of your mission.

Your words

Ensure that you don’t put people off by overwhelming them with words (that’s what blogs are for) or being enigmatic with too little direction. Just like Goldilocks, your website homepage should be “just right” because you don’t have long to make a good impression and you’ve a lot of information to put across.

Your navigation

Page layout and navigability is crucial to the success of your site. And the home page is the signpost that gets readers to where they want to go, with ease. The main navigation area should be prominent – next to the main body of the page or directly underneath it, for example. And group similar navigation items together.

Your connection

Include links to your social media accounts on your homepage if you want to expand your web presence. Sharing icons to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, at the footer of your homepage will allow your audience to share your site’s content easily.

 

Your website homepage is usually the first page customers come to when they click through to your site; it’s the first impression that you give to your readers. And they need to feel comfortable, be impressed and stay a while to browse. Create something that not only attracts visitors but settles them down for a nice cuppa and some Hors d’oeuvre, before they go to their room, (or browse your website with the intention to buy).

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Something Inventive 28: Fake it until you break it

In this episode Al and Ben talk about the emergence of deep fakes, which are video and audio fakes that are so good that they can used to put Nicholas cage in almost every film imaginable.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pexel.

Founder and CEO of 3Sixty Management Services Rocky Romanella [Interview]

Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Android or search ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


In this interview Ben had a really nice chat with Rocky Romanella. He has over 40 years experience in retail, franchising and leadership development and now has a few stories to tell which you’ll find in his book Tighten the lug nuts.

We really enjoyed listening to Rocky has to say and we think you will to.

(more…)

Don’t stretch yourself too thin on social media – Do one and do it well

With so many social media platforms to choose from, it is easy to get carried away and take on more than you can chew. Before signing up to a new account, think about whether this is an effective way of engaging with your customers.

Rather than signing up for every social media platform possible, start by going – what Business Insider refers to as – platform native and just focus on one or two accounts. Think about what kind of presence you would like to have and the types of product or service you offer? What services most of your audience use? Whether your product is best represented as video, in photos, text, audio or a mix of all of these. Whatever you decide, try to limit yourself to 5 accounts as no full-time employee would ever have enough time to effectively manage more than this.

Remember, social media is a two-way street and should be used as a tool for engagement rather than a soapbox. By focusing your efforts it will allow you to have more time to build a relationship with your readers and develop your brand which will, in turn, create a more authentic network based on quality interaction rather than a quantity of disengagement. Otherwise, you can risk becoming annoying and just add to the stream of noise, which will only push away your potential customers. It is really important to try and engage your audience and to get them to respond and react to your content in some way.

Here are my tips on getting the most out of your social media accounts.

Plan your posts

First and foremost make sure you create a social media strategy and outline your tone of voice, how you would like your brand to be perceived and what kind of content you would like to post. Make a document, a simple excel spreadsheet which lists relevant links, shareable content which you can reference.

Be consistent

Post regularly to maintain the interest of your following but don’t spread yourself too thin. Remember quality over quantity. Research the optimum times of engagement for your particular audience to get the most out of your post. CoSchedule recently compiled their own data and compared them with 23 studies from other social media platforms to find the optimum time to post your content.

Be a professional

Don’t treat your business accounts like your personal account. What your friends and family might find interesting and be supportive of, may not be what your potential customer will find interesting.

Use images and video

Where you can include images and video as this will help catch your audience’s eye and help them digest the information more easily.

Build alliances

Build business alliances that complement your own business but are not a direct competitor. Engage and support each other’s posts to share networks and audience reach. You never know when you might need an ally.

At a certain point, once your account has got to a certain size you will encounter trolls. Don’t take it personally and don’t fall into the trap of entertaining them. Always handle them professionally and know when to respond publicly, when to let it go or to delete their comment (if you can).

Know when to switch off

Don’t fall into the trap of syncing your phone to your social media accounts as before you know it you will come 24/7 and taking work home with you is never healthy.

Educate and entertain

Don’t use your social media platform as a sales platform, capture your audience more creatively and provide useful insights, educational information or entertainment.

Here are some of our earlier blogs which might be able to help you:

Check your spelling

Grammar matters, so check and double check as a small typo can not only be embarrassing but can also cause a whole world of hurt. Have you ever left the L out of Public Service…. Well these days you simply have no excuse as there are free programmes out there like Grammarly which will make sure those cheek blushing moments don’t happen.

Analyse your impact

Create some realistic goals of what you would like to achieve through social media so you can evaluate and justify the amount of time and money you put into creating content. There are many free tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Buzzsumo, Google Marketing Platform, Google Alerts and so on which can you help you. If your posts are not performing particularly well, evaluate them and work out whether you can improve them or is it time to call it quits.

 

Once you have established a good presence on one platform then consider whether you could replicate that on another platform. Remember, don’t spread yourself too thin, keep it simple and stay consistent.

 

Image Credit: Group of people, dressed in black, in stretching stances Courtesy of Pexels

SEO Affiliate Domination interview with Greg Jeffries

Ben has always been fascinated by the seemly unending ways people can make money from the simplest things, and affiliate marketing is one of them.

So in this interview he spoke with Greg Jeffries who has a ton of experience in this area and shares some of the ways he uses SEO to generate income.

 

 

Image Credit: Headshot image courtesy of Greg Jeffries and Idyllic Beach and Boat scene by Pexels

Interview: QuantumRE Founder Matthew Sullivan

Recently Ben got the opportunity to interview Matthew Sullivan on how his company QuantumRE, is helping people release the equity in their home using a system based on the blockchain (this is the same technology used by Bitcoin).

He had a fascinating career before this even working on ventures with Richard Branson.

 

Image Credit: QuantumRE Founder Matthew Sullivan

The Power of GIFS – Why you should use them within your marketing

In the most basic form, a GIF is a series of still images or a short piece of video compiled together into a short animation on a continuous loop that is suitable for online platforms. It was first developed in 1987 but never quite took off until the early 2000’s. So why is the GIF so compelling and mesmerising in this digital era?

In an instant world, we want instant content, instant feedback and instant understanding. A GIF is easy to consume; within a matter of seconds. We can easily punctuate an emotion, highlight a personality or explain a process within a blink of an eye.

Growing increasingly popular on social media and blog posts, the GIF can have a profound impact on your marketing.. The New York times recorded that Tumblr had 23 million GIFs posted to it’s site a day and when Facebook first started to support GIFs within their messaging app 5 million animations were being sent each day.

Here are 5 reasons how you could use a GIF within your marketing

1. Use GIFs to highlight your company’s culture

2. Animate your email marketing

3. Sneaky preview of a video

4. Show off a product or offer

5. Use GIFs as a call to action

The advantages

  • GIFs are simple to make whether you want to use a short video clip or a collection of still images there are various sites online where you can access free software and customise your GIF within a matter of seconds. Some sites we would recommend are gifmaker , giphy and giphy capture.
  • Unlike Flash animation, viewers do not need to have special plug-ins on their web browsers, which means that your GIF will simply automatically play and you won’t risk it being blocked via the user’s web browser.
    Due to the nature of the GIF it can be compressed without too much distortion allowing you to keep the file size small which allows you to minimise any delay it would have on the page speed.
  • They are easy to make, use and to embed on your site as you simply treat them like a still image.

… and the disadvantages

  • With everything in life, less is most definitely more so don’t get too carried away and try to cram as many onto one page as you can as it will slow down your page loading speed if you embed large numbers of them whilst making your web pages look cheap and unprofessional.
  • GIFs are ideal for social media and webpages but as they are capped by a colour depth of 256 bit they can give a blocky, pixelated, low quality appearance if shown on a high definition screen.
  • Dithering is a term which helps to band gradients of colour in a GIF to prevent harsh colour contrasts however, it can restrict compression and make the final file size pretty large, which will ultimately slow down your website.
  • It is key to try and work out the right speed and the number of frames you would like to use as if there is not enough frames the GIF can be too jerky and irritating.

 

Finally a simple note of caution, if you are a company and are wanting to post GIFs regularly be cautious of using copyrighted work on social media. To be safe, we would always recommend you create your own.

So maybe it’s about time you added the GIF to your marketing toolkit.

 

GIFs Courtesy of Giphy

Is blogging worth the effort? Three reasons it is worth the slog and how it benefits your marketing

Person typing on a keyboard

How can you compete with the online market but still provide a personal service? Despite being seen as old hat; regular, relevant blogging can perform well for you.

As we strive for faster, better connected, portable technology the world of business is rapidly changing and more of us are dipping online for our every purchase. Organisations are losing the ability to meet customers face to face to build genuine rapport, to create a memorable service and add that personal touch. Yet, it might surprise you to know that many of us still seek friendly, personable approach from the platform of our online avatars.

Here are three ways blogging could help your business:

1. You build trust with your customers

Whether it’s an informative article or a more informal account of what is happening in your business. The more information you share online through articles on your site, the more this will help capture your audience. By writing and sharing something of true value you are instinctively building trust with your customer by proving that you know what you are talking about. You could even start a conversation with your customers by asking your readers a question or by simply allowing them to feedback and comment on your posts. Allowing you to build a rapport and gain valuable feedback and an insight into what your customers are looking for.

2. You can become an industry leader in your business

Informative and educational articles are where you will capture today’s audience. If we want to know something we ask Google, from ‘how to fix our washing machine’ to learning how to perfect a certain recipe in a matter of seconds. By sharing helpful tips and tricks, insider knowledge will make you more memorable and possibly prompt a return visit or even a recommendation. In taking the time to share this information your business will gain more credibility when you are competing against the bigger more corporate businesses.

3. It can boost your SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position)

Uploading regular, valuable content to your website will also help boost your website up the Google ranks. Search engines favour sites with fresh, relevant content as it increases the amount of time that is spent on the site, reduces the bounce rate and increases the number of pages visited per session. What better way to create regular content than blogging. It provides new content for the search engines to index whilst providing those all-important keywords to increase your visibility online. Don’t forget all of the content you are gathering could be translated into a video at a later date!

 

Not sure where to start and need some inspiration for own blog?

If you love the idea of a blog but don’t feel confident in your writing skills – or simply don’t have time – then you should consider whether a professional writer can take the stress away and help keep you on top of your content schedule.

Our Rather Inventive copywriters have worked in a range of different industries and sectors, such as interiors, education and engineering and they regularly deliver unique and relevant content suitable for each of our customer’s markets.

Here’s are a few of our clients who use blog articles as a key element of their marketing:

  • Selmach Machinery has started using their blogs as a way to storyboard their how-to and overview videos.
  • Tileflair shares in-depth knowledge and understanding of their product range to help equip their customer’s to make a decision on what would be best for them.
  • Auspicious Kitchens uses blogging as a way to share tips and advice while also showcasing their level of experience and knowledge.
  • Gemini Refurb uses blogs to help answer customer questions and to get them thinking about their options.

Building relationships with your customers can only lead to success, so it’s worthing investing in.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Interview: Minx Media Founder Heidi Chamberlain-Jones

For this interview Ben heads over to Herefordshire to meet with Heidi Chamberlain-Jones the force behind Minx Media, a business development consultancy but also the founder of Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire a much needed destination marketing company and events portal for the area.

They talk about why online directories are still relevant, the importance of mixed marketing for businesses and what’s great about Herefordshire.

 

Image Credit: Minx Media Founder Heidi Chamberlain-Jones and Ben Kinnaird

Something Inventive 27: Science of SEO

Al and Ben are joined by Chris Richards to discuss how he’s improved the search optimisation for his businesses through single-variant tests making SEO a science rather than guesswork.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pixabay

Prepare your business for road bumps

With more than 600,000 small businesses set up in the UK each year, it’s almost expected that many will fail – with some sources quoting up to 80% of small businesses failing within the first year. But prepare yourself for some road bumps and your business could stay the course.

Whatever the precise failure rate is, it is not insignificant. It’s tough work keeping a business afloat and it takes a special kind of person to weather the storm. Someone who is not put off by the failure stats (or they feel safe in the knowledge that their venture will be different). But it also takes someone who knows that there will be many bumps along the way and is prepared for them.

Whatever your reason for setting up your small business, you need to be aware of the risks. Whether you want to be free from the shackles of a corporation, or feel you have a specialist skill or you feel highly motivated to sell a particular product or service, perhaps you are a woman returning to work and looking for a new opportunity to be self-employed – you will need to be the type of person who can overcome hurdles and obstacles and push through when things get tough.

On a recent interview for our podcast we asked Matt Watson from Stakify how he overcame hurdles in business. “Well, it’s always a struggle when you’re trying to start a business … The reason I keep going more than anything is that I’m passionate about what I do, I’m passionate about the problem I want to solve, and I don’t want to fail – failure is not an option so we ask how can we keep moving forward. Whatever the hurdle is we’ve got to figure it out, keep going.”

But how do you ensure that your business will be a rip-roaring success rather than simply a means of throwing away your savings and spending long hours at tasks you are tragically unprepared for? There are some obstacles that most businesses will face at some point, and it’s your passion to see the business survive that will help you over them.

In another interview with Gina GeoGhegan, of Wild Fizz Kombucha, we asked her what it takes to get through the tough times. “If the sole reason is cash, you know ‘I wanna be a millionaire’, then don’t do it – you need to have passion. It’s the passion that takes you through, that makes you, on a Saturday night at 3am, with a newborn child, to try to figure out how you’re gonna pay for the next production line. That’s what keeps you going. You have to really love it. You have to believe in what you’re doing, and you have to love it.”

Just like in life, it is these roadblocks that can either make your business stronger and more resilient, or it can break you, and you end up as one of the business failure stats. But you can take steps to avoid the latter. The first of which is to recognise that setbacks are inevitable and to see them as opportunities to grow.

“…you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming—or possibly thriving because of—them. Where one person sees a crisis, another can see opportunity. Where one is blinded by success, another sees reality with ruthless objectivity…” Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

When you experience a setback, you can get bogged down or you can grow. What distinguishes a successful business from a failure is whether you get discouraged and contemplate giving up or you embrace the setback, learn from it and move on.

One crucial step in helping your business succeed is to be aware of the main problems that will tip the balance between a successful business and a failure. These could be…

Finding customers – A tricky one for new businesses. If you don’t know where your customers are likely to hang out, then you can’t tempt them with your product or service. There are multiple ways to place your offer in front of your ideal customer, find the one that works for your business. Read this excellent tutorial on how to use Facebook to find clients.

Lack of capital – While some small business owners assume they need access to a considerable sum in the beginning, others think that this can lead to uncontrolled spending and poor decisions. Staying as debt-free as possible helps you to avoid tying the company up and allows your business to grow at a manageable rate. Keep overhead and operating expenses to a minimum in the first couple of years.

Getting paid – When you’re running a small business, your primary focus is going to be on acquiring new customers and clients, but this can be to the detriment of your accounts receivable. Be organised and invest in accounting and invoicing software to ensure your customers are being invoiced and are paying you on time. Stay in control and maintain cash reserves if you can.

Employees – Your employees are the face of your business so make sure you choose wisely. Just one great member can be the making of your business and adversely one harmful team member can be the downfall of it. When you have the best team possible, make sure they know that they are important to the business by offering regular praise and acknowledgement. They will need constant motivation to perform at peak level.

Marketing – There’s little point dipping your toe into numerous marketing ponds and hoping something will bite, this just wastes your time and money. You’re much better off with only one or two channels that you feel most comfortable with, and mastering these.

Also, once you have customers, you must do what is necessary to keep them. So create long-term customers and keep them happy with regular contact such as email marketing so that you spend less on attracting more customers.

Burn out – As a business owner, you probably spend way too many hours at work, which can become exhausting. Study after study has shown that too long hours at work can adversely affect productivity and can lead to burn out very quickly. Schedule in plenty of time out and then you can face adversity with a fresh perspective. Start with a sustainable working week – aim for 40 hours.

Scaling revenue – In such a competitive marketplace you must find ways to scale your revenue by creating upsells, raising your prices and marketing your product or service as a premium brand. Focus on constant growth to move forward and upward.

Learn the lessons – With every failure or setback there is a lesson, make sure you understand what it is. There are also many others who have experienced setbacks in their business who are willing to share this with others. Socialise with people who’ve been there, done that, and learned the key lessons. But also read, listen to audio books and podcasts to see how others have overcome their hurdles.

Everyone who has successfully run a business, from the multi-millionaire author to the successful small business entrepreneur – has experienced obstacles. There will always be one lurking around the corner. Know that it will happen at some point, have a strategy for dealing with it and you’ll be better equipped to keep your business on solid ground.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Interview: Stackify with Matt Watson

On this episode Ben interviewed Matt Watson. He’s been an entrepreneur since he can remember selling his first business at 29 for over 140 Million dollars. He now runs Stackify, Fullscale.io, as well as few other side projects, and joined Ben to share some of his challenges in building the businesses and how marketing played its role.

 

Image Credit: Matt Watson, Stackify Founder.

Interview: Wild Fizz Kombucha with Gina Geoghegan

Ben met Gina during a demonstration of how to make a fermented tea called Kombucha, at a small food fair run by River Cottage down in Axminster. He was fascinated by the process of this magical gut reviving drink but also in her passion and clarity of the presentation.

Ben caught up with Gina a couple of weeks later to find out about her company Wild Fizz and how she got started. Gina’s story and openness on her business are well worth listening to.

(more…)

Invest in the seeds of your evergreen marketing

It is easy to get bogged down into the constant struggle of reeling in profitable business. And in a tight economy, it’s understandable why we might tighten our belt and trim off the frills. But it’s worth remembering that marketing is one of the key strategies for getting in that new business and building the foundations for eventual sales.

Obviously you need to be sensible, so think about your evergreen marketing; by evergreen marketing I am talking about a marketing idea or concept that will last beyond the next couple of hours, weeks or even years, perennially providing you with new strands of business.

The top four evergreen strategies I would recommend investing in are:

Video

One of the top marketing tools to give your customers value or deliver a personal touch, I cannot express how much I value video. Working around the clock on platforms like Vimeo, YouTube you are able to hook business from worldwide markets.

Whether it is a how to guide, vlog, casestudy, testimonial or product overview it will certainly benefit your business. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, less is always more and you may even be surprised at how affordable it is.

If you don’t have the capacity to create a short video, think about making a slideshow animation from images or using animated GIFS to help catch your audience’s eye.

Website Facelift

In a world of instant gratification and with many of us carrying a computer in our pockets it seems ludicrous if you do not have an online presence. A handful of pages is better than nothing. The absolute basics should be a clear message about who you are, what you can deliver and how to get in touch with you. This is often the first glimpse into your business so make the effort and make sure it gives a professional vibe.

With current online web design sites such as Squarespace or WordPress their really is no excuse. Even hiring a professional web designer is a reasonable cost for most busineses. Giving your site a facelift does not have to be expensive and often needs just a review of the text, images and search optimisation.

Don’t have a website? At the very least make sure you have an online presence using a Facebook Business page or Google My Business profile. How else will your customer’s find you?

Blogging

Informative and educational articles is where you will capture today’s audience. If we want to know something we ask Google.. delving into a world where at a click of a button we can find out how to fix our washing machine or learn how to perfect a certain recipe.

Whether it’s an informative article or a more informal account of what is happening in your business. The more information you share online through articles on your site, the more this will help capture your audience. By writing and sharing something of true value you are instinctively building trust with your customer by proving that you know what you are talking about. Sharing helpful tips and tricks will make you more memorable and possibly prompt a return visit or even a recommendation.

It will also help boost your website up the Google ranks as the search engine robots favour sites with quality and relavent content as it increases the amount of time that is spent on the site, reduces the bounce rate and increases the number of pages visited per session.

Don’t forget all of the content you are gathering could be translated into a video at a later date!

Case studies

You can huff and puff until the cows go home but nobody can sell your business more than your previous clients. When investing in a new venture or purchase the majority of people these days will search online and read the reviews to help them determine which company they would like to go with. If you are good at what you do, be open. Contact your previous customers and ask them if they would mind giving you a review or sharing some feedback. You never know you might find that you learn something from the feedback which could streamline your business further. Whether it is a short statement, written or filmed interview it will add an extra layer of authenticity whilst reminding them that you still exist and could even prompt further work.

It is important to be careful about what you invest in but don’t be afraid to invest in marketing ideas that are fun or novel as often that is the stuff that hooks in your audience. We are all bored and numb to so many of the mainstream marketing campaigns so think of how you can be different and about what your customers would find helpful.

 

Image credit: Adrenalin by Artem Bali from Pexels

Something Inventive 26: A very friendly bunch

Al and Ben are joined by seasoned podcaster and Mac enthusiast, Karl Madden to talk about the latest iteration of Intelligent Tracking Prevention from Apple. Karl also advocates that every business should get into podcasting or video.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Ticked-off.com

Check out the sponsor ticked-off.com. When you sign up let us know and I’ll extend your trial for 2 months.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Image Credit: Drinking Liquor and Talking On Dining Table Close Up by Helena Lopes on Pexels