Tag Archives: smarter tips

How to Build Your Business with Smarter Online Marketing


Smarter online marketing is something that any growth-minded business aspires to, isn’t it? The trouble is, with little experience and even less time, many business owners or marketing managers dive straight into digital marketing because they don’t want to be left behind!

In this post, I’m going to suggest some questions about online marketing that you should ask yourself before you prepare a formal plan. Plus, I’ll briefly list some basic online marketing concepts and finish off by providing you with tips on how to market your business online.

The pitfall of rushing into online marketing, just because everyone else is, risks a complete waste of time and money. Just like any other business activity, it is advisable to plan for it. Even before that, we would advocate standing back to ask yourself some questions about how embracing digital might impact your business.

Questions such as:

– Will it change the actual business that you are in or drive existing business objectives?

– Will it help you to be more competitive?

– Could it help you increase the value you can offer to customers?

– Will it improve the cost or quality of your existing product /service?

– Might it serve to change your target audience?

– Will you be adding digital capabilities or adding digital to your capabilities?

Instead of rushing into formulating an online strategy, we would recommend that you focus on how any new technology you use, can add something extra to the business strategy you already have in place.

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/jimkelly10/smarter-online-marketing” info=”false” shares=”false” comments=”false” recommend=”undefined”]

8 Smarter Online Concepts to Understand

In our experience, what seems to be happening these days is that many organisations are looking at their online presence as being separate to their other marketing activity. Some contact us and ask – “can you help us with our Twitter or Facebook?” or whatever.

In response, we explain how social media is just one digital element in the overall communications effort. Thereafter our job is to show how to integrate their digital objectives into their overall business strategy.

Every day, it seems, we come across new specialist roles in the online marketing space. In our opinion, unfortunately, these people, whilst experts in their field, are failing to grasp how their outputs fit into an overall business strategy. Their impact on business growth, therefore, is negligible.

Of course, digital experts are required but all people in business should have at least a basic understanding of what online activity might entail. Whether you are a business owner, a marketing manager or a not for profit, it is important to understand these 6, fairly basic, online concepts:

  • SEO – being findable and having the best answer for your customers/prospects questions
  • Content Strategy – planned content must be able to attract, engage and convert
  • Paid Social Media – social media algorithms means effective reach must be paid for
  • Pay Per Click – reduced organic search means paid advertising is required to reach your audience
  • Influencer Marketing – amplify your created content by using online influencers (e.g. bloggers)
  • Online Analytics –analyse your existing data and also measure success of your online activity

Be smarter about your online image and the tools you use.

Your Image –

At a very minimum, it should be understood that how you look online is as important as how you look offline. We are starting a new year, so it is probably a good time to refresh your online presence with an image makeover. Here are some quick fixes that you can do immediately:

  • Update your professional headshot – hair, clothes and even you can change over the years.
  • Use new images on your website – your homepage image, your team, your results
  • Ask your customers for new pictures of them using your product/service
  • Update your images on your social media channels and display advertising
  • Remove any images of promotions that are out of date

Some of your customers might only engage with your brand online so it really is important that your online marketing landscape is professional, consistent and reflects the authentic you.

Your tools –

As an SME, have you signed up for some time-saving online tools that you no longer use? Or have some of the tools you use, been surpassed by better ones? There are hundreds of marketing tools out there that can genuinely help you improve your effectiveness, way too many for us to cover. Here is a sample of some that we use and have found to be effective:

  • Open Site Explorer – check out your competitor’s domain authority and copy their links
  • Siteliner – duplicate content check and internal/external links view
  • Portent Title Generator – it might not find you a title but it will get you thinking
  • Grammarly – a must on your computer for checking grammar – even if you don’t blog
  • Google keyword planner – good resource when launching pay-per-click campaign
  • Buffer – schedule social media posts for optimal times
  • PostPlanner – similar to buffer but also has a content generation element
  • Pablo – free images for social media
  • Followerwonk – for analysing your twitter followers
  • Start a fire – places a link back to your website on shared content
  • Wisestamp – professional email signature
  • Adobe Spark – free graphic templates for whatever platform you are using
  • Evernote – store everything for later (free version is excellent)
  • Playbuzz – allows the creation of polls, quizzes etc. for social media posts.

This is a really good infographic providing reasons why you should have a digital marketing strategy and steps to build one. Source – www.digitalvidya.com

12 tips on how to go about smarter online marketing

The first thing to remember about online marketing is that it is not a quick fix. Some actions will have a short term effect and others might take months and years. Being smarter about it means adding value to your digital journey and to that of your customers’.

  1. Website/SEO – your site has to be user-friendly, relevant and attend to your SEO in three elements based on the search impact i.e. tech SEO -25%, on page SEO – 25%, off page SEO – 50%.
  2. Post high-quality content on a blog regularly – adds value, drives traffic and creates authority
  3. Use social media purposely – LinkedIn groups, Facebook ads, Instagram influencers, YouTube tutorials and Twitter lists.
  4. Email marketing – Connect first and then sell. Use lead magnets and landing pages.
  5. Online Reviews – Accept them whenever you can and always answer negative posts
  6. Collaborate with bloggers – find the industry leaders and their blogs and collaborate
  7. Offer something free – a consultation, an audit, a review and upsell in due course
  8. Use business listing sites – google local, whatswhat.ie etc. and contribute to local forums
  9. Sponsorship – there are many online groups that would love to develop an awards programme
  10. Become an authority – use webinars, Quora, speak at conferences etc.
  11. Manage your email signature – link your website, blog, social media to your signature
  12. Use hashtags – create #smarter hashtags and use on Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram etc.

The caveat here is that none of the above tips is going to get you instant sales or perhaps not even instant traffic. The objective is to build a network of people that view you / your brand as being relevant, authentic and personable, and therefore somebody they want to do business with.


There is absolutely no point in jumping into online marketing at the deep end. It could cost your business time, money and even reputation. Understand the basic concepts of what’s required and if necessary outsource the work to professionals.

I was asked at a recent www.whatswhat.ie sponsored networking event to highlight some areas that will impact online marketing this year. In response, I suggested that online advertising will grow (especially Facebook), and off page SEO will be even more important. I stressed that search is not dead especially on mobile devices and neither is email marketing. Finally, I thought aloud that real online interactivity e.g. answering live questions will become an expected way to engage.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today – Aidan & Jim.

By The Way: Can We Send You Emails During the Year?

Twice a month or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you; we just send you our latest piece of content.

Join others who love to get free smarter marketing tips –  right here, right now.


‘Tis Time to be Boosting Your Seasonal Marketing


As we fast approach the Christmas holidays we believe that it is never too late to add some sparkle to your seasonal marketing. Even if you haven’t the time or experience to implement these over the next few weeks – you have approximately 52 weeks left to get ready for the next one.

Every year we can count on a few seasonal stalwarts: decorations will be up earlier than the previous year (people will be complaining about this), the John Lewis ad and Christmas FM will single the real start to the festive season and the Miracle on 34th Street movie will start showing on TV.

What is changing slightly, though, is the effect of the internet on shopping habits and behaviours.

The over-riding message of this post will be that it is really important for small business owners to boost their efforts during this hectic season of impulse buying. The rest of this post will offer 28 activities you can start, continue, or consider for next year. In fact, most of them are transferable to other holiday seasons also.

Seasonal marketing lends itself to much more than just SEO and advertising. People are usually happier and appear more open to interacting with brands. These interactions may be through channels such as social media, on-site reviews, blog comments and video feedback.


Because buying behaviour is different around this time of year, driven by festive cheer and promotions (discounts and special offers), – a simple seasonal marketing plan therefore, might include some or all of the following:

– A festive-themed landing page to promote an offer / attract the Christmas audience

– A PPC campaign that has identified keywords from your clients rather than popular festive ones

– Branded video content that will encourage positive comments from browsers (or sales)

– Email and social media activity to generate a buzz around your brand (share discounts)

– Joint marketing activity with regular activity you have planned (use search & social data)

Before we continue with the tips, however, we have two recommendations. Our first one is to check out what worked, online, for you last year. Google Analytics is a great tool for determining which channels were responsible for most of your sales. They can even reveal how your customers found you.

Our second recommendation is that right now you should review your budget. If you have budgeted a specific amount for seasonal marketing – check if you’re on track. If not, don’t worry – you might still be able to put aside a small amount to do some of the activities listed below.

Whatever activity you pursue, though, it must serve to attract traffic to your website / outlet, generate sales and/or enhance your brand.

Make your Seasonal Marketing Smarter and Wonderful this Year

Content Marketing:

  • Think about the content you share. It is a time of joy and goodwill. Relax your tone, have a bit of fun and go off-piste with your content (if you dare).
  • Share seasonal content with your audience e.g. useful seasonal tips get shared the most.
  • Spread a bit of holiday spirit in your campaign – relax the sales pitch (e.g. John Lewis)
  • Change you visuals graphics to be more seasonal – especially for smartphones
  • Organise a (brand-relevant) Christmas competition e.g. share a funny Christmas jumper pic
  • Include a specific Christmas offer in your content (free shipping, BOGOF, special discount)


Digital Marketing :

Increasingly, shoppers have begun to rely on online shopping and this year looks no different. With such growth in online shopping, the number of ways your business has to reach people has increased significantly. Try these ideas to differentiate your business:

  • Offer a gift messaging service – allow recipients know when the gift is en route
  • Use your data base to personalise messages via SMS to customers
  • Set-up push notifications to reach people when they are shopping
  • Produce and share gift guides e.g. videos, flipbooks and segment into categories
  • Use seasonal emojis in your messaging
  • Use geo-location (beacons) to offer deals when customers are close by
  • Ensure that your website has a responsive design (check here)
  • Integrate your social media promotions across all channels you use
  • Make use of seasonal hashtags (try hashtagify)
  • Make sure your business address, directions and opening hours are correct
  • Offer live support on your website (try drift.)

Use your imagination when engaging your customers, be it online or offline. Get people excited about Christmas and your brand. As competition increases around Christmas like no other holiday, don’t miss the opportunity to really engage with your audience through smarter marketing.


Christmas Hashtags

Tips and ideas to boost your seasonal marketing

Almost any organisation can add a bit of seasonal sparkle to their branding. If there is a small cost, well we reckon it can be justified as a renewable resource year on year. Spread sparkle on such things as social media profiles, header images, emails, online ads and of course eCards. In addition to the tips outlined above, here are 12 others that might help boost your activity:

  1. Remember – don’t skimp on the decorations (use brand colours if possible)
  2. Reward social media friends / followers with exclusive seasonal discounts
  3. Use a specific theme for a campaign e.g. tips over 12 days of Christmas
  4. Place your print catalogue / book / holiday brochure online and share ideas
  5. Check your campaigns / SEO for keywords that reflect your seasonal campaign
  6. Use remarketing and create a sense of urgency in your advertising
  7. Get involved with a charity campaign locally (host a fundraising event)
  8. Distribute exclusive offers to customers that have downloaded your app (if applicable)
  9. Form a group to promote the local community
  10. Get branded Christmas cards, sign them personally and send to customers
  11. Provide free chocolate samples and have gift cards available at cashpoints
  12. Provide gift wrapping and tagging beside impulse buy points in store


It is never too late to add some sparkle to your seasonal marketing. In this post, we provided business owners with 28 practical tips on how to boost their marketing activity this Christmas. Many of the tips will work for all types of organisations and if not perhaps it is time to start planning for 2017.

Our last tip is to make sure you load up your Spotify app (O’C&K has no affiliation) with suitable music. Although there are many playlists available for the special day – how about collaborating with the family and create a fresh one to suit all tastes.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today – we wish you Season’s Greetings and a Prosperous 2017″ – Aidan & Jim.

By The Way: Can We Send You Emails in 2017?

Twice a month or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you; we just send you our latest piece of content.

Join others who love to get free smarter marketing tips –  right here, right now.