Brands Jump On Royal Baby Fever With Clever Marketing Campaigns

Brands and Branding , Digital Marketing Trends 2013 , Latest News No Comments »

With the birth of Will & Kate’s little Prince, retailers and brands have unsurprisingly leaped onto the good news story with a host of celebratory themed promotions.

Here’s our tops picks:

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'B2B' - Back to Basics , Business Blogs , Digital Marketing Strategy , Digital Marketing Trends 2013

We all know that proactively marketing your business online  is “key” to the success of your business.   However’ it’s sometimes really difficult just knowing where to start improving your online presence.

As a Valentine’s treat, we’ve put together a list of our Top Tips for ways you could give your website a bit of TLC.

1. Design

Although one of our sayings here at Virtuoso is “Form Follows Function”, first impressions do count , a design that reflects your corporate image is really important.  Make sure your website “look and feel” is consistent with your corporate image .  We often see websites where the design of the site just doesn’t really reflect the professionalism and capabilities of the company itself.  Visitors to your site will quickly make a judgement of your business based on how it looks, so even if the content is amazing, try to make sure visitors are interested enough to look past the design.

2. Structure

Planning your website structure is paramount to the success of your site.  Ensuring that visitors can easily get around the site, and find the information they are looking for is key.  Make sure your site is user-friendly, easy to navigate & coded to current standards , which will also improve the speed your site downloads.  Visitors will only hang around on your site for a few seconds before clicking off to somewhere else if they can’t find what they’re looking for. Don’t make them think!

3. Content

It’s been said for a while now, and it’s still true, “Content Is King” .  You could have the most amazing looking website in the world, but if the information on it is of no use to your target audience, it will all be wasted.  Make sure your content is written for your target audience .  Think about what information will help them in their day to day work, what problems can you help them solve, how can you make their life easier.  Is it easy for them to get in touch with you?  Look at every page in your website and make sure it has a purpose, the content is good quality, well-written and easy to digest.  And then make your offering so compelling that they want to get in touch to find out more.

4. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation has radically changed over the past three years.  Where it used to be sufficient to optimise your website with your keywords and phrases in order to get good rankings in the search engines, now we’re looking at Content Optimisation across all channels.  So every bit of content you upload to the web should be looked at as an opportunity to optimise for your keywords and phrases, and ideally link back to content hosted on your website.

Link building also plays a massive part in successful optimisation and Google looks at every inbound link to your website as a “vote”, improving your link popularity, and the chances of getting Page 1 rankings.  We all know that when we do a search on Google we rarely go past the first page, so getting a Page 1 ranking can work wonders of your business and the level of enquiries you could receive.

5. Social Media Integration

The growth of using social media for business, to engage with customers and prospective customers continues to grow at a very fast pace.  More and more of our clients are reaping the benefits of having a presence on the key social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, and they use the channels in all kinds of ways.  Social Media is a great way of raising your brand awareness, providing customer support, sharing industry knowledge, providing access to training material and support, and generally just “showing you care” about your customers.

Make sure your website has clear links to your social media channels, and that your social media channels are consistently branded so that visitors recognise your brand across all channels.   Another great way to use social media is enabling sharing widgets on your content, making it easy for visitors to your site to share your content with their networks, and furthering your reach.

6. Email Marketing

Well planned and designed email campaigns, that target a specific target client group can work wonders for growing your leads and enquiries .

By using email marketing to keep in touch with your customers and prospective customers ensures that you’ll be at the forefront of their mind when they’re looking to buy the kind of products or services you provide.

Use your website to grow your email marketing list, offer your visitors a good reason to sign up to your list, maybe a regular newsletter with Free Hints & Tips, a free Technical Whitepaper download, first news of your Special Offers & Promotions, a Competition…. the list goes on.

As you grow your list you’ll have more contacts to market your products and services to, and potentially more sales.

7. Google Analytics

We’re often surprised at how many of the businesses who come to talk to us about their website development don’t have any idea of how many people visit their website, which pages they visit and what keywords they used to find their site .  This is only some of the great information that you can easily get from your website by setting up a Google Analytics account and inserting a little snippet of code to track each of your web pages.  We use Google Anlaytics with our clients to check the performance of their website, and look at ways of improving the performance of the site to ensure it’s working as hard as possible for the business.  Don’t miss out on this great free tool, make sure you have access to your Google Analytics and make time to check them regularly.

This is just a flavour of how you can love your website more.  If you need any help at all with your Digital Marketing, the team here at Virtuoso are always here to help, we’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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'B2B' - Back to Basics , Content Development , Digital Marketing Strategy , Digital Marketing Trends 2013 , Latest News , Link Building , Search Engine Optimisation

For most, the New Year is a kick-start for businesses to be more proactive in their marketing activities. That is why we have put together our predictions of the key marketing trends for the upcoming year.

In a series of posts we will look at each trend in turn, discussing how they can help your business improve and thrive in 2013.

This post will concentrate on content marketing and how it can help you can generate new leads, whilst also improving a variety of your other marketing activities.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of producing regular content through a variety of channels and mediums, such as blog posts, e-books, videos, podcasts, webinars, and infographics. The key to being successful at content marketing is to produce content that your customers and other target audiences would perceive as valuable.What is content marketing?

How can it help you?

Improve Conversion Rates
By having a blog and other sources of content readily available on your website, you are able to help improve the level of trust that gradually builds as a user looks through your site. If they are able to read, listen and watch content that you have created and they find it useful or interesting, it will help them trust you more as a brand, improving their perception of you. This means a user is more likely to choose you for the product or service they require.

Search Engine Optimisation & Brand Awareness
Posting regular content also helps to optimise your website, meaning it will help to improve your ranking in the major search engines. This in turn helps to raise your brand awareness and drive more traffic to your website.

Inbound Link Generation
If your content proves useful enough – and worth talking about – it may be referred to on a number of platforms, including social media channels (by a variety of people), key influencers’ blogs, and websites relaying news. Every mention a piece of your content gets creates an inbound link to your website or blog. The number of inbound links pointing to a website is a crucial factor that the major search engines take into account when ranking a site – the more inbound links you have, the better your site will be optimised and ranked in the search engine results pages.

(Note: Inbound links is just one of the many factors taken into account by search engines when ranking a website.)

Of course, as well as increasing your inbound links, the fact that there are links out there on social media channels and websites means the traffic to your website is also likely to increase.

It’s all good!

So, not only will a stronger focus on content marketing help improve your relationship with potential customers, it can also have a positive influence on SEO, link building, brand awareness, website traffic, and most importantly sales! For us, there is no doubt that it should be a key consideration for your 2013 marketing plan.

Remember to measure

It is important to understand the successes and pitfalls of any marketing activity to ensure you are continually driving the business forward. Content marketing and ROI should be closely monitored to make certain you are always on the right track.

For more advice and information on content marketing please get in touch or leave a comment below.

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Client News , Virtuoso HQ

What a lovely surprise we received from our client Delivered With Love yesterday, when they hand delivered this wonderful Christmas card for us.

It even comes with a gorgeous sparkling Christmas tree decoration

A huge thank you to Tom & Lynne.

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Our Top Designs, Reads & Websites This Week

Creative Design , Social Media , Web Design Trends 2012 No Comments »

It really feels like time is just flying by faster and faster each week, only a few working days left until 2013 is here. But we still wanted to spare 5 minutes with you to share our top articles, designs and websites.

Digital marketing and social media

Joanne’s top tip: This week I’m recommending you check out Thingle. com . informs us that it is sold as Pinterst meets Wikipedia (any mention of Pinterest and I’m sold).

Aesthetically it’s similar to Pinterest but has a new kind of spice to it that really grabbed my interest for much longer than all the other Pinterest-esq sites thats have emerged this year. As a brand geek, this really appeals to my want to create collections of images relating to what I love and to share it with the world. I might not learn how to grow spring onions on my window sill like I did from Pinterest, but I will certainly be spending some time on Thingle.

My top read this week is by Sherwood MacVeigh on Popsop.com ‘ My Brand and I Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together . Sherwood explores the emotional connection we make with brands and how this alters the way we feel about their products. ’[The] consumer must feel something about a brand in order to decide when to begin—and end—a relationship with it’ – Sherwood then examines what happens when the brand’s products stop performing and how this affects how we feel towards the brand.

Website Design

Sarah’s top website designs come from Lovely Bride and FeedStitch : I love the website design from the Lovely Bridal Shop, I have never really seen a lot of websites like this and love the chalk boardy feel.

The banner on Feedstitch blew me away, love the way it grabs you as soon as you land on the homepage.

Thanks for reading – we’ll have more top reads and designs for you next week.

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Social Media , Virtuoso HQ

Friday is here so we thought we’d give you a quick round up of our top articles and our favourite design blogs for the week.

Our Social Media Manager Joanne ‘s recommended reading for this week is from Fast Company who have outlined the top Can’t Miss Social Media Trends for 2013 .  With the incredible growth rate of social media, it is hard to keep track of the new trends or to even forecast what will be huge for 2013, but I think Fast Company have really nailed it with this round up. Mobile Social Media usage is amazing and the thought of where it will go in 2013 is mega exciting.

Virtuoso’s Director Maureen has shared this fantastic collection gorgeous, feel good Friday website designs from the Speckyboy Design Magazine with 50 Bright and Vibrant Web Designs – Colour Inspiration

From our Graphic Designer Glenn, he has highlighted Fonts Is Use . It’s a public archive of typography indexed by typeface, format, and industry. They document and examine design with the goal of improving typographic literacy and appreciation.

Director Gary’s top website of the week is Glass Water Bottles from Faucet Face. This is great design, very, very clean and with an interesting message comparing the use of plastic and glass.  The use of great imagery and navigation gives an excellent UX!

Have a great weekend everyone.

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Digital Marketing Strategy , How To Guides , Search Engine Optimisation

Google Places can be a great way to drive traffic to your website from users who are searching for a local business of your market. According to a recent study, 82% of local searchers follow up with a phone call.* This proves Google Places is an important new tool for improving the number of enquiries your business receives – something every business is looking to work on.
*Source: TMP and comScore

The best thing about a Google Places listing is it’s free! It only costs you in time and even the busiest of us can spare a few minutes for this, especially given the benefits. However, some businesses have found a problem – they are finding their listings are depleting in rank and slowly vanishing from the crucial top 7 ranks that the user sees after entering their search terms. Set out below is a list of tips to help you keep your Google Places listing as highly ranked as possible.

1. Complete the form

Firstly, it is empirical to ensure that every field in the Google Places signup list is completed and as accurately as possible. This information will be used by Google to match searches to the best possible search result. To make sure that you are the business that is shown first, enter all the data you can, along with images and videos (if relevant) to display as much content about your business as possible.

Accurate descriptions of your business, and implementing keywords and phrases are an excellent opportunity to boost the optimisation of your listing.

Also link this to your social media sites to encourage increased traffic to your Twitter/Facebook pages.

2. Inbound links

Other websites that link directly to yours will help to boost your ranking as the more mentions Google finds of your business; the more popular it deems you to be. For this to help your business, it is important to check that these links present accurate information.

3. Directories

Getting listed on all the major online directories is key to aiding inbound links. Make sure you register your business details with online directories including: Yell, Yahoo, Thomson Local & Business Magnet.

4. Reviews

Encourage your existing clients to write reviews based on their satisfaction with your services as a business. This positive feedback can be seen by other users and will be noticed by Google as a positive search result to present to the users search.

Optimising your listing is a great way to generate enquiries as it drives more traffic through your website, which encourages the possibility of more customers taking action to either purchase or contact you. After that, it’s up to you!

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Facebook , Latest News , Social Media , Social Media updates

Facebook continues to shake up their platform for users and businesses with their new algorithm which is already causing a rumble among the big hitters .

The latest update is related to your Facebook posts and how they reach your fans, coined as the Edgerank algorithm.  The Edgerank algorithm hides Facebook page posts from 84% of fans, signalling a significant drop in the reach of content posted. Of course this change from Facebook is driven from the need to increase advertising revenue as they are now asking business page owners to pay to ensure their posts are shown in the users’ newsfeed.

Facebook claim that pages organically reach about 16% of fans on average which often comes down to if their fans aren’t logged into Facebook during a period when page posts are active in the Newsfeed.  They go on to state that:

“With all the content that is being shared daily, Newsfeed uses an algorithm to rank content based upon the likely interest to a user to help deliver the most relevant content.

By posting engaging content, you can increase the reach of your posts. Engaging content includes posting videos/photos, asking questions, sharing helpful and exclusive information and more. Another way to make sure your fans see your stories is by sponsoring your posts. To sponsor your posts…”

This may be within the realms of possibility for the big brands like Coca Cola and Apple, but what about the small businesses who have leveraged the use of Facebook to connect with new and existing customers? Facebook will always have a place for small businesses, but the new Edgerank algorithm could be the final push to new social platforms such as and Tumblr or even… .

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