SQ Digital https://www.sqdigital.co.uk Thu, 21 Oct 2021 08:54:24 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/favicon-96x96-1-80x80.png SQ Digital https://www.sqdigital.co.uk 32 32 The Benefits of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/the-benefits-of-digital-marketing-for-smes/ Thu, 02 Sep 2021 08:00:19 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=12554 There’s been a significant shift in how small businesses use marketing, and traditional marketing efforts, such as print and billboards, are taking a step back. More and more businesses are realising the benefits of digital marketing and are investing more resources in digital marketing services, such as SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Social Media. Business... Read more »

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There’s been a significant shift in how small businesses use marketing, and traditional marketing efforts, such as print and billboards, are taking a step back. More and more businesses are realising the benefits of digital marketing and are investing more resources in digital marketing services, such as SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Social Media. Business owners now have a wide range of digital marketing methods at their fingertips that can be adapted to suit their objectives, budget or industry.

It’s fair to say that digital marketing has entirely transformed how businesses connect and engage with their customers. With more consumers searching and buying online than ever before, digital marketing has become crucial. In essence, it allows businesses to effectively put their brand in front of their target audience at the right time and in the right place cost-effectively and measurably.

So, what does digital marketing have to offer you as a small or medium-sized business owner?

1. Digital Marketing will get Your Business Found Online

Investing in digital marketing services is crucial for your business; if existing or potential customers can’t find you easily online, they will likely go with another business. This is the nature of business today. If someone wants to learn more about your brand, they will probably research you online; perhaps they’re looking for reviews to see whether or not your company is a good fit for them.

As of last year, around 36% of small businesses were operating without a website. Without an online presence, potential customers may assume that you’re not legitimate or may not take you seriously. The result is that they will choose a competitor instead.

Consumer expectations have changed in today’s digital world; the average customer tends to search for a product or service online, likely starting with Google. If you don’t have a website or social media presence, it will be next to impossible to compete.

Digital marketing helps to promote smaller businesses in a way that allows them to compete with well-established brands.

2. Performance of Marketing Campaigns is Easier to Measure 

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing gives you the ability to monitor the performance of your campaigns in real-time. You don’t have to wait until your campaign ends to gather the data and analyse the results. By accessing timely data through tools like Google Analytics, you can review the effectiveness of your strategy and make changes accordingly.

Being able to gain these invaluable insights into your digital campaign allows you to respond quickly. You can adapt and refine your digital marketing strategy in line with your customers’ requirements.

It’s also much easier to measure the success of a digital marketing campaign. You can easily track metrics such as engagement and conversions, which is much harder to pinpoint for traditional marketing, such as print ads. With digital marketing, you can see results within a matter of hours, whether it be the number of visitors to your website, the number of people clicking on your ads or the level of engagement you’ve had on your social media posts.

3. Digital Marketing can get you More Enquiries Online

Gaining additional customers is essential for growing your business in terms of revenue and profitability. There are several ways of reaching customers through digital marketing, from websites to video marketing and social media.

It also helps you to attract mobile customers, which is a huge and rapidly growing market. At the end of last year, in 2020, mobile devices (apart from tablets) generated 52.6% of global website traffic; in 2009, this value was 0.7%. Digital marketing helps you to capitalise on this traffic to ensure you’re not missing out.

Digital marketing offers a platform to explain why your customers should choose your business and why your products and services help them.

4. Digital Marketing Can Help You Rebrand

Rebranding a small business that you’ve been growing can be a daunting decision and task. You may hesitate at the idea; however, even though rebranding can be overwhelming, it can also offer many benefits, from breathing new life into your business to changing the way your target audience perceives you.

There are several reasons why a company might consider rebranding, such as transforming a brand that may have become outdated, further distinguishing a brand from its competitors’ or reflecting a change in your product line.

Roccia website on laptop and tablet

Such was the case with ROCCIA, the largest independent retailer of tiles in the North of England. The Company wanted to transition from Tile Mart into Roccia to reflect the high-end services and products. The challenge, however, was to ensure they didn’t lose the reputation they’d built over 20 years. To accomplish this, we created a content marketing strategy aimed at the new audience ROCCIA wanted to target, and a Digital PR campaign picked up by many publications.

After a 100% retention of authority and rankings and a 254% increase of traffic to blog posts, it’s fair to say that a well-thought-out digital campaign can help a  business to follow a new vision by transforming its brand.

5. Your Website is a 24/7 Sales Machine

For a small or medium enterprise, keeping within budget is essential. Investing in staff to promote your services and products can be costlier in the long run; while you may have to spend some money on sales efforts to grow your business, having a strong online presence can help you boost sales and reach your audience more efficiently.

A well-designed website will ‘work’ for you every hour of the day, every day of the year, allowing potential customers on the other side of the world to easily browse your services and products outside of office hours. This means that, while your sales team is off the clock, your website is still hard at work and helping to bring in more business.

6. It’s Cost-Effective

Many small businesses don’t have the budget available to utilise costly traditional marketing services such as TV and billboard adverts, putting them at a distinct disadvantage to competitors with larger marketing budgets. Only well-known brands can adopt this approach regularly, which meant that they could dominate the market with ease.

Luckily, digital marketing is an affordable and cost-effective option for all businesses. A well-executed and effectively targeted digital marketing strategy can reach potential customers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing. By only targeting users actively looking for your services or products, you save money and time.

This puts smaller businesses back in the game. By giving them resources that were previously only accessible to larger corporations, these businesses now have the ability to compete for the same traffic as those with much bigger marketing budgets.

electronic world on mobile and a TV

For an example of this, you can read about the work we do for Electronic World. The trick is to be ‘strategic’ about your marketing campaigns; by clearly understanding the results of your data, you can increase your revenue without spending a lot of money.

We created a valuable asset for our customer Morecambe Metals; in this case, a well-researched infographic supported with creative content based on the popular TV show Game of Thrones. We succeeded in getting this featured by The Express newspaper, securing a link from a high-authority website and generating brand exposure nationally.

This only serves to prove that you don’t have to spend big money to get big results.

Game of Tonnes Graphic for Morecambe Metals

7. You can Easily Manage Your ROI

The reason why companies invest in marketing is simple: they want to maximise profit. Return on investment is the ultimate goal, whether it be through traditional or digital strategies.

We’ve already mentioned that digital marketing is cost-effective. Still, for business owners who want to achieve a high ROI, digital marketing has also proven to be successful without a shadow of a doubt.

We can track almost every aspect of our customer’s campaigns, rankings, conversions, leads, or traffic with our digital marketing services. Analytic tools allow us to focus on what is and isn’t working, enabling us to utilise the available marketing budget effectively. Simply put, we can stop spending money in areas that aren’t working and focus on what is most likely to drive enhanced ROI.

When it comes to paid advertising, ROI – or, more commonly, ROAS – is often the main KPI, especially for e-commerce businesses. ROAS (return-on-ad spend) is found by dividing ad spend by the revenue generated by ads.

Not only does this assist in identifying areas for optimisation, but it also allows decisions to be made using the data provided, such as how much money needs to be assigned where. ROAS essentially measures how much of your advertising spend you get back in revenue.

8. Digital Marketing Builds Brand Awareness

Digital marketing has completely revitalised the way businesses engage with both current and potential customers. It has made them at once accessible to new customers and familiar and recognisable to existing customers. So How Does Being Accessible Help with Brand Awareness?

Firstly, digital marketing has become an incredibly effective tool for building trust and fostering long-term relationships. It’s important to take advantage of social media platforms when it comes to connecting with your audience. By posting regularly, answering questions and queries quickly, and responding to reviews and comments – positive and negative – you are fundamentally improving brand loyalty and therefore increasing brand awareness. You are showing customers that you care about what they say and think.

Alongside this, you can also improve brand awareness through strategically planned content marketing that reflects your brand’s personality and motivations.

Content created with your target audience in mind can ensure that your brand is reliable and approachable. Writing articles and blog posts that reflect and address their interests and pain points will encourage more engagement and highlight you as an expert within your industry.

Woman with blue eyes

This is an approach that we have taken with our customer, The Aesthetic Skin Clinic. We have carefully developed a content strategy that has established them as an authoritative voice within the cosmetic sector, achieved through well-researched and well-written blogs, which have helped build trust among potential patients by educating them on their own health.

9. Specific Audience Targeting

Traditional forms of marketing once meant sponsoring an ad during the break of a prime-time TV show and hoping that it reached the right audience. Fortunately, digital marketing allows for much more specific audience targeting. It’s no longer “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to marketing campaigns; it is now possible to become a lot more personalised. You can tailor campaigns to specific demographics, such as age, location, interests and gender, making them more effective.

With our client Axess2, a company that specialises in lifts, we targeted homeowners, architects and interior designers to establish Axess2 as a reliable expert in their industry. To amplify the reach of our content, we also created a targeted Digital PR campaign. This led to publications in important industry magazines, such as the Chartered Association of Building Engineers, and on websites such as the Durham Cathedral (after installing a lift in this UNESCO World Heritage Site building).

Axess2 website on tablet and smart phone

Specific audience targeting doesn’t restrict you to local campaigns either. In fact, you can realistically target people worldwide with just one marketing campaign. You can access a global audience through effective but specifically targeted strategies.

Social media platforms, in particular, have the ability to target ads to almost anyone; by using information collected from their users, they can target people according to their behaviours, lifestyles, interests and connections.

By using this insight into your customers’ interests and preferences, you can easily tailor and personalise the marketing messages they receive. This is often considered digital marketing’s biggest advantage over traditional marketing, as personalised messages make customers feel much more valued.

10. Increase Conversion Rates

One of the best things about implementing digital marketing is that people no longer need to come to your physical store for you to make a sale. It now takes a matter of clicks to convert customers online. Your website is your store; it should offer potential customers everything they need to know about your product and services so that they can make informed decisions on whether to purchase and enquire.

Whether you’re spending money on sponsored Facebook ads or Google Ads, you can embed unique codes that allow you to track who, when and how people saw your ad, as well as what they did after this. Did they visit your website? And if so, which page did they view? Did they download content? Place an order? With digital marketing, you can monitor your conversion rate to see which leads turned into revenue.

With our customer Banks Lyon, we have executed a paid media strategy that utilises Google Ads and Google Display Network, creating a seamless user journey, from remarketing at the initial customer touchpoint through to enquiry and purchase. This has allowed us to track them every step of the way.

banks-lyon web pages

In Summary

To make digital marketing really work for your business, you need a strategy that uses the resources available to you. Many businesses experiment with digital marketing services, e.g. using social media and posting a few Facebook posts here and there or spending a bit of money on SEO. To really benefit from the power of digital marketing, you need to adopt a more holistic approach. An efficient digital marketing strategy means tying in all digital channels and creating a collective and collaborative campaign. Integrating all the platforms available will go a long way to achieving your set objectives.

Without an online presence, it’s now impossible to compete and grow your business. We work with our clients to develop digital strategies that are an innovative blend of analytics and creativity. We work together to seamlessly create and implement innovative and robust digital marketing strategies that help grow their business.

You can view more of the fantastic work we’ve carried out for our customers on our case studies page.

You can also get in touch with us if you want to learn more about how we can help your business reach its potential online.

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Top Social Media Questions Answered https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/social-media-questions/ Sun, 08 Aug 2021 17:13:55 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=30260 Do you have social media questions? As an experienced digital marketing agency, we aim to answer your questions about promoting your business on social media and making the most of your online presence. Take a look below at some of the questions being asked and see if we answer your questions too – if not,... Read more »

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Do you have social media questions? As an experienced digital marketing agency, we aim to answer your questions about promoting your business on social media and making the most of your online presence. Take a look below at some of the questions being asked and see if we answer your questions too – if not, get in touch, and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.

1. What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing refers to using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to reach and engage your target audience online. You can use social media to promote your brand, boost traffic to your website, get more customers online, and more.

2. How Can Social Media Help Your Business?

Social media platforms are an excellent way for people to connect and chat. People also use it to research new products or services and learn about a business they’re looking to buy from.

As a business, not having a social media presence could mean you miss out on potential sales. Worst case, some people may even think you’re not in business anymore.

One of the great benefits of using social media marketing, especially if you’re a small business, is it helps you compete online with larger companies and brands.

3. How Can You Do Social Media Marketing?

Of all the social media questions we get, this is the most common. It’s also an excellent question. Before creating your social media strategy, it’s essential to define your target audience and the social media platforms they are likely to use. This initial research will make sure you get in front of the right audience. It is most likely that your existing and potential customers may prefer to use specific platforms, and you should tailor your strategy accordingly. If, for example, they hang out on Instagram and Facebook, focus on these instead of pouring time, money and effort into channels that may not work for you.

Setting a social media strategy requires you to implement goals in line with your business goals, whether you’re searching for brand awareness or more sales leads. You’ll also want to track key metrics that’ll allow you to understand if your campaigns are working.

If you’re looking for brand awareness, focus on the number and quality of followers and the engagement you get in your posts. It’s a good way to measure the success of your campaign. On the other hand, if you want to convert more people, a boost in newsletter signups and a higher click-through rate are metrics to keep an eye on.

Another crucial part of any social media campaign is being aware of what your competitors are doing. It will help you stay up to date with the latest trends and determine if anything is lacking in your marketing campaign.

While this may feel overwhelming at first, a social media agency can help you by discussing your goals and implementing a social media strategy that complements the rest of your digital marketing campaign.

4. What Are the Best Social Media Platforms?

One platform is not necessarily better than another. The best social media platform to use will depend on your specific audience and the channels they use. Facebook might not work for you while Twitter may hit the sweet spot for your customers; and, if your products appeal to a younger audience, then a platform like TikTok can be your best option.people on social media

Again, it’s all about understanding your target market and where they spend their time online. Once you find this out, you’ll know which platforms to focus on to deliver results. Don’t waste time trying to make a platform work for you just because you feel you should be on it. Spreading yourself thin across several channels only to see a small return may not be worth it. Spend your time on platforms where your target audience is. It may also help to know the times you should post on each platform too.

You will reap the rewards by investing your time in researching your target audience to answer social media questions like this one.

5. What is a Social Media Campaign?

Social media campaigns are more specific and targeted than the general social media content you post every day. A good marketing campaign will focus on particular goals and outcomes. For example, if you want to raise brand awareness, you could implement a social media campaign to get more customer reviews and testimonials.

6. What is an Impression?

An impression is when a user sees your social media post or story. The number of impressions is how many times users have seen your post or stories. It’s worth noting, impressions are not the same as interactions. Interactions are when your audience engages with your brand by, e.g. sharing, commenting on or liking your posts. Impressions can also help keep you on track with social media ads as you don’t want to keep showing the same ad copy to your audience.

7. What is Social Listening?

Social listening may be a familiar term, as it has been around for a while. It means paying attention to any feedback you receive and all useful keywords, conversations and topics connected to your business. Using the insights gathered, you can create or adapt your social media strategies.

The information you collect is especially helpful when you want to perform A/B testing. It can also help when you want to know how much you’re spending on social campaigns versus the return on investment (ROI) you’re getting.Social Media Engagement

8. How Many People Use Social Media?

According to DataReportal, there are currently 4.48 billion social media users worldwide. By not taking full advantage of this number, you may miss out on many opportunities. People will continue to use social media to interact with businesses. Make sure you have a social media account for your business as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Make the most of your online presence to maximise your potential.

9. How do Businesses Use Social Media?

Social media is so versatile businesses can use it in many different ways. The options are endless, from shouting out about your services to talking to potential clients and posting behind-the-scenes videos of your business.

If you have products to sell, you can also use Facebook or Instagram advertising to promote your products online.

Social Media at SQ Digital Marketing Agency

We hope we answered your social media questions and if you want any further information don’t hesitate to get in touch.

As well as Social Media, we also provide a full range of digital marketing services, including SEO, Content Marketing and PPC, which allows us to create bespoke, integrated digital marketing strategies to help you promote your business and brand online.

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How to Start Your Digital Marketing Strategy https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/digital-marketing-strategy/ Mon, 19 Jul 2021 08:00:10 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=17602 With so many businesses now online, a digital marketing strategy is more important than ever. From writing blog posts and sending out newsletters to creating Facebook ads and social media posts, you can tackle digital marketing in a thousand different ways. This is why you should first implement a digital marketing strategy. It helps you... Read more »

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With so many businesses now online, a digital marketing strategy is more important than ever. From writing blog posts and sending out newsletters to creating Facebook ads and social media posts, you can tackle digital marketing in a thousand different ways. This is why you should first implement a digital marketing strategy. It helps you see what works for your business and help you stay focused on your goals – making them easier to accomplish.

As an experienced digital marketing agency, we know all there is to know about creating the right marketing strategy for your business. This guide will help kickstart your digital marketing the right way.

Office desk with apple computer

1. Define Your Goals

One of the first things you should do when creating a digital marketing strategy is to set achievable goals. It’s essential you know what you want to accomplish from the start, be it conversions, brand awareness, social media followers, likes on social media, or newsletter opens.

Getting people to buy your products and services online isn’t as easy as it sounds because there’s a lot of competition. Most UK businesses now have an online presence (83.4% in 2019), so it’s more important than ever that you understand how to use digital marketing to your advantage.

If, for example, your goal is to be found more easily on Google, then ensuring your content is optimised with the latest SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices can help you achieve this. You will need to make sure you’re using the right keywords, have unique and informative content, taken title tags and metadata into account, applying Schema to website pages and that your website loads quickly.

All this can help you rank higher in search engines, which helps your digital marketing strategy by implementing a solid SEO campaign. SQ Digital has been offering digital marketing services for over two decades, so we understand what it takes to set a business up for long-term success.

Think about your goals and how you can get there, whether you want to generate more leads, have more people interacting with your brand on social media or sell more products.

2. Adapt Your Strategy to Fit New Shopping Trends

The revenue of online retail sales in the UK has been rising consistently in the past few years, as Statista shows – in 2012, the value of online sales was £33.24 billion and, in 2020, this figure was £99.31 billion. It wasn’t all because of the pandemic, though; in 2019, online retail sales were already high, with revenue of £76.04 billion.

As of May 2021, online sales represented 27.3% of all retail sales in the UK. So, if you haven’t already, be sure to capitalise on this trend.

Shopping habits are changing, and businesses, including SMEs, can take advantage of this. One way is to start using paid search more aggressively. You can find out where your target market spends most of their time online and figure out if they’re searching for products on Google or browsing social media platforms.

You’ll need to dig through your site’s analytics to get this information. Once you have some data on this, you can focus your attention on a Pay Per Click (PPC), Google Shopping or paid social ads approach, depending on where your target audience is.

Consider where to place your advertising budget when choosing products to promote on your website. If you have any products or services with high demand, make sure to advertise them more aggressively.

Figuring all this out can take some time, including making sure mention your research is done well. If you don’t put enough time into your research, you risk putting money behind digital marketing campaigns that don’t work.

As an SME owner, you’re already busy running your business, so you may want to consider using a digital marketing agency to take care of your paid search campaigns.

3. Consider What’s Popular

Capitalising on products that are in demand is an excellent way to build a successful digital marketing campaign. If you’re experiencing a spike in sales or have some products that sell more than others, it may be time to focus on advertising them online.

Adverts allow you to bypass lengthy SEO campaigns to organically rank for keywords. Instead, you can build a robust Google Ads campaign or use social media advertising to maximise your exposure to your target audience. When done well, SEO campaigns offer excellent long term results, but if you’re looking for quick wins, paid ads are a great option.

If you find that a product or service has soared in popularity and is flying off the shelves, make sure to stock up and market it extensively. Add a prominent banner of the product on your website, advertise it across all channels and create informative content to drive users towards a conversion.

Planning for the future is important too, so consider potential popular products and services. If you have items that sell well in winter, prepare for when the hot weather comes to an end since you might see a spike in business. Stay ahead of the competition, especially if you have a fully optimised website and a ready-to-go advertising campaign to match.

4. The Importance of Consistency

Strategy is crucial for a successful digital marketing campaign, as it gives you focus and allows you to understand better what will work for your business and what won’t. Being consistent in this strategy is equally important – not only can this help you to see results more quickly, but it also shows your audience what to expect from you.

A consistent digital marketing strategy also means using marketing techniques, such as posting daily on social media and regularly publishing blogs.

For help or advice on how to best prepare your business for the next steps, our team is more than happy to assist you. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the digital marketing services we offer and our approach. Or get a free SEO audit to see how your website is performing.

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How Content Marketing Can Help SMEs https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/how-content-marketing-can-help-smes/ Thu, 01 Jul 2021 15:18:46 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=26789 Whether you’re a start-up or have already established your brand online, continuing to develop your content marketing should be at the forefront of your business. Content marketing is all about communication. It’s about engaging, listening and building a relationship with your customers. We’ve put together a simple guide to content marketing and developing your brand... Read more »

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Whether you’re a start-up or have already established your brand online, continuing to develop your content marketing should be at the forefront of your business.

Content marketing is all about communication. It’s about engaging, listening and building a relationship with your customers.

We’ve put together a simple guide to content marketing and developing your brand online.

How Can Content Help You Grow Your Business Organically?

In today’s digital society, we spend an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes per day online. This increased time browsing the web is an open opportunity to communicate and engage with your customers. It’s important to represent your brand online with rich content and strong marketing copy, no matter your marketing budget.

The best content for a smaller marketing budget would be well optimised on-site content, blogs, tutorial videos, collaborations with other companies and a strong social media presence.

Whether you’re sending a personalised email or posting a ‘how to’ video on Instagram, you can grow your business by speaking directly with your customers and listening to what they have to say.

What is Marketing Copy?

Marketing copy is generally written with a specific goal in mind, often to compel the reader to do something. It could be to sign up for your newsletter, become a follower of your social media accounts, or make a purchase – we call these ‘conversions’.

There are lots of different ways to create compelling marketing copy, depending on your goal. A digital marketing agency can help you generate more valuable conversions using expertly written marketing copy.

What is On-Site Content?

A great place to start is by making sure your on-site content speaks to your target audience. On-site content generally refers to everything you write on your website. This includes help guides, FAQs or web page copy.

onsite-content

Good on-site content should speak your audience’s language. If you’re unsure where to start, read our article 5 ways to strike the perfect tone in your content.

How Can Blogs Help My Business?

There are many benefits of writing blogs; they’re a great way to showcase your expertise and help build relationships with your customers. But writing an effective blog is about more than just sharing your thoughts or business updates with your audience.

Applying a robust SEO strategy to your blog content can attract more visitors to your website, which ultimately means more customers. A well-optimised blog will appear in search engine results when people search for the terms (or keywords) your blog addresses. Your blog will attract visitors who are more likely to be interested in your products or services.

Blog writing is a key part of any content strategy, so if you’re not already doing it, you probably should be.

How Do I Make Sure My Website is Optimised for SEO?

As well as speaking your audience’s language, the content on your website also needs to speak Google’s language – this is where SEO comes in. SEO (search engine optimisation) will enhance a good content strategy. It ensures that the right people can find all the great content you’re creating.

 

By including keywords, meta-data, images, links and alt-tags in your blogs and articles, you can start to increase your website ranking on search engines like Google. Posting relevant, well-optimised content regularly is the key.

You can read more about how to optimise your content in our 10 SEO quick wins article.

How Do I Build My Brand Identity

Posting content about your business online helps you build a clear brand identity and share your company ethos with your followers. If you only have a limited marketing budget, it’s still a good idea to build a portfolio of blogs or videos and use your social media channels effectively to share your content.

By creating this online identity, your customers have a chance to get to know you better and communicate with your business. By being clear, visual and unique, you can set your brand apart from others. Applying a well-thought-out content strategy will establish a brand reputation, tone of voice and return business potential.

How do I Get a Bigger Return on my Investment

While it can take some time to see an impact from your content marketing efforts, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, as well as paid social campaigns, can deliver more immediate results.

What’s the Difference Between PPC and Paid Social?

PPC advertising puts your business in front of people who may already be interested in your products or services. In return, you pay a small fee whenever your PPC advert is clicked. The goal is for the revenue generated from the increased visits to your website to be higher than the cost of the clicks. So, there is a risk to running a PPC campaign, and it needs to be right for your business. Why not check out the pros and cons of running PPC campaigns?

On the other hand, a paid social media campaign can give you more options for targeting your audiences, like age demographics, location, and specific interests. This means you can be much more specific about who sees your ads, ensuring you get the best return on your investment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about developing your brand online from a content marketing agency, please get in touch. We could talk all day about the benefits of content marketing!

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The Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/benefits-of-social-media-for-small-businesses/ Thu, 01 Jul 2021 14:03:19 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=25938 Over 3.8 billion people worldwide use social media – a figure expected to rise to 4.41 billion in 2025. With numbers like these, it’s clear that social media is a powerful tool for businesses, and one you shouldn’t dismiss, no matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C. As a digital marketing agency, we help our... Read more »

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Over 3.8 billion people worldwide use social media – a figure expected to rise to 4.41 billion in 2025. With numbers like these, it’s clear that social media is a powerful tool for businesses, and one you shouldn’t dismiss, no matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C.

As a digital marketing agency, we help our clients take full advantage of social media opportunities.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

Our Paid Social Media expert, Michelle Charnley, is a whiz at creating targeted and highly effective campaigns across several social platforms. She believes that,

“social media has a huge impact when it comes to promoting a business. It creates a positive link with customers and allows smaller businesses to compete with larger companies. It also ensures a unified brand message.”

 

From a boost in website traffic to higher customer engagement levels and the potential for lead generation, social media channels like Facebook and Instagram are great for promoting your brand, products, and services. These platforms can help SMEs stay competitive, allowing you to connect with potential customers and keep an eye on what other businesses are doing.

LinkedIn is a professional platform that allows you to showcase your expertise, promote your brand and business, interact and engage with your peers, and so much more. Offering professional tips and quick guides on LinkedIn is a great way to attract more traffic to your website, as shown below.

LinkedIn post example

So, don’t miss out on reaching your customers through social platforms where they’re already interacting with brands.

How to Start your social media marketing

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed at first, but if you’re looking to set up your online presence, we can help you figure out where to start your social journey.

The first thing you should do is set goals. What are you hoping to accomplish by signing up to a social platform or by talking to your audience? Do you want to sell more products or increase your brand awareness? Your goals will be the driving force behind your social media presence, so be specific.

Also, you should learn as much as you can about your target audience. This research will help you to figure out where your customers are and the types of content they consume. Find out what your audience cares about to better connect with them.

Choosing the right platforms is essential. If your audience hangs out on Facebook, this channel should be your priority; with 2.7 billion monthly active users by October 2020, this platform can be a safe bet for many small business owners.

If you make and share videos, a YouTube presence is a must and, if your content is highly visual, Instagram could be for you. Focus only on the platforms your audience uses so that you can increase your chances of success and not spread yourself too thin. Check out our article “Should Age Demographics Impact Your Social Media Choice?” for more information on which platform is best suited for your business and where to find your audience.

Once you’ve made a decision, think about the content you’ll be sharing. Quality is key here, not quantity.

What Are Paid and Organic Social Media?

As you start developing your social media presence, you’ll come across two types of social media content; organic and paid.

Organic Social Media

Organic Social Media refers to free content like photos, videos and stories you can post and share on your social platforms. These posts will reach existing customers and can be seen by a fraction of your followers and their followers (organic reach) and people following the hashtags you chose.

With organic social media, you:

  • Have an easy way to connect with your customer base
  • Build brand awareness
  • Humanise your brand
  • Engage with your customers
  • Showcase your expertise with thought leadership content

All this is useful, no matter where your customers are on the buyers’ journey. As an example, we shared an article on Facebook by simply posting about it on our timeline:

post about ppc article on sq digital social media

In 2018, a Global Web Index study found that 54% of social browsers use social media to research a brand’s products, which further highlights that organic posts are a valid and crucial part of social media. When putting together your social strategy, consider organic content and how people will engage with it.

Paid Social Media

If you pay to have your content on a platform, you’re using paid social. This term refers to ads and sponsored posts with a reach bigger than your immediate followers; this allows you to connect with people who wouldn’t discover your brand otherwise. You can choose a particular demographic to target and set a goal for the post, be it sales conversions or traffic to your website.

There are many reasons why you should choose paid social. For example, Facebook’s algorithm prefers posts from non-business accounts, which means small business owners may want to create Facebook ads to compete on the platform, like the example below from one of our clients.

The ad helps Video 2 DVD Transfers to showcase a discount, raise awareness to their brand and direct people to the website – because it’s a sponsored ad, it means it reaches more people.

video 2 dvd post

In short, paid social media can:

  • Help you raise awareness of your brand
  • Help you reach a lot of people you couldn’t reach with just organic
  • Help you draw in followers
  • Promote your deals and products
  • Create new leads
  • Boost conversions when you put ads in front of the right people at the right time

How to Promote Your Business Using Organic and Paid Social Media Marketing

Both organic and paid social should be used in tandem for the best results, as they work well together to promote your small business. Check out some of our tips to help you get started on social media:

1. Make Use of Hashtags

Not every promotional post has to be paid. Hashtags – and even likes, retweets and follows – can be powerful for your marketing, and campaigns that use them can be a great way to bring awareness to a product or your brand.

You can see an example of how we helped Compare Cover do this with the hashtag #NationalWalkingMonth. This campaign was even shortlisted for two awards; Northern Marketing Awards for Best Professional & Financial Services Campaign, and UK Search Awards for Best Use of Social Media in a Search Campaign).

In essence, we launched a social media competition that targeted a specific demographic and which was supported by our content and design teams.

We created a Facebook and Twitter competition that encouraged people to like Compare Cover’s Facebook post or retweet and follow @comparecover, with a chance to win a prize. The result included an increase in the number of potential customers engaging with the client’s social media channels, a boost in followers, and an increase of 291.5% increase in website sessions.

comparecover-casestudy-thumb

2. Boost Organic Content

On Facebook, you can pick your best-performing posts (an indicator that people are interested in your content) and pay to have it displayed to more people. You don’t even have to create an ad, as this is a low effort to see quick results.

For Simply Baby Lancaster, we boosted an existing post to help it get more reach – this means increasing its chances of people reacting, sharing and commenting on it. Boosting a post also helps people who don’t follow you, but who may be interested in your services and page, to find you.

boosted post

3. Add Media

Never publish a post without an image, a video or any other type of media. Think about it; when was the last time your attention was drawn to a post that was only text?

To get your audience’s attention, you need to make your posts attractive, and this means adding visual content, as the carousel below, from The Bath House, shows. It allows us to display our client’s products in a visually interesting way that immediately draws the eye.

Carousels are great for showing off multiple images and links in one ad and highlighting specific features in each card. It also creates a story that people can engage with by swiping to read more.

add-media-visual-content

4. Test Your Posts

If you’re paying to run an ad, make sure it’s a good one. For that, you’ll want to optimise it as much as possible and test it with A/B testing, which allows you to run different versions of the same ad to test your CTA (call to action), the layout of the ad, the audience you chose to target, the type of ad you went with, the copy you wrote on it, and more.

For instance, with Smart Storage, we created different versions of the same ad to see which one performed the best. We changed the images and the CTA, and Facebook divides the budget equally between the posts. This approach allowed us to measure the performance of each strategy.

split test for client

5. Target the Right Audience

Ads are effective when they’re aimed at the right demographics and have the right message on them. You can choose an audience based on age, education, location, hobbies and interests, job title, and more, which means your ads will appeal to the people they’re targeting.

Targeting a specific audience will make them more likely to engage with your post, click on your links, and buy your products and services. Take a look at Facebook’s example of audience targeting:

facebook audience targeting

6. Use Analytics Tools

Gathering data about your posts is important because it helps you understand what’s performing well and what isn’t – and where you should invest your time, money and effort. Facebook Pixel is a good example of this since it provides information on your audience and whenever someone takes action, such as purchasing a product.

In Conclusion

As a business owner, you’re always looking to improve your brand’s visibility and get your business on people’s radar. Social media is a fantastic way to do this, as it helps you engage with people, attract new customers, grow your client base, promote products and services and establish your business voice.

Social media can also help you see a boost in website traffic and sales leads. With more than 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, you don’t want to miss out on the potential of this enormous market.

If you need help getting to grips with social media or you simply don’t have the time to manage it effectively for your business, we can help. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we’ll handle everything for you while you focus on growing your business.

As experts with 20 years of digital marketing experience, we can help small business owners promote their business online, so make an enquiry today.

The post The Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses appeared first on SQ Digital.

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Top Marketing Tips For SMEs https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/top-tips-sme-marketing/ Mon, 28 Jun 2021 12:52:33 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=16255 Here are our top marketing tips for SMEs, from focusing on online products to getting the most out of social media. As the world continues to move online, it’s more important than ever for SME’s to have a strong digital presence. It can be overwhelming, but we want to reassure you that you can take... Read more »

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Here are our top marketing tips for SMEs, from focusing on online products to getting the most out of social media.

As the world continues to move online, it’s more important than ever for SME’s to have a strong digital presence. It can be overwhelming, but we want to reassure you that you can take steps to ensure your SME can thrive in a digital world.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped SME’s from around the globe achieve their digital marketing goals. As more and more businesses opt for an online rather than a physical presence, we believe that now is the right time to share tips to help small and medium-sized businesses.

Focus On Online Products & Services

More consumers than ever are making the transition to online shopping, and the trend doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down. We predict that many people will continue to opt for online purchases over in-store, regardless of the high street’s future.

Your online presence, whether it’s your website or social media, is your digital storefront. It’s far more convenient and quicker for the customer to visit your website than a physical location. Depending on the products or services your business deals with, you’ll want to focus your efforts on ensuring your online mediums are working as hard for your business as they can.

If you’re running online adverts using Google AdWords, now could be the time to ensure your SEO campaign targets the relevant keywords. Take the time to re-evaluate your budget and redistribute funds amongst services that will generate revenue.

If you’re not already offering services online or selling products via an e-commerce website, now is the time to look at how you can adapt your business to a digital world.

Don’t Neglect Your Digital Marketing

This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one, as you’ll need to promote your online products and services with a credible digital marketing strategy.

Maintaining an online presence and online marketing are some of the most valuable tools that SME’s have at their disposal. Therefore, businesses mustn’t neglect or significantly reduce the budget for their digital marketing strategy.

Maintaining a strong presence in search engines is essential, so keeping your main keywords on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) should be a priority. Furthermore, in response to the growing demand for online products and services, you should do your utmost to maintain your organic search presence using effective search engine optimisation (SEO) services.

Continue to optimise the content on your web pages and actively work to create fresh and relevant content to attract potential customers to your website. These activities will serve you well in the long run. If you rely on an agency, they should focus on this for you.

It’s no secret how difficult it is to recover search engine page rankings once they’ve dropped, and cutting back on your digital marketing activities could leave your business in a significantly worse position. If lost, it could take several months to recover your keyword positions, so it’s essential to keep on top of your digital marketing strategy.

As a content marketing agency, we know how important it is to maintain your content marketing campaigns and social media presence. Simply sharing regular updates from your company can go a long way to maintaining customer trust. Communication is essential for your business, so be sure to stick with writing articles and social media posts to keep your customers engaged with your brand.

Regardless of whether you carry out your online marketing activities, or use a digital marketing agency, remember that your digital marketing strategy is an integral part of your business.

 

Use Social Media To Your Advantage

Social media is an essential tool for small businesses, mainly because it allows you to instantly connect and share with your audience. In addition, with more people opting to work from home, the size of the audience you can reach is much larger than it was just a few years ago.

It’s worth spending time devising a robust social media strategy that considers relevant issues facing your customers. Identify your customers’ needs and use social media to reach out to them, explaining how you can be of service. It’s a great, proactive way to engage with your customers.

Social media is also an effective way to communicate clear and concise updates regarding changes to business activities. For example, something may happen that disrupts your normal business operations; you may have to reduce your opening hours or halt services temporarily due to unforeseen circumstances. Social media allows you to communicate these messages to your customers instantly. It also provides you with multiple platforms where you can engage and build trust with your customers. This will help ensure that they keep coming back, even after a disruption to your regular services.

Planning For The Future

While it can be easy to focus all of your attention on being reactive and responding to things that are happening right now, you should ensure you have a long-term digital marketing plan in place for the future.

When it comes to putting a long-term marketing plan together, we recommend that you take the time to consider everything we’ve talked about here. Then, do your research and make evidence-based decisions. Remember:

  • Ensure all your website and social media channels show relevant and up to date information about your business.
  • Keep your marketing activities under review to make sure your content is fresh, engaging and still applies to your business.
  • Review your Google Ads account and make any necessary amendments to the products and services you are promoting. Be sure to ramp up advertising of products and services you think need some attention.
  • Sharing your products and services on social media is an easy way to maintain an online social presence.
  • Continue optimising onsite SEO and producing insightful blog content to ensure you’re maintaining a strong organic search presence.

 

If you find it challenging to adapt or maintain your business’s marketing strategy, we’re here to help. Our team of expert digital marketers understands the industry inside out. We’ll do our utmost to give you the very best advice to ensure your business can thrive online.

Please feel free to get in touch with our team if you would like any advice on the digital marketing services we offer or how to market your company effectively.

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A Guide to Landing a Graduate Job in Digital Marketing https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/guide-to-landing-a-graduate-job/ Sat, 26 Jun 2021 08:44:57 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=5691 Finishing your final year at University can bring a mixture of emotions; joy from finishing your dissertation or the daunting realisation that you now need to find a graduate job! Unfortunately, there’s no getting away from the fact that landing a job as a graduate can be tough in a crowded and competitive job market.... Read more »

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Finishing your final year at University can bring a mixture of emotions; joy from finishing your dissertation or the daunting realisation that you now need to find a graduate job!

Unfortunately, there’s no getting away from the fact that landing a job as a graduate can be tough in a crowded and competitive job market. With thousands of other students competing for the same graduate digital marketing roles, you must do everything you can to stand out.

Luckily for you, for over 20 years we’ve been employing graduates at our digital marketing agency and can offer you tips on landing that first digital marketing job – whether you’re a natural writer, have a passion for analytics or love designing websites.

1. Start Early to Land That Perfect Graduate Job

Digital Marketing is a popular career choice for many graduates. The competitive industry offers plenty of diverse jobs to suit graduates with various skills, whether creative, analytical or both. So, what can you do to put yourself at the top of the pile of CVs currently sitting in a Digital Marketing Manager’s inbox?

Firstly, you should start early! While it’s all too tempting to hand in your dissertation and go into hibernation, we strongly advise against this. You’ll be surprised to know that many students started their graduate job hunt months ago.

However, it’s never too late, start being proactive and start sending your CV out as soon as possible. While you can look through and upload your CV to the many online job sites, like Indeed or available, we also suggest sending your CV directly to companies you would like to work for – you never know what they might see in your application.

“My tip would be to make sure that your CV is up to date and as polished as it possibly can be. Also, no matter what degree you have, sell yourself and not the title of your degree. Try to concentrate on the skills that you have developed whilst studying, whether it be communication, presentation, or team building.”

– Amy Livesey (Account Manager)

Amy Livesey - Graduate

2. Tailor Your Application

No company likes to receive a vague or generic application. The key is to tailor your application for every graduate job that you apply for – this includes your CV and cover letter (make sure you include a cover letter to stand out from other job seekers). Your job application is an opportunity to show what you could bring to their company, so take the extra time to tell them why you are the perfect person for this specific position.

Spend time researching the company and use this to your advantage to show why you would be a fantastic addition to their business. A well-thought-out and tailored cover letter will impress a lot more than a generic one.

“When you start looking at job sites and boards and find a few roles you’d like to apply for, you may be tempted to send off the same CV to all of them. While this will save you time, it’s not the best way to go about it, and you may not even get replies. To ensure you get an email or call back, make sure to tailor your CV to the roles you’re applying for and demonstrate to the company that you’re passionate about the job and boosts your chances of getting an interview.”

– Teresa Garanhel (Senior Content Marketing Executive)

Teresa Garanhel

With so many different avenues into Digital Marketing, we suggest choosing the area that interests you the most and focus your efforts on demonstrating your passion and knowledge for this. Showing enthusiasm for a particular career path will show that you’re committed.

“When I first started applying for jobs, it was very tempting to just fire off lots of CVs at the same time. However, I soon realised that this wasn’t the best way to do it, which was evident by the lack of replies and invitations to interviews. I then decided to properly tailor my CV to the jobs I was applying for – you have to show the company that you are passionate about the role and that it’s what you are looking for. You’re much more likely to get results this way”

– Emma Mortimer (Graduate Scheme 2016)

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Apply

When applying for a job, don’t be afraid to apply for positions where you don’t quite meet all the essential requirements. For example, a content writing position might require one year of industry experience. As a graduate, it’s unlikely that you’ll have this but, if you do have a passion for writing and experience of writing your blog – why not send in your (tailored) CV? If you’ve never built a website for a company but spent years teaching yourself? It’s always worth sending in your application.

There’s always the chance that employers will spot something outstanding in your application, even if you don’t meet their specific requirements.

The most important thing to remember is never to fabricate experience – you’ll quickly get found out. Be confident that you have the drive, passion and dedication to land the position, even if your knowledge and skills need a little more work.

“When I applied for a role at SQ Digital, I had no digital marketing experience. I had finished my English degree a year before and had been working in retail since then. However, when I came across a Content Writer position on the SQ Digital website, I knew the skills gained from my degree would make me perfect for the role. Despite not having all of the requirements that the role asked for, I tailored my CV and sent it in any way – and I got the job! Don’t be afraid to go for it, even if you are a little worried that you’re not the right fit; you might be exactly what a company has been looking for!”

– Katie Martin (Lead Digital Marketing Executive)

4. Look for Internships and Work Experience

Gaining relevant work experience in the industry you want to work for is invaluable. Whether it’s a paid internship, job shadowing, or a few weeks of unpaid work experience, hands-on experience you can get within your chosen industry is guaranteed to make you more employable.

“A take-charge attitude can get you far. If you’re on the lookout for work experience, why not contact the companies that interest you? They’ll be happy to hear from you. You can also ask for career advice at your University, find work experience programmes or contact an employer about a potential placement. 

“Once you get one placement, it’s easier to get others, so keep trying and don’t give up!”

– Elizabeth Goldsbrough (Senior SEO Executive)

Lizzy Goldsborough - Graduate

It’s also a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. If you approach a company that you are interested in working for and ask for work experience, you could end up with a full-time job at the end of it (or a significant connection at the very least).

Want to hear a secret? Digital Marketing agencies or departments are always busy! There’s a strong possibility that you will find a company that will appreciate some extra help. This is your opportunity to show your worth and convince them that you would be the perfect fit to become a permanent member of the team.

“When finding work experience, be proactive; send emails to places you’d like to work, use people you know for tips and putting in a good word, and see if your uni has any work experience schemes or scholarships that you can utilise. Don’t underestimate the power of relevant societies and clubs at your university either! As soon as you get one placement, whether it’s for a week or a couple of months, it makes it a lot easier to find others. Also, check with your university to see if they have any bursaries available to cover the costs of your travel while you have a placement!”

– Michelle Gleaves (Graduate Scheme 2015)

5. Realise the Importance of Networking

Have you heard of the saying, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know?” You can’t get away from the fact that thousands of jobs are filled each year by word of mouth and recommendations.

Many people feel like they have no one to ask, but they’d be surprised by who’s in their secondary circles. Use your connections to your advantage. Know a friend working in the Digital Marketing industry? Ask them to refer you. Still in touch with a company that you did work experience in your second year? Get back in touch and ask if they have a position available.

If you’re not lucky enough to know someone who can help, there are still lots of things you can do. Getting to know the key players within the industry you’d like to work in is vital when searching for a Digital Marketing job. From following these individuals on LinkedIn to attending conferences and seminars, this is a huge part of landing a job following graduation.

Attending industry events is also a great way to get more knowledge about the latest trends and news, providing you with plenty of great ideas to bring along to interviews.

“I would say that portraying confidence is key – even if on the inside you don’t feel confident at all. When meeting anyone new, both professionally or personally, be the first to introduce yourself and get the conversation going. Be willing to put yourself out there, you never know where a conversation could take you. If you don’t feel confident, the more you introduce yourself and get chatting to people, the more comfortable you will become over time.” 

– Matt Hartley (Graduate Scheme 2016)

6. Build Your Online Profile

With social media accounts so easily accessible, it’s becoming more and more common for employers to search for potential employees online before inviting them to interview. This means ensuring that your online social media accounts are presentable – you don’t want your tweets from your early student days stopping you from landing your dream job.

Utilise social media networks such as LinkedIn to highlight your expertise and knowledge. If you’re applying for a job in social media, it’s a given that you want your own profiles to represent your personality.

“I would say for LinkedIn that just making a profile isn’t enough and you won’t get anything out of that – making sure you have relevant connections and activity can prove that you’re actually as interested in that industry as you say you are. This also shows that you’re proactive in keeping up to date with what’s going on in the industry and what others think of these changes so that you understand the importance of opinions because there’s no right or wrong or time limit in digital marketing.”

– Eddie Bradshaw (Lead Project Manager)

Eddie Bradshaw

7. Create a Job Hunting Routine

Searching for a graduate job can be a daunting task, especially if you’re busy with university work or preparing for interviews. You may also feel the need to spend all your free time on it to give yourself the best chances of success.

But it’s essential to take breaks too. Researching and applying for jobs is necessary, but so is getting away from the computer for a bit, exercising, meeting friends or spending time with family. Everyone’s different, so what might work for someone may not work for you, meaning you need to find ‘your’ routine.

You may prefer to get up early in the morning to send out a few CVs, or maybe you work better right after lunch. Or perhaps you like to reward yourself with a treat or a tea break once you complete an application, for example. It’s entirely up to you, as long as it works!

“It can be tough to stay motivated, especially when you’re applying for many different positions. However, if you take breaks into account and set yourself targets, you can easily structure your day in a way that works for you. So, to avoid becoming overwhelmed with job hunting, break your days down into smaller steps that will help you stay on track.” 

– Nathalie Hill (Lead Digital Marketing Executive)

8. Get the Most Out of Your Graduate Job

Once you’ve landed a job, you must make the most of the opportunity. Make a good first impression, get to know your co-workers, be proactive in learning, and more – in essence, ensure that your time at the company is well spent.

Stay organised, listen to the guidance and be enthusiastic about tasks assigned to you, even if they’re small, and use initiative as well. Companies appreciate graduates who are resourceful and look for answers instead of waiting to be told what to do all the time.

And remember, if you’re unsure about something, ask for help. Employers will expect you to ask lots of questions initially, so don’t be embarrassed to speak up.

“Take full advantage of your graduate job opportunities and gain as much experience as you can. Get involved with social activities too, and meet other colleagues you might not necessarily work with on a day to day basis.  Ask questions, speak up, make suggestions, and ask for feedback too. All this will help make your role more enjoyable.”

– Husen Essa (Director)

Husen Essa

9. Working for SQ Digital

While these tips make for a good start on your graduate job hunting journey, there are lots of different things you can be doing to stand out. Think outside the box when it comes to sending in your application, as sometimes a CV and cover letter isn’t enough on their own. As someone who wants to work in Digital Marketing, show that creative spark to get yourself noticed.

We’re always happy to take on passionate and creative people looking to grow their digital marketing skills – and help us deliver the best marketing campaigns for our clients.

With a career at SQ Digital, you’re choosing a forward-thinking, award-winning digital marketing agency with over two decades of experience. We believe in innovation, hard work and having fun. Joining SQ digital means you’ll be joining a team of people who care for and support each other.

Please take a look at our open positions and apply for a role we’ve got going on. Even if nothing jumps out at you right now, send us your CV – you never know what we might have lined up!

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Microsoft Clarity: What is it? https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/microsoft-clarity-what-is-it/ Fri, 14 May 2021 14:32:33 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=28121 User experience (commonly referred to as UX) transcends all marketing channels from SEO to PPC. It is a fundamental part of any digital marketing strategy as it is completely entwined with the user journey from site visitor to customer. In this article, we look at one of the tools we use here at SQ Digital... Read more »

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User experience (commonly referred to as UX) transcends all marketing channels from SEO to PPC. It is a fundamental part of any digital marketing strategy as it is completely entwined with the user journey from site visitor to customer. In this article, we look at one of the tools we use here at SQ Digital to audit website UX.

Making Data-Driven UX Changes is a Must

If you need more insight when it comes to the marketing data you collect, there are plenty of options available. The Internet is awash with analytics tools designed to make it easier for you to work out precisely what your customers are doing – or, in some cases, not doing.

One very insightful tool, appropriately named Microsoft Clarity, helps marketers worldwide get a clearer idea of their position with user behaviour data. Let’s take a closer look!

An Overview of Microsoft Clarity

Launched in 2020, Clarity is a relatively new offering from Microsoft and is already proving useful for marketers and webmasters. It provides easy to understand data capture and analytics in a simple dashboard format. The tool contains several key features for a marketer to use; for example, session recording, which shows how users navigate pages on your website in reasonably granular detail.

microsoft clarity data

This is a handy tool if you’re looking for more in-depth information on user behaviour throughout your website. Using screen recordings and heatmaps, you can see the most popular links on a page or what users are doing when they land on the page.

These heatmaps refer to the places where people clicked and scrolled when visiting your site, so you can more easily see what they’re doing. As for the sessions replays, you’re able to record how visitors are interacting with the pages.

The tool is GDPR-compliant, as you can also turn off the recording for places where sensitive information is gathered, like log-in pages.

Microsoft Clarity can be used alongside other tools, like Google Analytics, to give you a more detailed picture of how your site performs. For example, if a page isn’t converting, Microsoft Clarity can highlight further information and help you understand why.

In the example below, certain elements of our homepage are highlighted through the heatmaps, showcasing where users are clicking most often. This helps us to see what draws their attention and the pages they’re interested in.

People are engaging heavily with the navigation bar, which is understandable because it’s where they can find the links to other pages on the site, including more information on the digital marketing services we provide.

sq digital site with heatmap

Microsoft Clarity can also provide a wide range of simple data tools for businesses. It can, for example, organise the pages on your website in order of how popular they are – helping you to understand what content is most attractive to your visitors. It might not go as deep into the numbers as Google Analytics, but it does give you a good starting point for future investigation.

Clarity and Google Analytics: The Case for Using Both

Most PPC Agencies know that Google Analytics has long since been a big name in this field. It’s by far the most popular data analytics tool for digital marketers, and its association with the Google brand means that it’s likely to stay that way.

The general industry perspective on Microsoft Clarity is that it’s not – and probably never will be – a replacement for Google Analytics, as some of Google’s basic product features, such as bounce rates, don’t feature in Microsoft Clarity.

But rather than Clarity and Analytics competing with each other, we believe that the real benefit comes from using both platforms to build a complete picture of your site’s performance. Marketers who analyse and measure several factors simultaneously – such as several distinct campaigns at once or multiple conversion aims – can gather much more data than before, helping to better inform their decisions.

You can connect Clarity with Google Analytics by adding a link to Analytics sessions that helps you to identify areas where information is scarce. When you go back to Clarity, you’ll be able to see what visitors to your site saw and how they interacted with it.

To achieve this, Clarity creates a dimension called “Clarity Playback URL” that sends data to your Analytics account. Microsoft Clarity offers some metrics that Google Analytics doesn’t – or which Google Analytics doesn’t name in such a user-friendly way. This is why both Clarity and Analytics should be used together since they can complement each other well.

A marketer logging in to the Clarity dashboard will find, for example, ‘rage clicks’, a metric that works out how many website sessions featured negative user behaviour. The feature offers a simple way to investigate which pages of your website might be due for a redesign – and, unlike on the more complex Google Analytics, it can be done in seconds thanks to the centralised dashboard feature.

Both tools are free and simple to set up, requiring the addition of a script with tracking code to your website pages. As mentioned, Clarity provides actual recordings of visits, including where people place their cursor on a page and where they’re scrolling down to, which Analytics does not.

These are invaluable metrics if you want to improve your website, as well as the UX. For example, if users are leaving your site halfway down a page, you can figure out where the problem lies – it could be that the rest of the content on the page is not informative enough or that the layout is a little confusing.

This means you get the opportunity to look more critically at your site and analyse the users’ pain points. Why are they clicking on one link above another? Which pages are not performing as well as they should? How is the page rendering?

Clarity gives the answer to these and many more questions, so it’s fair to say it’s already a comprehensive tool despite being relatively new to the game. And it’s also clear that using just one of these tools could result in incomplete information – by combining Clarity with Analytics, you get access to more data than ever before!

clarity 2

Clarity: Simple or Complex?

But while we recommend using both analytics tools to get a more comprehensive view of your site’s performance, Microsoft Clarity is more straightforward to use than Google Analytics for those less confident with these types of tools.

And, given that the tools can integrate, investing time and effort in learning to use Clarity could give you more options, depending on the type of data you need and how quickly you need it. Clarity’s user-friendly dashboard is arranged so that the information required can be accessed and selected in just a few clicks, whereas Google Analytics might need more of a deep dive.

Ultimately, this goes to show that there’s no such thing as a perfect marketing analytics tool. A marketer with one set of conversion goals might need basic information, while a marketer with a different set of goals and requirements will need more sophisticated information.

Overall, Clarity is no better or worse than other tools on the market: it just caters to a particular need, and that need is simplicity and accessibility of information. Contact us today to find out how we can help your website reach its potential – or why not check how your website currently performs with our free SEO audit tool.

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Core Web Vitals: Everything You Need to Know https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/core-web-vitals-everything-you-need-to-know/ Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:07:50 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=27439 Core Web Vitals, originally scheduled for May 2021, rolled out as a new ranking factor in two Google algorithms across June and July. The introduction of Core Web Vitals has got a few website owners concerned since new ranking metrics impact how well pages perform in SERPs (search engine results pages). At SQ Digital, we’re always proactive,... Read more »

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Core Web Vitals, originally scheduled for May 2021, rolled out as a new ranking factor in two Google algorithms across June and July. The introduction of Core Web Vitals has got a few website owners concerned since new ranking metrics impact how well pages perform in SERPs (search engine results pages).

At SQ Digital, we’re always proactive, so we’re getting ahead of the curve when it comes to Core Web Vitals to help keep your website in tip-top shape so you can deliver the best experience to your audience.

businessman working from home in plain clothes

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are metrics that apply to all web pages and showcase how they perform based on real-world usage data. Page experience has been an important factor for a while, but it now plays a more significant role in helping you rank in SERPs.

Core Web Vitals refer to loading, interactivity and visual stability, so they’re made up of three distinct measurements that help Google to analyse your page’s UX (User Experience):

  1. Loading – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  2. Interactivity – First Input Delay (FID)
  3. Visual Stability – Cumulative layout Shift (CLS)

The 3 Core Web Vitals Explained

Loading

LCP is the largest element on the browser since it indicates when content has shown up for the user; in short, it can be defined as the loading speed of a page. According to Google, loading time shouldn’t exceed 2.5 seconds.

Interactivity

Interactivity measures how responsive the page is and how quickly people can start interacting with it. If a user wants to access your website, but the page is processing something and doesn’t react to the person’s input, this will negatively impact your metrics.

Visual Stability

Visual stability refers to how your content moves on the page. For example, have you ever tried to click a link, but an image loads suddenly, and the link shifts down, causing you to open the wrong thing? Or you’re trying to read a paragraph, but an ad or video loads and shifts the entire thing down the page, preventing you from having a smooth experience?

Google believes all page elements should be as stable as possible since shifting layouts lead to a poor user experience (UX).

Person reading news on mobile phone

How Important are Core Web Vitals?

All three measures are crucial but now carry a lot more weight. Webmasters and SEO professionals must stay on top of these metrics to ensure the site doesn’t fall in rankings.

The idea behind attributing such importance to these metrics is that Google wants sites to provide high-quality pages people can enjoy. If the algorithm determines your page is quality based on these and other metrics, you’re likely to appear higher in search results.

However, this doesn’t mean the content of the page itself will lose importance. On the contrary, both matter. As Google says:

“A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”

How to Measure Core Web Vitals?

It is essential to measure the Core Web Vitals metrics and understand how they can impact your page experience. Google has several tools to help, such as Page Speed Insights, which allows you to see what can be improved regarding page loading speed.

You can also use Google Search Console for reports and analytics that show several ways you can enhance the UX of your pages.

It would help to keep optimising your pages to ensure no issues pop up, and this means staying up to date with the latest Google algorithms and information and tweaking your site regularly. For SME owners, this can take up valuable time that could be spent running their business.

Searching for information on search engine. Typing on laptop keyboard

SQ Digital and Core Web Vitals

You don’t have to worry about learning new tools and changing things on your site, as we can take care of everything for you. We’ll monitor your pages to prevent issues from arising and act fast to solve problems should they arise.

Core Web Vitals first became a feature of Google Search Console back in 2020 and, since then, our Design and Development team has worked together with our SEO department to make sure all our clients’ pages are optimised. We’ve managed to get URLs out of the Poor classification for both Mobile and Desktop use; we also worked hard to get as many URLs into the Good bracket as possible.

There are several ways to improve Core Web Vitals, including:

  1. Keeping your website simple by removing all non-essential elements that can slow a page down (such as plug-ins).
  2. Using specific sizes for images and other media to keep the pages’ layout as stable as possible.
  3. Preload some elements so that visual loading times are faster.

As an SEO agency, we look into these and more when we analyse your website, so you can be confident that we leave no stone unturned.

In Summary

Core Web Vitals are key metrics you must pay attention to in 2021 and beyond, as they’ll impact your page rankings.

At SQ Digital, we monitor your pages so they continue to perform well. We look at these metrics and combine them with other technical SEO elements (for example, mobile-friendliness and site structure) and on-page SEO (like keywords and internal linking) for tailored, comprehensive strategies.

If you’re looking for a web design agency to ensure your website pages are fully optimised, contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help.

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What is a Digital Marketing Strategy? https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/insights/what-is-a-digital-marketing-strategy/ Mon, 01 Feb 2021 12:00:30 +0000 https://www.sqdigital.co.uk/?p=26075 Whether you’re a small, medium or large business owner wanting to grow your online presence, putting a well thought out digital marketing strategy in place is essential. The digital landscape is always evolving – for example, the introduction of 5G, the rise in the number of social media platforms, and the constant Google algorithm changes.... Read more »

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Whether you’re a small, medium or large business owner wanting to grow your online presence, putting a well thought out digital marketing strategy in place is essential.

The digital landscape is always evolving – for example, the introduction of 5G, the rise in the number of social media platforms, and the constant Google algorithm changes. It can be challenging to keep up with everything, especially when you’re busy running a business.

As a digital marketing agency, SQ Digital can help you create and refine a digital marketing strategy that works for your business and which can adapt to an ever-changing landscape.

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

Look at it like a master plan or points of action that you can take to achieve your marketing goals.

A digital marketing strategy uses online tools, channels and digital marketing services – like social media, PPC, content marketing and SEO – to guide you through the process of growing your online presence; all these tools work together to help you reach your goals.

No two digital marketing strategies are the same, as they will depend on your business and what you want to achieve. So, it’s essential to create and implement a strategy tailored to your business and your specific goals, be they short-term or long-term.

Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy in Your business?

Producing a bespoke digital marketing strategy for your business will enable you to:

  1. Identify what makes your business unique (the selling points that separate you from your competitors).
  2. Learn how to get your message to your audience, as it helps you see who and where your customers are and target them more accurately.
  3. Find new opportunities to grow your business.
  4. Expand your reach by identifying your customers’ pain points and help you focus your products or services on the people who need them.
  5. Build efficient marketing campaigns, which help you earn more leads, brand exposure, an increase in profits or a boost in traffic.

A good strategy allows your business to reach out to consumers, convert them, and build relationships with them. A strategic approach to your digital marketing improves how you implement tasks because it lets you review your actions and make adjustments as needed, meaning your digital marketing can evolve with the digital landscape.

How Do You Create a Digital Marketing Strategy?

If you’re a Business Owner or a Marketing Manager looking to develop a strategy, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Some of the key steps involved in creating a bespoke digital marketing strategy include:

1. Building customer personas

One of the first things you can do is develop your buyer personas, which will help you identify who you’re targeting. After all, to have a successful strategy, you must know who’s looking for your products and services. Once you find out who your ideal customer is, including their age, gender, location and motivations, you can use that information to create a strategy and decide how to reach your customers.

2. Identifying goals

You must set goals, as you can’t create a strategy without knowing what you want to achieve. Make these goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). This will help you figure out the digital tools you’ll need and establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which you’ll use to measure your strategy’s success.

3. Reviewing your existing channels

Look at everything from a holistic point of view. What digital assets do you have, how is your business getting exposure, and how are your channels working together?

Typically, you can split your channels or assets into owned media, earned media and paid media, so this can be a good way to audit what you currently have in place.

Owned media refers to things like your website, your social media accounts and your blog. Earned media is how people are finding you (through guest posts you’ve written, PR work you’ve done, etc.), and paid media refers to Google Ads and paid social ads, as well as any other channel that requires you to spend money to advertise the brand.

4. Researching your competitors

Learning more about your competitors can help you identify whether you’re falling short in your marketing campaigns or if you need to improve the business’ website or your social media presence to gain a competitive edge, for example.

5. Allocating resources

To achieve your goals, you must manage the resources you have. For example, you’ll need to decide where to spend your time and money. If you’ve determined that you get the most leads from your paid ads, you may want to focus on this specific channel.

6. Improving your strategy

One vital thing is to stay flexible. A good strategy doesn’t need to be overhauled, but it will likely need to be tweaked and improved as things change; your goals may change, industry trends can shift, search engines can alter the way they display links, and so on.

business owner looking at statistics

The SQ Digital Approach

By collecting valuable information about your business, we’ll develop an approach that allows you to take full advantage of your digital marketing. Because we understand just how crucial costs are for SMEs, we can deliver successful campaigns tailored to your budget and business goals.

Simple but efficient, principles guide our approach:

  • We always define measurable objectives before we start a project
  • We aim to understand your business and your needs
  • We help you to see the bigger picture and how each digital marketing channel is a part of your whole strategy
  • We measure, review and improve the work we do for our clients regularly

We believe it’s crucial to know your business inside out, which is why we take our time to learn everything about it at the start. Our Discovery phase is all about knowing you and identifying your goals, allowing us to make recommendations that will help your marketing and save you time and money.

Our Retainer phase is where we implement your marketing campaigns, which have been designed with your goals in mind. This way, we can create a long-term partnership with you that will help your business succeed.

To Summarise

As a business, regardless of whether you’re a small, medium or large business, you need to implement a solid digital marketing strategy to guide your marketing efforts. Your strategy lays the groundwork for implementing efficient, optimised campaigns, and can help reveal new growth opportunities, resulting in the best ROI – something especially crucial for SMEs.

There are several ways to create a digital marketing strategy, but it’s essential that you first learn about your target audience and set the goals you want to achieve.

When implementing your digital marketing strategy, SQ Digital uses several channels, such as content marketing, SEO, paid search and social media. We have 20 years of digital marketing experience and a wealth of knowledge at your disposal, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

We’ll be happy to speak to you about how we work and what we can offer your business.

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