Paying it forward
Our guest blog comes from Charlotte Walters who, with a colleague and friend, left the comfort of an agency job after 8 years of juggling work and childcare to set up Freelance Communications – and still runs a breakfast club at her son’s primary school. She challenges the cut-throat competition view of business and offers a different perspective.
I’ve just met up with a lovely lady that I met at a coaching seminar I attended recently and not only did she buy me lunch, I left with some free product samples plus offers of keeping her eye open for opportunities for me with new clients. And in return, she asked virtually nothing from me.
As I cycled home from our meeting, I marvelled at what a nice lady she was, and that made me want to try to find ways to help her in return. Which made me wonder about what a great way to do business that is. I’m convinced there is no cynical strategy behind her offers of help; her genuine interest in helping others is what has made her successful in her own business because it attracts like-minded people who also want to help. And surely this kind of generosity of spirit makes for a better collection of working partnerships, and a more enjoyable working life, than only looking out for oneself and what you can get.
So that made me think about what I could offer to you for free, which might help you to improve your working life and, as a brand and marketing consultant, I thought I’d jot down some ideas of quick ways you could improve the digital presence of your business.
- Check your URLs
If your website pages look like this www.mybusiness.com//all.php#!/ c/2583613/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc then you’re missing a trick which will help you to be found via search engines. When you’re creating new blog posts or pages, look into how you can change the url so it is short, readable and includes your keywords, eg www.mybusiness.com/eastbourne-business-coaching. Then, if someone is searching for ‘Hailsham business coaching’ in Google you’re in with a shout of being found for what you do.
2. Look at your analytics
All your digital channels offer you insights into how people found you, what they are most interested in, what they’re not interested in, when they’re active, where they’re active etc. This is incredibly valuable information which can prompt you to write blog posts that reflect what they’re interested in and further their interest, or guide you to when is the best time to post on Facebook. All the information is there, don’t be afraid to start looking at it to see what you can learn (there are lots of online tutorials to help you get started). Maybe set a goal to find out one thing a week about your audience and you’ll be amazed about the benefits it could bring.
3. If you’re on social channels – be social
For example, when you connect with new people on LinkedIn, send them a message just to say hi and thanks for connecting. No big sell, just build a connection, that’s the point of social channels. If they don’t want to reply, that’s up to them, but open the door to future contact.
4. Include copy in emails not just images
If you use email marketing (and you probably should be) – make sure to include some copy that is readable whether or not your customer chooses to download the images. Not everyone’s systems are set up to automatically download images, so if all that’s visible is a box saying ‘right click to download images’, there is little to entice a potential customer into action
5. If proofreading isn’t a core skill – find someone for whom it is. Typos can be really off-putting and, in your website copy, could also damage your ability to be found for key search terms.
6. Use a functional ‘Click to call’ phone number on your website. There is little more irritating than viewing a site on a mobile but then having to copy and paste a phone number to make contact. Having a click to call number has been shown to increase conversions and it’s only adding a single line of code to your website. You can find out how to do it by reading this article over at Hubspot, or if you’re not confident, ask your web developer to help you.
7. Create content that your customers want to read, not what you want them to read. Be guided by your analytics research to create, find and share information that your customers want to see, and mix this in with your promoted content. You can’t bore them into submission with how great your product is, so instead you need to be looking for ways to engage and interest, and show how your brand fits with their needs.
I hope that these tips give you something to work from, and that the idea of focusing on giving not receiving excites you. Perhaps you could give some thought to how you could use your skills to help someone else?
Do you use your skills to help others? Could you pass on your knowledge via our blogs? Let us know.