July 2009 E-Newsletter

In this edition:

  • Public relations on a shoestring
  • Keywords the key to SEO
  • Adding to the value of ads
  • Increasing your email marketing success
  • Tips for taking better photos
  • Welcome to the En Pointe family

Public relations on a small (business) budget

Many small businesses believe public relations is the domain of large businesses that have significant budgets and resources at their disposal. While it is true that many large businesses do invest heavily in public relations, there’s no reason why small business can’t get involved too, without breaking the bank.

Go to our website for the full article.

Keywords are the key

If you have a business website you’ve probably heard of search engine optimisation or SEO. In simple terms SEO involves optimising a web site, or more correctly individual web pages, so they rank as highly as possible in search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

As an example, open Google and search for ‘accountant’, ‘finance broker’ or ‘Marketing material Melbourne’. The web pages that appear high on the list have been optimised extremely well and that’s why they rank highly (I had to include the last search term – my site is usually in the top 10!).

Good SEO is a combination of many things, but one of the keys and the starting point is keyword research – thinking about the terms people use in search engines to find a business such as yours. Because it doesn’t matter how good your SEO is, if you’ve got the wrong keywords you won’t get the website traffic you need to convert web users to customers.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when researching keywords:

  • List all the keywords relevant to your business you can think of including one-word and multiple-word terms.
  • Include common misspellings and multiple ways of saying the same thing (e.g. ‘web design’ and ‘website design’.
  • Include local geographic terms, if relevant (e.g. ‘accountant Melbourne’ or ‘accountant Moorabbin’).
  • Don’t be too general. For example, a search for ‘insurance’ will bring up hundreds of thousands of hits and is simply too competitive.
  • Don’t be too specific. For example, ‘finance broker first home buyer Melbourne’ is unlikely to be a successful search term.
  • Once you have the full list, narrow this down to your most important keywords.

An excellent tool to help you research keywords is provided free by Google. Just search for ‘Google keyword research tool’. You need to create an AdWord account but it doesn’t take much time and is worth the effort. Once you have your keywords seek out a business such as En Pointe or an SEO specialist to help. You’ll then be well on the way to the top of Google!

Increasing the impact of your ads

A recent study in the U.S. shows that customers are exposed to approximately 300 ads a day and only 10 of these remain in their long-term memories. While the figures are probably slightly different in Australia, one of the key points to learn from this study is that if you want target customers to read your message you need to make ads, or for that matter any marketing material, stand out.

Two simple tips to give your ads impact:

  • Use a catchy heading and make it stand out.
  • Add a price. In the U.S study, ads that mentioned a price for a product or service were more likely to be remembered than those that didn’t.

Sign up, sign up!

Encouraging more potential clients to sign up for electronic newsletters or email marketing is beneficial for any business who undertakes these types of communications. That’s because the people who do sign up often go on to become paying clients, and don’t we all need more of these!

One way of encouraging people to sign up to your electronic communications is to provide them with a free gift for doing so. What type of gift? A good option may be a document you can email to people that can be branded with your logo, contact details and any images. For example:

  • If you’re a finance broker, a formatted spreadsheet to help people complete a home budget
  • An accountant could produce a booklet to provide tips on how people (or businesses) can reduce their tax
  • A promotional goods company could provide a list product ideas for businesses organising a conference
  • If you’re an insurance broker, a list to check the health of customer’s insurance policies
  • Health practitioners, depending on their filed, could produce a leaflet on ‘How to reduce your chances of getting colds and flus’, ’10 tips for a better back’, or ‘The importance of dental hygiene’.

As well as providing an incentive for people to sign up to email lists, these types of gifts also add to the credibility of your business. Plus they are also a great gift for your current customers.

If you are interested in developing material such as this, give En Pointe a call. We can help you develop your products quickly, easily and affordably.

Improving your photography at work and home

These days nearly everyone has a digital camera – even my three year old son! And while most cameras have an automatic function that can take reasonable photos in most situations, that doesn’t mean you can point and shoot and expect to get excellent results. Here are two tips for improving your photography, whether you’re taking photos for business or personal purposes.

Tip 1 – The rule of thirds:

Imagine your viewfinder (or your camera’s LCD display) is divided into thirds, with two lines running horizontally and vertically. Then place important elements on these lines or at intersections of these lines. For example, when taking landscapes place the horizon on either the bottom or the top imaginary line, rather than in the middle of the screen. When taking a photo of a person place them on either the left or right imaginary line. In addition, place the person’s face at a place where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect.

Tip 2 – Gain a different perspective:

Similarly, if you look for a different perspective it can add increased drama and appeal to your photos. Rather than standing up and taking photos, get down on the floor or stand on a chair or other object. Some digital cameras can help as they feature LCD screens that rotate and tilt, therefore allowing you to change perspective by raising or lowering the camera while standing in a normal position.

Welcome to the En Pointe family:

  • Productivity Commission (Federal Government agency) – Design of 72-page report and five 4-page fact sheets on Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage
  • Vernon Da Gama and Associates – Business cards
  • Finance Innovations – Email marketing and flyer
  • Sprout – Business cards
  • Cyberspace Auto Parts – Flyers

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