Scalar Enterprises Blog
This page contains news about Scalar Enterprises, work we have been doing for our clients, new features and services etc. From time to time I will also include useful information and articles from myself and from various other sources along with comments, tips and thoughts from myself. Hope you find it useful and why not let me know if you have a question.
No I’m not going mad, bear with me. Many years ago when I was an engineering student, one of my college lecturers had a unique style of teaching. When teaching a subject, particularly one that was a bit complicated, he would put a lot of effort into finding a real life analogy that we could relate it to.
For me, and all the other students on my course, this was a great way of learning and made his lectures the most popular. It is a method that I have used myself many times over the years since when presenting or explaining various topics.
You get your compost and a pot and plant a seed, you feed and water it and it starts to grow. You continue the process and nurture it and it continues to grow and develop and eventually it blossoms into a wonderful flower. Everyone who sees it remarks how lovely it is. They also tell their friends about it.
The flower lasts for a short while and then withers and dies so there is nothing to come back and see so no more comments. But, if you pick off the dead flower and continue to feed and water the plant, eventually another bud appears and develops into another lovely flower and so the cycle repeats
You start with the seed of an idea, you research and develop it and your web designer grows it into a wonderful looking website for you and publishes it. You tell everyone about it and visitors to your site say how lovely it looks and how useful it is. They tell their friends about it and they come and have a look too.
If you do nothing more with it, visitors have nothing new to come back to see as they have already seen it so interest diminishes. If you continue to add more content on a regular basis and share it, there is always something new and interesting for them to come back for and to talk about and share with their friends.
Hopefully you see the analogy. So many businesses still have an idea, get a website developed and then do nothing more with it. The idea of “build it and visitors will come” has always been a myth and will continue to be.
You constantly have to work on ways of driving traffic to your website using the many different marketing methods available to you these days. You need to plan it and have to make it worth visiting your site and you have to make it work (convert) so that visitors actually do something (your call to action) after they visit it. You also want to encourage them to come back again and again and also to tell their friends about it.
It is not an easy task and it is constantly getting harder as more and more businesses wake up to the fact that online marketing is a much more cost effective and measurable option for them and they start investing in improving their methods and websites, all fighting for that page one listing on Google.
In addition to this, the search engines (Google) are clamping down on dodgy search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques and poor quality content which again makes it more important to ensure your content is fresh, unique, high quality and better than your competitors if you want to get anywhere in the search engine rankings these days.
Author: Steve Wood of Scalar Enterprises
Aura Gas provide heating and plumbing services around the Portsmouth area and have been a valued client of ours for some years now.
We have continually maintained, updated and added to their website over the last couple of years but they recently decided it was time for a new look for their website so we have been working with them closely to gradually evolve and develop the new design to meet their requirements and then to produce the new site.
It was quite a big project so it took a little bit of time but it went live a few weeks ago now.
Please feel free to have a look and see what you think of the new Aura Gas website.
There is a new business networking group for you to visit in Portsmouth. It is called Cog Business Networking and has been founded by a group of local business people who have been successfully networking together for the last couple of years. In this time they have passed several hundred thousand pounds worth of business between themselves and other local businesses so they have a good track record to start with.
They meet every Friday from 07:00 to 09:00 at the Inn Lodge in Burrfields Road in Portsmouth (next to the Farmhouse pub).
More details on the website at www.cogbusinessnetworking.co.uk
I have just produced a new video of our latest Scalar Enterprises web services overview presentation tobring up to date the range of services that we now offer to help small businesses in the Portsmouth and Southampton areas to get up and running on the web or to improve how their current web sites are performing.
I have also created a new “ScalarEnt Channel” on YouTube to pull together some of our more recent videos that we have done for ourselves and clients. Feel free to have a look and let us know what you think by leaving a comment on our YouTube or Facebook pages.
Outbound marketing, as the name implies, involves pushing your marketing messages outwards to customers. This is the traditional, type of marketing we have become used to over the years comprising printed and other media, direct mail shots, emails, cold calling, telemarketing, trade shows etc. This is what is called “interruption” style marketing and unfortunately is pretty much hated these days by most people.
With the recent developments in technology, it is becoming quite easy to screen this type of approach out from your busy schedules e.g. call screening, spam filters etc. You can even filter out those annoying adverts on your TV now !
The bottom line is that people just don’t like being sold to and with the increasing number of new “tools” available to them now, they can filter most of it out so the traditional outbound marketing methods are not so effective.
So what is inbound marketing ? Inbound marketing is what is called “permission” style marketing where people have a choice of what and when they look at it. Now, they are using the Internet to research and learn about the products and services that best meet their needs before they buy.
The media in this case is Blogs, articles, e-books, white papers, RSS feeds, search engine optimisation and social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter . The Social media tools are used for interacting and developing relationships (networking) with individuals on the Web.
The main objective is to use the inbound marketing media and tools to drive traffic to your website so the onus is on you to make your content interesting and relevant so that visitors to your website and blog etc will want to read it and want to come back again and read more and to develop your relationships so that in time you can turn them into customers. It also allows you to keep in touch and support your existing customer base.
Gone are the days when you have to pay out for thousands of leaflets to be printed and distributed, not knowing if it works (as it is difficult to track).
Online marketing offers some major advantages over its predecessors. It can be easily tracked, you can monitor and do changes to your campaigns if required to improve them and it is much cheaper – in many cases it is pretty much free, you just need to invest some time to do it.
You can still use some printed material to complement your online marketing campaign but with digital print, these days you can produce small volumes (a couple of hundred rather than several thousands) very easily and cost effectively and use these to drive traffic to your website.
Another big advantage of inbound marketing is that small businesses can now easily compete against much larger ones – previously they would not have anywhere near the same size marketing budgets available so it was not possible to compete.
A recent industry report produced by Hubspot showed that :
- In 2011, small businesses (1 to 5 employees) plan to spend dramatically more of their budgets on social media and blogs than medium-to-large businesses (50 or more employees).
- Medium-to-large businesses plan to spend more of their budgets on outbound methods, including trade shows, direct mail and telemarketing.
- Small businesses are only giving 10% of their budget to outbound, while medium-to-large business are allocating 28% of their budget to outbound channels.
This report was based on a survey of 644 professionals carried out in January 2011 in the US. Although there are likely to be some variations, the general trends are believed to be valid for the UK as well.
- Inbound marketing channels are maintaining their low-cost advantage: Inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a cost per lead 62% lower than outbound marketing-dominated organizations.
- The gap between spending on inbound vs. outbound continues to widen: In 2009, inbound marketing had a 9% greater share of the lead generation budget; in 2011 its share was 17% greater.
- Blogs and social media channels are generating real customers: 57% of companies using blogs reported that they acquired customers from leads generated directly from their blog.
- More and more business are blogging: Businesses are now in the minority if they do not blog. From 2009 to 2011 the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48% to 65%.
- Businesses are increasingly aware their blog is highly valuable: 85% of businesses rated their company blogs as “useful”, “important” or “critical” – 27% rated their company blog as critical to their business.
Are you making the most of inbound marketing in your business ?
Many small business owners see the same problems and issues occurring on a regular basis so I am a great believer in sharing knowledge as it can help other small businesses to overcome their issues and succeed.
It can be quite a daunting task sometimes in any business, but it is very important to keep up to date with what is going on in the World Wide Web, its associated industries and small business in general if you want your business to survive as so much is changing so rapidly these days.
As a small business owner myself these days, I know how difficult it is out there, particularly in the current difficult financial climate, and how hard it is sometimes to find solutions to the problems that arise. I have spent many years investigating, researching, identifying and understanding problems in many different areas of business and finding or developing solutions for them so I like to think that I have learnt a few things over my 40 year career so far.
The process works both ways as others may have already gone through the process of resolving a problem that you currently have so they can help you. Working together, small businesses can help each other and collectively they can often succeed rather than failing when they try to do it alone. I guess the old cliché “united we stand, divided we fall” could apply here.
I am also a great supporter of using local businesses and resources rather than outsourcing to other countries so that we can build our skills and resources and help do our bit to put Great Britain back on its feet. I am always keen to develop working partnerships with other local companies as I have found it generally really beneficial for both parties. Together you can offer a broader range of services and expertise to potential customers and often this can make the difference between winning or losing the work.
I often come across useful hints, tips and tools that can help improve the way I work or help to optimise my working procedures for example. I thought therefore that it might be useful to share some of these useful bits and pieces here on my blog with my clients, business contacts and friends and do my bit to help. I hope you will return to this blog often to see what is new and if there is anything here that you can make use of.
From March 1st 2011, advertising and marketing communications on websites in the UK will be regulated by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The ASA is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.
The ASA’s present remit online includes ads in paid-for space and sales promotions wherever they appear. However, from March 1st, the ASA’s online remit has been extended to cover marketing communications on organisations’ own websites and in other non-paid-for space under their control. (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc)
The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) will apply in full to marketing messages online, including the rules relating to misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children. The CAP Code includes rules that help to ensure marketing communications remain legal, decent, honest and truthful.
It will cover:
- Advertisers’ own marketing messages on their own websites, regardless of sector, type of businesses or size of organisation
- Marketing communications in other non-paid-for space under the advertiser’s control, such as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The new remit covers advertisements and other marketing communications of organisations, operating from the UK, on their own websites and in other non-paid for space online under their control (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn ).
Apparently, user generated content (UGC) falls within the new remit only if it is adopted and incorporated within an organisation’s own marketing communications on its own website or in other non-paid for space online under the organisation’s control.
You can have a Copy Advice Website Audit carried out on your website however, a standard Audit costs £800 + VAT and takes up to 10 working days to complete so I don’t see many small businesses will be queuing up for these !
CAP do however provide a number of different CAP guidance notes which are industry-approved and provide detailed guidance on the application of the broadcast and non-broadcast Codes in specific sectors or on particular subjects.
I guess that as long as you ensure you adopt a legal, decent, honest and truthful approach in any messages on your website and apply some common sense, in most cases you will be OK anyway.