Being an entrepreneur – The work life balance

Being an entrepreneur is about finding your own path, using your own footsteps, not just putting on someone else’s shoes. You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself.

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I am actually a fan of Gary Vee. I am sure many of you know him. He is a very loud American who swears a lot. He is always hustling and runs a large media company in New York and wants to buy the Jets. I have bought his books and I watch a lot of his videos.
However, I am not like Gary Vee. His idea is that you should be hustling 14 hours a day. A lot of his videos start with him running around New York in his sneakers, drinking coffee at 5am and making connections.

I am happy to build my business and class myself as an entrepreneur. However, my entrepreneurship is based on work, life balance and being in nature is the balance.
I need to have time to recharge my batteries, actually I don’t function that well if I am hustling all the time. I need time to be in the landscape, I need time to walk, time to have some stillness, I need time for a bit of mindfulness, I need time to be creative. I need time to think about how I can help my clients and just working flat out is not my idea of building an empire.

In fact I do not want to build an empire. I want to build a business that is sustainable, ethical and gives me time to support my family and enjoy my life.
I have seen so many of my contemporaries kind of fall off their horses and not get on them again through burn out or more serious issues and I am determined and will try my damnedest to ensure that will not happen to me. I know how easy it is for that to happen. It is great to be busy all the time, checking things all the time, but you need to have space, you need to have space between what you are working on so you can create new ideas and live your life.

So yes, Gary Vee is a great inspiration, but there are aspects of what he does that I don’t sign up for. The whole thing about being an entrepreneur, is finding your own path, using your own footsteps, not just putting on someone else’s shoes.
So great for Gary Vee, I still like what he does, but find your own story and share that, document that. You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself.

Should you spend your Facebook advertising budget on getting likes for your page?


People are obsessed with numbers, it is true if you have a large follower count it does make you look like more of an authority.

If you are starting from scratch with just a few hundred followers you do not want to spend more on trying to increase your follower count as this can be expensive.

My suggestion would be to spend your advertising budget on targeting people who will sign up for services or buy your products.

You will see more of a return on your investment and those people in turn will share your content to their friends and like your page in turn.
So think about your products and services and don’t get too hung up on the numbers initially.

If you want any help or advice with your Facebook Advertising, please get in touch.

Phil Aston

Tourism Marketing – What Makes you Remarkable

What makes your business remarkable, what gives you the edge?

I look at many hotel websites, I look after them and help with their marketing. This means I am always looking at tourism related websites. So I look at them from a view of making a booking and for research.

One of the things that is really becoming apparent, is how many of them are starting to look the same. Fantastic pictures of food, artistic pictures of rooms, all done up as you would expect to look, with beautiful and stylish interiors.

However, the problem with this from the perspective of your potential guests, is that they will only be on your website for literally 30-40 seconds before they move on.
What makes you stand out from what your competitors do? What will make someone choose your hotel?
Is it going to be your offers? Your Facilities? Or is it going to be your location?

When people book somewhere, like a hotel, they are looking for an experience. What is it that makes you remarkable? For many people it will be your actual location – people buy with their eyes.

When you look at this video, you can see the sea in the background. So, some of you might be thinking “I might listen to Phil”, and some of you might be thinking “Where is that beach, I want to go!”

So, many times your location will be what makes you remarkable and different from your competition.

Phil Aston

Social Media Tips – The Rule Of 5

What Should I Post?

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A lot of people ask me what rules do I follow when I am posting on Social Media for myself or my clients.
I have a rule of five.

This means for every 5 posts, 3 posts will be by other people, chosen because I feel the content will be interesting and helpful for my followers, Clients and potential clients.
One of those 5 will be promoting my own business products and services and the final post will be something that tells you a bit more about me and what interests I have.

I find this approach works across any platform.

If you want any help with Social Media please get in Touch.
Thanks
Phil

Pricing and Launching New Products

I offer many services to clients and sometimes find myself being hired for one particular one while other providers supply the rest.

The problem with being hired for just SEO is people do not realise what other skills you have.  I work a lot with retail and start ups.

The issue with being seen as the SEO guy is you can be brought in much later in the process.   I had a client who who was manufacturing a new range of products. It was a  great idea and they had an small team of suppliers all providing parts and services.   I asked what the price of the product was, which sounded great until I also asked how much it cost to produce.

There was very little margin left for profit and if one or more of the suppliers had put up their price, or postage prices increased, it would leave nothing.  They also had not taken into account how much budget would be required for marketing online.  Once you launch a new product online it is very hard to increase the price later on.

Having a healthy margin means you can offer bundles, special offers and still make a profit.

It also means if suppliers do increase prices you have room to breath and innovate.

Phil

Should you advertise on Facebook or Google Adwords?

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Now, the thing to remember is on Google Adwords, when people search they are in the mood to purchase. They are looking for a solution to a problem or something they would like to do, so they are actually in the mode of buying. So if you are trying to book a restaurant or somewhere to stay for a holiday and you see an advert it is essentially answering your query so you are thinking about purchasing.

On Facebook or any kind of social media advertising you are interrupting people . They are busy minding their own business, looking at things that they like and your advert appears and interrupts their newsfeed. It may interest them enough to take them away to find out more about it, but they were not thinking about buying your product or service, so that is the difference.

What this means is that both strategies will work, but the Facebook route with take longer as you will need to engage with people and build trust. However, when they do purchase or book with you they are more likely to share with all their friends giving you a much larger audience with a personal recommendation added in . So the benefits of advertising on Facebook will be far reaching.

My advice would be to start with Facebook Advertising and then look at Google Adwords. You can experiment with a smaller budget and have excellent targeting with Facebook.

It also does depend on what you are trying to sell. If you are an accommodation provider and have some late availability, then Google Adwords is going to work better for you than Facebook.

If you would like any help or advice with Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords then please get in touch.

Thanks
Phil
Genius Loci Media | +44(0)1736 -719342

Google Adwords So how much should you spend?


This is a very good question and you do need to spend something.
You cannot really put £50 in the pot and expect to see good results on Google Adwords.
Of course it does depend on what you are competing against, but in my experience you need to be budgeting for at least £200 – £400 per month to see some real results.

If your budget is small and you only want to spend £5 per day or do a short run of £50 in total then Facebook Advertising might be a better option for you. You do need to ensure that you take time to set up your targeting correctly so you are reaching the right people.

Also on Facebook you can set up ‘Dark Posts’ where the people who already like your page do not see the Ads. This avoids your fans getting irritated by seeing your Ads numerous times in their news feed.

These activities do take time, but if set up correctly they will bring in results.

Pay Per Click is now an essential part of your Marketing spend. Social Media is not ‘free’ media, and search has changed, especially on mobile, if you have a search phrase that is highly competitive. The first page of results on a mobile phone will all be Ads.

If you would like any help or advice with Google Ads or Facebook Advertising please get in touch.

Thanks,

Phil

 

Blogging Tips – How long should a blog post be?

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This is a very good question.

The thing to remember is you do not have to do something that is the pinnacle of creativity.
The amount of websites that I see that haven’t updated or published a blog post for 3 or 4 months is around the 80% mark.

I think people get hung up on several things:

  • What should I talk about?
  • What should I post?
  • How long should the post be?
  • How often?
  • What about SEO?
  • Are the images ok or too big?
  • Do I have to allow comments?

Now remember this

You do not have to produce something which is the height of creativity.
If you have trouble thinking about how momentous your post needs to be because the last one was like ‘War and Peace’ and you are thinking you have to replicate that…
Just document what you are doing.

Document, don’t create

Just be yourself.

The thing to remember with your blog is that the rest of your website is more corporate. For example, the ‘about’ page, product or services pages are about your brand message. However your blog is a more personal part of the website, it is where you can more yourself.

So, your blog post could just be a few lines or a couple of photos, basically just documenting what you are doing in that moment.
You might be taking bookings, preparing orders, meeting a client … that’s a blog post!

Your blog is a chance for you to bring a bit of social media behaviour into your website and then from here you can share your blog post to your social media channels. This makes a lot of sense as your goal is to get people to visit your website.

How I help my clients

Clients send me a few lines via email, some photos and I pull the post together using the right keywords for SEO and ensure it fits in with the overall design and look of the website. I then help boost it on social media and share it across our network.

In summary

The key thing is to write and post something and be consistent, so if you are going to blog every week, do it every week.
This does take time but it will pay back in dividends for your business and building trust online.

If you want any help, support or advice with blogging or your website please get in touch.

Thanks
Phil

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media

Twitter For Law Firms

Twitter for lawyers

Although we work a great deal with Tourism and Retail brands we also work in other market sectors as well.  We were recently asked to compile a report of why Twitter in particular is beneficial to Law Firms

Twitter is a fantastic B2B tool

Key benefits

  • Build brand awareness
  • Share Information
  • Attract new clients
  • Remind existing clients you are still here
  • Engage with clients
  • Show your expertise
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Recruit new staff
  • Find news in your market
  • Improve PR
  • Share articles and pages from your website

However, it is a statistical fact that law firms have been slow off the mark in getting involved with social media. Many of those who have had a go have either simply broadcast messages for a while and then given up. Those that have stuck with it have seen many advantages to their business.

Here are specific benefits to law firms which revolve around increasing awareness and reputation:

  • Enquires
  • More likely to get cases referred to you
  • Approached by more journalists for quotes
  • Able to demonstrate expertise to potential clients
  • Company Image becomes more personable

Is it harder for law firms?
It seems that most law firms believe the mantra of ‘You’ve got to be on Twitter’ but aren’t really sure why.

In 2016 econsultancy.com stated in their Legal Sector survey, that many firms were more accepting of social media, and that engaging with clients on social was increasingly common.
This interaction, though, was happening chiefly at an individual level (between lawyers and clients or other parties) and that certainly makes sense given lawyer specialisms and profiles.

My take on this is that many law firms are very dry in their postings and perhaps too corporate. The public do not find it easy to choose a lawyer or solicitor (even approaching one can be difficult). Social media (Twitter) is ideal in building trust and helping people choose you over a competitor. The way you post and help others will certainly help more than your static website.

A Solicitor who is very succesful on Twitter
A really good example of how Twitter can be used for law is Donna Beckett.

Donna has the largest following and reach through Twitter for any law firm. Beckett and Co now get a lot of work through Twitter and have scrapped a lot of their traditional marketing – saving £1000s.

Here is a link to a blog post where Donna describes her journey on Twitter and the benefits:

You will notice in Donna’s blog post that she talks about engagement and not just promoting, this is very important.

How Law Firms can Use Twitter Well
People will search for answers using hashtags. Some of the most popular for law are #familylaw, #ukemplaw, #legalaid etc. Monitoring these can mean you can engage with people and direct them to resources on your website or private message them.

A good law firm’s Twitter feed needs to keep two things in mind:

  • It’s all about the clients
  • It’s not all about the firm

Updates should deliver:

  • Breaking news of interest to your clientele
  • Provide links to reports of interest and importance to clients’ industries
  • Spread the word about upcoming events and opportunities that could deliver value to clients
  • Re-tweet good updates from other Twitter accounts, ensuring that all the links in such RTs are valid and respectable.
  • Follow the feeds of other Twitter users you like, and of the clients and potential clients
  • The easiest way to pick up followers is by adding analysis or perspective to a piece of breaking news. Show people who might become clients in the future how a new ruling or development could affect them down the road.
    A good website to find content is www.rightrelevance.com

Use Lists
Lists are like having different TV channels on your TV. You will notice that Donna follows a lot of people, to just look at her newsfeed would be chaos, so she uses lists dedicated to different subjects so she does not miss anything.

Choosing a profile
You could use your logo – but social media is all about being social and building trust so I would recommend a personal photo. Even better would be setting up personal Twitter accounts of your experts to strengthen your brand.
I would also suggest (lots of eyes will roll skywards at this – but it will set you apart) would be to have a 90 second video pinned to your profile stating how you can help etc.

Phil Aston

Genius Loci Media

5 Tips To Increase Your Hotel and Accommodation Bookings

5 tips to increase accommodation bookings

The first thing to realise is that marketing has changed.  What worked before no longer does and those fixed budgets need to be more flexible. The biggest change is how your guests now consume media and how quickly they can share, read reviews and move on to other websites and portals.

Here are my tips for increasing your bookings:

1. SEO

Make sure your website and social media posts use keywords and phrases which really have traffic behind them.  SEO should be an ongoing part of the other four activities below from YouTube tags to your image tags within your blog posts.

2. Blogging

This from experience seems to be a real issue for many websites in the tourism sector. The issue for many is trying to find something to write about and then worrying how long the post should be!

My advice is to think of documenting rather than creating. This way the content almost finds itself. Short videos of the scene on your doorstep, photos of your chef’s latest creation, local events, staff news, guest feedback and photos.
Blog posts can be just a few lines with images and with your SEO activity build up a lot of authority for your business. (Try and ensure your posts relate to the area your business is in).

NB: You will find that some of your social media posts would make good blog posts. Remember you are trying to get people to your website so use this as your main platform and share from here.

3. Google Adwords

The top search terms on mobile are nearly all Ads and most of your guests are using mobile so an Adwords strategy is important. This is where your SEO and keyword research will be useful in helping you to target more efficiently. Also think of targeting mobile users when they are most likely to be looking. So travel times and work breaks for example.

Also set up a corresponding landing page on your website. When your prospective guest arrives on your website, don’t make them think. The call to action should be obvious.

4 Social Media

You may be thinking you do a lot of this already, you post on Facebook, send a few tweets and update your website offers but is it a co-ordinated strategy?  This is not just about making noise and posting using your PR tone of voice. It is about being authentic and real.

Social media is still producing mixed results in many areas of Tourism and this is because some people see it as an extension of search or Google Adwords. Advertising on Social is not the same as Google.

On Google people are searching for a specific service or an answer to a problem. They are in the mindset to buy. So if I search for a hotel in Cornwall and I see Ads for hotels with offers I am more likely to click on them.

On social media I am not looking for your business, I am scrolling through my newsfeed looking at things that interest me when your Ad interrupts me. If I click through I am less likely to to take up your accommodation immediately but I might like the page for later reference. This is why building a relationship and trust with your social media audience is so important.

Also remember your social media fans expect an immediate response to any question they have.

It is also important to interact with ALL social media reviews. Your social media audience have the ability to share your posts and recommend you far and wide.

Getting into people’s news feeds on social media is just as important as getting a high position in Google.  I would also recommend posting to Google Plus as this does help for local searches.

5. Video Marketing

Visual is everything. People watch more than read on mobile…it’s easier!
I am not talking about spending £1000s on a corporate video that sits on your home page for 12 months but short 30 / 60 second clips which document what is going on within your business or the local area. These should be on your blog posts, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Getting out from behind your corporate logo will build trust and make you stand out from the crowd. Your content becomes easy to share and reach a larger audience.
Clips can be shot on your smart phone with logos, call to actions added afterwards.

If you need any help in within your business relating to the topics raised in this post please get in touch.

Phil Aston

01736 719342