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Digital Marketing Masterclass with Phil Aston

Very honoured to have been asked to be on ‘The Thaducation Podcast’ with Thad Cox

In this podcast, I tell our story about how Genius Loci Media was set up, the risks we took, the mistakes we made, how we learnt to pivot when required and then go on to become a very successful Digital Agency.

I also cover lots of tips on how to use Social Media and promote yourself using digital media.

Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Get Back To What You Do Best – While We help with The Rest

Ideas are easy; it is the execution and implementation that is harder.

It is the same when creating content for your website and social media. You might type your thoughts into a Facebook or Linkedin post, but when it comes to your website, I see many people just put this off.

This approach results in a mixed message where your website seems to be behind your other online activities and can be confusing to your customers

One of our clients said “I have the ideas, but I don’t have the time to think about the SEO elements, source or resize images or worry about layout.”

We take your ideas, publish them on your website (and social media), look after the SEO, layout, and can even suggest subjects for you to write about if you need them!
Our approach is to take away the worry so you can be creative, look after your customers while we look after your online world.

Please give me a call to see how we can help you and your business.

Phil Aston

T : +44(0)1736 719342

blogging advice - website and wordpress management

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Digital Marketing Trends – During Covid-19

Trends I am Seeing

A trend I see at the moment is a lot of people and businesses starting to use Facebook Advertising for the first time. An example of this would be local food suppliers and restaurants. They are trying to run Facebook Ads for a very niche geographical area. This would make sense if you are starting to offer local home delivery. However, due to poor targeting, the Ads are being shown hundreds of miles outside their area of operation.

Targeting Is Everything

I am based near Penzance in Cornwall and I am seeing Ads for businesses that can only deliver in a few Postcodes in Manchester or Glasgow. I have even seen an Ad for a takeaway service in New York!

The result is a surge in negative feedback from people disappointed that they cannot take up the offer advertised plus poor Ad relevancy. This is also a waste of Ad spend at a time when businesses are looking to reduce costs.

It is absolutely essential that you take time to research your market, look at your competitors, spend some time targeting the potential profile of your customers and decide where your want your Ads to be shown and when.

Make Sure Your Website is Displaying the Same Message

The next step is to make sure your website is up to date and portraying the same message you are putting out. I have clicked on several Ads recently that have taken me to pages that display a totally different message than that of the Ad. For example, I clicked on a link that advertised a new take away menu only to find the landing page was showing the full restaurant menus from a few weeks back. Your customers are looking up to date information, so it is essential to ensure the news you are sharing on Social Media is also on your website.

Now is also the time to boost your SEO by improving the quality of your website content. I would also recommend monitoring your market and competitors with analytics for your website and social channels. Doing this will help you understand how your current and future customers are reacting to any situation.

Now is The Time to Build Trust and Build Brand Equity

Done correctly your marketing on Social Media with quality content and good SEO will increase your online visibility and bring in new loyal customers.

Please get in touch if you need any help or advice in putting these ideas into action

I would be delighted to help you.

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Don’t Build Your Entire Business on one Social Media Platform

In the last few weeks, I have seen and heard of various Instagram, Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts being blocked or disabled for various reasons.

The support these platforms give is next to zero so it can be very hard to get an account back online. As the platforms start to block third party Apps and any form of automation the social media platforms can easily mistake your activity as gaming the system.

For example on Instagram if you like too many posts too quickly you can have your account disabled for being spammy or get asked to change your password as it will think you are using third party Apps. In fact, even logging in form from a different device or app can trigger a warning now.

Another client came to me after their Facebook Ad Account was disabled and their page was taken down. There is no explanation when this happens and no support. The only thing we could see is that the wording on an offer was slightly different on the landing page. It could have been Facebook or a someone just reporting the Ad, that is all it takes. Facebook’s response was to delete the page and start again.
Eventually, I was able to get the account back online but it took over 3 weeks.

I see more and more business putting all their efforts into one platform, this is very dangerous as you are building your business on borrowed land. All it needs is the algorithm to change and your traffic could reduce dramatically. A good example is again Instagram who have now stopped showing posts in order and given more emphasis on paid Ads. The removal of likes will also have an effect on how people interact with you.

What Should You Do?

My advice is to keep your website updated, do not forget to share from there. If you have written a post on social media then create a blog post. It takes time but nurture your audience on several platforms, include video and ensure you invest in SEO for your website.

Do not put your eggs (revenue streams) in one basket.

Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Instagram – Why You Should Stop Doing The Follow/Unfollow Strategy

Video Transcript

This in a way is a bit of a rant about Instagram in a positive way. I am currently working with a number of clients, helping them with Instagram, and as you know, those of you who seen my videos before, I am a great supporter of social and how it’s going to, how it is changing the way we do business and the fact that being online now is all about building trust and being authentic and being yourself.

Instagram is an interesting platform. Everybody now is flocking towards it and it’s all about the follower numbers again! Just like any other social media platform, as it gained lots of traction, all the businesses have moved in. When that happens, all the marketing people move in (people like me) but I have a very different approach to how I feel you should be using this platform.

If you go and Google how to get going on Instagram, it’s all about gaining followers. There is a strategy called follow and then unfollow, and this to me is just sheer madness, even Instagram absolutely hates this. If you’ve got your Android or Apple phone, there’s loads of apps which will let you follow and automate Instagram and unfollow people, but let’s take a step back here.

You are a business and you want to connect with your customers and you want to build trust with those people and you want them to get to know you.  Then you want to them at some point to share or even buy the things that you’re offering. So what are you doing to actually show that you are a good, kind, ethical, and conscientious person? You are basically following as many people as possible (as you’re allowed to) and then you’re checking back every two to three days to see who hasn’t followed you back and then you are unfollowing them.

So you’re following people just for the sheer act of getting followers, and if they don’t follow you back, you’re dumping them. What does that say about you and your business?

Because if you are a business and you have a business Instagram account, you can actually see this happening. You look at an account and it’s following 3000 people and it has 600 followers. What does that tell you about that account? What is their newsfeed like where they’ve got 3000 potential posts going into their newsfeed, It tells you a lot and it’s not good.

Now, another fact that might help people here is that if you look at Pledge or Kickstarter, the actual number of people you need to get a project off the ground is between 80 and a 100. Now, let me just re-phrase that. Between 80 and a 100 super fans, supporters, customers who really love what you do.  You do not need thousands of vanity followers.

I think it’s Lady Gaga’s Twitter account manager who says that out of all of those millions of people that follow her, there’s about 500 of them that really matter. This morning I saw a post on Instagram where someone said, “Wow, thanks, everyone. We’ve got a thousand followers.” But they’re following over 6,000 people, so they haven’t really a thousand followers because a thousand people really love what they do. They’ve just kept following and following until they reached that number.  You can see it in their low engagement and you can see this with lots of accounts with 40,000 or 50,000 a hundred thousand followers that they get between 15 and 20 people actually like their posts. You can see other accounts where they’ve got 500 people following them and they get nearly 80 to a 100 people liking their posts. Which one is the best strategy for you?

I would say let go the numbers. We’re not in the school playground anymore collecting Star Wars cards and it’s whoever’s got the most is the most important and the most special person in the playground. We are businesses and you are trying to build trust with your customers. So my advice is whenever you go on the internet and look for how do I build my Instagram account if it says follow 200 people a day and check back in two days’ time to see who hasn’t followed you and dump them, don’t do that.

Also, most of these follower apps can get your account suspended. Instagram is really doubling down and literally stopping people using their API for Instagram to do this. They do not want you to automate Instagram.

So if you want to enjoy it, and that’s really, you should enjoy what you’re doing, just grow your account organically. Interact with people, and that means comment. It doesn’t just mean leave a few hearts and a few emojis. It means actually if you see something inspires you, tell that person that you’ve been really enjoyed their post. Reach out. See if you can help. And the other thing, Instagram or any social platform isn’t just an opportunity to say, “Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff.” It’s about adding value. It’s about giving information and knowledge that you have that may help somebody else out there. These posts that say … there’s a nice pretty picture and then it says, “Please ring. Please book. Please buy.” People aren’t going to do that.

If you build a story and you share authentically what you love and what your passions are, if people want to find out more, they can go to your profile, they can click and go to your website, and they can drop you an email. They can drop you a message in Instagram and say, “Please, I’m interested in what you do.” You don’t have to keep telling people, “Oh, you’re looking at me, so buy my stuff.” That is not how social media works. You’re just using it as an opportunity for cold calling, which is dead in the water for a while now.

On Instagram, be yourself, chat, be friendly, but don’t see people just as numbers, because that will say a lot about you because people will know you’re doing it. They can tell from the way your account looks. If you’re following 6,000 people and only 800 people following you back, you are obviously following that strategy and people just will think, “Do I really want to get connected with these people?” Whereas an account that maybe has only 400 followers but you’re only following back 200? That says you’re gaining all authority and people obviously want to be in your world because what you talk about, you have an authority in it.

It’s not just follower numbers, nor is any other social platform. Be yourself. Just take a step back and just deliver content. It’s all about content and being consistent and turning up and thinking about how can I help people, how can I connect with people out there using hashtags, and what do I do and how do those people discover me, and then chat to them and build relationships.

Thank you

Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

SEO / Facebook Advertising Case Study

Client’s monthly revenues increased to £65,000 pm (up from £17,000).

Video Transcription Below

I just wanted to give an update on what we’ve been up to, and some of the successes we’ve been having. And the main one, which you can see at the top of this page is with Facebook advertising, remarketing and SEO.

We took on a tourism based client just over a year ago, and we were primarily just helping out with some social media marketing and also a few Facebook ads. But we also were offering analytics, and we always do our reports using video so we can show and share different data sources, different statistics and explain what the numbers mean.

With this particular client, although we were getting more traffic in from social media, the organic traffic was in decline and this was happening month after month. We were doing lots of research to look at whether there was something going on in the market, what their competitors were doing etc. But whichever way we looked at it, there was obviously something wrong with the SEO, which at one time must have been fine, because they had been ranking very well for some key phrases in their market.

So, we decided to spend a couple of months really reworking the SEO from the ground up, going through all the pages, looking at all the meta information, all the content and we went through every single page of the website. It took just over two months and within a few weeks after that we started to see an upturn in the organic traffic. It wasn’t that dramatic to start with, but it just started to build.

We then decided, after we’d created some different landing pages on the website from the SEO to actually look at Facebook Ad Remarketing.  Using a new Facebook pixel and we started to track people who were visiting the website, what search phrases, or what content on that web page they were looking at, we then started to create niche audiences and lookalike audiences from that again. We then set up some video ads and then from the video ads, we looked at the people who had maybe watched part of the video but hadn’t clicked through to the actual website itself.  Then we re-marketed to these people with more ads that were targeted in the clients niche audience.

Six to eight months ago the client had a monthly revenue of around £17,000 a month, we have helped taken it to over £65,000 a month which is pretty dramatic. A lot of work went into this, and we’re still experimenting, But it’s been a great success, the client is very happy.

This is something we really enjoy doing.  We have never just given loads of pie charts in a giant PDF to a client expecting them to be impressed. Our reports are always via video so I can talk things through to the client and actually give suggestions and advice on how to move their business forward.

I just wanted to share this, because it’s been a great success. The client’s very happy, and we’re investing more money now into the advertising itself.

If you want me to look at your business and see how I can help you then please get in touch.

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

You Don’t Need To Be Authentic – You Just Need to Be Yourself

(Video Duration 2.28 mins – Transcript Below)

I saw a video today about telling everyone to be authentic with their business.

There’s a lot of this about now and I think the word authentic has been around,
since Google Plus was, everyone’s saying how important it is to be yourself.

I want to go a bit further than that and actually say, be nice. Be nice to people.
Think about the words you are going to use on social media, about do they help?

Will they make somebody smile? They’re not going to make anyone feel worse,
or upset somebody or make them feel insecure about anything?

That to me, is the baseline of what you should be doing on social media.
As Metallica would say ‘Nothing else really matters’.

I think one of the problems I see with anything to do with marketing,
is all these lead generation stuff, and if you do this, people will buy your stuff,
and if you do this, people will enter your sales funnel or something.

They’re all things that you yourself probably wouldn’t do,
because you’d think “Oh, I’m not going to do that.” The people you’re doing that to are you.
They’re just like you. So if you wouldn’t fall for it, why do you think someone else will?

I think the whole point of social media or online marketing really is not just being authentic,
you’ve just got to be yourself, so you’re going to be authentic anyway.

I think if you’re looking for someone else to tell you how to be authentic,
I think you’re a bit lost. And no one else can teach you this,
because they’re trying to teach you how to be you. You are already that person.

Be nice, and I know people think the word nice doesn’t sound strong enough, it is.
Empathy, connecting with people is Social Media.
Social media’s going to go through some massive changes soon,
and a lot of people are going to start to probably question how much time they spend here,
so it’s about connections, it’s about taking care of the people you connect with,
and listening to them

Thinking how you can help people, how you can learn from people,
how you can create things that help others.

That is social media and that is running a business online.

Thank you

Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Internet Marketing Has Changed Forever

 

Once upon a time, Your online business was your website. Now your website is part of your online business.

Here is a recent question I received from a potential client:

I want more traffic to my website, I understand you do SEO? I don’t really do Social so just want more organic visitors – thanks (client enquiry).

This question is not as uncommon as you might think so it is important to realise how the world of internet marketing has changed and how we got here.

SEO

I started in SEO in 1998. Back then it was an exciting field to be in because you could see the results of your work within hours.

Having your own website in the late 90s was quite new and web developers were seen as wizards (or webmasters at the very least).

A few changes to the title tag and keywords and you could be number one in Google within 24 hours.

Also, there were NO social media channels, internet connections were dial-up so no one watched a video and all your traffic came from search.

Social Media

Social Media arrived in 2006 but it took the next 5 years to really gain momentum. I remember being in a meeting with a very large and successful hotel and them saying ‘ Why would anyone want to be friends with a hotel?’ Also, the idea of looking at a website on your phone seemed ridiculous.

During the first years of social media, people liked pages very quickly and building a following was fairly easy and quick. This is no longer the case.

Google Ads / Facebook Ads

For a long time people ignored this, organic search and getting people to click on your links from social media seemed the way to go.

However, as every market became crowded, if you wanted to get in front of people’s eyes you needed to advertise.

In fact, on Facebook with exposure to your own following being down to less than 2% – advertising is the only real way to grow your business.

Mobile

Who could have imagined a world where everyone is on their mobile devices at work, home or out with friends? If you look at what they are doing most of them are not searching on google but communicating via social media and message apps. They are sharing their lives and interests with people they have never met.

Video

That same mobile device is now a movie camera able to stream live and share memories and thoughts with anyone in the world. Video is also the biggest growth area for consuming content.

Internet Marketing Has Changed

Back in 1998 the internet was still new, going online was exciting. People would wait for info to load because it was a new experience.

Now in late 2018, it’s not new, for many it has speeded up life beyond recognition. People are less patient, get irritated more easily and share their thoughts whether negative or positive with potentially 1000s of people.

Once upon a time, your online business was your website. Now your website is part of your online business.

Your business now also has a facebook page, twitter account, YouTube channel and Linkedin. You might also have a facebook group or other online communities. You are also available via business listings and message apps.

In fact, some clients now find you via social media and conduct all their business/communications with you without even visiting your website.

So just wanting SEO on your website is not going to cut it.

Coming Out From Behind Your Logo

In ’98 you could remain mysterious and hide behind your logo with a PO Box number. Now people what to know who you are and get in touch with you as a person. This is where video and appearing in front of the camera is so important.

Nothing builds trust faster than video and being real. So no super slick video,  just you in front of your camera can be enough.

SEO On Its Own Does Not Cut It Anymore

So to answer my client enquiry, I do offer SEO, but only now as part of an integrated approach using all the disciplines mentioned above. So your website and landing pages need to be ready as do your social channels and the targeted Ads you run on them.

You also need to be consistent, so a few days of scheduled social media posts and then nothing, because you are too busy, is not going to work either.

Get Back To What You Do Best

People come to me now because they cannot keep up with all the activities they need to do to market their business online. Plus nothing stands still and many times I have to delete a methodology because a platform or algorithm has changed.

I can do this in a moment because it’s what I do. The number of clients I have helped out after damaging their business from outdated information is huge.

My World Has Changed As Well

Back when I started there were not many people doing SEO or social media (when it started to emerge). Now the digital landscape is awash with agencies and digital marketing people. I have seen many vanish as well especially when their business was built on a specific aspect of SEO or a social platform.

I have been doing this for a long time and have a wealth of experience in what works and what does not. I will explain in plain English what you need to do and if it will actually help your business grow.

If you want any help with online marketing please get in touch. We will work with you as part of your team and take away any worry that you’re missing out or getting left behind in your marketplace.

Follow the link for more information – SEO Search Engine Optimisation with Phil Aston 

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Business Tips for Entrepreneurs – Time Management

When you are self-employed your time is everything, what you can end up doing is working all the time.
This can be 80-100 hours a week, it can just happen!
You find you never switch off because there is so much to do, but you can start to feel boxed in.

One of the things I learnt (and it took me a while to learn this lesson) is when you do your ‘to do list’ at the end of each day you do not make it too long.

I used to get a piece of A4 paper and write down all the things I had to do the next day. And it is amazing how easy it is to just fill the whole side of the paper with tasks.

But guess what, you cannot do that many tasks, so you end up crossing off a few which makes you feel ok and then you just copy over everything left over onto the next day’s list.

There will also be some tasks that get copied over time and time again because you do not really want to do them.
This approach can start to really grind you down and you start to lose your creative edge.

So what I recommend is to have no more than three or four tasks on your to-do list. If you have a very large project split this into smaller chunks so at the end of the day all items have been completed.

This approach will also ensure you have time for those emails or phone calls that come in from clients that need to be actioned or even new enquiries!

Thanks

Phil

Genius Loci Media
www.geniusloci.co.uk

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

GDPR – Don’t Panic

GDPR, I guess many people are already fed up with this.

I just want to say don’t panic. The main thing I want to draw people’s attention to, (because I can see this happening) is when we reach May 26th there are going to be scammers everywhere sending you emails saying you do not comply, you could get fined etc. But if you pay us a fee we can help you out. Please don’t fall for this.

As you know we work in SEO and it is a bit like those online SEO audits which can find fault or errors with any website. Most of these errors are false positives. For GDPR there are already websites which can check your website for cookies and then tell you that you are none compliant.

A lot of GDPR is common sense. From what I know there will be about 60 people enforcing GDPR and they are not going to come after all small businesses just because you are not quite ready.

You do not have to stop using companies or software because you are worried they are not compliant. They are also working towards it. Use what is best for your business.

Also, have a statement about what you do use personal data for and how long you keep it. For example, if you use PayPal for your online sales and you use their system you might only print off the customer’s address to stick on a jiffy bag.

I was a lead auditor for ISO9000 in a past life and what we used to look for was the intent that you were working towards the standard. Not everyone is going to have everything in place by May 26th, but you can have a lot ready.
If you can show evidence that you are putting procedures in place to comply that will go a long way. You should only worry if you are doing something dodgy!

Essentials are making sure your Privacy Policy is up to date, you know what cookies you use and why. There are plenty of WordPress Plugins which can help here.

So

  • Update Your Privacy Policy
  • State what Cookies you use – analytics etc
  • Have a document that states what data you keep and for how long – most probably this will be for tax reasons so document this and don’t panic.
Thanks Phil
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