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Content Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

YouCom-Direct-Creative-Marketing-Tips-Be-More-Dog

This article contains bullet point tips for getting more calls and more clicks and more footfall than your competitors and it’s all free by the way.  YouCom Direct are an advertising agency who advise clients how to turn around their campaigns.  But we provide that advice freely and it’s available here too.  





Creative Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Your website, social media platforms and online business directory listings should all be working hard to help you stand out from the competition.  Because your digital footprint is what will help you sell.  But not every company does that well. Everyone’s looked at their own websites and wondered how is it that the competition is getting better search results, better call volume, better footfall?  The answer in the main is because many brands assign social media or business directory advertising to someone in their organisation who is simply putting content out there and doing little else.  But that would change if they followed this free advice.  

There is so much more they could be doing to get their story and their message noticed.  YouCom Direct are a local search advertising agency that specialises in getting brands noticed in local searches and we have identified the following ‘tips’ for digital marketing staff;  





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Focus on tags
Our clients outperform their competition. Period.  Their call volumes are higher than before they worked with us, their stores are more sold out than their competitors and there are many things we add but tags are the quickest big difference we can make.  If you do a Google search on ‘YouCom Direct’ and go to Images what do you see?  The same applies to our clients and should apply to your company or you as an individual if you’re writing posts and blogs.  You can’t just throw a lot of tags in there, there is some science behind it, but broadly speaking, any tags are better than none.  Place search tags on all your images.    





Creative Marketing Tips By YouDirectories

Focus on Keywords
It sounds obvious but marketing staff don’t do it enough or as well as they should.  YouCom Direct have taken on brands as clients who only had their store address, phone and URL data on their directory business listings (think Yell.com).  What about the keywords? How do they expect to stand out online and achieve that digital footprint they want?  The first thing we do is a full review and identify the keywords the brand should have.  Digital marketing staff need to do the same.  Use the business description, use the heading, use the photos, even use the URL.   There are many different ways to add keywords and alter the local search results in your favour.    




Creative Tips by YouDirectories

Content Curation (show the love)

This is the next big marketing term.  We had content marketing and everyone was talking about that.  Now it’s content curation.  This is where you find another piece of content that you feel is great for your brand and your business or that you feel your customer audience will benefit from possibly unrelated to your business and you share it. You make your social media channels a place where people go to for the best news regarding your industry or their interests.  And that’s the key.  Use good data-marketing techniques to establish the interests of your customer audience. Always make sure you give credit to the source.  This is a new world with an old word and that word is love. Share the love, gain traffic for someone who wrote some great content (if you wish to share ours / this news article, click on the links at the bottom).  




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Hashtags
Almost always forgotten, almost always not used well enough.  Many brands have an in-house member of staff, sometimes even an agency, who does some really good writing and engaging content, they put it on social media and it’s lost in space. For Twitter, Google Places, Tumblr, LinkedIn and even directories, if you use hashtags, you’ll gain traction. The main purpose of hashtags is to highlight the relevant local search word in each tweet or post. With the right research, all brand marketing staff can find the highest searched hashtags for their industry.  




Creative Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Headlines

The headline serves as the single biggest factor determining whether your reader will click to read your article or post.  You have to have a headline that draws them into your marketing message. Make it A.I.D.A. related (see glossary at the bottom of this article). Give readers a promise or promotion. Think about what will they learn by reading your message? Why should they bother? Becoming really good at writing headlines is one of the most important skills a digital marketing person can gain and this is one of our most important creative marketing tips.  




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Use different formats

Creating quick social media posts is easy, blogging is also pretty good for content creation, but what about video?  What about research studies?  Surveys? White papers? infographics? There are many ways to reach your customer audience. The biggest mistake a digital marketing person can make? (Or rather the biggest mistake senior management can make when they appoint them) is allowing the company to focus on using the platform they are most comfortable with rather than the platform where your customer audience spends most of their time.  


Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.

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Glossary: A.I.D.A. – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (marketing model)  

Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Sept 2019, London, ‘Be More Dog’.

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Consumer Behaviour
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Senior Account Manager, YouCom Direct


YouCom-Direct-Marketing-Tips

Many local business’s today are overwhelmed by the variety of local marketing choices available across desktop, mobile and tablet platforms. Many don’t know where to start which is where these marketing tips help.   At YouCom Direct, we understand how every local business is trying its utmost best to attract as many local customers as possible. We can help businesses outperform their competitors through local search optimisation and directory advertising.


Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Accurate & Accessible Information

One of the most important aspects of local search is ensuring that your businesses information is consistent, accurate and accessible throughout the web.


50% of business owners have listings for their business that are not accurate.


70% of business owners say they don’t have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use.


Only 23% of business owners have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business.


 
If your business information is outdated or appears in different ways in different places, it will not only lower your visibility in search it will make it difficult or even impossible for potential customers to find you.  



Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Optimise Your Website
Make sure that potential customers can find your business in search by listing all relevant information in the website title. Create individual pages for each business location as well as each product or service your business offers. This will raise the visibility of each in search, making it easier for potential customers to find exactly what they’re looking for.


Use keywords and phrasing that potential customers are most likely to use. Include basic business name, address and phone number information on every page of your website. This not only boosts SEO, but also makes it easier for a potential customer to contact or visit your business.  We recommend more than this of course for a website needs a UX focus but these are the basic tips.  


Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Mobile Friendly

One of the biggest mistakes your business can make is not optimising its website for mobile. 50% of local searches are carried out on mobile devices. If a potential customer attempts to access your website via mobile but is interrupted by pages not loading, sizing issues or the inability to find information, they are more likely to go back into search until they find one of your competitors.

70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. Mobile users that find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. Why? Because mobile users are on the go. When a consumer grabs their smartphone to search, they have a specific intent in mind.  



Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Visual Content

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to capturing your audience’s attention, you want to take full advantage of every chance to communicate your message. Consumers today are attracted to photos and engaging videos, they also help to boost website SEO and improve visibility for local listings.

Studies show our brains not only process visuals faster, but they retain and transmit much more information when it’s delivered visually.

According to Brightcove, video on social sites generates 1,200% more engagement than texts and images.  Imagine what this could do to your business listing on a directory site?  But you need the right sort of video so talk to us to get it right.  



Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Don’t ignore reviews
If you want your business to appear prominently for localised searches, then you will certainly need to consider how your customers are able to leave reviews for your business online. The importance of accumulating genuine and honest reviews is increasing.

People are looking for reviews on local businesses to determine if they are exactly what they want or try somewhere else. Customers are now sensitised to write reviews and publish them, especially after a positive service and experience.  

For 7 out of 10 consumers, positive reviews inspire trust. This highlights just how important they are for a local business, and it’s clear that reputation management is something that cannot be ignored.


  Marketing Tips by YouDirectories

Over 20% of searches on Google today are from users who are looking for local information and 97% of all consumers are going online to look for local companies. Using the above tips can really help to engage your customers. 83% of people doing online local searches then continue with a number of actions offline such as phone calls, emails, visits or even purchases. What’s interesting is how consumers are researching online but buying locally.   Contact us to discuss how we can help you enhance your customer engagement using the above great tips and much more!

Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.

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Glossary: UX – User Experience SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, April 2017, London, ‘Local Marketing Tips’.

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Mystery Shopping
Copywriter: Aqsa Muzaffar, Freelance Editor


YouCom-Direct-Mystery-Shopping

When it comes to cuddling up with your favourite thing in the world, brands want it to be something that they sell.  An American Express study revealed that 70% of shoppers spend 13% more with businesses that provide exceptional customer service.  Every company wishes to have an increase in revenue but how does one know the value of the customer service provided by their business?   Mystery shopping companies send unbiased individuals into stores to provide feedback on key areas of the customer shopping experience.

These can include:

– Interaction of staff with shoppers

– Types of products shown

– Types of services offered

– Speed of service

– Store features such as security, cleanliness, store location or ease of access.

– Opening and closing of the sale and compliance with company standards.



YouCom-Direct-Mystery-Shopping

Inspect what you expect

Mystery shoppers behave in a certain way to gather information. These are known as “scenarios.” For instance, a mystery shopper at a jewellery store may enquire about different bridal bands being sold as part of an upcoming proposal e.g. type of gold and style. After the visit the shopper submits the results collected to the mystery shopping agency, who analyse the information to provide statistical data. This allows brands to compare against previously defined criteria.  




YouDirectories Mystery Shopping

Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and the Post office all use the mystery shopping tool to analyse their stores. This helps to set staff bonuses and highlight any training issues. Jill Spencer a spokeswoman for ABa states “each day mystery shoppers spend up to 8 hours visiting 5 to 10 stores, plus another hour or 2 filling in detailed reports on every aspect of their visit.” They can take home up to £155 a day and are reimbursed for petrol and hotel stays. Shoppers are repaid any money they spend and as a bonus may be allowed to keep the products they purchase.  




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A different perspective through the eyes of a customer.

With the data analysed and appropriate action taken, brands can see numerous benefits from mystery shopping:

– Increased customer satisfaction

– Increased sales/profits

– Employee satisfaction. Once an employee acknowledges their role in helping create a happy customer they can benefit from a morale boost. A new-found sense of confidence will make going the extra mile second nature.

– Any deficiencies in the customer experience can be resolved before they are seen by actual customers.

– Reduction in the cost of advertising.




YouCom-Direct-Mystery-Shopping

Want to use mystery shopping as a marketing tool for your business?

This is a short article, but if the benefits we’ve listed give thought to creating a mystery shopping programme, here is what you need to do.  Speak with an agency (preferably us) to gain an idea of process and plans.  Find out which mystery shopping service fits well with your requirements and budget.

When you are ready to begin, inform employees of your intention and the ins and outs of mystery shopping (no one would enjoy being blindsided after the campaign takes place). Identify your key reasons for starting this initiative. What do you wish to achieve? Having benchmarks will also allow you to monitor the effectiveness of the programme to your company.  




YouDirectories Mystery Shopping

Increased Revenue

Mystery shopping can be used as one of the best ways to identify your current quality of customer service available to your audience. A professional in the world of mystery shopping can give your company guidance on raising standards of your employees resulting in a win-win situation for all.  Then there are the SEO benefits from having more positive feedback said about your brand on Google. Ultimately the best way to judge the benefits of mystery shopping is to try it out yourself.  

Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.

Our Twitter news

Our Tumblr news

Our Pinterest news

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Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Mar 2017, London, ‘Mystery Shopping’.

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Search Engine Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

YouDirectories-The-Secret-to-a-Marketing-Budget


If your brand’s website has less than 1m unique monthly visitors then this article is for you. If you have more than that, the chances are you are either knowingly or unknowingly already allocating the right percentage of your budget to these key marketing areas.   

SEO 15 percent
If you are yet to utilise video, mobile and retargeting, you should allocate approximately 30 percent of your budget to SEO. With these other advertising channels, you would see your SEO allocation reduced to 15 percent.  


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Search Engine Optimization takes time and should not be seen as a quick solution to turn around an ailing product or service. However it remains the standard of gathering organic search traffic, and it should be a central element of any online marketing budget. SEO is necessary for you to build organic traffic and you grow it over time.   As each cycle passes, you should reassess your progress and divert budget away to the other areas until your 30 percent comes down to approximately 15 percent.  

Ensure your site has “SEO-friendly” design; research your keywords carefully by analysing your competitors and ensure they are properly used within your site. With this in place, allocate a monthly budget to spend on SEO activities such as link building and producing original content (‘content is king’).    

SEM 40 percent

The largest part of your online marketing budget should go to SEM. If SEO is pull marketing (attracting customers to your site), search engine marketing is push marketing. Directing customers to your site; to call your store; or to visit your store, is the single biggest thing you can do to quickly boost sales and show an ROI on your marketing budget. This will give your superiors confidence to leave you alone in future and not scrutinise your work so closely.  

SEM is the process of getting your content (store phone numbers, address and reason to call/visit) across the internet in as many places as possible. More importantly to where people often visit. Generally, the higher the visitor numbers, the more it will cost to advertise. There are two main ways to use your SEM budget. PPC advertising and business directory advertising.  



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You will have begun researching keywords for your SEO and spent some budget to uncover their value. With PPC and directory advertising, you will also benefit from modifying your advert copy frequently in order to determine which ones generate good CTR. To establish your keyword strategy, you should first evaluate your competitors’ keyword strategy.  

Remember, if your PPC ads aren’t performing so well, it might mean that while your adverts work well on Google, your potential customers aren’t connecting with them. Therefore you need to keep an eye on the CTR rate and adapt your creative, targeting and landing pages until you find the optimum combination. In highly competitive markets, keywords can be very expensive, so you shouldn’t spend a lot on PPC before you have mastered your perfect conversion funnel.


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There are many business directories. Find out the best ones (speak to specialist agencies like YouCom Direct) and allocate a budget to them. London-city-directory.co.uk for example looks to be a good site, it is often found in website analysis sites as a referral site (directing traffic to a company site). However it only has 14,000 views a month. Yell.com though has nearly 10,000,000 views a month. Just as for PPC, you should research your competitors on each directory. If they are advertising there, then you should be. If they are not, it may be that they have yet to find it and you could gain market share and competitive advantage by advertising there. Of course it might be, that particular directory doesn’t generate enough traffic for your business sector and your competitors have already tried it and left. Business directory marketing and PPC advertising work best with advice from specialists.    



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SMM 15 percent

The SEO content you create (news articles etc.) then has to reach as many good quality readers as possible. This is where good social media marketing comes in.  

Most advertising campaigns start with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, where the advertising is established and proven. If your business sells products, it will benefit from being active on Pinterest and Instagram.  

What to aim for? Look at others in your sector and work out (or ask an agency) what makes users engage with the posts? Most directory agencies for example have 1 favourite or 1 retweet if they’re lucky. Below a typical tweet from YouCom Direct (formerly YouDirectories) has over 20 retweets, 37 favourites, nearly 80 engagements and is seen by 1,800+ people. Remember, each time a user retweets your message, your brand is reaching all of their followers too.


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Retargeting 10 percent
The majority of sites have very low conversion rates. Retargeting is how you improve conversion rates. Of course you require the visitors to find your site first so retargeting comes into play after you’ve built up your traffic. You will need approximately 15,000 monthly visitors until you can sustain a retargeting campaign. Create an excel document, monitor the monthly visitor numbers and place a marker to remind you to begin retargeting marketing activity at 10,000.   


Display Ads 5 percent
Display advertising is declining hence our 5 percent suggestion. How does it work on a smartphone mobile? Exactly, it doesn’t. With increasing web browsing on a smartphone, display adverts are being largely ignored by consumers. However some display ads will be necessary to match your competitor’s reach.  

Email marketing 15 percent
Email is often viewed as an old method of advertising, but it is still an effective low cost opportunity to reach customers. Beware the frequency parameters (too frequent emails will increase the unsubscribe rates dramatically) and change the content to maintain engagement (uninteresting content or repetitive content will increase the unsubscribe rates also).  

Remember, consumers access email on mobile devices as well as traditional desktops. This makes email DM a necessary addition to your online advert strategy. If you want to manage it yourself, try MailChimp as an effective delivery tool.  

There are many email DM templates you should create. It doesn’t have to be cold-calling email DM. You could send a shopping cart abandonment email with tailored messaging to bring them back perhaps mention a limited time offer, or a Cross Sell email. Of course to deliver the right email recommendation to the right user at the optimum time is essential in order to make this channel work for you. For that you’re best to utilise an advertising agency’s expertise and learn from a few campaigns.  


Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.

Our Twitter news
Our Tumblr news
Our Pinterest news
Our LinkedIn news


Glossary:

SEO – Search engine optimisation

SEM – search engine marketing

PPC – Pay per click

CTR – Click to conversion rate / Click through rate

SMM – Social media marketing

DM – Direct mail  


Required reference
: YouCom Direct News Article, Sept 2015, London, ‘The budget secret’.

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