Author : David Lomas

M3 Publishing > Articles by: David Lomas
30Nov
digital breadcrumbs and your customer corridorWhere Does Your Trail of Digital Breadcrumbs Lead?

Where Does Your Trail of Digital Breadcrumbs Lead?

We all leave digital breadcrumbs behind from our online activity. Some will resonate more than others.  But what if you could determine what was in the trail that you’re leaving, for your target audience to follow?

 

Digital Breadcrumbs and Your Customer Corridor

At our recent Business Connections event held in Manchester, we talked about customer corridors and how, by bringing your prospects towards you, using digital breadcrumbs, you can help them to build a picture of:

  • Who you are, and your behaviour
  • What you did, to successfully benefit a business
  • How you can help them, based on that success

 

This process also pre-qualifies the prospects that arrive at your door.

We think it’s different than a sale funnel because it’s a subtler process, while still routed in a strategy that is designed to generate business.

 

Imagine your customer corridor as an actual corridor. You’re at the end of it and your target audience is drawn along it, prompted by signs and other information about you – your digital breadcrumbs – that encourages them to move further along and deeper into your world

 

In the digital realm, the consumer is king, and people searching the internet like to feel that they are in control of the choices they make.

The process of attracting them subtly and gently, compared with other, more direct marketing activity, will enable them to achieve this.

Most of all, your activities must focus on your target audience, and on their pain points, interests and needs.

 

The Power of Publishing

If you’re going to publish content online – your digital breadcrumbs – that will bring your audience down your customer corridor, how best to do it?

Clearly, you can publish your own blog, and share it through social media channels, to help point people in the direction of your website.  But is this enough? It’s highly competitive out there and somehow you need your content to differentiate you.

What about the platform you choose? What if you could be featured as an expert in a well-respected online publication with a strong digital following?

This works in several powerful ways:

  • it provides you with a solid, third-party recommendation
  • it enhances your credibility, highlighting your expertise in your chosen field; and
  • it addresses your audience’s concerns first and foremost, while connecting your name with the issues they are interested in

 

The prospects you seek are looking for something. M3 Media Publishing’s sector-specific portfolio of digital magazines and distribution channels can help them find it, by you leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs and bringing them along your customer corridor, towards you.

Discover how, by contacting us.

 

For an accompanying read, please visit Have you Set out your Customer Corridor?

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23Oct
customer corridorHave you Set out your Customer Corridor?

Have you Set out your Customer Corridor?

Imagine a prospective customer walking down your ‘customer corridor’ to reach your office for your first meeting.

Your office is carefully positioned right at the far end of this potentially valuable customer corridor.

This is to ensure that you have some influence over them when they arrive. (Not dis-similar to how the supermarkets work – getting you to follow a carefully-planned route around their stores).

On the way along this customer corridor, your prospects are enticed to follow your route where they will pass by a selection of subtle images and messages about YOU.

 

Written and visual messages can highlight the advice you have been giving to your customers, in turn, letting your prospects know about the things that you understand about their business issues and their sector

 

Maybe along the way, your prospect pictures the ways that other businesses, just like his (or hers) have benefited from your help and guidance in the past.

By the time he gets to your office, how do you think he now may be feeling about meeting you?

This is pure ‘influencing‘ not selling.  And it works very effectively.  Even moreso, if these messages come from a third party – which is a subtle form of endorsement – creating a very powerful content strategy for your business.

We refer to this concept of attracting customers via content, the internet and social media as laying a trail of ‘digital breadcrumbs‘.

 

How Can a Corridor Improve my Sales Conversion?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How, after travelling along your carefully-designed corridor, may the picture of what you do, have improved in the mind of your prospect?
  2. As your prospect should now know much more about you, would he (or she) feel that he did this all by himself and did not feel coerced?
  3. How much better are your chances of now getting that sale?

 

The more we know about someone’s business and behaviour, the more confident we are – and more likely – to make a sales decision.

67% of the information prospects gain about you, is found by them, BEFORE they even make contact with you.

Discover how you can create, and stay in control of, what they find, by contacting us.

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25Sep
content marketing attractionContent Marketing: What are its Opportunities for Attraction?

Content Marketing: What are its Opportunities for Attraction?

Content marketing has its supporters but some of them, in their zeal to describe its benefits, may be over-selling it. It is not a magic bullet, and it is not the only marketing strategy you should ever consider.

There are lots of hidden benefits to content marketing but one criticism centres on the fact that its ROI comes in the form of increased engagement with target audiences, as opposed to dramatic sales figures.

 

Behind content marketing is the concept of pre-qualifying opportunities by building up a dialogue with them using content

 

While it does represent one strand of what should be a holistic marketing approach, it also has a unique quality in its ability to harness third party authority in pursuit of prospects.

 

The Means of Delivering Content

One of the key aspects of content marketing is the means of delivering it. Plenty of businesses write and distribute blogs designed to attract targeted visitors to websites and landing pages.

However, one of the most powerful forms of content is third party. It marks the difference between you doing the talking and you being talked about.

 

If content is presented in the form of a third-party article, blog or news story, it adds authority and credibility to the subject, and it has the potential to attract a wider audience

 

This brings added value, because along with a target audience, third-party content can attract interest from places you might not have anticipated.

 

Attracting Interest with High Visibility

While it’s true that, in part, content marketing is about devising means of attracting interest from target markets, it has other benefits in reaching further afield.

Earlier this year, we highlighted the growing debate on what should, or could, replace the current business rates system, which many see as deeply flawed.

Our article, on the alternatives to business ratesfeatured Paul Giness from The Beattie Partnership and was published in our Property Aspects Magazine.  The article caught the attention of contacts in both the Houses of Parliament and the Irish Government.

This is one of numerous occasions where our content has brought visibility to tangential links, and helped to crystallise connections.

 

Done well, content has a wide reach, and the potential to help you make powerful, and profitable, inroads into markets which might otherwise be closed to you.

To discover how you can generate opportunities, using third party content, please contact us.

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12Jul
original contentOriginal Content – What are the Keys to its Success?

Original Content – What are the Keys to its Success?

Good content is the key to better SEO rankings and successful social media marketing. You may have already heard this elsewhere.  In fact, you may have heard it repeated lots of times.  But what does having good content actually mean?  The answer is that it needs to be original content.

The actual originality of online content is primarily about uniqueness, and this is where things get interesting.

Writing original content requires an ability to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes and, crucially, get this different viewpoint across to the reader.

 

Taking a Fresh Perspective

There are over 3 billion internet users worldwide and over 2 billion active users of social media. On WordPress there are 56 million blog posts published each month. How original can your content be in this context?

 

We know that the content we write is constantly competing for attention, so it has to stand out. But we can actually help it do this if it is about something people are already expressing an interest in.

 

Alot of the time, publishing original content is to do with taking a fresh perspective on existing issues.  Or drawing from a variety of information sources and putting material together in ways that will highlight particular points.

We are not simply reshuffling the deck.  We are identifying what your target audience is interested in, or can be attracted to, and shaping the content to fit.

 

Upping the Quality Factor

Making original content sound interesting is crucial. Unless you’re blessed with a topic that’s inherently attention-grabbing, talking about any subject requires a degree of inventiveness in order to make the material sing off the screen.

This is not simply some critical judgement about good writing.

 

Google measures the value of content by its uniqueness and quality. Quality is therefore measurable in very real terms, once published, as expressed in Google rankings.

 

We look to find a unique twist to a story or topic, because this is what really pays off, in terms of getting your content noticed.

 

Making it Shareable

What’s going to make your content spread like wildfire across your targeted social media channels? This is where our strategic thinking comes in.  If your content is original, is it also timely?  Does it connect with some burning issue of the day, or a particular trend?

 

Original content stands out and attracts interest. This determines how we write content at M3 Media Publishing.

 

The value of great, original content is not just in its uniqueness alone.  It is also in the when and the where, and the context in which we publish it.

To find out how we can create the right content to reach your audience and build your customer base, call M3 Media Publishing on 0161 922 8571 or contact us.

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9Jul
content marketingCan Content Marketing Build Trust and Relationships?

Can Content Marketing Build Trust and Relationships?

Is content marketing a dubious concept? Some might think so, because it shifts the emphasis away from selling. However, this is precisely why content marketing can be so effective.

Content marketing is an essential means of building trust and relationships with prospects, contacts and customers in a digital age.

Imagine the traditional corner shop. It’s reputation in a neighbourhood may now be something of a cliché, but it can still be a place where the shopkeeper knows his customers well, where he has built face-to-face relationships with them, and where they trust him or her.

Content marketing helps to capture the essence of this corner shop experience and use it to help businesses reach out and connect with their target audience.

It uses three special ingredients to do this: personalisation, customer-focus, and value.

 

Make Content Marketing Personal

The digital experience, as a customer, can feel very remote and impersonal. However, using online channels can personalise what a business can offer, providing they use them in the right way.

Social media provides the perfect, organic marketing platform, providing you have the kind of content that can tap into your audience’s likes, needs and concerns.

Just like the shopkeeper talking to customers over the counter, ensure that your content makes your audience feel like you’re talking to them, directly and personally.

 

Concentrate on the Customer

Rather than attempting to sell something to your audience, your content should be empathetic, offers something of value and sees things from their perspective.

By making your audience know that you understand them, this allows them to build trust in you.

Good shopkeepers ask customers how they are, what ails them, what they’re interested in. It’s about the customer, first and foremost.

 

Give Good Value

If you give something extra, freely, people appreciate this. It’s a proven part of customer service and it works for content.

Content adds value because it addresses issues and recognises problems, and you can offer it as free advice to your prospects and customers.  What do you want in return? Enough to be able to build a dialogue with your audience.

Using certain tools and analytics, we know exactly who is taking an interest in us and, in some instances, know what their pains are before they have spoken to us.  This enables us to have a much focused dialogue.

Content marketing helps businesses build relationships and trust. By explicitly not selling, you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that you can generate.

To discover how content can build trust and relationships with your audience, call M3 Media Publishing on 0161 922 8571 or contact us.

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31Jan
content - wordpressContent: How Can You Convert it into Business?

Content: How Can You Convert it into Business?

Content is a serious marketing tool that can generate considerable sales results.  It is not a luxury or an add-on to your core business if, or when, you have the time or resources for it.

Content adds substance to a business’ online – and offline – presence and does so in such a way that it attracts interest.   It engages and, ultimately, helps to convert people into qualified prospects.

 

Attraction and Retention

SEO can get you ranked higher on search engines and it can encourage clicks onto your web pages.  Once you have attracted your audience to you, does your content keep them interested so that they don’t simply move onto something else?  Online attention spans are notoriously short.

Content works strategically.  It enables you to allow people find you online and, once they have found you, to want to find out more about you.  This provides you with opportunities to engage with those prospects.

 

M3 Media Publishing’s methodology is to combine high quality, powerful, content with psychological insight and the use of social media and other channels to distribute it, to attract customers

 

The essence of great content is storytelling.  This can make your brand and your business stand out from the competition, while exploring the kinds of issues and problems your customers have.

M3 Media Publishing’s sector-specific, authoritative, digital magazines publish stories that highlight business leaders’ expertise and creates powerful third party recommendations.

 

The Legacy of Successful Content

Peter Knight, is an expert property consultant, with Knight Morris.  He explains how the M3’s approach has helped his business.

“I wanted an innovative, creative and cost-effective way to raise my company profile,” he explains. “The results of my strategically-placed articles, in M3’s digital magazines, have exceeded my expectations.”

 

“M3 Media Publishing’s articles, coupled with engagement, offers an excellent return on investment.  One piece of business per year is all it has taken for us to surpass our spend with them”

Peter Knight, Lead Building Surveying Partner at Knight Morris

 

“The original content has allowed readers to explore issues that affect them and seek out my professional help and advice,” concludes Peter.

To discover how content can generate business for you, please call 0161 922 8571 or visit m3publishing.co.uk.

 

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28Dec
mobile phone - mobile websiteMobile Websites: Keep Up or Get Lost

Mobile Websites: Keep Up or Get Lost

To some, this may sound like a rather rude headline.  It is not meant to be.

It is actually meant to catch your attention and enable us to tell you about a subtle but important change from our friends at Google.

A recent statement from them about it’s ‘mobile first index‘ will soon start to have an impact on those businesses that are not keeping up with technology.

It is predicted that by the end of 2017, three quarters of all internet searches will be performed on a mobile device. This is why Google is changing the way it assesses websites – by keeping results not only relevant to the subject of the search, but to the actual device being used.

This means that any business that has not optimised or made their website more readable on a mobile device, is going to suffer when it comes to website results by becoming effectively hard to find or “lost” in the world of the web.

This statement from Google is what changes the situation for the, shall we say, old-fashioned websites – and there are plenty of them out there.

The critical phrase from Google reads:

 

“Our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site”

 

This set of algorithms will be referred to as their ‘Mobile First Index‘.

Businesses that are still displaying an out-of-date website MUST now change the way they look at website optimisation.

Going forward, they should also consider the ‘content‘ aspect of their website and the way it is set out for prospective visitors. These factors are equally important for both driving visitors and holding their attention on your web pages.

If you wish to stay out of the web wilderness, please call M3 Media Publishing on 0161 922 8571 or visit m3publishing.co.uk.

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29Sep
content marketing - are you getting it right?Content – Are you getting it right?

Content – Are you getting it right?

For someone who has worked creating and publishing content for over 15 years, I consider content and, may I say, its’ subsequent communication is essential to the success of any business.

However, content is only powerful if it gets seen or heard by the target audience at which it is aimed.

Content comes in many forms, of course. This can include video clips – in both real or animated format and it can include visual content such as images, logos, gifs and infographics.

With sites like Instagram, all these different types of visual images can be a powerful tool, especially for b2c marketers.

Audio content is also an option. e.g. sound bites – maybe your own voice recording or a radio interview for example. Audio clips may be particularly useful if your prospects spend a lot of their ‘research’ time driving in their car.

 

Written Content – Leave it to the experts

Then we come to good old written content. It never goes out of fashion and we can all write it very easily.  Is that maybe not quite true, dare I say?

It doesn’t go out of fashion –  that’s true, and maybe words and styles may change.

Do we all find it easy to write? No, that’s certainly not the case with the majority of people I talk with.

One of my first clients for content marketing asked me the question…

  • Client: “Do I have to write our content?”
  • Me: “No, we will do it for you”
  • Client: “Excellent, we’ll go with that!” he said, very relieved

 

I learnt very soon, that clients did not want to have to write their own content as it was time-consuming and not their area of expertise. They also did not feel very comfortable singing the praises of their own business.

 

Producing good content is one thing but getting the content right is an art in itself

 

What is the Best Type of Content for your Audience?

A recent study into content by global research specialists Nielsen, looked at the three main types of content that we, as marketers, produce.

These are:

  • Branded or company-generated content, which focuses on the facts about a business, maybe including case studies highlighting work being done
  • Secondly, testimonial type content or product reviews from customers
  • Lastly, there is what we refer to as ‘third-party expert’ content.

 

In the survey, it was found that the 3rd-party expert content had the most impact and influence on customers.

 

Why is Third Party Content so Valuable?

The implied endorsement of third-party experts holds much more weight to consumers than anything a company can say about itself.

This content needs to appear on some place other than your own website of course, otherwise it doesn’t quite achieve that critical 3rd party legitimacy. The website also needs to have credibility for your content to be taken seriously by your reader.

This third-party content can therefore be very powerful if used correctly, within your content marketing & communication strategy.

If you can position yourself as a ‘quoted’ expert with integrity, within your chosen sector, your authority and reputation can acquire a real boost.

Contact M3 Media Publishing about how you or your business could feature in one of their digital sector-specific magazines.

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13Aug
public speaking - David Lomas M3 Media PublishingPublic Speaking: What is the Value in Facing your Audience?

Public Speaking: What is the Value in Facing your Audience?

Content marketing has great value, but much of the content we produce can only be effectively realised if you get the distribution right.

There is a wide choice of digital channels through which to distribute your message, but there is one key channel that predates the digital revolution and is one of the oldest means of communication.

This key channel is public speaking.

Facing your audience is a very powerful means of communication, and if you are capable of integrating it into your communications strategy, it can be really effective.

 

Putting a Face to the Name

Personalising your brand, and its’ values, is a desirable, if sometimes elusive goal. The idea is to engage with customers, to attract them. Networking is one way of doing this, but it can often lack focus, and you can be working against the competing noise of everyone else in the room.

 

Public speaking enables you to address an audience directly, with the express purpose of conveying your message to them, without relying on drinks and canapés as props. You are meeting everyone in the room, guaranteed, and you are giving yourself the opportunity to make a lasting impression on your audience

 

Strategically Speaking

Using yourself as a marketing tool by speaking in public should be seen as a strategic move.

Public speaking should not be about ego; it is actually much more about your audience, and in this sense the same rules apply as with other content: address your audience’s needs, give them something of value.

This is also a form of research. By speaking to an audience and interacting with people asking you questions, you can find out more about them. They will tell you about themselves and their needs, which can then help shape your future material.

 

Public speaking is a two-way portal: you are reaching your audience, face to face, and at the same time you are making yourself accessible to them, to their ideas and feedback

 

M3 Media Publishing’s approach has always been to combine personal interaction with digital publishing and other types of content marketing.

M3 Media Publishing’s Business Connections events are a perfect example of this. They are not simply networking opportunities, they are ways of engaging with an audience directly, talking to them and interacting with them, as a key way of doing business.

To discover more about our events, please click here.

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11Jul
twitterTiming is Everything: How Can You Use Twitter Strategically?

Timing is Everything: How Can You Use Twitter Strategically?

Like all social media, Twitter has to be used strategically to be most effective. It is fast and it’s concise.  If you want your message to be seen, and shared, then tweeting it once is not enough.  The life of a tweet is short, under 20 minutes. The other thing to take into consideration is how Twitter works.

The Twitter Timeline Feature

In the interests of improving user quality, Twitter allows users to order the tweets they follow in order of those they are most likely to care about, as opposed to simply the most recent ones. These top tweets appear in reverse chronological order, followed by the remainder displayed as usual.

More than ever, using Twitter successfully as a strategic marketing tool requires building a loyal audience. Twitter believes that users of the new feature tend to retweet, and to tweet more.  This is why shareability of content is vital. But it is also crucial to get your audience’s attention, which is where repeat tweeting comes in.

Repetition and Content

If you’re reliant on Twitter’s standard chronology to get your tweets noticed you may want to think again. Whereas repeat tweets help address the issue of capturing your audience, you now have to take into account whether or not they will opt for the new algorithm preference.

Tweets may end up ranking higher depending on the level that their audience responds to them and interacts with them. Audience engagement is hugely important as interactions can also substantially extend a tweet’s lifespan.

Despite the limitations of the form, tweets are, like other content, dependent on engagement through the way they appeal to and intrigue an audience.

To use Twitter as a successful marketing tool, combine:

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