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How to use live video for growing your business

You’ve probably heard that using live video in your business could help you engage with your customer. They can get to know you better through your conversation or showing what you do in your business.

But many business owners are scared by live video, so simply don’t do it. I’ve heard the following reasons excuses for not doing live video. How do these sound to you?

  • nobody wants to know what I do
  • I’m not very photogenic
  • I don’t have a video camera / the right lighting / the right microphone

Really? Your customers don’t want to know what you do? Why on earth not? If they want to buy from you, why wouldn’t they want to know more?

And the others? Well, I guess you have a mobile phone or computer as you’re reading this? Who says you’re not photogenic?

live video tips by alice andreatIn my interview with Alice Andreat, she gives some great tips to get started with live video.

You can see from this photo that she’s an expert, and I’m still in learning phase for live video! She was so kind when she said “you are the light Tracey-Jane” 😉

 

Live video tips to take the fear away

  1. Use the equipment you’ve already got when you’re starting out. Your smartphone has lots of tools, and if it has a camera, you can record and share live video from it
  2. Choose the platform which you’re most comfortable with. If you use LinkedIn, use their video function; if Facebook is your preferred place to be, use their livestream; if you’re constantly on Instagram use Instagram stories to share your video
  3. Improve your lighting by getting natural light lightbulbs. Alice herself uses 2 unshaded lamps on either side of her camera, at about eye level. This is important for preventing shading on your face. For those of us with glasses this helps reduce the glare off your glasses
  4. Practice before going live. You can create a secret group on Facebook and practice, practice, practice there. Practice on any topic you like. If you have a safe place to share, like the Business Cheerleading Club support group, practice in the group and get feedback from members.
  5. Test your audio before you start. My first ever live facebook interview will go down in history as a classic case of this! I thought the audience could hear me, even though my guest couldn’t. Ooops! It’s actually a brilliant #tipsforbusiness video as Carrie Eddins gives some excellent PR tips for getting you started which is why you can still watch it! 😉
  6. Stay a bit more the right on your screen and look at the camera, not the image on the screen. It’s hard and this takes practice, but it’s worth trying out and seeing what works for you
  7. Generally use your phone in landscape mode as most platforms prefer this format. It also makes it a better “look” when you download the video and use in other content.

Want to learn more about using Live Video?

Join our online workshop Friday 10th August 11am BST where Alice from Fabulous with Alice will give some more practical live video tips in an interactive workshop. She’ll be focusing on ways you can use live video without being on camera. Sound like something which would help you get going with video in your business?

It’s free to Business Cheerleading Club members (level silver or above), or you can join us for £29 for the one off workshop. This includes the recording. LINK TO FOLLOW MESSAGE ME IF YOU WANT THIS.

What tips would you add for getting started with live video in a business?

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How clear is your website message for your audience to understand?

Getting your website message clear enough for your audience to understand is crucial to getting people to stay on your website long enough to see if you’re the right business for them. This is often one of the biggest challenges business owners face with all their marketing – is my message clear to my ideal customer?

Who is your audience?

As with all aspects of your business, this is the most fundamental part of all of your marketing – offline and online. Without a clear picture of who your audience is, you won’t be able to accurately use the right language for them to know you’re talking to them.

There’s lots of ways of getting really clear about your target audience, and we recommend Thoranna’s “Target Groups Untangled“, for a step by step guide. If you prefer to listen, then my interview with Thoranna has some excellent pointers for getting really clear who your target audience is.

How do I keep my website message clear?

is your website message clearIf your website message is clear, your audience will know they’re in the right place and continue to see what you offer, and if it’s right for them. During my conversation with Tim Gray, we spoke a lot about keeping it simple, from your website structure, to the words you use on your website.

Tim spoke about colours on your website too, and his article about the psychology of colour is fascinating, and well worth considering when you’re reviewing your website, and if it’s talking to your ideal audience. It’s not only colour that can be off putting for a reader, but the images and videos you use too.

Let’s look at an example:

If you’re a holistic therapist serving an area local to your home, then your website message needs to include the following:

  • Who are you & why do you do what you do
  • What you do
  • How it can help
  • Who you help (be really clear who your ideal audience is. If it’s women, say it. If it’s teenagers say that)
  • Where do you help people
  • How do you do your treatments
  • Your price
  • How people can contact you and also book an appointment

Think about it, and apply these questions to your own business:

  1. Does your ideal customer know exactly what they’re looking for? they may not know that your treatment can help their particular health issue
  2. Is your ideal customer scared or unsure about their current situation? you may need to reassure them with a story of another customer you’ve helped
  3. How have other customers found you? What were they looking for? Were they your ideal customer? use the analytics you have access to & your records to see if your website is attracting your ideal customer, or someone else. Do you want to change the words you use?
  4. Can your customer find what they’re wanting easily from any page they happen to arrive at on your website? Does the menu make sense to a lay person not fully aware of the terms you may use in your business or industry if they are totally new in searching for help in this area?

Tips for keeping your website message clear

Just like for all your marketing, get others to help you and sense check what you’re doing. Do you have a group of friends, or a network of business owners who understand your target audience enough to be able to give you good feedback? Use them. We’re doing this all the time in the Business Cheerleading Club, sense checking each other, and giving honest feedback.

Keep it simple. From the structure of your website, to the words and images you use, and the twiddly bits you add. What does your ideal customer like to look at and read? Do they like watching videos, or are they more readers to glean information before they make a decision? Are they busy and need to find what they’re looking for quickly? Keeping all your marketing simple will ensure that everything ties together when your customer sees your message in other places.

Ensure your website structure is easy to navigate, using terms your target audience use themselves in their everyday language.

Use words and phrases that your audience will understand without jargon they may not have heard of yet. Be explicit in your language. Remember you are writing your words for a HUMAN reader, not a search engine robot. 

Use headings and sub-headings to make the information easy on the eye and easy to find what you’re looking for as you scan text quickly.

Does your website look inviting and friendly? Is that what your ideal audience is looking for? Or are they looking for clinical and factual?

What questions do you get asked most? What questions are your audience looking to answer? Add these questions, and their answers to your website to help your ideal audience find what they’re looking for more easily.

Be yourself. You are your business, so you want to ensure the audience knows who you are, so they can relate to you and your business.

We all know that businesses grow and things change all the time. If you sell products you may have some products which sell  out that need removing, and new products going on to your website. Keeping that up to date can feel like a full time job in itself, let alone checking your website message is still clear for your customer.

Yes, your website message is important, just like all your other marketing messages. And marketing is just one part of your business. Yes, your not alone in thinking this is feeling a bit overwhelming. So, get your friends and network to help you. Find the right people to check your website message with you. The Business Cheerleading Club is a great place to ask for that support, and work with others to make any changes you may need.

Or, you can work one to one with me to Get your Website Working.

What have you done, or are doing, to get your website message clear for your target audience? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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Is your website working for you?

Your website is a real asset to your business. Is your website working in the way you want it to? Is it bringing you new leads, new sales, supporting customers, making your free resources available easily to your clients?

Is your website working for your businessYou will know if your website is working for you by the results and measures you check regularly – sales, enquiries, traffic, downloads. So, if your website isn’t working quite how you want it to right now, read on. (If it is, and you’d like to be a guest on our #tipsforbusiness interview series to share how you’ve got your results, please get in touch. Other business owners would love to hear from you).

3 tips to get your website working for you

Add content regularly to your website. This could be new products you add, or resources for your clients to download, or creating articles of interest to your ideal customers. It will depend on your business and the purpose of your website.

By adding content regularly, you’re telling the search engine bots (that crawl around your site every so often), that your website is alive and well, and that your business is available to serve customers in your particular area of work.

Think about it. If you visit a website and it’s not been updated since 2014, what do you think about that business? Ready to serve you? Or out of business?

Create links to your website from other relevant websites. Essentially, if your website is showing up in relevant business directories, and industry, or local searches, (where your customers are looking), you’ll be creating quality backlinks to your website. The more backlinks, the more your own website will be well thought of by the search engines.

There’s more about this on our Commenting article, which is a perfect way for you to start creating backlinks to your website from relevant.

If you ask a friend to refer you to their favourite restaurant you trust them right? So, all backlinks are doing, are telling the search engines that your website is a recommeded place to go for xyz information.

Ensure everything is working on your website. Sometimes we update a page, or remove a product that we no longer stock. However, if we’ve linked to this page or product somewhere else on our site like on a blog post when we first introduced this product to our range, or when it was on special offer, that will create a missing link on our website.

The easiest way to check that everything is working well, is to regularly check your google webmaster tools. If you haven’t got this set up yet, our tech team can sort this for you, as it’s a valuable tool recommended by the search engines.

When you reach a web page that’s no longer there, what do you think about that business. Is that website working for their business?

Need help getting your website working?

We know it’s not everyone’s favourite thing, getting technical. Or even focused on your website asset. Many business owners we speak to find their website, and online marketing scary. It’s just not “their thing”. However, those same business owners aren’t flush with cash, and/or don’t trust others to touch their websites either.

We’ve created a 10 step process to walk with you, so you can learn how to get your website working for you.

You can download our free checklist by adding your email below , or join our 10 step programme to walk you through each step and make sure you understand each part of it.

The first 10 applicants will pay only £97 for this 10 step programme, done at your own pace, which includes a one hour audit and action plan call, plus a year content planner, (together worth £114), then the price goes up to £197.





If you want to talk to us before you buy this programme to check it’s suitable for you, use ourcontact page.

 

 

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Instagram Stories are a perfect way to tell your customers more

Instagram is currently used by over 200 million people each month, with 60 million photos uploaded every day with 1.6 billion likes. It’s a growing social media platform, which some people love, whilst others “don’t get”.

As a business, it’s an area you should certainly be considering using. Even if it’s just noticing what’s going on and seeing if your ideal customers are using instagram at all. More women are using it, and if you’re target market is women 26 – early 50s, then you should definitely check out instagram, as that’s where your customers are spending some of their time.

You may not even know what instragram stories are?

A new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.

With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

Introducing Instagram Stories, August 2016

instagram storiesInstagram stories appear at the top of your screen when you’re looking at your instragram feed.

They can be video or a series of still photos or images. They don’t add to your normal instagram feed, and they disappear 24 hours after you’ve posted it.

Viewers can send you direct messages from your story, but there’s no public comments, making engagement directly with you, so you qualify the person’s interest in you by their response to your story.

I had the pleasure of learning more about instagram stories from Claire Jones-Hughes of Clarita Digital in an #inconversationwith interview, which you can view in full here

She explained that instagram stories are like a news feed, and shares current ideas, events and thinking.

 

Tips for using Instagram Stories for your business

  • Less is more – as long as it’s quality. Once a month could be enough
  • Consistency is crucial. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Start with committing to one post a month, then increase from there
  • Ensure your profile is up to date, and branded for your business & the links work
  • Have 9 photos uploaded to complete the grid people see straight away – at least 6 for starters if 9 feels too much
  • Spend time engaging with others on instagram – relevant comments and conversation
  • Create 15 second videos (from instagram app) of your event, your product, customer feedback
  • Use hashtags in your stories to help people find you
  • Don’t share across to facebook that have lots of hashtags (facebook doesn’t like it)
  • Ask your customers what they want to know about you and your business, and use that for your instagram stories

Next steps for using Instagram Stories

instagram stories tips for businessWhat I learnt from Claire, was to give it a go. Try it. Have a play. See what works for you, and what you enjoy.

That’s great for me, and my style, that’s how I learn best.

I know that’s not for everyone. Claire is available to help you and has a free webinar coming up soon.

We’ll be carrying on the instagram story conversation in the Business Cheerleading Club group, to support each other to start, learn, develop and improve. There’s plenty of space for you to join us there too, for all sorts of business support, not just about instagram or social media. Claire has also agreed to do a workshop for club members on instagram in May, (open to guests at a charge of £29).

Let’s connect on instagram – We’re at tracey_jane_hughes – what’s your account?

Have you used instagram stories? What’s your story with them for you and your business?

 

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How commenting can increase your website ranking

It’s not just about being online, or “doing social media” that helps your online visibility. Whilst conversation and commenting may feel a bit old fashioned, they’re actually a fabulous way to increase your website ranking.

Now it’s not just me saying this, I learnt this from Alice Elliott, from The Commenting Club, in our conversation this week.

in conversation with Alice Elliott, the commenting clubAlice has been studying blogs, comments, online conversations, and the correlation with website rankings for the last 6 years. Commenting went out of fashion in about 2014 when spam increased and caused the larger blog sites to stop comments on their posts altogether. Commenting moved to twitter, a micro-blog site, and conversations grew more remotely.

Many people complain about how social media is used for “getting at” others, and in some ways you can see how it’s happened. The art of conversation and commenting has been lost when people only see a snippet of someone’s views.

Tips for commenting (& being commented on)

Alice gave us many tips for commenting on other people’s blogs, on LinkedIn, on You Tube. The summary is below.

  • Your comment needs to be relevant
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree with the writer. They’ve started a conversation and you’re joining in with your view. On your own website, don’t be afraid of sharing comments which disagree with you either. It shows you accept others views
  • Allow conversation to happen naturally in the comments section
  • By allowing conversation, you’re allowing a community of readers to develop who will share your work with others
  • A comment can be a mini-post of your own. Don’t write more than 500 words, and ensure it’s not longer than the original post
  • When you add your url to your comment, use a url to a relevant article on your own website. That keeps the conversation alive and shows other readers that you have experience in the topic being discussed

Alice suggested starting with trying to write 5 comments a week on other people’s work as a starting point.

How does commenting improve your website ranking?

commenting starts conversationEvery comment with a link back to your website adds a back link to your site. Every relevant conversation to your website (and the pages you link to), adds a tick in the search engines box that your site has good information about your topic.

When you reply to the comments on your own website, you’re adding more engagement on your site, and that’s creating more links and visibility to the search engines that your site is an expert in your topic.

Commenting develops your reach. People may see your name in different places, and start to look at what you do as they agree, or disagree, with you, and they want to know who they’re talking to.

Where do you find places to comment on?

Use keyword searches to see who’s talking about the subject you want to talk about. You may already be following some blogs relevant to your area of work. There’s lots of different ways to keep on top of other blogs, such as Feedly, and Digg.

You may just set aside some time to look at interesting things and make comments where you want. Your online commenting doesn’t have to be all business related. In fact, Alice suggested that simply being yourself and adding to conversations where you want, shows you at your best.

You may be in a networking group (online or offline) where you can read each others posts, comment and share them. That’s a great way of reading a wide variety of content, and sometimes practicing your commenting, if you’re not too confident to start with.

Commenting is about creating relationships, so whenever you comment, think about that. It’s not just about getting the backlink to your website. How can you engage with the author to develop your mutual understanding? Could you cultivate customers through commenting?

I found our conversation fascinating – the whole interview is here.

Online Visibilty Workshop Friday 27th April

Book your place to learn how to grow your online visibility by commenting HERE

If you want to learn more about commenting, take a look at The Commenting Club. There’s lots of articles to give you a flavour, and with Alice’s support you may well want to develop your commenting skills.

We also encourage sharing and commenting in the Business Cheerleading Club, where members share their website posts for other members to comment on and share – that networking I talked about earlier.

What’s your experience of commenting? Do you enjoy it? Are you a regular commenter?

What #tipsforbusiness have I missed off this list?

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Blogging for business – why bother?

You may think blogging is ‘old hat’. Or heard that blogging for business is “a waste of time”. Yet, there’s a lot of businesses who are growing their online visibility through blogging. What do you do? Why bother with blogging?

In our recent #inconversationwith business blogging expert Sarah Arrow, she walked us through how she’d taken her husband’s business website from no traffic, to 700 visitors a week, which led to a massive increase in sales. That’s how her blogging for business journey started. She, and Kevin, now help many business owners to write content on their websites to grow their business reputation and increase sales.

Why bother blogging for business?

in conversation with sarah arrow blogging for businessAs Sarah said so eloquently, “If you want to leave those customers for me to have, that’s fine. I’ll take them!” She went on to say, “when I asked my customers how they’d found us, they said, “I typed it in google” ” Simple as that!

Sarah told me how she wrote blogs, (or posts, or articles), whichever term you prefer that answered customer queries that she was getting on the phone. She wrote posts that helped her understand Kevin’s transport business. She wasn’t a writer, and didn’t want to write. However, she found that, when she wrote a post, (on BT Tradespace which is where she started blogging for business), that the phone would ring with a booking, or enquiry. Instead of writing 3 times a week, she decided to write daily, to keep the phone ringing every day.

The more you write, the more people are able to get to know you. They understand how your business works. They understand, know and like you as a business owner, and know they want to do business with you.

We discussed that many business owners are frightened of blogging, for all sorts of reasons. The main one I see and hear, is those businesses who aren’t wanting to be visible, or aren’t certain about what their business does, so aren’t able to talk about it. Others are scared that they’ll say “something wrong”.

What do your customers need to know?

If you’re ready to get started, and I highly recommend Sarah’s 30 day blogging challenge as a starting point, then start with talking to your customers about what they need to know:

  • About you
  • About your product or service
  • Why did you set the business up?
  • What can your product or service help them with? In marketing speak, what “pain” does your product or service “relieve”
  • What do you offer that they can’t get from another business which sells the same product?

And that’s just a starting point! Can you see? Whether you like the term blogging, or content marketing, all you’re doing as a business, is sharing your skills and knowledge with your customers and potential customers.

You’re helping your website be found by people searching for places to get a particular product, or fix a particular issue.

As Sarah said, when you’ve got water gushing everywhere, you simply need the first plumber that comes up in your google search who can come right now. If Joe Bloggs Plumbers who lives down the road doesn’t have a website, or is consciously promoting himself online, he’ll not be found when you search for ‘plumber’ in your area.

How to get started with blogging for business

I recommend Sarah’s 30 day blogging challenge. It’s focused on blogging for business & not only takes you through the writing aspect, giving you ideas of what to write about, but also how to set your website up to get maximum traffic.

The Business Cheerleading Club supports all aspects of business, and we’ve been exploring with some members the how to of blogging, and have even helped add a blog to a website to get them started. Each month we explore a business topic, but as a member you can ask questions, get support, and share your blog links to get extra traffic from club members.

In fact, the last two Action Spotlight Coaching sessions have focused on content creation and blogging for members. We talked through the types of content they could create, and how they could schedule their time to blog regularly, to “improve your writing muscle”, as Sarah said.

I like writing, and sharing my knowledge by blogging for my business. I know it’s increasing traffic to my website, as my stats tell me that too. I’m getting more potential customers find me and talk to me, and it’s growing my business.

Do you blog for your business? Or do you think you’d like to get started now you know a bit more? We’re here to help 🙂