Marketing

There’s no doubt that there are plenty of benefits to having your own in-house marketing team. However, in most cases, there comes a point where an outsourced marketing team can bring a new lease of life into your marketing strategies, or give you additional skills perhaps not present in your in-house team  In this blog post, we give you five signs that it may be time to outsource all or some of your marketing. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hand everything over but maybe there’s a few tasks that could be done better outside of your organisation. 1. The team is becoming overwhelmed There are many ways your marketing team could be overwhelmed. The most obvious is that there is just too much work to do and they can’t cope with it all, making them fall behind with deadlines. However, they may also be making little mistakes and showing that they’re struggling through the quality of their work. If this is the case, it may be time to get a little extra help, even if it’s only for a few hours a week.    2. Campaigns aren’t being run properly The in-house team may not be running campaigns properly simply because they do not have the skills required for the job. Perhaps someone has taken on marketing as part of another role, for example. If there is a one-time campaign that you want to run, but your team doesn’t have the right skills you could outsource to an expert for that one campaign.  3. Creativity is running low Marketing is something that requires a spark of creativity to get your business’s messaging across effectively. Sometimes a team that has worked on the same material for a long time can begin to run out of ideas. An outsourced team can bring a fresh pair of eyes and come up with unthought of and inspiring ideas.  4. Completing day-to-day tasks with no end goal It’s very easy for an in-house team to begin to complete marketing tasks for the sake of it. What we mean by this is you may be creating a few posts a week for your social media channel/s just to appear active online, but the overall goal for being on social media is lost. An out-sourced team can help you implement a strong strategy to ensure your marketing goals are met.  5. You’re disappointed with your overall business growth Good marketing efforts should be generating strong leads on a regular basis and allowing you to grow your business. If your current marketing is not doing this, maybe it’s time to boost your marketing efforts again. A good way to do this is asking people with different marketing experience to look over your marketing strategy.   Remember that outsourcing your marketing doesn’t have to mean handing everything over. It could just be one small task to begin with to see how it goes.  We have a variety of clients; for some we take care of all their marketing, others we perhaps only run their social media or sort out their print advertising.  If you’re interested in having a chat about how we can help you and your marketing team, get in touch with us. We can even run training sessions to develop your team’s skills. ...

Small Changes Can Make a BIG Difference To Your Marketing You might not have the time nor the resources to do a full on redesign of your website or completely revamp your social media channels. However there are quick wins that you can achieve in a few hours, whether doing it yourself or asking a professional to help. Here’s a few ideas that we’re undertaking at the moment for both ourselves and some of our clients: Refresh your logo - visual branding is often created at the beginning of your business’s life when you’re keen to get something ‘out there’ to get the ball rolling. Several years down the line and you’re still using the same one but times - and your business - have moved on. If you’ve built good brand recognition you won’t want to waste that credibility, trust and awareness so, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater and ditching the existing logo, why not go for a refresh?  With a successful logo refresh, you can continue to reap the benefits of the brand awareness and trustworthiness of your ‘old’ logo but demonstrate your currency, dynamism and forward-thinking approach with a new look.    Revisit your website content - like your logo, you may have created your website when you were first looking to tell people about your business, and it’s been left like that for some time. For some of you, a redesign and rebuild may be necessary but an update of images and written content (aka copy) could work in many cases. For example, is your ‘about’ page up to date with any staff featured? Is your portfolio showing your most recent clients and work? Perhaps some of the language you used doesn’t reflect the tone you wish to convey?  Take some time to read through the copy and change the bits that don’t fit with how you now see your business. There may also be references to past promotions or events that have taken place and are no longer relevant. Similarly, perhaps you used stock images at the start but now have (or are in a position to get) images of your actual products or services? Small changes can make big differences to customer and client perception and is great for enhancing your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Google especially loves new content and even making slight changes to existing copy will mean that Google improves the ranking of that page.   Update your social bios and headers - In the same way that website content needs to move on to reflect any changes in the business, so too do your social media bio and ‘about’ information. Similarly, you might like to change the header image on your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn business page. Perhaps you’re now offering a new service or product that you’d like to highlight? There is also lots of free or good value design software out there that offers exact match templates for specific header sizes to ensure you get the maximum effect. We love Canva (you can check it out here) which is super easy to use.   Icons and thumbnails These are often ignored in design, which is a huge mistake as icons are often the first thing someone sees about you. Does your logo actually work when used in this small format? If not, can you focus on a part of the logo? Can you simplify it in some way? When designing the Seaside Creative branding, we realised that our 5 beach huts would not work across our social media icons so we developed our single beach hut which is now equally recognised along with our main logo.  [caption id="attachment_17281" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Our full Seaside Creative logo (left) and our versatile icon used when a smaller image is needed[/caption]   Consistency across all channels - consistency is a key aim in marketing. You want people to recognise your brand and what it represents easily and quickly. The best way is to keep your branding consistent, that is imagery, tone of voice in your copy, typography (the fonts, colours and sizes you use), any uniforms, signage or livery, customer service, or anything else that represents your business.  This won’t always be possible down to the tiniest details but you can certainly take an overall look at your website, any literature (brochures, adverts, leaflets), your email signature, etc to make sure that each one looks broadly the same. Are you using the most up to date logo? If you’ve chosen to use a certain font, is it the same in your emails, your website, etc? If someone looked at your website, would they know it was the same business as when looking at your brochure or any other aspect of your business?   Remove or update out of date stuff - this ties in with the previous point as it’s very easy to change logos, a point of contact, or a page on your website, without ensuring that it’s been updated everywhere it needs to be. Did you pin a post to the top of your Facebook page when you had a promo on and have left it there months after? Perhaps you’ve got printed literature featuring old price lists? Save yourself awkward moments by making it a regular task to check everything is current. Customers and clients will either be confused by out of date information - creating more work for you when they contact you about it - or get the impression of an inactive, stagnant business and this won’t help you win new customers.   Set aside a morning or one day to take a look at each of these ideas - in fact, some may be achieved alongside each other. If there’s anything you’ve got questions about do get in touch.    If you decide you need expert help - perhaps with your copywriting, new images or a branding refresh - do get in touch with us. We’re here to help....

In these times of uncertainty, when many people are working from home and events are being cancelled, networking clubs are being ill-attended and meetings postponed. Many questions arise, the main one being, ‘what does this all mean for my business?’ Here at Seaside Creative, we have a strong belief in the phrase ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. So we asked ourselves ‘what are the positives to the situation and could there even be opportunities?  At this time, there could potentially be more traffic to your website and social media than ever, as people are spending more and more time online. Make sure you make the most of this increased traffic by ensuring your online channels are at their best. That way, the connection between your business and potential customers is still high. Now would be a great opportunity to boost your digital efforts. There have been studies that date back to almost a century ago which point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing marketing budgets during a weaker economy. We understand that while this isn’t quite a weak economy scenario, it is a time of crisis and it is important to advertise throughout good and bad times. Social media is one of the first places potential customers go to see updates about a business, in fact, 66% of Facebook users say they Like or Follow a brand on the platform.  Therefore; having an engaging social feed can allow potential customers to feel a connection with you, even if all of your employees are working from home. Another great way to keep potential customers engaged for longer is with video. Ensuring video content is engaging and informative allows people to still interact with your business and learn about what you can offer them - even if they are working from home. From an employers’ point of view, not having team members in the office does not need to mean that there is a lack of communication between them. There are plenty of online services which allow users to be in contact. Why not try video calling each other on Skype? If video calling isn’t for you there are plenty of collaborative tools which allow teams to work together in a virtual space; such as Slack. There are lots of ways communication can continue even when people are not physically together; which includes keeping in touch with potential customers.  If you have a strong presence online, connection will not be lost between your business and potential customers. So if you’re in need of help with your online marketing strategy, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help you keep in front of the people who matter - whether offline or online! If you're not quite ready to call us, why not sign up for our newsletter? It's full of useful information and will remind you to contact us when the time is right!...

Our Top 4 Things To Do In 2020 To Make Your Digital Marketing More Successful It’s 2020! Whether you’ve just started your own business, or you’re brushing up on your marketing skills we thought we’d collate our top four digital marketing tips to help make your 2020 successful. There are so many different areas of digital marketing; which is why we’ve chosen four top tips - one for each main area of digital marketing. Social media, email marketing, pay per click advertising (PPC) and, of course, search engine optimisation (SEO). So let’s get started… Social media: Be consistent This might sound a little obvious, but we see businesses posting inconsistently all too often. Note how we’ve said ‘consistent’ and not ‘constant’? Although posting frequently is important, making sure the content goes out consistently is key. Ensuring you post on certain days every week will not only allow you to get into a routine, it’ll also mean your followers will know when to expect content. Whether you want to post twice a day, twice a week or twice a month, make sure you stick to it!   Email Marketing: Segment your mailing list If you’ve got a small mailing list at the moment, segmenting your list may be difficult. But once you start to grow your list you’ll start to notice trends. These trends can then be organised into segments so that you can send targeted emails. For example; if you send out an email to all of your subscribers promoting a new bag you’re selling, put a link to the bag in the email. The people that click on the link can be segmented into a separate list which means you can then re-target the people that were interested. There are so many ways you can target consumers using email marketing, segmenting your mailing list is a good place to start!   Pay Per Click Advertising: Target your campaigns effectively  Although most people do target their campaigns, not many realise the extent to which this can be done. Targeting tools are now very precise, not only based on past internet activity but also geographical location. In some instances, the targeting tools will allow you to use micro-geographical focus to really hone in on the consumers you want to view your advertisement. Ensuring your campaigns are targeted correctly will ensure that the right consumers are seeing your advertisements. In turn, this should generate more successful analytics and increased Return On Investment (ROI).   Search Engine Optimisation: ensure your business photos have ALT text SEO has a huge stigma for being something that not everyone can do and a task only fit for a professional. But the fact is, anyone can do SEO; it is not about striving for unrealistic results. More about making small changes to the content that you upload online - whether on your website, on social media, on a blog etc. Small changes have a huge impact on how highly your website or business is ranked in the magical search engine algorithm.    One of the smallest alterations that can make a huge difference is ensuring your business photos have ALT text. Usually found in the image settings, ALT text is primarily used for text-speech systems to describe the photo. For example; if you uploaded a photo of a black Labrador, you should include ALT text that states, ‘Image of a black Labrador’. ALT text can also be very useful for SEO; by adding ALT text you are allowing search engines to know what the image is and so they can flag the photo as relevant where appropriate to the user. But how does that boost SEO of my business? - Include your business name within the ALT text of a photo. Having that photo optimised means there is more content online which is relevant to your business name. The more content a search engine can find about the business, generally, the higher it will rank it. Having optimised photos will improve your website as a whole and improve user experience (UX)!   So you see, small changes to any area of your digital marketing strategy can greatly impact your results.  If you’re looking to get professional help with your business’ online presence please contact us on 01903 686858 or drop us an email. We also send out a monthly newsletter so if you're keen to have all sorts of useful marketing advice delivered direct to your inbox, sign up here....

Having a lot of knowledge in our field is great for us, but it feels even better to share that knowledge. This is exactly what we’ve been doing recently, working with both Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce as well as businesses to run training sessions. Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce offers training sessions led by local experts called ‘WiseUp2’ sessions. Both of our Directors have offered up their own expertise on many occasions through running their own WiseUp2 sessions. In fact, Kelly has one coming up soon!  Seaside Creative offers a complete service to its clients, so whether you need help with writing, websites, digital marketing or photography and video, our team have the expertise. Which is why the sessions that we run for the Chamber are so diverse. The approach we take with our training sessions is often hands on, we love to get the people attending interacting and trying out the skills they are learning right there and then.  Recently, our Director Martin Bloomfield took along a selection of his recording equipment to a WiseUp2 training session he was running on how to use smartphones to create video for social media. Having the equipment there allowed people to try it out for themselves. By the end of the session everyone had the opportunity to get a hands on learning experience.  Within the last week, Kelly and Alison have been delivering training sessions to a local organisation that wanted to train its staff in social media marketing. This was a great opportunity for Alison, our digital marketing assistant, to share her expert Instagram knowledge and get to grips with running a training session.  Even though we love to share our knowledge, we also need to brush up on our own skills from time to time. At Seaside Creative, we often attend training sessions ourselves and become students again! We never shy away from learning a new skill, or brushing up on a current one - #NeverStopLearning! If you’re looking for training across any marketing sphere of expertise, we can most likely cover it. Our sessions are delivered bespoke to clients’ needs. What’s your marketing pain point? Let us help get rid of it. Contact us today. If you're not quite ready for training or other help just yet you can sign up to our email newsletter so you'll get all our help and advice delivered monthly. ...

Although it is said a lot, video content really is the holy grail of social media content. As easy as it is to just type a post or include a photo, having a video really boosts engagement. In fact, according to a report by Animoto, videos are consumers favourite type of social media content.  At Seaside Creative, we strive to create video content to suit every client because we understand that no two businesses are the same and what works for one client may not work for another. We can create a variety of video; from short GIFs to longer films, the possibilities for video content on social media are endless. Working alongside and understanding clients helps us create video content that helps your business increase engagement and reach social media goals faster. As part of the social team, I work closely with the visual team to ensure that every client’s social media feed is full of engaging content. Bringing two experienced teams together to work on each and every client’s social media schedule means that only the best content is used  There are a few ways that we recommend you create video content:   In this day and age, most people are able to produce quality video footage with the equipment that they already own. That’s why we offer a halfway service so that clients who already have the footage can have it turned into a professional video. Here is an example of a video we created when a client met us halfway. With this particular example; another company owned the footage of our client’s product being made, but we managed to get permission to use it for our client’s promotional purposes. Once we could use the footage, our visual team then added text, a logo, music and transitions to really bring the footage to life. Once the video was created, it was posted on LinkedIn to help people become aware of just how the client’s product is produced. A different client came to us with a vision, but no footage of their own to give us. The client wanted to promote the award-winning pizza that they serve and so we created a stop motion animation to capture consumer’s attention on Facebook. There are many ways that we can work with you to create the perfect video content for your social media channels.  Contact us today to find out how we can help your business excel on social media with video content. You can also sign up to our newsletter so that'll get updates on the new blog posts we add, giving you helpful advice and pointers like this one!   ...

Google is constantly bringing out and getting rid of features on it’s services and as professional marketers; it is the Seaside Creative Team’s responsibility to keep on top of them all. Not only for business, but often for their own curiosity too! Since the archiving of Google+, Google has been working on a similar product to be incorporated into their existing services. Which is this new ‘Follow’ button on Google Maps which is brought to users for free; after ‘following’ a business on Google maps, users will receive updates about them that the business itself posts. It is important to note that only the business themselves can see people that are following them; the businesses a user follows is not visible to anyone else.   The new follow button is a lot like Google+ as it creates engagement on the Google platform and allows content to be shared and posted. The content produced for Google Maps briefly appears on Google search in the knowledge graph.  [caption id="attachment_16783" align="aligncenter" width="174"] A screenshot displaying Google Maps on an iOS device.[/caption] So what are the benefits of this for my business? The bottom line is that it is another avenue for marketing your products or services to your potential customers. Unlike the mainstream forms of marketing, however; people have actively shown an interest in your business by hitting the follow button. Therefore; you have already gained their interest and attention and the chances are they will be engaged in updates that you post as they have consciously asked for them. On top of this; a business has the opportunity to have a Google Map listing 3 months before the complex itself is due to open. Not only can this opportunity be used to boost awareness of the business, but it also means that consumers can know exactly when the actual place is due to open; creating the chance of massive footfall in the business’ opening months. Overall; the For You tab on Google maps in a brand new way for consumers to get recommendations from Google via the map app. Not only is this great for consumers to have all recommendations in one place, it is also a fantastic opportunity for marketers to target consumers. Although the service is completely free for the business owner to use, finding the time and remembering to keep your business’ updates frequent can be hard to juggle. If you would like any support or advice do get in touch with us. We also have a rather handy newsletter that you might like to subscribe to; it'll give you monthly updates on marketing news as well as useful advice and guides....

Warning - this blog may blow our own trumpet! Last November we were biting our nails as we had four clients shortlisted for eight awards at a business awards ceremony. On the night we we over the moon to see our clients win five of of the eight awards and be highly recommended in two others. One of our clients was even named 'Company of the Year'! Fast forward to this year and we are once again biting our nails as we ourselves are shortlisted for two awards and also have two clients shortlisted in four separate categories. Furthermore, we have another client shortlisted for a completely separate industry award. Understandably, various limbs are being crossed at nearly all times. Why enter business awards? Business awards are a great thing to win - who doesn't want to be known as 'award-winning'? The positive publicity to be garnered from winning such a thing can last for years and we always recommend to clients that they look at entering either local business awards or industry relevant ones. Over the past six years, we have worked in the background supporting clients with their award entries and we have been quite successful at it. Until last month we had achieved 17 finalists, resulting in ten winners, four highly commended and three regional winners in the Adur & Worthing and also the Southern Business Awards. Pretty good stats, even if we do say so ourselves. This success has built up a bit of a reputation for us locally - and we are now approached by companies to help them with entries. We usually turn away any that clash in categories as we don't feel it is right to have clients competing for exactly the same award. Of course, there's never any guarantee of winning - but when success is achieved - we are still chuffed to bits with that for our clients. Judging panels often take hours and hours going through finer details on entries that interest them, so all you can do is include as much relevant detail as possible and hope they like your entry the most. Top Tips So what is our process when writing award entries? We discuss, encourage and research what we think will work for that particular award/category. We then produce written and visual content, there is always straight text involved, but more often than not entries now include, photography, infographics, maps and even video too. Draft and draft again! Finally we put it all together in a concise entry that fits the brief. It's not an easy thing to do. Quite often the client wants to win a certain category and doesn't see that perhaps their story is more relevant for a different one. Some clients don't even see how they could even enter - let alone win! So do wish us and our clients luck and if you need any help with award entries then we would love to help you too #keepingeverythingcrossed Contact us for a chat, and sign up for our newsletter so you can keep in touch with our news as well as our marketing advice....

In today's fast moving technological world, new ideas are introduced unannounced all the time and Google are a serial offender of this. So we thought we'd share a nugget that we  discovered this week in the back office of YouTube (in the Analytics section) that we think could be significant for all producers of 360° videos; Heat Map Reports for YouTube 360° Videos.   It's interesting to see how people react in an interactive 360° video; which we could see on our original 360°video made from the still images of a Google Maps virtual tour of Freedom Works - Creative Hub, a co-working place in Hove (East Sussex, UK). Our 360° video  [embed]https://youtu.be/HxXTfYm_4LU[/embed]   YouTube Heat Map Report what is it? The heat map report records exactly what does or doesn't catch the viewers' attention in a 360º video by showing where users have interacted with the video during playback. YouTube records the touches and aggregates the touches together as users view the 360º video and touch the screen to rotate it. The heat map report gives you precise information as to what has caught the eye of the viewer.   Users who then have access to YouTube’s analytics section, can view and interpret the Heat Map Report easily as it is overlaid on the original video to highlight where touches have occurred, frame by frame. Heat map reports are currently available in YouTube Analytics on your computer for public 360º videos. Supported devices include: Android app, iOS app, Desktop, Google Cardboard and Google Daydream Our video of our 360º video Heat Map Report [embed]https://youtu.be/ZF9xOmx-uDg[/embed] Google (which owns YouTube) states: ‘The heat map report is generated daily. Note: There can be a 2–3 day delay between when the video is viewed and the report is available.’  The Heat Map Report covers the lifetime of the video since it’s been in the public domain. To view Heat Map reports On your computer, sign in to YouTube. In the top-right corner, click your account icon > Creator Studio. On the left under "Video Manager", click Analytics. Select 360º Heat maps. Choose the video that you want to view data for. Choose your platform: You can choose to see data for two platforms you can select either Desktop or All Devices, which means mobile and headsets. Interestingly, Google states that you will need at least 1,000 views of the video for the Heat Map Report to work.  Which again is interesting as our video which has been live since 15 June 2018 has been viewed 48 times, so either we’ve been lucky to see this or Google has decided to relax the rules, which is really nice of them!  You are able to download the Heat Map Report in a mp4 video. Although when we did this, only the video downloaded without the heat spots, so we are guessing maybe you have to have the 1,000 views for this functionality to work.   So what does this actually mean? Good question!  It shows where people viewing the 360º video have interacted with with it.  It it quite noticeable near the end of our 360º video Heat Map Report video shows the interaction tailed off, so it would appear that interest wained or people just left the video to roll on.  With 360º video, auto rotate occurs, so if you are watching the video on a mobile device and move the device around the image/video will reorientate to that direction.  So this helps the 360º film maker get a better understanding of the level of interest occurring in the video.   Which in turn guides them into capturing and making videos that creates interesting and immersive content that people will want to interact with throughout the whole 360º video.   If you are reading this and have a business premises and would be interested in having a 360º virtual tour please contact Martin at Seaside Creative. We'd also love it if you would sign up to our newsletter so we can let you know when we publish more useful info like this on our blog.   Source information from YouTube can be found here https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/7407544?hl=en-GB  ...

Do you really have time for all those networking meetings? Or could you be winning business some other way instead? Well, yes, you could be using many different techniques such as retargeting where those who leave your website are retargetted through Google Ads appearing on other sites they browse (we run just such campaigns for clients). However, as an agency, we would always advocate promoting your strengths through a variety of targeted media - as a complement to the personal touch. No matter how virtual life gets, people will still always buy people - which is why we now see lots of chat boxes from 'real people' on things like holiday and insurance sites. So, in business, making time for face to face networking is still vitally important. We do a lot of networking in our local area and have attended all sorts of groups and meetings at various times of day. We often joke that we could become the size of a house and have no time to do any work if we attended all the meetings to which we were invited, so how do you pick the right ones and then make them work for you? Here's our top tips: Prioritise meetings according to your current business goals. Who are you aiming at when finding new business? What geographical area are you looking at? (and does it matter in these days?) If the meeting does not fit within your new business goals then don't waste your time attending. Who is going to be there? Don't know? Ask the organiser! Find out if the other people attending are worth 2 hours of your working day (plus travel time etc). We often find that lunches take the longest working chunk out of the day, so we tend to go for breakfasts and evenings. Everyone is different however and sometimes the attendee list really does make it worth attending whatever the time of day. You will fit into some groups better than others. Some groups (a bit like the ones on LinkedIn) will be a better fit for you. We have walked into some networking groups and almost seen the tumbleweed blow across the floor as we introduced ourselves. Whereas others we've been made very welcome at. Don't be disheartened if you don't get a great feel from one group - there are lots of different types to try and you will find one that suits you. Manage your expectations. As with all marketing, you will not achieve much from just one try. Networking is about building relationships with people, which happens over time. Maintaining relationships takes effort - so we return to your new business goals - is this meeting really worth it? Make your elevator pitch relevant. If there is just one person in that room with whom you'd love to do business, aim your pitch at their needs. Make it short - many groups do a 60 seconds round but some only allow 10 second introductions - so have a couple up your sleeve ready to go and practice them. Don't forget to practice them. Oh, and did I say about practising them? Take stuff with you. This might be an obvious statement, but you would not believe how many people we've met when networking who have run out of business cards! If you have any merchandising or other marketing collateral, then check with the organiser to see if it's OK to bring along and if so you can leave it out for people to take too. Everyone still loves a freebie and if it's got your company name on it then so much the better - but do check with the organiser first. Relax and enjoy it. This might be hard to do if you've had to get up at stupid o'clock in the morning or if you're worrying about a deadline when you know you might be out of the office for 3 hours. Don't go if the work is more important, there will always be next time. When you're out there 'being your business' you have to be on top of your game. You can't do that if you're stressed. You have nothing to lose when attending networking meetings, so just go and enjoy it.   There are many helpful, friendly and positive business groups out there you can join. One of the best places to start is with your local Chamber of Commerce. If, like us, you're based in Worthing and Adur you can find the Chamber here and if not, you can find a list of where different branches are here.  We are also members of the FSB and other local independent networking groups too - each organisation offers different benefits but we would say that all of them have been positive for us so far. We hope these few points are helpful, and maybe we'll see you out networking soon! In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you updated with more useful advice like this.  ...