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Category: Marketing Tips

  1. How to optimise your company LinkedIn profile

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    Ok, so love it or loath it … LinkedIn is a great place to see and be seen.  Does your business have a LinkedIn company profile page? If not, you could be missing a trick.   And if you do, and you feel its been a little neglected, here are a few tips to refresh your page:

    1. Firstly, optimise your description field by listing your most important keywords and phrases separated by a symbol, such as an asterisk (*). Limit text to roughly 100 characters with spaces and symbols.
    2. Next, draft an engaging company description and use your keywords and phrases throughout the description. Avoid keyword-stuffing and writing for search engines by keeping it natural. Have someone proof read the final content to make sure it reads well.
    3. Also take advantage of the 'specialties' section of your page. You can use up to 256 characters in this section, so be sure to include your top 10 to 15 SEO keywords so that people find your business when they search.
    4. To create engagement, invite people to follow your company page once you start publishing status updates. Be sure to include your target SEO keywords in your updates.  Your status updated can be a cut and paste or a version of the posts you are sharing on your personal profile.
    5. Optimise Your LinkedIn Showcase Pages -  LinkedIn’s showcase pages are an extension of your company page and are designed to highlight particular brands or product lines. As with company pages, LinkedIn members can follow your showcase pages and you can publish status updates to them. Here’s how to make showcase pages work for you: Include target SEO keywords in the showcase page name and the description. You can use up to 200 characters to make the description text compelling.  Showcase pages haven’t gained a lot of traction, so LinkedIn may not keep them around forever. However, Google likes them, so we recommend you adopt them for now.
    6. Provide a link to the corresponding service or product page on your website and invite people to follow your showcase page. When posting relevant status updates, include target SEO keywords.
    7. Optimise Posts to LinkedIn Groups. Currently, you can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn. Finding the right groups can work in your favour because Google indexes and displays LinkedIn group discussions in their search engine results. Here’s how to get the most SEO juice out of your group postings: Always abide by group rules so posts don’t end up in the Pending Review section. Include a target SEO keyword in the title and description fields of the group posting. Use keywords in your Group updates. Gain extra mileage by perpetuating the conversation. Respond if someone comments on your post. Google loves social media posts that gets engagement.

    I'd be very happy to review your profile, please send it across to me at [email protected]

  2. So, just who am I selling to? The importance of understanding your target audience

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    The foundation of our marketing comes from understanding who our target audience is…and in detail!  Then creating all of products and services based around that.

    You want to create a profitable business that attracts quality leads and turns them into paying customers and raving fans you need to ensure that all of your hard-earned wisdom gets in front of the right people, with the right content, in the right product and at the right time.understanding your target audience

  3. 10 tips on improving your website Call to Action (CTA)

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    TOP TIPS ON IMPROVING YOUR (2)There are two key elements to marketing. The first is to drive traffic to your website, and the second is to get the traffic to convert into customers.  This blog focuses on 10 tips to improve conversion to enquiry on your website or campaign landing page. And let’s not forget, CTAs are everywhere – homepages, webpages, blog posts, emails, landing pages, etc, etc.

    But how do you measure its success?  Set up your ‘goals’ on Google Analytics for each area on your website where you have a CTA eg filling in an enquiry form, buying a product, signing up for a newsletter etc… see Google’s help on this

    Read these 10 tips and you’ll be well on your way to CTA greatness.

    1. Use a ‘One-Click Sign-Up Process’.  Making it as easy as possible for prospects to sign-up is one of the best ways to increase conversion rates. The more you ask them to do, the less likely they will do what you want.
    2. Encourage prospects to sign-up.  What can you give them for free that has real value?  It could be a top ten tips, link to a tutorial, cheat sheet or a template they can use.  Make it clear (if it’s the case) it’s free and without obligation.
    3. Keep your text to a minimum, too many words can be very distracting, confusing or boring!  30 or 40 words of copy maximum is ideal with real imagery that represents the service and repeats your key message to reinforce your selling point.
    4. Make promises.  What can you guarantee they will receive from buying your product or service?  Can you offer a money back guarantee?  What will it change in their life or business?
    5. Use facts and figures, they are a good way to grab a prospect’s attention eg. number of clients or satisfaction ratings
    6. Ask (and answer) questions.  Understand what brought your customer to your website or landing page, then ask and answer their questions eg. best price, best offer, highest quality, most respected.  Appeal to prospects’ emotions.
    7. Use directional cues, eg. A big arrow pointing to the contact form.  It sounds obvious, but it helps!
    8. Include trust signals.  Inclusion of star-reviews from satisfied customers, brands or people of authority helps build trust.
    9. Use white space, make sure the page isn’t busy… it’s a great way to keep your landing pages clean and draw attention to the elements that really matter.
    10. Try different calls-to-action, eg. don’t use the word “Submit” for the CTA.  The unofficial rule when creating calls-to-action is to use words that could logically complete a sentence for example, “I want to…”  “look great!”

  4. #7 tips to help you get lucky on LinkedIn

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    With more than 347 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals as well as one of the top social networks overall. But do you know how to use LinkedIn to its fullest potential?  There are lots of powerful hidden features, but which are worth spending your time on?

    Here’s a quick list of 7 tips for you to work through… let’s get stuck in!vbmarketing.co.uk (3)


    1.     Add a background photo to your personal LinkedIn profile

    Like with facebook, did you know that you can update your LinkedIn background photo?  Helping bring your profile to life.  Remember that it needs to be professional and not you on your hols!

    To add a background photo to your profile, click Profile >> Edit Profile in LinkedIn's top navigation, then click Add a background photo at the top of your page. You can either create a new image with a designer a resolution of 1400 x 425 pixels for the best look or create one yourself using a free design editing tool www.canva.com .  They have a template for Facebook and LinkedIN cover photo but you can also edit any images or photos on there to create interesting content eg your own branded motivational or inspirational images which are all the rage! 


    2.     Customise your public profile URL

    Make your personal profile look more professional (and much easier to share) by customising your LinkedIn public profile URL instead of a load of numbers and gobbledegook eg https://uk.linkedin.com/in/victoriabranch . Customize your URL by going https://www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings# and modifying your public profile URL on the right-hand side.


    3.     Create a Profile Badge for your personal website or blog.

    If you have your own personal website or blog, you can promote your personal LinkedIn presence and help grow your professional network by adding a Profile Badge that links to your public LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has several different badge designs to select from, and you can configure your own here.


    4.     Turn your LinkedIn profile into your CV

    LinkedIn enables you to turn your profile into a CV -friendly at a press of a button. http://resume.linkedinlabs.com/


    5.     Make your profile easy to find

    Optimise your profile by ensuring your key works are included in your headline and summary Eg  Marketing Strategist & founder & Director of VB Marketing Ltd


    6.     Rearrange entire sections of your profile

    You are able to reorder entire sections of your profile in any way you prefer. When in edit mode, simply hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow in each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click, then drag and drop to another position on your profile.


    7.     Request an introduction to someone you're not connected to.

    Want to connect with another LinkedIn user who you don’t already know?  You can request an introduction to contact a 2nd-degree connection from a connection you both have in common. Simply visit the profile of the 2nd-degree connection you want to connect with, click the triangular drop-down arrow near the top of their profile and select Get Introduced.


  5. 7 tips on how to write and issue a killer press release!

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    How to write killer press releases!press release

    If you're looking to get media coverage for your business and you don’t have the budget for a PR team, being able to write and publish an effective press release is an essential skill. But how long should a press release be? What should you include?  Who should you send it to?  In this blog I talk about 7 foundations for making the biggest impact in your press release writing, reconnecting us with why press releases are such an invaluable aspect of your marketing strategy - not least because they are free!

    1. Make sure your story is newsworthy

    Before you even attempt to write a press release, think about the things you like to read about in the media.  And ask yourself: Is there anything "new" in my story? Is there anything unusual or unexpected about it? Would this be of interest to anyone outside my business? Will anyone actually care? If the answer is “no” to the last question it is probably worth holding off sending out the press release until you have something newsworthy. Types of stories: New opening, New technology, Trends, Business growth / acquisition, An achievement or milestone, Fundraising, event, Celebrity endorsement/activity.

    Include hard numbers, fill your press release with hard numbers that support the significance of your product or announcement. If you're claiming a trend, you need proof to back it up.  Quantify your story and it will become much more compelling.

    2.Write killer headlines

    Most journalists get hundreds of emails every day, so it's a good idea to label email as ‘press release’ (stating the obvious I know!) and a short title to grab attention and encourage the journalist to read more remembering that most journalists/editors will change the title anyway.  Don’t be too clever, say what it is.  Journalists will spend a couple of moments looking at the heading and move on if it doesn’t catch their attention.

    3.How to Format a Press Release 

    Keep the total length to one page of A4, ideally 300-400 words

    Avoid using “I”, “we”, or “you”

    Use a standard font, such as Calibri with a bold larger headline

    Three or four short paragraphs and a couple of quotes

    The first line should be a summary of the story (in no more than around 15-20 words) and read like the opening of a news story and must stand alone and  grab their attention.

    Imagine your story is being covered on a TV or radio, how would they introduce it?

    "five Ws" (who, what, where, why and when) in the opening line of news stories

    Have a ‘notes to editors’ section which can include background and additional information as well as contact information (critical!).

    Include a low resolution images/photos with a link to a file share site where they can download a high resolution version.

    4.Use quotes to provide insight, not information

    Including quotes from people in your company can be helpful for journalists as it brings it to life. Quotes should be used to provide insight and opinion and sound like a real person said them. They definitely shouldn't be full of jargon or technical language. Including a good quote from someone in the company or close to the product/event can give a human element to the press release, as well as being a source of information in its own right.

    5.Make the journos life easy

    Editors are often short-staffed, so a well-written press release, with all the relevant information may be printed with very few changes. If you're not confident in your writing skills, consider outsourcing the job to a freelance writer. Make it grammatically flawless. Proof read your press release and let a few other people proofread it as well before sending it out. Even a single mistake can dissuade a reporter from taking you seriously.

    6.How to issue and ‘sell in’

    When you send a press release, it's a good idea to include a short outline of your idea (no more than a paragraph) and where you think it might fit in the publication you're pitching to. Paste your press release underneath, as a busy journalist may not bother to an open an attachment. It's fine to pitch ideas over the phone too. Just avoid obviously busy times (like deadline day on a newspaper or just before the news bulletin on a radio programme) and have an email pitch or press release to send if you're asked – most journalists will. If a journalist is interested in your story, they will generally get back to you within a day or so. But in a busy newsroom, stories can get missed, so don't be afraid to chase up pitches or press releases by phone or email. If you've chased a few times and you're not getting anywhere, it's probably safe to assume the journalist is not interested and offer it elsewhere. Be prepared to follow up!

    7.Who to send it to

    Decide who you want to reach and find out what they read (ask them eg via Survey Monkey!)

    Gather contact details for relevant journalists and editors and set up your database (you can work it out) (e.g. news@ or features@ but a named email addresses are better)

    Radio and TV producers and researchers can be harder to track down, but social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can be useful. If it doubt, just ring up and ask.

    Find out about lead times for publications

    Add your story to your website and blog and promote via your social media.


    For further information and help with marketing planning contact Victoria on 0115 903 3001   e-mail: [email protected]

  6. 50 great blog headings

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    It's one thing to write great content, but it's another thing to get it read and ranked which is where nailing the title comes in.  Here are 50 great blog headlines to get you started...blog image

    1. # Tips To Simplify ______________ 2. Greatest _________ Tips of All Time 3. Avoid ______________ Disasters 4. ________________, What It Can Do For You 5. # Things You Didn’t Know about ______ 6. # Reasons to Hate _________ 7. #Amazing Blogs about ________ 8. # Secrets about __________ 9. How Does ______ Work? 10. How to be Great at _______ 11. # ____________ Myths Exposed 12. _________ Myths vs. the Facts 13. # Deadly _______Mistakes You Might Be Making 14. # Shocking Facts about _________ 15. # Questions to Ask about _________ 16. Everything You Know about _________ is Wrong 17. # Amazing ________ Videos 18. The Truth about _________ 19. The Science behind _________ 20. # Inspiring Quotes on _________ 21. # _______ Experts to Follow on Twitter 22. # Funny Tweets about _________ 23. # _______ Rules You Should Follow 24. How I Increased My _________ Success by 200% 25. # Cool ________Tricks You Aren’t Using 26. What _________ can Teach You about _______ 27. # Money/Time Saving Tips for ______ 28. The Secret of Getting the Best Price for Your _____ 29. How to Find the Best _____ Deals on the Web 30. Top Gadgets for _____ 31. Are _____ Worth the Money? 32. Everything You Need to Know About Getting Cheaper ___ 33. Top # Tips For Hassle Free ______ 34. Best ________ For Under [Price] 35. Unusual but Achievable _________ 36. # Ways to Boost Your ____ Without Spending More ___ 37. Ways to ________ on a Budget 38. # Ways to _________ and Profit! 39. # Audacious and Creative _____ Ideas 40. Who Else Wants to ____? 41. Now You Can ____ for Free! 42. How to Get _____ in Half the Time 43. # Stars and their ____ 44. _________ Life Styles of the Rich and Famous 45. How to Look and Act ________ 46. Now You Can Have Get More and Better ____ With Less Effort 47. ______ like a Movie Star 48. # Ways You Can ____ Better Than You Deserve 49. How to ________ in # Seconds 50. Have a ________You Can Be Proud Of

  7. VB Marketing: guide to setting up LinkedIn adverts

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    Who should you advertise on LinkedIn? linkedin-ads

    Before you decide whether this is truly a channel worth testing for your business, you should ask yourself:

    "What affinity is a professional, in a day-job mindset, likely to have for my product, service or offer?”

    If you sell something that benefits business owners or working professionals and you can, in one short sentence, the answer is probably yes.  LinkedIn advertising is a smart, low risk and low cost way to advertise business to business.

    What are LinkedIn PPC ads?

    LinkedIn PPC (pay per click) Ad’s is a self-service advertising solution that allows you to create and place ads on prominent pages on the LinkedIn.com website.  People click on your ads and visit your website or campaign landing page.  To specify which LinkedIn members will see your ads you select a target audience: by job title, job function, industry, geography, age, gender, company name, company size, or LinkedIn Group controlling the cost of your advertising by setting a budget and only pay for the clicks or impressions that you receive (very similar to Google Adwords).

    How to get started

    1. Write your ad using your LinkedIn account (see ‘How will the ads look below)
    2. Select a target audience– determine which LinkedIn members should see your ad
    3. Set your budget and bid– set a maximum amount you want to spend and how much you’re willing to pay for clicks or impressions

    How will the ads look?

    Ads consist of these elements: linkedIn graphic ad example

    • Headline (up to 25 characters of text).  Create attention-grabbing headline for your ad of no more than 25 characters. Avoid headlines like “Rent Shop Call: 480-3292” as having telephone numbers in the advertisement can cause a rejection.
    • Description (up to 75 characters of text).  You get 75 characters and about a couple of seconds to encourage the viewer to click through your ad. Talk about the benefits of your services followed by a call to action.
    • From: (your name or any company)
    • Image/video: (50x50 pixel image).  You can choose to place your company’s logo or a short product demo. If you choose image layout, use an image with which viewers can quickly relate to, thereby eventually increasing the click through rate.  Images of real people, especially women help increase CTR.
    • URL (website people visit once they click on your ad)

    Key, keep it simple and relevant! 

    Where will my ads be shown?

    Your ads will be eligible to appear on a variety of prominent pages on the LinkedIn.com website. Your ads may appear in various positions on any or all of the pages listed below:

    • Profile Page (when users view the profile of other LinkedIn members)
    • Home Page (the page that users see when they log in to LinkedIn)
    • Inbox (the page where users see messages and invitations to connect)
    • Search Results Page (the page that results when you search for a member by name)
    • Groups (on pages in LinkedIn Groups)

    How much does it cost?

    You control how much you spend each day by selecting a bid and setting a daily budget, which represents the most that you’re willing to spend each day. You can set your daily budget as low as £10 or as high as £1,000 or more. You can start and pause your ads at any time.

    Pay per click (CPC) or per 1,000 impressions (CPM)
    There are two options for how to pay for your ads: Pay per Click (CPC) and Pay per 1,000 Impressions (CPM). Most people choose CPC, which means that you pay when someone clicks on your ad. This payment method allows you to specify a bid – the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click (for example, £3.00 per click).

    Each click will cost between £2.00 (the minimum cost per click) and the bid you've confirmed.

    As you are creating your ad you select a suggested ‘bid range’ that represents an estimate of the current competing bids by other advertisers targeting the same audience. In general, the higher you bid in the Suggested Bid Range, the more likely you are to receive impressions and clicks. Because you’re competing with other advertisers for impressions and clicks, there isn’t a set cost  on LinkedIn Ads.

    If you’re less interested in clicks and care more about the number of times your ad is shown (good for brand building), you can choose to Pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM). In this payment option, you pay a set cost for each 1,000 times your ad is shown, no matter how many clicks you receive. We only recommend this bidding option for people with past experience advertising on a CPM basis.

    How Should I Capture The Leads?

    The best way to collect leads from LinkedIn Ads  is through a clear campaign landing page with a clear call to action and data capture page. Consider giving away something for free — like great content relevant to your audience — or running some kind of promotion.  You can try to run ads selling your product directly but you will see low results unless your product is totally amazing! 

  8. Top tips on the best time to send out emails to your customer database

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    clockIt is recommend to publish eShots on Thursday’s between 1 and 3pm, that’s very precise I hear you say!  There are variations on the theme detailed below. Most email marketing experts would claim that 8am is too early to send an email newsletter, but it works great for some with over 25% open rates with this time (according to MailChimp). 

    Guidelines on best practise:

    • It’s usually better to send out your email campaigns during the daytime, when people are awake.
    • They say no to Mondays, people are tired and busy after the weekend with emails flooding in from work... Delete delete!
    • Weekends tend to have low opening rates, so most marketers avoid them like the plague.
    • Give Heads Up for An Event. While 23% of emails are opened within 60 minutes of being sent, there are some lingerers who may not check out your email until a day or two later. To be safe, send out event-oriented emails 3-5 days prior to an event eg a reminder for your workshops mentioning the ‘last few spaces’ etc…
    • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday traditionally have been favourite days to send email campaigns, as email marketers seek to avoid the Monday angst and Friday’s itchy-feet. MailChimp confirms that Tuesday and Thursday are the two most popular days to send email newsletters.
    • Mid-Week, Mid-day: The tried-and-true traditional approach of sending out email campaigns in the middle of the week and in the middle of the day tends to do pretty well. General know-how suggests sending emails between 1-3pm (9-11am is recommended as well). It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s not a bad choice.  MailChimp suggests 2 pm as the optimal send time based on their data.

    Despite all of the rules above, the No. 1 rule of email marketing is "Test. Then test again." The only way to know for sure is to test various send times and subjects. Even within your mailing list, different segments may respond in different ways.

    Start by following the "Midweek, Midday" rule, you should certainly get decent response rates. Then you can build on that by running some tests to investigate if there may be a more optimal time to send to your email list.  Just be sure you remember to keep track of what you sent and when.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about how targeted your message is to the audience, how good the database is and having a compelling reason to open the email in the subject line and first sentence.



    Set up a spread sheet and measure each email you send out using the following criteria:

    1. Email subject header
    2. Issue date and time
    3. Size of database
    4. Name of database
    5. Bounce rate (how many emails did not get through)
    6. Unique opens (#)
    7. Open rate (%)
    8. Click through rate (#)
    9. Click through rate (%)
    10. Call to Action result (# that enquired/purchased)
    11. Total Unsubscribes


    All of above results should be readily available from your direct eMail provider’s system.

    Good luck!