What can we learn about marketing from Blue Monday?

The only thing that #BlueMonday proves is the power of marketing. But what can we learn?

Blue Monday is the worst day in January. It’s cold and dark, ages since Christmas and for many of us, a time of tight belts and tighter wallets. Science has shown that the third Monday of January is the day we all feel at our worst in the new year. Except… it hasn’t.

Despite reappearing each year as a social media trend, Blue Monday isn’t backed by real science, and there’s no proof that it is any worse or better than every other day of everyone’s least favourite month. Of course, the post-holiday blues hit us hard when the nights are still long, but this particular Monday gets a bad rap for no particular reason.

In fact, the only thing that #BlueMonday proves is the power of marketing.

The origin of Blue Monday

Blue Monday can be traced back to 2004, when psychologist Cliff Arnall came up with a ‘formula’ that suggested that the third Monday of January was when everybody was at their lowest post Christmas. The formula in question? [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA.

It certainly looks like a formula. Except, when you break it down, it starts to look a little bit iffy.

W = weather

D = debt

d = monthly salary

T = time since Christmas

Q = time since failing our New Year’s resolutions

M = low motivational levels

Na = the feeling of a need to take action

It starts to sound even more questionable when you discover that it was created in partnership with the now-defunct Sky Travel to advertise their winter holidays. That’s right, Blue Monday isn’t just fake, it’s marketing.

Even the creator, who was apparently paid £1200 for his part in the creation of Blue Monday, has described it as pseudoscience and urged people to ignore it. 

In 2013, Cliff, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, said: “I was originally asked to come up with what I thought was the best day to book a summer holiday but when I started thinking about the motives for booking a holiday, reflecting on what thousands had told me during stress management or happiness workshops, there were these factors that pointed to the third Monday in January as being particularly depressing.”

“I’m pleased about the impact if it means people are talking about depression and how they feel but I’m also encouraging people to refute the whole notion of there being a most depressing day and to use the day as a springboard for the things that really matter in your life.”

The Blue Monday boom

Since its inception, and the advent of social media hashtags, Blue Monday has only increased in popularity. Each year, brands rally to leverage this event into sales, with varying degrees of success.

In 2015, Tesco capitalised on January’s reputation as the month of diets and created Blueberry Monday, where it offered free fruit to shoppers as an incentive to continue eating well post-Christmas.

Blue Monday participation can be as simple as a Tweet, as proved by the team behind the Star Wars UK Twitter account, who in 2016 tweeted: ‘beat #BlueMonday. With a lightsaber if necessary.’

It’s not just brands either. Charities, such as the Donkey Sanctuary, often use the tag to drive awareness. This year, the Samaritans have turned it into #BrewMonday, highlighting the very real depression many people feel in January, though perhaps not specifically on the third Monday.

What can we learn about marketing?

At this point, Blue Monday could be considered a self-fulfilling prophecy, nevertheless it has become a prime example of the effectiveness of a very simple idea. Despite being created for one – now defunct – brand in particular, it has taken on a life of its own and become an opportunity for all brands to take advantage of.

More noticeably, the marketing conversation around the idea of Blue Monday has begun to lean towards the idea of self-care, rather than treating it as an advertising free-for-all full of giveaways. Simply tweeting that your product could be a cure for Blue Monday – as holidays were for Sky Travel in 2005 – may not be as effective as you might hope.

Instead, people-centric brands can encourage their followers to challenge the idea of Blue Monday themselves, with a more sensitive approach. The advent of social media and the continuing personalisation of brands means people respond better to humanised messaging, so ensuring you are interacting with the idea of Blue Monday instead of just tagging it is vital.

January can be a difficult month for us all, whatever the date, so even though Blue Monday is pseudoscience, it can certainly teach us something about marketing. Because really, that’s all it is. Perhaps branding revolutionaries Innocent Smoothies put it best:

Innocent Smoothies tweet about Blue Monday

For advice on how to get the most out of your social media or search engine marketing, visit our services page, or contact us.

Maintain Your Market Advantage During The COVID-19 Crisis

The Covid-19 virus is hitting every business and rapidly changing the world. ExtraMile Chairman Nick Evans looks at ways your business maintain a market advantage.

By Nick Evans, Chairman, ExtraMile Communications

 The Covid-19 virus is hitting all businesses, not equally, but it is changing things radically. For a fortunate few – those in healthcare products, online groceries, fast food delivery and funerals to name a few – there is a boom, sometimes more than they can cope with. For the rest of the business world though, it’s degrees of disruption ranging from “I’ve lost a few orders” to “my business stalled overnight and will never restart”. Any business owner will have huge sympathy for those whose livelihood has gone and is unlikely to return in the short or even medium term: restaurateurs, hotel and leisure facility owners, holiday companies, dare I even say airlines? Travel, tourism and leisure have been dealt a hammer blow and there will be many casualties whose businesses will never recover. For the rest of us, in shades of anxiety that cover everything from deep despair to mild optimism, there are some things we can do to get our businesses humming again. First, let’s consider some facts: 

 On the other hand: 

 The latter we can’t advise on, but the former we believe can addressed, and here’s how: 

Contact your existing customers

Make sure your clients know that you’re there, still working and still able to solve their problems and service their needs. Silence from you will only make them think you’re not working. Whether it’s a phone call to your main contact – remember they may be working from home – or an email (make it personal though), you’ll keep your face in front of theirs. At the same time, plan your marketing communications strategy for the next few weeks. Social media, email shots, paid search (see below), sales calls, blog posts, product and service updates – all of these form a part of your coverage that will keep your profile high. 

Work your leads

You can still get new business, even in a lockdown, so work those phones, send out the mailers and keep promoting your company and its products and services. If you’re not doing it, you can bet your competitors are. In fact, check out what the competition is doing and then do it better, bigger, more appropriately. And tailor your messages to fit your audience: get comms about blue widgets to people who buy blue widgets. If there are some who are now buying red ones, then make the messaging reflect that. 

Optimise and focus your website content

Don’t ignore your website. If you have some down time, go through it with a critical eye. Consider which landing pages are best suited to which client groups and then focus your energies a) on focusing the content and b) getting your clients and prospects to read it. 

Raise your profile with relevant comment

Write some sharp blog content that will speak to the issues that people are currently experiencing. Illustrate it from your own context and then demonstrate that you understand the problems that your clients have. Show clearly that you have the means to solve those problems and that you’re ready and able to do so. Show you understand. 

Use paid search results to boost your traffic

Once your website is refined and ready to roll, identify those landing pages and create search-based advertising to drive traffic to them. The content of your advertising will need to be to the point, focused on people’s needs and the issues they have. This is an extremely effective way of growing business through strategic ad placement. 

Compete!

Above all, compete in your marketplace. Even though it appears that the world has ground to a halt, in fact businesses are working hard at working from home, addressing the challenges, being creative and exploiting new opportunities. If your business is merely marking time, then the opportunity is already lost to make a difference. Be creative. Be energetic. Be positive.

Change your aim: marketing and COVID-19

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives. How has this affected marketing, and what can you do to mitigate losses?

When coronavirus, or COVID-19, first appeared at the start of the year it quickly became apparent that it would have a wide-reaching impact on all aspects of life. With lockdowns and social distancing fundamentally changing everything we do, we have had to adapt to new ways of thinking, living, and working.

With government advice urging people to work from home unless absolutely necessary and restricting people to their homes except for essential travel, it has become more difficult than ever to reach potential customers. As is usually the way, marketing departments in business across the country are taking a hit. If you can’t reach customers, what’s the point of marketing?

Time to change your aim

Here’s the thing: COVID-19 does not mean customers are unreachable. People still need and want to buy things, or carry out work as normal to keep their businesses afloat. To reach them, however, you need to rethink your marketing strategy.

Physical and traditional marketing channels have temporarily disappeared. Any exhibitions or networking events you might have had planned have gone out the window. Lists of prospects to call are useless without people in the office to answer. Industry print media, for the most part, has paused. It remains to be seen how well these channels recover post-COVID.

As a result, it is more important than ever to focus on digital and social media marketing. With people stuck at home, people are spending even more time online. Social media apps are reporting increased engagement across the board. There has never been a better time to invest in your online strategy to reach the right people.

covid-19 business closed

Plan for post-pandemic

Many online retailers saw a rapid increase in e-commerce sales during March with more people than ever stuck at home with little to do.

This might not be useful to businesses who do not work on an e-commerce basis, who have seen a drop in new projects or enquiries. However, just because customers are not searching for what they need now, does not mean they won’t be when the uncertainty of coronavirus comes to an end.

When business reopen, many clients will need to restock and form new partnerships which might have been affected by the crisis. It is vital your business is ready to intercept this surge in traffic.

Search Engine Optimisation is a long game. Invest time and effort into ranking for valuable search terms now and ensure your website is technically sound. This will put you in the best position possible for a post-coronavirus upswing in searches.

Alter your Pay-Per-Click strategy

It’s important to address messaging across current pay-per-click campaigns such as Google Ads. For example, are you able to tie into trends such as togetherness, working from home, communications and essential services? If so, what value can you provide in line with these themes, and, in turn, how can you take a softer sales approach?

It is also important to review ad copy and creative. You’ll need to change “visit us in store!” and similar phrases, and any imagery of people in large groups or in-store on landing pages. 

If you can deliver any services virtually that’s worth including in your campaign too. More than ever people are looking for added value at the click of a button. 

Spend on social

As mentioned above, people are spending more time than ever before on social media. Although it’s important to remain conscious of the content we publish at this time, social media is the most vital vehicle to deliver important messages about your business, offering and industry. If you are still open and providing services, products, or solutions, let people know.

You might also consider expanding your communications beyond organic social media. With an increase in social traffic, so too has the noise from thousands of brands, all looking to reach the same customers as you. A paid campaign will allow you laser-focus in who you want to reach and cut through the noise. 

With a little bit of investment and the right content, you could be reaching more potential customers than ever before. Learn from big brands – they are set to increase spend across social platforms to replace lost income from traditional marketing campaigns.

How can we help? 

ExtraMile Communications can work with you to improve and expand your digital marketing and online presence during this difficult time. Although it is difficult to look ahead, it is vital you are doing all you can to stay relevant to your customers and prepare for the future.

We offer a range of digital marketing services including organic search engine optimisation, pay-per-click advertising management, social media marketing both paid and organic, and email marketing. We can work with you to ensure your business is reaching customers and prepared for the future.

It remains to be seen what kind of long-term impact COVID-19 will have on marketing and the habits of customers and clients. For now, focusing on your digital communications rather than cutting your marketing entirely may be the best way to position yourself for what comes next and mitigate losses. For more information on how we can help, or to discuss your project, get in touch.

Six digital marketing trends for 2020

The world of digital marketing moves at the speed of light. What are the most important trends to be looking out for in 2020?

The world of digital marketing moves at somewhere approaching the speed of light. Take your eye off the ball for a second and there’s a host of new trends and strategies to be considering.

For small to medium business owners with a million things to keep track of, getting au fait with the non-stop flow of digital marketing trends can be a daunting task. At ExtraMile, it’s our passion – and our job – to keep our fingers on the pulse of this fast-paced digital world.

In this blog, we take a look at six digital marketing trends that are set to become a big deal in 2020, and talk about what you can do to prepare for them.

1: Artificial intelligence

It might sound like sci-fi, but artificial intelligence is real and it’s set to revolutionise the way people behave and interact online. You might already be using AI to browse the internet by asking Alexa or Siri questions such as ‘how much does the moon weigh’ or ‘what is the best recipe for apple pie’.

Voice assistants

Voice assistants are fast becoming one of the main ways people seek out information online. This conversational style of searching means those looking to rank need to up their keyword research game. Ensuring your site answers the most common questions by creating content which will rank for these long-tail keywords is vital.

Voice assistants for SEO

As Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and the rest of Silicon Valley’s giants battle it out to get their assistant to the top, voice search via AI will continue to become more and more important for marketers.

You can learn more about optimising your website for voice search here.

AI Content

You might be interacting with AIs and AI generated content without even realising it. Artificial intelligence has been used to produce web content for a few years now, but as these machines get smarter, the content they produce is becoming more and more indistinguishable from human-written copy.

AI can quickly produce short news articles from a few basic points using algorithms that detect the most important aspects of the story. The balance between information, delivery and quality of the content is a fine one, but it’s one that AI is getting better and better at traversing.

AI chatbots in digital marketing

2. ChatBots

Speaking of AI: you will have seen chat bubbles popping up in the corner of websites more often as businesses strive to reach customers any way they can. You might even have interacted with a few. What you might not know is that you could have been talking to a robot the whole time.

While companies want to provide an informative and helpful experience on their site they also want to save money and time. AI chatbots have come a long way in terms of interactivity and some are now so advanced they can assist with a number of online enquiries without ever being rumbled. By reaching and converting visitors to your site quickly and effectively, these intelligent chatbots are set to become a big part of the digital marketing landscape next year.

3. Personalisation and hyper-targeted advertising

Digital advertising is now more accessible than ever before thanks to social media advertising. Most of us now receive ads mixed in with our news feeds with products and services we might be interested in.

But how often do you see an ad that is completely unrelated to you and your interests? It’s frustrating, right? When these poorly targeted or irrelevant ads show up in a consumer’s timeline they will be ignored, or worse, negatively impact that person’s opinion of your brand. According to GlobalWebIndex 49% of consumers will disregard a brand due to an irrelevant or poorly targeted ad.

In contrast, 36% of people would engage with a brand with tailored messaging. Ensuring a consistent flow of messaging tailored to the person you are attempting to reach is vital, and statistics show that in 2020 companies will need to up their targeting game and produce the content to match.

How to do video marketing

4. Video Marketing

Companies have been doing video marketing for years now – but it’s changing. Many predict that by next year, the majority of consumer internet traffic will be video-based. What’s more, it will be uploaded by individuals rather than brands.

A lot of businesses think that without big budgets or Hollywood production value video, marketing is pointless. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People are looking for entertaining, useful and informative videos – and you don’t need special effects and a £10,000 camera for that.

Humanised videos with a focus on how products and services are provided by and for people, are hugely effective and increasingly popular. Some examples of this type of video are employee or brand stories, company culture videos, FAQs and customer testimonials.

This is a fantastic example of video marketing. It is short, low-budget and to the point, but perfectly encapsulates the product and personality of the business. With so much content on the internet it is more important than ever to get your point across quickly and succinctly, and there are few better ways of doing that than video marketing.

5. Customer Experience

It’s now easier than ever before to reach customers. It’s also more difficult than ever to keep them. Consumers now have a plethora of options to choose from and if they decide one company isn’t worth their time, no amount of remarketing is likely to change their mind.

That is why customer experience (CX) is the name of the game for 2020. You want to make the process from start to finish as simple, informative and useful as possible to retain customers and keep them coming back for more.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 73% of people say CX is an important factor in their decision to buy. Brands need to be on the right side of this by ensuring their CX is as great as it can be.

Customer experience

The most important factors behind a good customer experience on your website are:

Remember: it’s a buyers market, so you need to make sure your marketing strategy takes into account customer experience at every turn.

6. SEO and Position Zero

It might seem strange to call SEO a trend since it’s so firmly entrenched in the digital marketing strategies of every company. The fact is, SEO is constantly evolving and changing, forcing brands to keep up. And 2020 will be no different.

Being number one on Google is no longer enough. Don’t get us wrong, it should still be an important goal, but with recent major shifts in SEO, the way people get their information from SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is changing.

Google now wants to get people the right answer as fast as possible – sometimes without even having them click a link. To do that, they have introduced ‘on SERP’ results such as featured snippets, where the most useful result is positioned in a stand-out location.

What is a featured snippet

What is Position Zero?

These snippets can appear all over the SERPs, but the most coveted position is before the organic listings, which has now been dubbed ‘position zero’. Google will use its algorithm to detect the most useful, informative result and put the answer to the query right there on the results page.

There’s no real science to getting your page front and centre with a featured snippet. Google will generally select an answer from the front page of the results, but it isn’t always the top spot. All you can do is ensure your site is providing a comprehensive, informative response to the most likely questions and search terms through in-depth keyword research.

This can be a time consuming and, let’s face it, confusing endeavour at times. Recruiting the help of an experienced and knowledgeable SEO agency can vastly improve your chances of ranking high and in these vital positions.

2020 vision

It’s a new decade and an exciting if unpredictable time for digital marketing. Ensuring you are ahead of the curve means you are preparing your business for the challenges and changes we’re sure to encounter.

For more advice on digital and search engine marketing, visit our services page, or get in touch using our contact form.

10 questions to ask before hiring an SEO agency

Choosing the right SEO agency for your business can be a daunting task. Get it right and you could benefit from increased traffic, brand awareness and revenue in a relatively short amount of time.

Get it wrong, however, and you can be left feeling misled, conned and not to mention out of pocket. All this can be avoided by asking the right questions before you hire an agency to help with your SEO.

What SEO services does your agency cover?

Dependant on the agency, there will be a range of options available to you. Ideally, an agency should have multiple SEO services available and be able to tailor these to the specific needs of your business. 

When it comes to SEO, one size certainly does not fit all. The services you receive will depend on factors such as the current performance of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs), the content on your website and your current marketing activities – just to mention a few. 

What types of SEO do you carry out? 

A well-rounded SEO strategy should consist of a mix of the following:

On-page SEO

On-page SEO relates to the content on the pages and within the HTML source code of your website. Generally, activity will include editing current pages on your website to target your priority keywords, making sure the pages have effective calls-to-action (to encourage conversions) and internal linking between the pages on your website, amongst other things. 

A good SEO agency should perform thorough keyword research to pinpoint the terms that most relate to your offering, and that your target audience will be searching for. They should consult you for your expert opinion to ensure that their research is as accurate as possible, as these keywords will usually form the basis of your on-page SEO strategy.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to your business’ presence across the web and other external factors. Mentions of your website will basically give search engines an idea of what others think of you – think of it almost as a word-of-mouth review, but digital. This helps search engines determine your authority and can help improve your ability to rank. 

Your off-page SEO strategy should mainly be focussed around building valuable links back to your website from authoritative sites. However, brand mentions (without a backlink) also count towards your off-page optimisation.

Perhaps ask your potential agency what kinds of outreach they have done for clients in the past to achieve this. 

Technical SEO

Before carrying out any significant work, your SEO company should conduct a technical audit of your website. This will identify any problems with your website that are affecting its ability to perform efficiently and rank well in the eyes of search engines. 

By carrying out any necessary fixes outlined in the audit, you can benefit from some quick-wins fairly early in your campaign. These could include fixing broken links (404s), ensuring all important pages have unique and optimised metadata, and ensuring all pages are secured by HTTPS.

What will you do to improve my rankings?

The basis of your ranking strategy will be formed around target keywords relating to your business offering. It can be tempting to go into an SEO campaign with a list of keywords as long as your arm. If your business offering is vast with lots of products and product lines, this may be suitable for you. However, it usually won’t be necessary.

An SEO expert will be able to conduct thorough keyword research to tell you which keywords are really worth targeting – often, it will be less than you think. They’ll most likely come up with a few that you’d never thought of, too. It is important that they are willing to work collaboratively with you to determine the relevance of any keywords they suggest, to ensure they truly relate to your offering. 

From there it’s all about the process. This should be to form a plan of action and should usually include a backlink strategy (covered in the off-page SEO section above). Your agency should also have other Google ranking factors in their sights to ensure that a well-balanced campaign is executed. 

What SEO tools do you use?

It’s unlikely that you’ll need to know all the ins-and-outs of the tools used by your potential SEO agency. However, they should be able to provide an overview of what they use and explain why they feel that is the best tool for the job. Some of these tools can be quite costly, and a less-reputable SEO agency may not want to fork out for the best. Be sure that you ask:

How do you intend to adapt your strategy to my business/industry?

As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to SEO – one size does not fit all. Different industries may have different levels of competition, different search trends, different economic circumstances and of course a difference in audience. 

The same goes for your business. Your business goals and objectives should be discussed from the get-go to ensure that any activity serves to meet these. 

Ask your potential agency where they feel they are likely to adapt their processes to fit with your business. Are there any problem areas in your industry that they can identify? Have they worked with a similar business in the past with whom they achieved positive results? 

How will you keep us informed of the changes you make?

Usually when working with an agency, they will require access to your Content Management System (CMS) in order to make changes to your website. Before you do this, you need to be confident that any changes made will go through the appointed contact in your business for approval. 

Ask about their approval process. Make sure they know who they need to get approval from, and how to go about it. They also need to be clear on what parts of your CMS they are authorised to change, and how to make the changes. 

It is important that you can track any changes that are made so that they can be monitored. If something goes wrong, you need to know why. Alternatively, if your traffic and visibility is improving, it’s useful to be able to pinpoint the changes that have been making an impact. 

What training and accreditation do you have? 

It’s always encouraging to see an agency investing in their agents. SEO is an ever-changing environment, meaning that a training course completed 5 years ago is unlikely to still be up-to-date. Constant learning is a necessity, and therefore training/research time should be the norm for an SEO specialist.

Ask what training and accreditation they have, when they were obtained, and how often they tend to read about changes in the industry (Google algorithm updates are a good place to start – make sure they can name and explain a few of these). 

How will you report on the campaign?

The whole point of hiring an agency to carry out search engine optimisation work for you is so you can see RESULTS. Without some form of report, how can you measure the success of your campaign?

Ask the agency to send through an example of a report and to explain all the elements on there. It’s going to be no use receiving a document each month that is just numbers and technical jargon. 

How long will it be until we see results?

As we’ve discussed in a previous post – SEO should be a long-term, continuous process. Time should be taken to lay solid foundations and create a well-considered plan. 

Ask your potential agency for some case studies that outline what results were seen and when. Remember though, every business is different and you’ll likely be starting from a different point than they did. 

Overall, you should understand that some wins are quick and some will take time. 

What do you need from us in order to work effectively? 

This is one thing that commonly gets overlooked when businesses hire an SEO agency. While, of course, it will be the agency who is responsible for the success of the project, there will occasionally be things they need from you, too. 

Before the project begins, ask the agency how often work will be sent through for approval, what level of communication is usually required, etc. This will give you an idea of how much time a month you’ll need to set aside to ensure that the campaign is ticking over as it should. Without your input, work could end up being delayed, which is likely to lead to delays in your results. 

Great communication will facilitate great results, so make sure you’re all on the same page from the start. 

So, you should now be equipped with everything you need to ensure you’re hiring the best SEO agency for your business. To speak to us about how ExtraMile could handle your campaign, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Grow your local business with digital marketing

Many smaller businesses are missing out on the benefits of digital marketing in the belief it is only worth it for large companies. This couldn’t be further from the truth

Most companies are now aware of the importance of digital marketing and search engine optimisation. Many large businesses are taking advantage of digital marketing to improve their rankings and increase their customer base. Smaller businesses, however, are still missing out on the benefits of local digital marketing.

In this blog, you will find a few local business marketing tips and digital marketing ideas to boost your online rankings and, hopefully, your profits.

How does digital marketing help small businesses?

Historically, small businesses have relied on word of mouth and local reputation to ensure a healthy flow of customers. However, in a world where face-to-face communication is increasingly being replaced by online dialogue, it is becoming more and more important to have an online presence.

Some small business owners might scoff at the idea of digital marketing. This is a mistake, as according to Google, 46% of searches made on their site have a ‘local intent’, such as ‘digital marketing agency near me’ rather than ‘digital marketing’.

This means that digital marketing for local businesses is something that can no longer be ignored. By not taking advantage of the benefits of local digital marketing solutions, you could be missing out on these potential customers.

How can I promote my business locally?

There are several ways that you can promote your business locally with search engines such as Google with search engine optimisation (SEO). Ensuring that both your location and services are prominently displayed throughout your website will increase your chances of showing up in a localised Google search.

But how does local SEO work? Optimising the content of your website can be a full time job, but Google actually already gives businesses a head-start on local SEO with its Google My Business (GMB) function.

When someone makes a local search that includes a place name, or a phrase such as ‘near me’, Google will do its best to show locations near to the searcher. You have probably seen these results showing up like in the image below.

Local search results for 'digital marketing near me'

Google is trying to provide the most useful answers, which include not just the nearest businesses, but those with good reviews and sites that include related keywords. It will also provide contact details, distance, and even the opening times if possible.

Using Google My Business

Though this information might be on your website, Google actually pulls it from your Google My Business profile. You might be the closest business to the searcher, but Google wants to show the most relevant businesses, and comprehensive GMB information is important for providing everything a user needs to know.

Your business may already have a GMB page based on what Google has found on your website. But to make sure all this information is up-to-date, correct and useful, the safest thing to do is to claim the page. You can claim or create a GMB listing here.

Using Pay-Per-Click
Alternatively, you could take advantage of Google’s own ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) Ads service. This allows you to create and display brief advertisements which show in various places on the Google network. Your ads will show to users dependant on the relevance of their search in relation to factors such as your chosen keywords, ad copy, landing page etc. 

It is important to remember that PPC can take some time to perfect, sometimes involving a significant amount of trial and error. However, once you find the right approach for your business, PPC can deliver a sizeable return on ad spend (ROAS). PPC should be used as part of a balanced search engine marketing strategy, with the quality of your website content playing an important role.

Creating a local business social media strategy

As well as SEO, having a local social media advertising strategy is another important part of reaching local customers. While you may have a business Twitter or Facebook, recent changes to these platforms mean that the effectiveness of standard social media activity has been reduced.

Instead, these platforms want you to take advantage of their advertising services, and pay them to target their user base with ads for your product. Though this may sound cheeky, by creating an attractive ad and using their audience targeting data, you can actually create a far more effective advertising strategy than you ever could with standard social media activity.

Facebook, for example, allows you to target not just interests and employment status, but offers a laser-focused location targeting function. This means you can target ‘painters’ or ‘artists’ around the Staffordshire area, who might have a greater interest in your new handmade, artisan paint brushes than the clay sculptors who already like your page.

That is definitely not to say that standard social media posting is useless. Regular and informative tweets and posts can be a powerful tool to entice customers. But, once again, you are best off striking a healthy balance between the two.

The benefits of Public Relations for local businesses

When many people think of Public Relations, they think of giant corporations or celebrities buttering up to the press. As a small business owner you have limited time and resources. Surely there are better ways to spend them? 

The fact is PR is a vital part of running any business. When done right, PR can be a powerful tool and often even more effective than advertising. PR is a great way to put your business’ personality front and centre and show you are more than just a product or service.

What’s more, with local reputation being vital for any small business, one upset customer can do an incredible amount of damage without even trying. With a dedicated PR team on hand to respond, you can be sure to minimise risk to your brand should things go awry.

It can take time to build meaningful relationships with the press, however, and that’s time you probably don’t have. That is where PR specialists come in, providing their expertise and offering a range of useful contacts. Though it may be another cost to consider, the benefits of local PR can be endless.

How can my business grow through digital marketing?

As we discussed above, word of mouth and local reputation is becoming increasingly unreliable. Unlike before, when people might have asked a friend or family member for the best restaurant in town, they’re now more likely to pull out their phone and Google it.

By using these simple local digital marketing ideas, you can improve the online reputation of your business, and get ahead of local competitors who are not yet taking advantage of SEO. 

For more information, or to find out how ExtraMile can help you with our local SEO, PR or local digital marketing solutions, visit our services page, or get in touch.