Promoting an Event on Social Media


Being able to link the online and offline worlds is a complex challenge. It was only less than a year ago that Amazon managed to make the leap with its first book shop and only in the last couple of months that it has branches out with food.

But one area where people have been successfully moving traffic from online to offline is the promotion of events. The internet, and more specifically social media, has allowed like-minded people to meet up virtually and want to meet up in the real world. But what should you look for when promoting an event on social media?

Create a Hashtag and Use It Everywhere: You should spend some time working out the best hashtag to use. It needs to be original, snappy and not invite the ‘wrong’ type of engagement. The internet is littered with examples of poor hashtags (Susan Boyle anyone?) or hashtags that have been predictably hijacked (#AskStevieG is a particular favourite). Once created, use it in every related post – and use it on all offline material too, people will be able to make the connection.

Engage Stakeholders: Every event has a wide number of stakeholders and you should encourage them all to do their bit in promoting the event. Suppliers, speakers, hosts and influencers will all have presences on social media and if they have a vested interest in the success of the event, this will boost the amount of ‘earned’ media that your event receives.

Before, During, After: There should be three phases to your event promotion:

  • Before: Here you are trying to generate interest in the event, so you should be teasing what people can expect, advertising the speakers and content of the event and offering a behind the scenes look at the planning for the event
  • During: At the event, live posting can engage people who are not able to physically attend the event, but that is only the start. You should consider live streaming from the event – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are encouraging people to do this and while the technology is still fairly new, initial results look very promising
  • After: All of the photos, video and other content that you gather on the day can only be used after the event. So make sure that people know where they need to go to get even more content

Should I Pay? Well, that kind of depends! If you have a large social media following which contains the people who you want to engage with, there is an argument to say that you shouldn’t pay – but to gain some cut through to your message, a little spend wouldn’t go amiss. If your audience are not engaging with you yet, you can advertise on social media and define that audience yourself: a nice way of making sure you are speaking to the audience you want.

Hope these tips have helped – if I have missed your favourite, leave a comment and let me know.

Happy New Year!

Image via Ambrosia Events

2017 Digital Marketing Trends


With Christmas almost upon us, it is time to take a look at 2017. What will this have in store for us? A terrifying prospect considering how 2016 panned out, but let’s stay calm and concentrate on digital marketing for now. Here are seven trends to look out for during the next twelve months:

Display Ads Evolve: Display advertising has had yet another bad year, let down by, if we are honest, some rubbish marketing. Intrusive and poorly targeted ads have seen the rise of ad blockers, so marketers are likely to move towards video marketing (great when done well, awful when done poorly) or native advertising. The bad news? Both are much trickier to execute.

Augmented Reality Will Be Back: Pokémon Go was like a great firework display in 2016 – it started, it soared, everyone went ‘ooooh’ and then it went out. There has been a lack of follow-up in the augmented reality space, but I think that there are companies out there developing games or gamified marketing right now – it will be back in 2017.

Content Marketing Gets Tougher: Content will still be king in 2017, and the fact that virtually every marketer is creating content for their audience means that standing out from the crowd will be increasingly difficult. Consumers see hundreds of adverts per day which means two things: firstly, they are probably bored of them and secondly, they can spot a bad advert from a mile away. Impactful, visual content with a narrative will win in a very busy field in 2017. Early adopters of the relatively new live video streaming will receive an advantage.

Mobile First (yes, again): Rather like ‘content is king’, mobile first is a bit of a cliché when it comes to digital marketing trends. But 2016 was a big year for mobile: as ever Google was leading the way. Google has started to not only drive the speed or mobile websites through its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, but is starting to really look at mobile SEO and allow it to lead the agenda over desktop. You really need a great mobile website in 2017 but not for Google – for your user.

Internet of Things: Wearable technology was always going to be the first step towards the Internet of Things and it has had mixed success. Devices with a clear purpose and benefit (e.g. Fitbit) have performed well, but the Apple Watch was a bit of a flop. The agenda is moving on with devices like the Amazon Echo becoming more mainstream. It is being advertised as a voice activated entertainment system, but its capability is much greater – will this along with Dash buttons start to change the direction of ecommerce next year?

Hey Google, what’s the future of SEO: Voice search started to grow in 2016 and this is likely to continue into 2017. With people literally asking questions from their search engine, does this mean that the days of true long tail search engine marketing are with us, and what does this mean for PPC advertising? Again, Google are leading the agenda here and they will have a plan to protect their PPC revenue stream – will be interesting to see what it is.

Social Media and the News: Events over the last month or two have brought into focus the role of news in people’s news feeds on social media. The pages that people like and the way that they engage in content should mean that news feeds are a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. you should continue to see the content you want to see. But that isn’t necessarily the independently-verified news and who is to say that is what people want to see? Quite how Facebook and other social networks hope to solve this issue remains to be seen, but the political pressure to offer balanced news will grow – which may in time pose a risk to user engagement. Something the social networks cannot afford to jeopardise.

What is your digital marketing prediction for 2016? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Will LinkedIn’s Repositioning Work?


It used to be that when someone mentioned that they had an account on LinkedIn, people’s response was ‘so you’re looking for another job then?’

LinkedIn has moved on from just being a recruitment website, but this repositioning has not been without its challenges. It has developed into a website which is still heavily used by recruiters (as it should be, it is a great platform for identifying talent), but also used by prospectors.

If you are a regular LinkedIn user, you will be familiar with receiving a LinkedIn invitation from a contact who seems to have an industry / interest in common, only to receive a pitch email within minutes of connecting. In a lot of cases, this makes LinkedIn more beneficial for the prospector than the (potential) customer. If regular users start to disengage with LinkedIn, the network will disappear. Not only that, but the pressure is already on with the rate of revenue growth slowing at the end of 2015 / start of 2016. So what have LinkedIn done to rectify this?

They have realised that they have a large number of accounts on the network, many of which on a daily basis are sharing content from all around the internet. So LinkedIn is acting as a powerful referrer. Also, while they have been encouraging users to upload their own content (through the write an article feature that was introduced a couple of years ago), visibility of that content is fairly low.

So, LinkedIn has introduced a feature to allow people to search through the huge amount of content that is published from within LinkedIn. Previously, using the search function to search for, say, ‘content marketing’ would firstly show you people who work in content marketing. However, you can now search ‘Posts’, so your search will show all posts about content marketing. A nice addition to the network I think.

So, will it work? Regular users of LinkedIn will still share their content on LinkedIn, particularly if they can see the benefits of posting to their connections and having their article indexed by search engines (all LinkedIn articles are public). Access to this content will need to outweigh any of the perceived disadvantages of spending time on LinkedIn, e.g. being sold to by an irrelevant product.

I fear it may be too late. If you are looking for an article on content marketing, where are you likely to start? Twitter already has thousands of communities which share content on all sorts of subjects from all over the internet. And of course there is also the small matter of Google which is the go-to resource for search (in the UK anyway).

If LinkedIn’s articles can rank well in Google’s search results (from a straw poll, this seems like an opportunity to improve), it can pick up traffic from this source, but I don’t think LinkedIn will develop into a go-to website for content. Which means that while LinkedIn has added a nice feature, I think it will take more to reposition such a large social network.

Introducing Google Analytics


One of the many benefits of digital marketing is how transparent and measurable your activity is. Being able to understand the success of your activity means that you can demonstrate your return on investment and learn lessons from previous activity.

Google Analytics is an excellent source of such data – but it can be overwhelming with so many different views and metrics to choose from. So, I have produced a quick guide to the most common areas of Google Analytics. This is a deliberately limited guide and is for people new to analytics: Googler Analytics is capable of a lot more, but I think a firm grasp of the basics is essential. Here are the key areas using the options in the left hand column:

Real Time

This section looks at what is happening on your website in real time. For example, you can see where people are coming from, how many people are on the site, which pages they are seeing, etc. In many cases, this level of information is interesting but difficult to react to. However, if you are running an event tracking activity or you’re looking to see the immediate impact of an activity, it can be useful.


The overview is a really good place to get a quick overview of your website – it shows sessions, users, page views, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate and % of new sessions. There are two particular reports within Audience which may be interesting. The Geo report shows where in the world people are visiting from – this can be viewed by country or by city. Also, there is a really handy comparison of user device within Mobile. This is a good chance to see how your website is engaging users whether they are on desktop, tablet or mobile.


This section takes a look at where your traffic is coming from – particularly important if you are running activity to drive traffic to your website. For example, there is an AdWords section which allows you to link your AdWords and Analytics accounts. This will enable you to look at the engagement on-page at keyword level, invaluable. The gateway to finding out more is the Channels report under All Traffic. You can click through on each of the channels to see more, e.g. clicking on social media will allow you to see the metrics by each social network.


The Behaviour section looks at metrics from the website’s perspective – namely, by looking at the performance of pages and sections of your website. The Site Content section and its sub-reports allow you to see what content is being looked at – and how interesting it is to your audience. You can look at the pages by total number of visits (All Pages) or by following the structure of your website. For example, if your URL is then you can see how many people visit the product section, the widget1 section, etc. Also in Site Content is Site Search – this allows you to see which terms are more commonly searched for on your website and as such what your visitors want to see but can’t find.


If you have an online form, you can track the number of conversions made on your website. But more interestingly, you can tell when they happened and where the visitor came from – e.g. if they visited from Facebook when they made their enquiry. While this only measures last click (attribution data is held elsewhere), it is a nice feature.

You really can spend hours and hours looking through Google Analytics, looking at all manner of measures. But before you even start your campaign, you should have a clear definition of what success looks like – and just investigate those metrics.

Seven Ways to Improve Your Conversion Rate Optimisation


With the possible exception of the military, there are not many industries that enjoy acronyms more than marketing. CPC, CTR, CPM, SEO, PPC, CMS, CRM…… It’s all a bit much. And not only that, instead of simplifying, they make subject areas seem prohibitively complicated.

Take CRO, Conversation Rate Optimisation. This is simply making more of the traffic who is already visiting your site by converting more visitors. It doesn’t have to be the reserve of consultancies or massive websites – it can apply to anyone. And to prove it, here are seven CRO actions which you can take to make the most of what you already get.

Do Your Research: Before you get carried away, spend time working out where you should be spending your time. Ask your customers about what they think about your site, run a survey and get deep into the analytics. Even the best planned CREO can have unintended consequences, so work out where you are going to focus your CRO efforts.

Search Your Search Results: If visitors to your website get stuck, they will use the search bar (if you have made your website enticing enough for them not to simply exit the site). You will be able to take a look at the words that people are searching from within your analytics and this is a helpful list of the areas that your website is either lacking completely or is too far into the menu navigation to be found.

Attract Better People: It may be obvious, but it is important that you have an idea of who you want to visit your site and that you are attracting those people. You should examine your acquisition strategy to make sure that you are trying to convert the right people for your business. If this stage is wrong, the whole CRO exercise will not work.

Test Custom Landing Pages: With a combination of the right user and the right product, sending traffic to a landing page which is dominated by a contact form. This might lack some of the sophistication of other methods, but I have used this tactic with clients previously with impressive results. Is it right for you?

Test Menu Options: Navigation is something that can make or break a website. If the navigation is intuitive then finding what you want is easy. If it is not, the process is frustrating and normally concluded by finding another place to achieve that objective. Any testing of your navigation will have a huge impact, so approach with extreme care, but testing different types of menu (e.g. using icons instead of words, hamburger menus or vertical menus) could work for you.

Use Split Testing: This can often be done in conjunction with specialist agencies, but there is nothing stopping you from trying this yourself. There are some good DIY options like Optimizely available to help you out by showing one version of a page to some of your audience and a different version of the same page to the rest of your audience. This is a great way of getting results quickly.

Watch Your Language: The language that you use in your content has (hopefully) been well thought through to reflect your offering. Rather than trying to re-write everything on your website, concentrate on the language around your call to action: is enquire, submit, apply, or something else the best terminology to use? The impact that this has on conversion is not to be underestimated.

Do you have any advice for people starting off on a conversion optimisation exercise? If so, leave a comment and share your experience.


Image via

Four Ways to Lower Your Bounce Rate


If you are doing your marketing well, you will be very familiar with getting into the data provided by your web analytics package. One of the key metrics of whether your website is working is bounce rate.

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of single-page visits, i.e. the visitor exits the website without seeing more pages than their entrance page. With that definition, it is pretty clear that the lower your bounce rate, the better your website is performing.
That is true in most situations, but not all. You need to put your bounce rate into context. Imagine that you own a restaurant. Your home page has a high bounce rate, so is this a problem? If your home page has your phone number on it, it may be that people are visiting your site, calling the number and leaving the site. Your objective (a full restaurant!) is being met even with a high bounce rate.

But this is an exception – a high bounce rate tends to signal an opportunity to improve. Here are four ways that you could lower your bounce rate:

Attract The Right Audience:

As with virtually every metric within web analytics, you need to understand the context. Regardless of how fantastic your website user experience, content and offering is, if the audience that you are attracting is irrelevant, the website will deliver a high bounce rate. It is not easy to attract the right people to your website (paid social media can really help here!), but if you are able to, that alone will lower your bounce rate.

Make Your Content Easily Digestible:

Unfortunately it doesn’t take much searching to find a web page that is absolutely chocked full of text which is really overwhelming to look at. The content itself might be fascinating, but it just looks awful! Keeping only the essential text as well as using bullet points can help to break up large passages of dense text. And don’t forget using images, video, sound, etc. can also make your content less daunting.

Have A Clear User Journey:

Your navigation should be there to enable the user to achieve the mission that they are undertaking, whether that is as lofty as making a purchase or as trivial as someone just killing a bit of time. Whether you are using a floating main menu or navigation aids in the right / left hand columns, being able to offer the user somewhere interesting to go next is really important – and will lower your bounce rate. Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this item also bought’ boosts basket spend as well as keeping the user on the site.

Don’t Get In The Way:

One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given is not to get in the way of the user. Pop-ups are all well and good for building email subscriber lists, but they can interrupt the user journey. If distractions are not kept to a minimum, you run the risk of losing the user.

The Quick Guide to YouTube


A combination of consumers becoming more sophisticated, faster broadband speeds and fewer barriers to creating rich content mean that the era of content marketing is well and truly upon us.

When pulling together your content strategy, it won’t take long before you start to think about video. And swiftly after that, thoughts will turn to YouTube. Getting this channel working well for you is one of the best things you can do for your content strategy, so here are some tips for YouTube greatness.

The Basics – Channel Set Up:

Every marketing exercise should start with your audience. Who are they? What are their motivations? How and where will they see our content? Answering these questions is not easy but without answering them, your content will not engage them.

You should also spend some time understanding what the function of your YouTube channel – is it somewhere to pop your videos and embed them on your website or are you treating YouTube as a social network? Whether you are using it for this purpose or not, your channel is a social network and you should invest time in creating and nurturing engagement.

Finally, you should create a content plan. Even if it is nothing more than a long list of content ideas, it is better than nothing. The first few videos will seem easy, but what about a video in three months’ time? Having a plan will not only ensure you have ideas, but that they form a wider and more strategic plan.

The Most Important Part – Content:

Once again, you should start with your audience here and with your overall objectives. The cost of making video content has plummeted recently which is great news for marketers. But because of the low cost, it can often be seen as a default channel – but it’s only the right channel if it fits your audience and objective.

You should make your content searchable on YouTube. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world and SEO is pretty simple on this channel: get the title, description and tags aligned to your audience’s search terms and you are there.

With so many videos being produced, stand out is difficult – so make your videos clearly informative or entertaining (or both ideally). And simple talking heads videos for 20 mins will no longer get people excited. Short videos creatively shot are the way forward, so let your creative juices flow. Here is a shameless plug for the University Of Manchester’s Minute Lecture series, a nice example of using animation to communicate research.

What You Should Do Next – Evaluate:

YouTube has a really good analytics package. If you are wondering how long are your videos watched for, whether your audience growing or not, are you getting more thumbs up than thumbs down? As a starting point, you should track these basic measures and over time start to see what the data is telling you.

Hope this helps your video content engage with your audience. What is your YouTube top tip?