Happy New Year

Happy new year to you. The team at Evolve Marketing hope that 2021 is a fantastic year for you and your organisation!

We are looking forward to continuing to help local service and manufacturing organisations across Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire attract new business and keep their brand and communications fresh and up-to-date. Managing Director, Dr Mark French says: ‘As we go into our 15th year of trading we are excited by developments in digital marketing that allow businesses the opportunity to maximise their return on their marketing investment.’

If you would like to see how Evolve Marketing can help your business in 2020 call us today on 01327 810003.

Covid-19 – situation update

As England goes into a second lockdown on 5 November we would like to reassure you it’s business as usual for us here at Evolve Marketing near Towcester in Northamptonshire.

We are open and running as usual albeit now virtually. For the foreseeable future, all work events and face-to-face meetings have been postponed until they are viable again. Our focus is to protect the health and wellbeing of our team and maintain service continuity to our clients. Our continuity plans are under regular review to mitigate against possible disruptions over the coming weeks as much as possible.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any issue raised, please do get in touch.

Mental Health Matters

As part of raising awareness World Mental Health Day on Saturday, we are sharing a gentle reminder to take time out for yourself to care for your mental health, and do reach out for help and support if you need to.

At EvoIve Marketing we know how important mental health is, and are very pleased to now have a Mental Health First Aider in the office.  Congratulations to Sharon on completing 2-day MHFA course in the Summer.


CIM South East Region Unsung Hero Award 2020

Well done to Evolve’s founding Director, Sharon French, for (jointly) winning the CIM South East Region Unsung Hero Award 2020 – sound recognition of her ongoing voluntary contribution to the local marketing community.

‘….Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) announced the winners of their annual regional Volunteer of the Year Awards. Local business owners, Sharon French from Towcester and Justin Willett from Buckingham, have been jointly named as the 2020 Unsung Hero of the Year for the South East region. This win is driven by Sharon and Justin’s enthusiastic delivery of the CIM South East’s events strategy, which has seen the delivery of a bespoke events programme for the #MiltonKeynes and #Buckingham area since they took over the group’s leadership in 2011.

As volunteers, they have worked tirelessly alongside their day jobs to deliver quarterly marketing events which have provided engagement, networking and learning opportunities for the broader North Buckinghamshire marketing community.

Sharon French, Director at Evolve Marketing says’ ‘A lovely surprise – it’s fantastic to have our behind the scenes efforts recognised by this award.’

To find out more about the CIM events in Milton Keynes visit the events page at https://www.cim.co.uk/events/

Free B2B Website Review

B2B website review serviceYour website is the key to your marketing success. It needs to be found, load quickly, be mobile-friendly, engender trust, generate enquiries and help to build sales.

Find out if your organisation’s website could be more effective with our popular B2B website review. Our expert analysis of your website will give you a good starting point to:

  • assess where your organisation is in terms of its digital marketing journey
  • compare your offering to 3 online competitors
  • identifies specific actions you need to take improve the performance of your website
  • generally, improve your digital marketing so you can drive more traffic to your site with the ultimate goal of converting these visitors into sales.

This free, no-obligation website review looks at the brand consistency, website content, user journey, call to actions, links, trust indicators and keyword focus.

To find out more or claim your website review click here or call Sharon on 01327 810003

Schema Markup for B2B… is it time to talk Google’s language?

Schema markup has been in the news a lot recently. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a quick overview to help you decide whether you should start talking the language search engines understand – by adding schema markup to your B2B website.

 

What is Schema Markup?

schema markup originsSchema markup, or structured data, is code you put on your website which tells search engines what your data means, not just what it says.

It’s like a rulebook on the vocabulary to use to be understood by search engines. It uses 800 definitions, 20 properties and numerous extensions to try to make data elements on websites as unambiguous as possible for search engines.

It is a collaborative effort, born in 2011, by among others Google, Yahoo, Yandex and Microsoft. They wanted to develop a universal language to enable search engines to display helpful information to their users. The website schema.org details this de-facto standard for defining things on the web.

 

Why add Schema Markup or Structured Data to your website?

Even though the use of structured data is not a Google ranking factor, it is important for SEO because it enables search engines to deliver better, more specific, and more relevant results to searchers thus generating more eyes on your site (click-throughs) with searchers staying longer (lower bounce rate).

And although at first glance it may seem to be more useful for the B2C market with elements like videos, recipes, jobs and products which dovetail nicely into their website content, a closer look will reveal lots of scope for B2B organisations to also use schema markup.

 

Schema Markup and Rich Snippets

A rich snippet is a Google feature which is an organic search result that is enhanced by schema mark up. A rich snippet is a listing that has extra ‘details’ that enhance a research result. Google currently has 27 different structured data features (or rich results). These features bring your results to life and show up in search as images, stars, and other attractive information that can both help the user find what they’re looking for, and increase their engagement with that content.

Certain queries and content types like videos, FAQs and reviews are a no brainer when deciding whether to implement schema markup. If you want to be found online, you pretty much have to have schema markup. Why? Because rich results take up so much SERP real estate, especially on smaller screens. Examples of rich snippets you may use on a B2B site include:

  • Ratings: Assuming your ratings are positive, this is a great feature for B2B organisations to improve click-throughs and differentiate from competitors. Valid ratings and reviews are eligible for a rich snippet usually in the form of gold stars and sometimes summary info.
  • Articles: you need article schema markup on your news or blog pages if you want to feature in the Top Stories carousel. Also, this markup will enhance your appearance in SERP, so your listing is more impactful.
  • FAQs: a favourite of mine FAQ rich results is relatively new, but it is useful, especially for B2B organisations. It enables answers to your customers’ common questions to come directly from search.
  • Videos: Schema markup not only helps Google understand what your video is about but also helps you rank for and show up for keywords that result in these special video search results.

Another reason to consider using rich snippets that Google uses them to provide search results for voice queries.

 

What is the best format for your Schema Markup?

In case you are wondering there are three supported formats for Schema Markup: JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa.

But really for non-developers JSON-LD is the one to use. It’s Google’s recommended format and can be added or removed relatively easily by non-developers. It can easily be added into pages via Google Tag Manager or plug-ins. Unlike Microdata and RDFa which must be added by a developer.

Where to start with Schema Markup?

Your starting point for adding schema markup to your site should first be to identify which schema.org type and properties are relevant to your website content. See the directory of available options on Schema.org.

Then for non-coder beginners with simple needs, the easiest way to start to add the relevant code is to either get a plug-in or to do it yourself.  For those that want to have a go themselves, check out Google’s structured data markup helper tool. It will help you create the code for you to then copy and paste onto your site (using Google Tag Manager is probably easiest).  Start with the basics and build it up as you go along.

Using these markup templates, you can update the relevant details/info from your business or website.

Next step is to test your code. Google also has a free, useful testing tool – Google’s Structured Data Tool. Pop in the URL, and it’ll highlights any code errors (missing Google required properties) to amend and warnings (missing Google recommended properties). Do note that warnings can’t always be fixed. Sometimes there are attributes available in a particular schema that won’t apply which is okay. Consider them a way to identify additional areas that are available, but they may not be applicable or relevant. Errors, on the other hand, should be remedied.

 

So, to conclude yes or no…

Yes, if you want a way to ‘spoon-feed’ information from your site in a consistent way so Google can interpret it correctly.

And yes use rich snippets if, as a B2B organisation, you want to take advantage of the early mover advantage (currently less than 40% of websites are using schema markup) and enhance your search results listing, so it stands out and gives searchers a better understanding of what they are going to get when they click through to your website.

So yes, add schema markup or structured data to your B2B website even though it isn’t technically a ranking factor, as it helps to improve click-through rates and reduce bounce rates.

 

To discuss any points raised in this article or to find how you can add schema markup to your site call, Sharon, on 01327 810003 or complete the form on the contact page.

Evolve Marketing’s 14th Anniversary

We are delighted to be celebrating our 14th anniversary this month. We have certainly come a long way since we opened our doors in 2006.

We are excited about the future and being able to help our manufacturing and professional services clients develop and grow their businesses during 2020 and beyond.  As the digital world and marketing continue to evolve rapidly, we are well placed to ensure our clients benefit from more direct ways to engage with their prospects and customers.

We would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our all our wonderful clients, partners, staff, suppliers, friends and family for their ongoing support – much of what we do it a team effort and your input is much very appreciated.

 

The Drum Accredited Again!

 

The Drum accredited-jul-2020Here at Evolve we are delighted to announce that once again we’ve retained our place on The Drum’s recommended agency register (formerly called RAR) until July 2020.

This makes it 5 years in a row! Our inclusion on the register demonstrates our ongoing commitment to customer care and service excellence, as well as our marketing expertise at a both a strategic and tactical level in the B2B professional services arena.

We have been highly rated by our clients for our services in the following areas: B2B Brand Strategy, Content Marketing, Website Development, Copywriting and Social Media Content

RAR until 2020

 

To find our more about our expert marketing services and how we can help your organisation, please call us on 01327 810003 or contact us via our website.

Thinking about a Brand Refresh? Here are some Brand Refresh pointers…

Spring is often a popular time for organisations to consider a brand refresh so their offering looks up-to-date and professional. After all a well-branded business not only attracts more prospects with less effort but also helps fuel self-confidence.

While a brand refresh can really be the equivalent of giving your company a fresh lick of paint, for example a new set of branded images or new corporate brochure. It can also provide a useful opportunity to look at the key elements that make up the foundation of your brand. So, check out our handy pointers below to make the most of your next brand refresh.

 

Brand Refresh Pointers…

So, to ensure that your efforts remain effective and relevant, we suggest as part of your brand refresh you also take time to look at the following:

  • Assess your competitors. Are there new players in the market? Have your existing competitors evolved their offering? And importantly when your company or service is not chosen, who or what is and why is it perceived a better choice?
  • Revisit your target market. Have their needs changed and are you still offering them what they need? Have new customer segments emerged?
  • What’s your story? Are your differentiators positioned, verbally and visually, in a compelling way? Do all your internal stakeholders know how to represent the brand? Is this positioning enforced and reinforced?
  • Brand touchpoint review. Does your brand cascade consistently through every stakeholder touchpoint? Is it consistent with your core brand identity?
  • Marketing channels. Are the channels you use to deliver your brand messages still relevant? Are you where your prospects are?

 

In conclusion…

If you are considering a brand refresh, talk to the brand refresh experts we can help with all your brand requirements.  Call us on 01327 810003 or online via contact us page

Key Learnings from BrightonSEO

It was great to get fresh insights and learnings from BrightonSEO last week. A key take-away for us was the reaffirmation that search is still at the heart of the purchase journey with the emphasis now more than ever on the user in terms of relevancy, speed and device.

This user focus resonated with us at a strategic marketing level, and we found the discussions around speed and website load times particularly useful. As this is an issue we have been grappling with as we try to get to grips with the changing #mobilefirst search landscape.

Phew… it’s Not Just Us

And it is reassuring to know that we aren’t the only ones struggling with site loading speed across the UK. This 2018 research from Google shows that on average UK sites are still fairly slow with none of the sectors hitting the Google 3 second best practice load time recommendation.

UK Google Average Sector Speed Index 2018

The Finance and Media sectors, at 5.1 and 5.5 seconds respectively, are the closest to best practice but still have a way to go. And ironically the Technology lags at 6.8 seconds.

 

Speed Perception…

This is a useful idea to help reduce the bounce rate and enhance the user experience above the fold. It advocates that the actual load-time isn’t as important as what a user perceives the load time to be.  The priority is to give a great first impression.

Whether you adopt a progressive enhancement versus a graceful degradation approach, the important thing is that the elements (text, form, video or image) that brought the user to the page in the first instance are visible above the fold and thus give a good experience. Remembering of cause that above-the-fold may look very different on different devices, so research is needed.

 

Image Optimisation…

A key area for improving speed continues to be image optimisation. The painfully tricky act of balancing form and function with speed savings is a real struggle. And as a brand guardian having to sacrifice online image crispness to speed still makes me slightly queasy.

There were many examples and suggestions to enhance speed but the key one that we’ll be investigating further are newer image file formats, in particular, WebP and Progressive Jpegs.

Take the Test…

There are a lot of different site speed tests available, with a few new ones being touted on Friday, but our current favourite is Lighthouse from Google. It is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages and provides a practical, digestible report with recommendations based on the following areas:

  •          Web Performance (Site Speed)
  •          Progressive Web App (PWA)
  •          Accessibility
  •          Best Practices
  •          Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

So get started and take test.

In Conclusion

Another worthwhile day out at BrightonSEO! Given that SEO is a slow, granular, fairly silo’ed activity in the marketing mix with blurry ‘rules’ and a slowly shifting landscape (unless it’s ‘de-indexing week’ at Google 😊) the networking and learning opportunity that this conference provides is a welcome boon.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article do call me on 0132 810003 or contact us.