Bournemouth Pier

The Rise of Content Marketing Techniques

The Rise of Content Marketing Techniques

Blogging as part of your inbound marketing

The Internet has had a truly profound impact on today’s content marketing with a huge move towards inbound marketing. The sharing of original content, such as on a blog, is rapidly growing to become a more effective method than embedding ads in other peoples content. Creating our own content also helps build a relationship, giving readers the chance to understand the ethos of your business.

With shifts like this set to continue we can predict with some certainty that content marketing will remain one of the preferred routes for building trust with consumers. The content is typically industry related information that provides insight to readers who already have an interest in the sector and therefore gives a higher chance of producing targeted leads.

Other benefits of custom content

Creating custom content also has a knock on effect in search results, as regularly updated websites attract the attention of search engine spiders, so not only are we building a rapport with consumers but also attracting new organically generated leads at the same time.

Social Media gives your content an outlet

Another Internet innovation that has really grown in recent years is Social Media. That may not sound like a ground breaking statement, however we are no longer restricted to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. There are now a wide range of Social Media channels all attracting their own type of following and it seems like new social media sites are appearing all the time. Most notable amongst these are Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Bloglovin and Instagram which have all shown a real growth in popularity.

There’s a Social Media for everyone

We can use the ones that best fit our customer demographic to build a trusted reputation. There appears to be a real shift in the way we communicate with customers as we move away from advertising through traditional channels. Whether traditional methods are actually less effective is an interesting question, it may just be that we are moving to inbound marketing because it’s new and exciting or maybe the power of traditional marketing techniques is getting old and it truly is time for a change. One thing is for sure, the move to Internet powered Inbound Marketing is growing fast and is set to continue.

Are you producing custom content..?

If you’re not using a blog or fresh content as part of your inbound marketing, then you should probably start sooner rather than later…

What is Internet Marketing

What is Internet Marketing?

An overview of the nitty gritty…

Increased sales through Internet marketing

In simple terms Internet marketing is nothing more than the benefits of the Internet being used for the purposes of marketing. Just like any other type of marketing it is commercial communications, only distributed via an Internet connection Rather than other traditional means. This can be through different channels such as but not restricted to your website content, search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, affiliate marketing or email. The general objectives of this form of marketing are the same as traditional marketing, those being sales growth, increased market share and name recognition or brand awareness to help your distributors.

Typical Internet Marketing…

Website/Blog marketing

Posting articles on your website allows you to share your experience, knowledge and latest information with your target audience. These articles are generally categorised as blog posts. Blog posts are also great places to share hints and tips about the use of your products as a supplement to FAQs. By regularly adding new content you also attract search engine interest giving a greater opportunity of better results in online searches

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Your business is placed in areas that contain the customers that are looking for your products or services! To ensure your target audience finds you, SEO keyword research is combined with various online ad campaigns. This marketing technique tends to bring immediate success which is highly measurable, so can be constantly optimised to move with market trends!

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO is becoming ever more critical, since a better position in the search results gives more customers the chance to find you. Recent updates to the way in which search engines list the results have given genuine businesses a much better opportunity of ranking high. The primary objective for SEO management is to increase the number of visitors to your website, thus increasing lead generation.

Affiliate Marketing

There are two sides to affiliate marketing as an online sales solution. For the product provider you have the opportunity to increase your marketing reach via adverts on third party websites, either via PPC or as a direct affiliate on a commission basis. An affiliate might be an expert in your business sector with no product to sell, so sharing their knowledge whilst promoting your product can prove to be very profitable for all concerned.

Email or Newsletter Marketing

New customers can be acquired through targeted email marketing campaigns aimed at their business sector. They are also a great method for staying in touch with existing customers about new products and services you are developing.

When is the best time to start marketing for…

When is the best time to start marketing for Christmas..?

There..! Right there, you couldn’t miss it..! The word Christmas in a post notification.

Is July too early to mention Christmas..?

I’m not talking about this post, the actual post I am talking about started in quite an apologetic manner because they used the C word in July. As it turned out they used the other C word as well and we’ll get to that in moment.

The great thing about the UK summer is you can rely on it to give you a dreary day or twenty, making it perfect for taking pictures of eager, suitably dressed volunteers on the beach without it being obviously mid summer. This is really handy for PR and social media campaigns on the run up to Christmas.

When I say suitably dressed we are referring to outfits such as, Father Christmas, Christmas Puddings, Christmas Crackers, you name it, anything remotely Christmas themed tends to be the order of the day and these willing volunteers are usually on a surfboard or emerging from the sea Daniel Craig style, if that’s even possible in a Christmas pudding outfit.

Everyone loves the beach in Bournemouth, even at Christmas, am I right..?

Anyway, back to this C word notification… As it turns out it included two C words as this was a post by @whitexmasdip who support the local Macmillan ward at Christchurch Hospital by running into the sea at Boscombe pier on Christmas Day morning. They also happen to be one of the charity events we help as part of our community support initiative. It was great to see them getting the ball rolling early, and yes this article is a great excuse for us to plug the event.

Paradoxically, as you can see on the video from last year, the UK weather decided to give us what looks like a blue summer sky on Christmas Day. This was great for the event as it brought out crowds of spectators and over 600 dippers, most of which were wearing their own outfits, some of which were Christmas themed and some that were just plain wrong.

Here’s everything you need to know if you want to spectate or even better, get involved

The White Christmas Dip supports Macmillan Caring Locally which is based at Christchurch Hospital and provides palliative care for cancer patients in the local community. They also provide specialist accommodation at the Grove hotel in Bournemouth so people living with life threatening illness can enjoy a break by the sea with the support they require.

Want to take part..?

Want a reason to take part..?

Do you know someone with a life threatening illness that deserves a break by the sea..?

5 Reasons your business should have a blog

5 Reasons why your business should have a Blog

Blogs started out as a online Journal but in more recent years they have developed and become not only a way to share personal experiences but also to share interesting information. This change is enticing more readers to the subjects they are interested in and also to keep returning for updated information. For this reason they are also becoming more popular for businesses..

Why is that?

I wasn’t too sure either as I have never written a blog before, so I had to do my research and I learnt a lot! I had to narrow it down to 5 points of why blogs are good for a business, and this is what I found..

Blogging can improve SEO

Blogging keeps your website fresh and up to date with content…Google loves this! they treat blogs as another web page so by having more ‘web pages’ with the key words you have used, the more likely your website will be shown on the first page of a search engines results. This then means…

An increase in traffic to your website

If you are struggling to get website views then this is a cheap easy way of advertising your site.

If potential customers are trying to find a service a lot like your business provides, key words are vital in your blog. When they search for a services and the words they have used are in your blog, well lucky you, because this will show on the results page, increasing views on your blog and then leading them to your website.

You can speak directly to your customers

A blog is a great to speak to customers on a personal level. Blogs are also another way to get across information that you couldn’t fit onto your website. This way you aren’t overloading your customers with information on the regular pages of your website, they then have the choice to choose what information they want.

Support for customers

any additional questions or issues your customers may have can be answered through a blog, a lot like a help page, this can include solutions for common asking questions.

and last but not least….


Blogs can be a great cheap way of promoting your business. You can send out new posts that feature information about upcoming events or new products that are being released. By having blogs that releases new and exciting information you may find you create a group of followers.

So I hope you have learnt a little bit more about blogging, because I sure have! Business Blogging is becoming more popular and if your business hasn’t tried it then give it a go because by the looks of it, it can really help improve overall results when gaining more customers.

Becky Vale-Bayliss – Cracking Media

Why is it important for your website to be…

Why is it important for your website to be mobile-friendly?

Mobile-friendly tagging in mobile search resultsThe term mobile-friendly has been around for a while now, but what does it mean..?

Following an announcement by Google in February 2015, having a mobile-friendly site will be even more important for marketing your business online?

From April 2015, Google will be looking to see if a website is mobile-friendly when people search from a mobile device. The search results will then be adjusted accordingly.

Last November Google had already added a mobile-friendly tag to mobile search results, highlighting web pages that Google determined mobile-friendly. This was Google saying “We are paying more attention to the usability of websites on a mobile device“.

Since Apple released the first iPhone in January 2007, smartphones have changed the way people access the Internet. At this time 80% of Internet-using 16-64 years of age own a smartphone. It’s been over a year since mobile Internet use overtook that of desktop computers. Mobile is on a march…

Read more “Why is it important for your website to be mobile-friendly”

Putting your business on the map

Putting your business on the map

google-my-business-on-phoneWhilst many paper-based maps have either been consigned to a cupboard or drawer or even to the recycle bin, online maps today are everywhere, on our car sat nav, our computer and even on the smartphone tucked in our pocket or handbag. Finding local information or directions to a place we need to go to has become very accessible, literally at our fingertips.

But is your business properly represented on those maps? Although online maps provide an excellent opportunity for marketing a business, in a recent survey Cracking Media conducted we found that many businesses have done very little to put themselves on the map.

Mapping your business means more than a pin

In today’s Internet marketing world, ensuring your business is properly represented on the map is much more than just putting a pin in a virtual board with your business name, address and phone number. Whilst it’s useful for customers to see where you are, they are far more interested in what you can do for them.

Mapping your business today should be seen as an extension to your existing online marketing. It gives you an extra opportunity to clearly explain what you do, the problems you can solve or (in the case of hotels, restaurants, bars etc) the experience you can provide. In addition, along with posting the times you are open or the area you serve (if you go to customers), you can share photos, video and even start a conversation. But all of this is possible when putting your business on the map.

Google My Business

If someone Googles your business what will they find? Hopefully, they will find your business on page 1 of search, but there’s more to being found these days than just being found in search. Google set up a free service called Google Places in 2009 to give businesses an opportunity to claim their place on the map. In June 2014 however, Google introduced Google My Business, a rebranded and upgraded product that is still free to be listed on, but now helps your customers connect much better with you and you with them through Google Search, Maps or Google+.

The Google My Business update means that whatever computer device your customers are using, including tablets or mobile phones, your business information can be found more easily. Assuming you have set up your Google My Business page correctly, it also means your business will be seen more clearly than ever before with your branding presenting your business the way you want it to be – across multiple devices. But if you have never claimed your Google My Business page or never updated it since you claimed it – which may have been some time ago when it was part of Google Places – then it’s likely your page will look like the default page below, missing your logo and branding.



The example above (name blurred out) is the Google My Business page for a business that has claimed their page but has never changed the default settings and properly branded and promoted it for their business.


The example above is for our Google My Business page that has been branded and promoted for our business.

Is your business on the map?

So with maps playing an increasingly greater role in our day to day lives, where does your business feature in that. Is your business on the map? Try searching for it to see what you find. If you find it, then is it properly presented and branded to represent your business? Does it reach out to your customers as they are looking to possibly reach out to you? Is the information such as opening hours and the services you provide correct?

With the increasing use of mobile devices (tablets and phones), putting your business on the map is a vital part of marketing your business online. Google My Business is a free service your business can use. But don’t just use it because it’s free, make sure you use it well as the valuable marketing opportunity it is in today’s mobile-driven Internet world. You can do that yourself with your only cost being your time and effort to do that work. But if you prefer, Cracking Media can advise or assist you, so please call if we can help so we can review what’s needed with you and provide a quote.

Most of all… make sure your business is on the map and looks its best!

Peter Lunn – Cracking Media

Is Your Website Ready For 2015?

Is Your Website Ready For 2015?


Websites have become an increasingly important marketing tool for business over the last 20 years, and today most businesses will have a website with differing levels of interactivity based on their needs. This can range from a simple online brochure with contact details through to ecommerce, directories, informational, online communities, forums and many more.

Everything changes and websites are no exception

Websites go through changing trends and fashions just like everything else in the modern world, this can driven by evolving technology, the needs of business and the requirements of website visitors.

Website Trends for 2015

Whilst it’s relatively simple to have a website, are you missing out on the increased traffic that modern web trends could bring you? Are you missing opportunities whilst your competitors are taking a lead?

Responsive Design

Website visitors are increasingly more likely to visit your site on a mobile phone or tablet and it is widely accepted that the amount of web users accessing websites on a mobile has overtaken those using traditional computers. This is set to continue and increase throughout 2015. Today’s mobile devices typically have a smaller screen than regular computers or laptops, which can cause websites to display incorrectly or make them hard to read as website text can be very small and buttons hard to navigate. Responsive design uses different techniques display your website in a much more user friendly way.

Accessing a website on a mobile device brings up another consideration which is orientation. As you can see in these images websites often need to respond to different landscape and portrait shape screens making the best use of the space available.

By making your website accessible on multiple devices you are ensuring that all of your customers can have the best experience when visiting your site.

The images clearly show that the screen size and orientation are different yet the website has responded to this providing the same content but displaying it in a way that best suits the screen it’s displayed on, making it much easier for your customers to interact with your site.

Who you gonna call? Ghost Buttons…

ghost-button-example 300wA new idea that is becoming increasingly popular is ‘ghost buttons’. You may be asking yourself ‘what on earth is a ghost button?!’ Don’t worry I thought the same thing until I was shown an example. Ghost buttons are a transparent and empty button filled with a plain text which can fit perfectly over a large image. This makes it easier on the eye as the web page isn’t full of different colours. This is a very modern approach to buttons, but I think they work really well and I expect that these will become increasingly popular in the upcoming months.

This links in with my next point, ‘Bigger images are better’. Over the years we have seen the love for visual social media like Instagram and Pinterest increase dramatically and it shows that images have a big impact on customers. Larger images with text overlay allow readers to digest information without having to read large amounts of text. ‘A picture speaks a 1000 words


Larger images will take longer to load therefore if you have an image taking up the majority of your website and it hasn’t it hasn’t been optimised for the use of the web; this could result in lagging and loss of customers if they aren’t willing to wait for loading time.

Have a video!

gfHaving a video on your website can improve more than just how the website looks. Video takes up less room than large amounts of text that a lot of users who visit the site may not even read. A video is also a lot like telling a story therefore you can get information across visually and audibly – saving visitors time. An indexed video stands about a 50 times greater chance of ranking on the first page. – Real SEO (the marketers guide)

Did you know 80% of your online visitors to your site will watch a video whilst only 20% will actually read the content on your website?! – Digital Sherpa

What do you prefer? Scrolling or clicking? I prefer scrolling and it just so happens that scrolling is becoming more popular in the recent months. Newer websites are having fewer buttons. This can be a good thing as scrolling keeps a visitor in their reading flow and therefore more likely to read more information.

When you look on a website you expect them to be user friendly and give accurate information instead of being a confusing, complicated and hard to understand. All these changes to your website can make a HUGE impact to your target audience and essentially bring in more customers.

Have you got your website ready for 2015? Or have you seen any other new trends? Leave a comment below telling us about your findings.

Develop Networking Relationships for Mutual Benefit

Building Networking Relationships

On the whole it could be said that the human race is by nature “Borderline Narcissistic”.

Generally speaking we enjoy knowing that the things we do make a difference, hope that people notice our achievements, possibly even envy our brilliance and agree with our opinions.

let’s face it, if this wasn’t the case would Social Media have become the phenomenom that it is today..?

Of course we all have the freedom to have our own opinions and some will go to great lengths trying to change peoples minds, open their eyes, show them the error in their ways, etc…

OK, so where are we going with this..?

Researching a person can go along way to help you understand more about them and any mutual reasons you both might have for connecting. This can be on a business or personal level, and avoiding or putting aside your own opinions in the early stages of a relationship can prove very beneficial in the long run.

Just like any relationship it takes time to build a mutual respect. As time goes on your differences will be of less significance and give you the ability to see how others approach business. This is a great way to help overcome issues in your business as well as helping others, after all the best relationships are a two way thing.


If you’ve not got LinkedIn, get it, then connect with all the people you’ve just met. LinkedIn is based more on individual business people than a business as a whole and they may not be very active members but will almost certainly be on LinkedIn. It’s like a professional Facebook and can really go a long way in helping you and your business even if it’s just by referral.

Get Permission

Ask your connections if they would like to be added to the email listings? – Permission rather than just adding them to it, very important. Thank the event host Look for people who are influencers rather than just people who will hire you or you can hire.

Note down all those contacts you’ve met and where you met them.

When appropriate you can email people with useful content articles, for example if they, mentioned a problem to you, then if you send in some way an idea for a solution then it can be gratefully received as well as showing an interest in them.

Keep in touch

Don’t just think I’ve emailed once that’s me done. Make contact fairly regularly so that you are maintaining the relationship. When you go back to or go to another networking event, you’ll know more people so you’ll feel more comfortable, however though this is good for you it may not be good so far as your business is concerned.

Seek Out New Connections

Yes it’s important to maintain contact, say hello to those you have already met, however don’t spend all of your time with them! You’re networking to meet new people! I have to repeat that networking can be an increasingly uncomfortable experience, awkwardness can be currency of some events, but remember it’s not just you.

Don’t panic if someone doesn’t respond immediately or takes their time to respond, it doesn’t mean they’re not interested. The business world can be a busy place, it can take time to build trust so don’t just give up!

Keep reaching out..!

Networking Etiquette: Some Do’s and Don’ts

Networking Etiquette: Some Do’s and Don’ts

There is nothing like the inner fury of British people when the queue system is not adhered to. You’ve been there, seen the queue cutters, the queue ignorers and the very notion offends you. Why does it? It’s etiquette, an expected social norm. Not surprisingly then, networking has its own social norms and thus its own etiquette.

Networking etiquette can be divided into three categories. Before, during and after.


Provided the event isn’t supplying a meal, eat before you go. You don’t want to be in the middle of a conversation when your stomach starts to emit a whale call, causing you to dive for the nearest peanuts and snacks. Additionally there’s nothing worse than being asked a question when you’ve stuffed your face with canapés.

Next, check yourself out! Make sure you’re presentable in every sense of the word, maybe smart and casual or suit and tie. Confidence is everything so preparation is key. It is imperative you arrive on time, fashionably late doesn’t fly at business events, even 7am ones! Do you want to be that person that walks in whilst the host is introducing the event..?


Don’t panic. Remember, you’re the boss. Set your handshake hand free and introduce yourself to someone with a smile; they’ll be grateful that you made the first move! However, be sure not interrupt anyone or attempt to join a conversation that is clearly intended to be private. Introduce yourself as a person with a history rather than a company with a sales pitch. There’s no you in networking, so don’t make it all about you. Listening is a highly valued quality you shouldn’t underestimate it. Treat people as people and not as objects. You’re not simply there to make your services known but to connect with others and see what services they have to offer you. People like to be called by their names, try your best to remember the name of the person you’re talking to. To make it easier some like to wear a name badge, this may work for you. It’s ok to apologise and ask again!

Do not; whatever you do, check your phone during a conversation, not even as an excuse to leave the conversation, its plain rude. Phone goes on silent..!

Speaking of exiting the conversation you need to do so gracefully. Don’t make an excuse and run off, unless you actually have a valid excuse to run off! Conversations do come to a natural end, its ok to want to go and meet more people, that’s the point after all. Phrases such as “Name, it was great to meet you, I know we’re both here to meet people so I won’t take up any more of your time” work really well. Or you can offer to introduce the person to someone else, which is mutually beneficial.


After the event, you’ll have big wedge of business cards, so why not connect with the people you’ve met at the event via email, social media maybe give them a shout out on twitter. This is a great way maintain casually with no pressure until you meet again. Networking is not a one-time thing; it’s a process which requires commitment.

If you’ve managed all this socialness give yourself time to recover; Netflix is wonderful for this.

Now get back out there you etiquette wizard you!

Which Networking Events are Best for You?

Which Networking Events are Best for You?

Ok, so you may decide, after an amount of deliberation, that networking is for you. You’re psyched up, you’ve told yourself you can do this, grabbed a handful of business cards and walked out the door.

This is a great, but wait..! Where are you going..?

Research the type of networking events available to you, where they are and who’s going. For example if you run a plumbing business it may not be effective to go to a wedding fair! You can start by Googling networking events in your area as well as contacting your local chamber of commerce to see what events they’re running.

Also, if you really want to get proactive you can join a local business organisation such as the local Trade Association for your industry. These organisations are tailored to certain demographics, such as Photography, I.T or Retail.

From these associations you can find out about events that might help grow your connections and your business. Networking takes patience. It takes time to build meaningful relationships which is why it’s so important to be committed to networking.

On the flipside don’t spread yourself thin and go to every event out there. We know, as business owners, that time is precious, don’t waste yourself on events that won’t be beneficial to you.

That is, be selective about which events you go to. Ask yourself questions such as: How will this event grow my business? Will I connect with new people that use my services? Will I be able to learn something from going? Will I be able to grow my business by using the services of other attendees..?

If the answer to all of these questions is no, skip it and order a pizza…

Networking events come in all shapes and sizes! As do businesses! If you’re a start- up company with a smaller budget you don’t want to be paying a high attendance fee just for one event. Find the right fit for you; there are loads of free or low cost networking events around where you can quiz the serial networkers for knowledge on what might work best for you.

Networking events take place at different times of the day, so whether you’re a morning person, an evening person or an all-day person there will be a networking event to suit you.