Having attended the Scottish Expo at Hampden Park last year, we were happy to hear the business show was returning to our home city of Glasgow for another year. So, myself and Melissa headed along for a day of networking and seminars packed full of marketing insights.

After attending a variety of sessions throughout the course of the day, we thought we’d share the insights we gained with you lovely people who didn’t manage to make it along. Here are our key takeaways.

Hampden Park

BBC Apprentice Star

What better way to start the day than with a former Final 5 candidate from last year’s apprentice? Kicking off our morning was none other than Apprentice star Richard Woods of Yomp Marketing with his session ‘how to become a trailblazer’. Richard discussed 'how to climb your business' everest', get ahead of your competitors and grow your business year on year and here are the top tips he shared with us.

Localised Marketing & Videos

Many people don’t make the most of their locality to increase their Google rankings however on a local level, providing you make the most of reviews, you can quickly gain traction on search engines. Start off by Googling local search terms relevant to your business such as ‘law firms in Manchester’ and you can see gaps in the marketplace and where you can make an impact. If you’re competitors aren’t capitalising on reviews, make it your job to get reviews for your firm. Similarly, as videos have started to be taken into consideration in Google’s algorithm, well optimised videos which showcase your skills and experience can have a positive effect on your search rankings too.

Richard Woods Yomp Marketing

To begin growing your business you need to have processes in place and know the goals you are working towards i.e. yearly turnover goals. Here is Richard’s 5 step process:
Planning: because nobody ever got anywhere without planning right? This is where you will set your goals and implement a process of how you will reach these goals. Setting up call tracking and unique landing pages for your campaigns as well as fully utilising your analytics will allow you to track your efforts effectively as well as analysing performance for future campaigns.

Existing customers: if you want honest opinions about your products and services, you won’t find anyone better to speak to than your existing customers. Whether you have done something wrong or right, your existing (and often extremely loyal customers) will be happy to let you know. Also, the easiest business is returning business, and it’s all about continuing these relationships. Segmenting your audiences into the products they buy and the services they use can help you upsell in the future.

New customers: if you’re looking for new customers you will need to find out where they hang out online. If you’re customers are on Facebook (hey who are we kidding, everyone is on Facebook) or LinkedIn, they’ll likely be involved in groups so join in, create value for your audience and build initial relationships here. You could even become a moderator of a group and invite people into your group.

Turn up the volume: we’ve heard it all before but it won’t get old 'people buy from people' and 'people have relationships with people' so you need to lead from the front and utilise what you have. Think Awards you have won, testimonials from satisfied clients and customers and share these with audiences who would be interested in your product or service.

Reinvest in what works: in essence, it’s up to you to 'smell what sells' and reinvest in this year on year.

Content Marketing is all that's left

The next session was from Chris Marr from the Content Marketing Academy who told us content marketing is all that’s left. When it comes to consumers making purchases, trust is everything and it’s grown so important for brands to start conversations with their existing customers and new audiences. Trust is at the core of everything we do and we need to consider whether our communication (both online and offline) actually helps to build trust amongst our audience.

Chris Marr Content Marketing Academy

There’s a knowledge shift from what salespeople used to know to what consumers know. We research so much online to ensure we receive unbiased reviews from those we trust."

Nowadays people judge you online before they judge you offline and look to multiple sources before making a final decision. Gone are the days of one interaction before purchase, we’re interacting with multiple touch points before making a purchase - Google search, product reviews on Amazon, reaching out to friends, reaching out to our social following for advice - everything from speaking to a traditional salesperson.

If you’re not creating content that answers questions and provides a solution to a problem, you don’t really exist."

Known as search engine optimisation (SEO) Chris suggests this is more about being a smart business owner. It’s about answering questions, solving problems and providing valuable and helpful content. Understanding that most people aren’t in buying mode is key to your success. They want to make educated purchases so it’s up to us content creators to put effort into our content (without selling) to ensure we are at the forefront of our customers minds when the need to buy should come around.

Content marketing is the art of communicating without selling. It’s about entertaining to build an emotional connection."

Many people don’t get involved in content marketing because they don’t see value, fear that they won’t be good enough, don’t have enough content ideas, lack of employee or management buy in and lack of tools for measuring ROI.

By becoming involved in content marketing you can create helpful and valuable content, accelerate the 'know-like-trust' mantra, make yourself an authority and build trust in your industry which in turn will ensure you become a 'go-to' resource.

Chris closed the this quote: "Marketing is telling the world you’re a rockstar. Content marketing is showing people you are one."

Thanks again to Richard Woods and Chris Marr for some great insights and to Hashtag Events for organising another amazing event.