Following on from our recent blog Blogging & Business: A Match Made in Heaven where we looked at the art of writing a good blog and how it benefits your online businesses image. We left one stone unturned...(deliberately so we could write this piece!)

We wrote very (very!) briefly on the SEO benefits of Blogging, but this week we have decided to go one further and examine how exactly it works for you & your businesses.

SEO & Blogging: A Surprising Match….

Googles latest SEO guidance is on all things real & quality content’across everything platform you use. The misconception is SEO is just all things backlinks, your landing page and site content but Googles Latest SEO Update focus on providing your businesses customers the whole experience - that’s where Social Media & Blogging come into things.

Google Loves Real Content from Real People….

 Blogging for SEO is all about communicating, collaborating, sharing you & your businesses views, news and opinions – keeping both current and potential new customers in the know.

Just be yourself, write naturally nobody knows more about your business than you! Creating quality content is ‘two-fold’. It should generate more traffic to your site for potential newer customers but also keep current customers coming back for more (providing you write some interesting/relevant content).

The key is to be transparent, create interesting and relevant blogs. SEO is all about real sites providing real quality content and it couldn’t be easier than with Blogging!

There Will Be Sceptics Out There….

Some organisations hire fake ‘Guest’ bloggers, some key-word cram, but here at eTrader we promote quality content and ethical SEO practice. We encourage customers to actively create quality content across every medium they use. The results are more fruitful in the long term, both on and offsite. We understand that quality content is king as it plays a heavy part in your businesses Online Marketing & SEO performance.

 Here at eTrader we understand how Blogging benefits your online business. That’s why we have started rolling out our fully integrated blog for customers at very affordable prices. Get in touch to find out more!

For many small businesses in our industry, social media presents huge opportunities. However, these are often met with equally huge reservations. In reality, the potential is endless for small businesses like ours. Social media is a free and universal advertising tool that allows our businesses to reach wider audiences than any of our traditional marketing activities. It’s a no brainer right?!

Social Media & Our Sector…

Looking at social media in our sector, some businesses fully immerse themselves while others watch from the side, unwilling to jump in.  Businesses are utilising social media in a wide range of ways; major industry players are being proactive (as they should be!) and truly using social media to their own advantage. At the other end of the spectrum, the everyday print & garment decoration company is mainly inactive; their presence in the social media world is dangerously quiet. In our industry, businesses are predominantly reactive with most merely using social media simply for the sake of it. Many small business owners simply deem it a distraction to core business. However, if used correctly social media represents a fantastic range of potential opportunities for small businesses to reach customers further than ever before.

But the question on every business owner’s mind is: how do we best utilise social media?

Time is precious when you’re managing a small business. There simply isn't time to be sat a computer all day mulling over Twitter Feeds, Facebook Posts & the Latest Pins on Pinterest. The trick to being successful on social media is to be savvy; find a balance between using a successful strategy and being completely spontaneous.

In this technologically shrewd world, there really isn't any excuse for business owners. With free software all over the internet to help any small business out, managing social media has never been easier saving your business time and importantly money! Traditional business owners (especially in our industry!) are reluctant to accept that social media isn’t a chore, a waste of time or a necessity. Social media is standard practice in most current businesses sectors but our industries yet to catch up! Businesses are even going as far as hiring people specifically for all things social. We’re not saying go out and hire a techy graduate who knows all things Social Media, but just embrace it and understand it’s a part of the business landscape for the foreseeable future. 

Our Top Tips for Social Media Success:

  1.  Pick Your Platform: Not all platforms will be ideally suited to your business, so select carefully what social sites give your business the best opportunity to stand out.
  2. Be Creative & Engaging: Invite customer participation, play around with ideas. Social media doesn’t have to be taken too seriously, just have fun with it!
  3. Give Your Business A Personality: Let your customer see you as not just as a service but as a ‘friend’. Build up your online voice; develop an online personality and use your sense of humour to engage with your current and potential customers.
  4. Social NOT Sales: Use social media as a subtle sales tool. Don’t overwhelm your customers with constant sales posts. Focus more on building up your businesses image and following.
  5. Run Special Promotions: Give your potential customers a reason to follow you; offer unique discounts and special promotions just for followers.
  6. Create a Realistic Plan: Use free Social Media planning tools to plan a week’s worth of content at once. Don’t set yourself unrealistic targets, use whatever time you have smartly.

The garment decorating industry is a complex one (as you’re all probably more than aware of!) there are many challenges ahead for garment decorators alike, however big or small your business is. The industry has seasonal peaks and troughs which most garment decorators simply accept - calling it the nature of the industry.

BUT the quiet period isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are ways to make the most of the downturn and prepare your garment business for what your customers and the industry throw at you next. The key to doing this successfully involves developing skills and smart practices that will allow your business to remain profitable during off-seasons and periodic slowdowns.

Here are some of our key hints & tips to help you and your business during these times:

Gain an understanding of the cycles in the garment decorating industry: The industry has a natural yearly cycle which is pretty universal meaning seasonality is inevitableThe challenge for decorators alike is to understand each season, what it means for you, your business, your online performance and how to best utilise each season to maximise profit.

Work on your planning/management skills: A key tool in making the most of the downturn is foresight. As an owner of a garment decorating business, the focus is on profit not planning. However, much research shows planning is key in making this profit. Plan rigorously, leaving no stone unturned – consider all situations and scenarios for your embroidery or printing business and how to best prepare for these. Manage your resources and people as effectively as possible to fit into this plan and your overall strategy.

Generate new ideas and fill the service gap: The printing & embroidery industry is a highly adaptable sector; you can transform simple garments into anything you like; with flexible e-commerce systems (such as our eTrader websites) offering opportunities to branch into other areas/markets. You don’t have to build up expensive new businesses branching off your core business. Simply, test your products in new markets, tailor your new printed/embroidered products for certain industries and play about with ideas (In a cost effective manner of course).

Stay in touch with your customers: Become pragmatic, find your customers. Don’t wait for them to come back to you. A proactive approach to business in the quiet periods is much more likely to yield results than that of sitting around accepting the situation. The key is constant communication with your customers, simply send out soft email campaigns, engaging in social media campaigns or simply just make a courtesy call. Your prerogative will always be sales, but just simply let them know you and your business are still there to meet their needs.

In conclusion, these simple hints & tips show your printing and embroidery business does not have to come to an abrupt halt. There are many areas within your garment decoration business that can be used to increase sales and defeat the downturn.

The logic is simple: Build up your solid foundations for your core garment decorating business - but when the going gets tough, be smart,innovative and pragmatic in your approach to managing your business effectively.

Don’t just settle for following the normal industry cycles, set your own!