SSL Holds The Key To Our Site Security
As we set to research this subject, we were shocked at some of the statistics  discovered en route. We wanted to share it, at a time when not all clients were taking on SSL and it’s benefit.
A report earlier this year in the Telegraph highlighted that The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) researched cyber attacks in the UK in 2016. They discovered that over half of British companies had reported attacks that year. Employees identities were being stolen and used in emails online and businesses temporarily lost files and network access, which in turn brought to mind the recent incident with the NHS.
The NHS Cyber attack was reported to have come from North Korea, which shows that it can come from anywhere at anytime. The group, Lazarus, behind the attack, was supposedly the same group who targeted Sony in 2014. You may be thinking that as a small company, you will not be attacked and only larger companies are targeted, however, the DCMS research showed that 68% of companies with 250 plus employees were targeted, and also 66% of those with  50 to 249 employees were victims of attacks too.
The survey was carried out on 1,523 British companies, it revealed that ‘the average cost per attack was £1,570 for all companies, rising to £19,600 for large ones’. It goes on to say, that most attacks are simple and can be avoided ‘by getting the basic defences right’.

An Apple A Day Keeps The Hackers Away

So what can you do about it? SSL is the answer and it’s not that expensive. We worked  it out to be, about the price of an apple a day, from a popular supermarket. For 34p a day or £125 a year you can have peace of mind. You can sleep at night knowing that you had locked the door to your data and website.
SSL or Secure Sockets Layer, provides a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. This covers your site and email. Any moderately skilled hacker can easily intercept and read the traffic unless the connection between a client (e.g. internet browser) and a web server is encrypted. To put it simply, you wouldn’t leave your door wide open on your house for strangers to come in, look around and take what they fancied, Similarly, you shouldn’t leave your website open without SSL to allow unwanted visitors to enter and take what they can.
SSL also reassures  your users, who will see your website’s URL prefixed with “https” instead of “http” and a padlock shown on the address bar. This padlock icon displays to a user/customer details about your SSL. It’s to be remembered that SSL Certificates are issued to either companies or legally accountable individuals only after proper authentication.
What Is SSLThe legal bits
Basically as it stands the the Data Protection Act 1998 requires that if you hold any personal or ‘sensitive’ data about your clients and visitors then you need to protect that data. This ranges from e-commerce sites to login forms and even basic customer data for updates or a newsletter.
Next year the GDPR or European Data Protection comes in in May. We learnt that this will apply to any company, or organisation in contact with users or clients within the EU. So even a company based in the USA, having viewers with data in the EU, will need to apply to GDPR Regulations. As part of the GDPR, it will be the user who owns their own personal data. Businesses will need their permission to use it, they can only hold it for two years and must keep it safe. At any given time a user or client can ask for their data back, and it must be removed from all of your records. The consequences are far more severe than those of the DPA. We are not legally trained, so please ensure you speak to a GDPR specialist about your particular needs and requirements. 

Just a bit of common sense and maths

To us, SSL just makes more sense to have it, than to be without it. So to summarise, here are our key points about SSL:

  • It’s daily cost equals that of a healthy snack
  • We are at a time when you have a one in two chance of being hacked.
  • The cost of being down is at least twelve times that of annual protection with SSL
  • I’s padlock icon reassures your users and customers of your security
  • The changing regulation will mean you will need to know where your user/client/ donator’s data is and protect it

For more information on M3SM and how we can assist your digital marketing and offer advice about SSL, visit our SSL Certificate order page, or contact Tracy Spence & the team on info@m3sm.co.uk or call 01604 328899 or 01925 755544.

M3SM sponsor Harry Woan

Exciting times for us here at M3SM as we sponsor the up and coming Harry Woan, a local professional golfer in his first season of tournament golf. Harry has the ambition of playing on the European Tour. His excellent junior and amateur career saw his handicap fall to +3. This is someone to watch and follow.
Next Tuesday, he starts off in the Fore Business Pro Am. Then, Wednesday 23rd August to Friday 25th August 2017, M3SM will sponsor Harry in The ‘Fore’ Business Championship, at East Sussex National Golf Resort & Spa – East Course. He will compete against 155 other golfers over the three days, and aim to win the £10,000 prize money. Stay with us as we follow Harry throughout the Tournament, giving you soundbites on our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linked-In. Harry shows a promising career; he has dedicated his life to it since the age of 5 years, and has a very singular mindset. Both required for a successful golfer’s mindset.
As a member of the Fore Business Network, the owner of M3SM, and keen golfer himself, Michael Spence is so pleased to be sponsoring the Championship. As Harry’s strategic digital marketing agency, M3SM have developed Harry’s website and digital marketing support for the event and will be cheering him on through social network.
The Tournament will be on Sky Sports, but you can also follow Harry’s progress on Facebook 
For more information on how M3SM and how can assist or enhance your digital marketing, visit www.m3sm.co.ukcontact Michael Spence & the team at info@M3SM.co.uk or call 01604 328899 or 01925 755544.

Voice Recognition and Search

Did you know that 20% of mobile searches on Google are done using Voice recognition?

What does this mean for you? 
Your website is probably optimised for search in the traditional way, but now is the time to start thinking about the different ways people will search for products and services just like yours.
If you are Business to Consumer, the average of 20% is probably higher. But even Business to Business need to take Voice search into consideration.
You will have seen the adverts for Alexa and Google home, you may have your smart phone connected to your car via bluetooth, you will have questioned Siri on your iPad.
In each instance, when you search for information, you speak it. The way we speak to our smart devices is very different to the way we type.
We will show you some of the queries that are making an impact for our clients right now!

Questions people speak to search

When people are on the move, we are finding they are asking their smartphones to find “near me” places.
Let’s look at traditional types searches.

With voice recognition, the wording changes completely, and the above typed search queries are now spoken as below:

  • Find a hotel near me
  • Find a Chinese restaurant near me
  • Massage therapist near me
  • Find a car repair shop near me
  • Pizza delivery near me
  • Carpet cleaning service near me

You can see that people are asking questions of their device, and so comes a dilemma for your website.

How do you get found for these type of queries?

Google is all about presenting relevant content (not just words, but images and videos too) to the people who are searching, Google is looking for well constructed web pages that are safe and secure, quick to load, mobile friendly and are relevant for that particular search query. It want’s to showcase new, fresh and original content as much as possible too.
You need to ensure that you are writing original content that is genuinely of interest to people. Please note that I am saying of interest to PEOPLE, not to Google. Your readers determine a part of the Google algorithm but showing an interest in your webpage and others leading from that page.
If you are finding this interesting, for example, you may look at other pages of our website, and this web page engagement lets Google know that the page was interesting and therefore relevant to that search. If I had optimised this page just for Google, you may find it boring, and will literally bounce straight off the page and onto something more interesting elsewhere.
Within your content, you may be able to answer some of the questions people are asking.
It’s not just near me queries, but others too such as:

How does ??? What is ??? What does ???

Questions can be answered by way of content that helps your business not only get found, but become a resource of valuable information too.

Answering questions helps clients and prospects understand your knowledge, and therefore you become the “go to” company of choice.
Content is still king, and we can’t see that changing any time soon.

British Water Workshop – At Google.

Today saw M3 Strategic Marketing taking over rooms at Google in St Giles, London.
When British Water asked us to deliver a workshop all about Google to their members, what better place to hold it than at Google’s London H.Q. in St Giles. Being a Google Partner means that Google support us from day to day, which in turn means we can deliver that expertise direct to our clients, in this case British Water.

British Water Google Micro Moments
Google presenting “Micro Moments”

A full day of training on Synergistic Marketing, which pulls offline and online together, was delivered by Derek Bourne of Waterbourne Ltd, Michael Spence and Tracy Spence. In addition, Google delivered a presentation all about “Micro Moments”and played the “Higher or Lower” game with the audience too.
The room was bursting at the seams and British Water had a reserve list of people waiting in the wings, and no one cancelled at the last minute.
The workshop itself was jam packed with useful insights, suggestions of tools to help the companies in attendance, hints, tips and the questions flowed.
British Water Workshop at Google
Michael Spence – Moments of Truth

Unfortunately, the day itself was marred with the terrorist attack on Westminster that same afternoon, just a mile down the road, but it did not stop the learning.
British Water have asked us to deliver the same again but near Manchester, and we will also be delivering a series of smaller, more detailed workshops targeted at different levels of knowledge a little later in the year.

Thank you for an excellent training workshop on Digital Marketing yesterday. I think most attendees were overwhelmed with your knowledge and it is clear that we could have delivered a full day or two day training course!
Lila Thompson – International Director, British Water

Google SEO

Recently, Google released a new video all about SEO and how to hire an SEO expert near you! What is interesting is the number of SEO companies who are now actively sharing this video exclaiming that all along they have been Optimising websites using Google Best Practices and with you as a customer in mind.
Well, we totally agree and are also going to share this “How to Hire an SEO” video with you.

What is also interesting are the number of “SEO” companies who are not happy to share this, and we think this is very telling.
As a business ourselves, we want value for money and to work with companies who understand our business and want to help us grow and grow with us. We want  to work with companies who are transparent, honest and talk with us.
Why would our clients be any different? 
As Google says, SEO is not just about rankings and getting clicks on a website, if that were the case, my job would be easy. I could just sit here clicking away. But, SEO is all about the user experience from the starting point of their specific customer journey, to their onsite experience and ultimately the sale and even after sale service.
We work with all our clients to understand their business and their potential clients, to identify who wants what information at different times of their experience with our clients website, and to make that journey as simple as possible.
We are not about clicks, but we are about converting your website visitors into loyal customers, giving you lifetime value from each sale we achieve as a team.
Please do watch the video and contact us if you have any questions at all or simply request your FREE SEO web audit by clicking here >>

Google Adwords Partner Expert

As a Google AdWords Partner we are exposed to a lot of training and Paid Advertising Intelligence that other agencies are not privy to, and this helps us help our clients grow their businesses. So when the Giant in online advertising Google suggests a meeting at your premises, we didn’t say no. However, never to miss an opportunity, we arranged to meet at their offices in St Giles, London. This meeting was to discuss specifically about our own business, and to determine what else Google needed to provide us to help us grow.
Specifically in the meeting we discussed Gmail Advertising on Google, as both ourselves and Google see this is a great way forward for many of our clients. It is currently not common and so the costs are also a lot less than perhaps other forms of paid advertising on the Google networks. In addition we discussed the importance of having a strategy for each client to determine the very best route, the ideal landing page, and the best keywords too.
With any paid adverts, you need to consider what pert of the customer journey your prospect is on, what they want from your website when they land on it and what tactics you need to employ to convert that click into a sale going forward.
For example, if someone is searching the query “How easy is it to get a business loan” they will be less likely to convert into a sale than someone who is searching “Business loan for van”. With this in mind, the landing pages should be very different and the strategies should also be different. The “How to” query should take you to a landing page that gives you ideas as to what documents you may need (a checklist perhaps). Because people who land here are likely to go away and find these documents, then we would also recommend a re-marketing strategy from this page. Whereas, those who are being more specific, they already know what they want, and so a quote form or calculator would be more appropriate. Here if they complete the form, you already have the information to enable you to make contact and perhaps close the deal, and a different re-marketing strategy should be implemented for those who did not complete the form (abandoned the process).
If you are looking at your online paid advertising and are serious about getting results, then look to M3 Strategic Marketing to help you devise a Google AdWords Strategy before you take the plunge. Using M3 will save you money n wasted clicks and get the most from your Google AdWords Spend.
Contact us now on 01604 328899

Outsource your seo

IS SEO taking over your life?

Finding that you are spending too much of your time on SEO and not seeing the results you want? Take back control of your working week by taking the decision to outsource your SEO.
Let us do the hard work! Search Engine optimisation is both methodical and time consuming. M3SM will work on your behalf to get you found on the search engines, leaving you to handle the new opportunities that come your way.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of helping your website come closer to the top of the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. A part of SEO relies on the structure of your website too, and Google are looking in particular at websites which are mobile friendly, websites which are safe and secure, and websites which load quickly. All of these are based around the user experience on a website, which if right, will increase the chances of website visitors becoming customers too.
Time & time again, we deliver great results for our clients, many of whom have been with us for years. We work hard to meet your goals, & ensure you get the sales leads or sales orders you need to grow your business. Take some time to look over our testimonials http://www.m3sm.co.uk/testimonials/
We take pride in working with various industries. Take a look at some of our case studies.
http://www.m3sm.co.uk/case-studies/
Making the final decision to outsource is very important so the first thing I would recommend to do it take full advantage of our free SEO audit. http://www.m3sm.co.uk/request-a-free-seo-analysis/
Simply fill out your information. We will then send you a full analysis report depicting where changes need to be made to improve how you are being found and customer experience on your site. Should you have any questions please email us on info@m3sm.co.uk
We invite you to spend some time to look at our website. http://www.m3sm.co.uk/
M3SM look forward to working with you in the near future.

According to Hubspots recently released 8th Annual Report, the inexorable rise in the use of mobile technology is increasing the importance of inbound marketing methodology, suggesting even that in the next few years traditional marketing and sales as we know it will no longer exist. So what changes in Inbound Marketing for 2017 do businesses need to make?
What is inbound marketing?  Wikipedia define inbound marketing as “the promotion of a company or other organisation through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel.”
inbound-mark-jan17
 
Changes in technology and buyer behaviour are making it more difficult for traditional sales approaches as 57% of salespeople feel buyers today are less dependent on salespeople during the decision-making process.
Instead, 62% of buyers turn to search engines and 48% to websites, according to HubSpot Research.
“Technology has really shifted the power from the rep to the buyer,” says Brian Halligan, Co-founder and CEO, HubSpot. “Salespeople today have to transform the way they sell to match with the modern buyer.”
So how should we as business owners respond to the changes in inbound marketing?
We should engage potential customers with the content they want to read in the places where they want to read it.  Two out of three adults use social media to keep up with the news and over 2 billion people use Facebook to search for content every day.  Over 60% of marketers are planning to produce more Blog content in 2017.
And we should aim to educate and inform rather than sell, sell, sell.  More buyers are using customer reviews and case studies to inform their buying decision.
For more information on how M3SM can work with you to improve your inbound marketing strategy for 2017, please contact us today.

Importance of blogging

 

Did you know that over 60% of Marketers are prioritising Blog posts for 2017?

In the past there has been some debate as to whether the importance of blogging is still relevant in today’s social media marketing environment, but most businesses recognise blog posts as a key part of their marketing strategy. Regardless if you are a small business, or a multinational company, blogging is integral to your online content marketing strategy.

Why are blog posts important to your business:

  1. Blogs drive traffic to your website – the more targeted and relevant the content in your blog, the more relevant the additional visitors that your website will receive. Make your website blog the main foundation for other social media platforms. Don’t forget to add links to your blog to direct readers to specific pages on your website.
  1. Blogs improve your Search Engine rankings and fresh content is key to your website being more prominent than your competitors. Use keywords in your articles. List out the keywords, topics, and categories you want your business to be found for and use these words, and related expressions when writing your posts.
  1. Blogs help position your brand as an industry leader – well written articles demonstrate your company as an authority and expert. By posting topics which resonate with your market and show your knowledge, you are emphasising the product or service skills needed to succeed in your business sector.
  1. Blogs aid in developing better customer relationships. Blogs provide another source to deepen the connection with your customer. By connecting directly on your website and social media, your clients are able to get to know your business or product and you have an opportunity for interaction and trust.

A recent Roper Survey of business decision makers found that 80% prefer to get information about a prospective purchase from articles instead of advertising. The same survey found that 70% say content makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company and 60% say content helps them make better buying decisions.
Here at M3SM, we work closely with our customers to create and use targeted, relevant and unique blogging content.  If you need help with your Blogs please contact M3SM today at info@m3sm.co.uk

When Tracy from M3 Strategic Marketing heard about the NatWest Boost programme, she wanted to find out more, and after lengthy discussions with her local business development manager, Tracy started work on preparing a schedule of education for business seminars all about Digital marketing.

NatWest BoostEducation For Business Seminars:

  • Understanding Analytics
  • Web Conversion Techniques
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Paid Online Advertising
  • Email Marketing

After delivering the Analytics course in both Northampton and Milton Keynes and then the Conversion course in Milton Keynes, the feedback or these instructional and educational seminars was so good that NatWest asked if once the 5 were done, they could start all over again, to give those who missed it first time around, the opportunity to attend, and to encourage more business owners and employees to take advantage of this free Digital marketing training.
If you are looking to increase your knowledge on Digital marketing and other subjects, then contact your local NatWest Business Development manager and ask how the NatWest Boost programme can help you  grow your business.
Dates for Early 2017 as follows: 

  • Wednesday 22nd February 2017 – Nat West in Grange Park – 8am Start – “Website Conversion”
  • Tuesday 28th February 2017 – Nat West in Milton Keynes – 8am Start – “SEO – get found on Google”
  • Wednesday 22nd February 2017 – Nat West in Grange Park – 8am Start – “SEO – get found on Google”

 

Social Influencer

Social proof, Wikipedia suggests that “ social influence (or social proof) is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behaviour for a given situation”.

For example, if you see a group of people looking up in the sky do you look up too? Or when you see a line of customers waiting to eat at a restaurant, are you more interested in what that restaurant is doing well?  What’s the relevance to your business?  Well reports suggest that when a friend or family member recommends a product or service 83% of people say they trust these recommendations over any other form of advertising
sheep-social proof
So how do you build social influence for your business?  Research suggests there are actually five different types of social proof.
1) Expert Social Proof
Expert social proof is when an industry thought leader or influencer approves of your product. This could take the form of them blogging, posting on social media, or being quoted or photographed as a product user.
2) Celebrity Social Proof
Celebrity social proof typically takes the form of a celebrity using a product and promoting it on social media or in public. This form of social proof is especially meaningful if the endorsement is unpaid.
3) User Social Proof
User social proof consists of positive feedback from actual users, typically taking the form of customer reviews and testimonials.
4) “Wisdom of the Crowds” Social Proof
This social proof appeals to our Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): When lots of people are using or buying a product, others want to follow suit.
5) “Wisdom of your Friends” Social Proof
“Wisdom of your Friends” refers to the recommendations from people we know and trust carrying far more weight than other types of promotions or advertising.

How to build your Social Influence

So if you want to use social media to build your social influence, here are some statistics and tips on best practice:

  • 66% of consumers trust customer reviews online. Build reviews of your company’s products or services.
  • 77% of consumers say that word-of-mouth from family and friends is the most persuasive way to get information about new products. Social Media platforms are the best, quickest and potentially cheapest way of promoting word of mouth marketing.
  • Similarly, 86% of female shoppers say they put the most trust in product recommendations from real people — either industry bloggers or people they know — more than celebrities.
  • 60% of consumers prefer to make purchases from brands they are familiar with so advertise and promote your brand on multiple platforms.
  • Excessive negative customer reviews in Google Search results can result in a loss of up to 70% of potential customers.
  • Testimonials featuring photos perform best.
  • Prominent client logos in testimonials are highly memorable.

Examples of social influence:

Amazon provides a great example of how customer reviews and testimonials can be used. In their review sections, they publish the breakdown of the different ratings so visitors can easily see if the majority of purchasers were happy or unhappy with what they bought. Customers can also publish reviews with specific comments and photos of their purchases, which are more eye-catching forms of social proof for visitors than testimonials alone.
social-proof
Fitbit lets health and tech industry experts speak to the quality of their products in the “Buzz” section of their website. It adds a lot of weight to claims of Fitbit’s success when multiple publications are saying the same positive things they are. That could be why Fitbit is often rated the top fitness tracker on the market.
social-proof2
Facebook suggests Pages and articles for users based on how their friends are interacting with the social media platform. This form of social proof is supported by our inherent trust in people we already know:  we take our friends’ recommendations more seriously than any other type of advertising.
social-proof3
Here at M3SM, we help our customers build their social influence. From building attractive social media accounts, to adding social sharing and follow buttons to their website blogs, to developing interesting new content and implementing processes for gathering customer reviews and interactions.  If you would like to understand how we can help your business grow, contact us today.

Google Adwords Experts Northamptonshire

Yes, we did it!
As a Google Partner, we were all encouraged by Google to step up to the challenge of studying for and passing all 6 Google Adwords Exams.
The Google Adwords exams included:Google Adwords Experts Northamptonshire

  • Google Adwords Fundamentals
  • Google Adwords Search
  • Google Adwords Display
  • Google Adwords Shopping
  • Google Adwords Video
  • Google Adwords Mobile

As a Google Partner, our business must always have at least two people who have passed the Adwords Fundamental Exam and another, so in fairness we all only had a maximum of 4 exams to sit and pass in order to qualify for this new certificate and we were up for the challenge!
Lauren passed first after putting in the time early mornings, and Michael and Tracy soon followed.
This means that 3 of the M3SM team are now qualified in all aspects of Google Adwords, with others in the team qualified and focused on certain niche aspects.
So if you are looking for a Google Adwords Expert in Northamptonshire, then we are the people to help.