Archives for June 2015

Five Facts About People Who Use Coworking Spaces

FIVE FACTS

To find out more about coworking at CBL, CLICK HERE and also watch this short video…

 

 

 

 

 

Smaller businesses, Bigger brands…

The following is a guest post from Cameron Webb, founder of _andWebb, who help businesses uncover a brand within themselves that delights and differentiates; building loyalty and revenues.

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It’s quite difficult today to tell the size (or integrity) of a business from the customers viewpoint. The internet has had a huge impact in the emancipation of smaller businesses. Good news right?

It is, except that the accompanying expectations that comes with this indifference about your size means that even the smallest business must now compete with much larger businesses if they want to succeed. They must look the part and even more importantly, act the part.

So what does that mean compared to where the focus is currently?

Well, we could examine any number of areas. A survey last year by law firm Taylor Wessing surfaced top priorities for smaller business owners as increasing profits, growing customer bases, cutting costs and finally, expanding internationally in that order. In addition, the top 10 challenges were listed as;

1. Access to lending from banks
2. Increases in tax and interest rates
3. Increasing costs e.g. energy and travel
4. Retaining and boosting competitive USPs
5. Skills shortages
6. Transitioning from start up to SME
7. Accessing international markets
8. Overregulation
9. Economic volatility
10. Compliance and regulatory issues

But I believe the issue concerned with getting your brand right should be near the top of this list. Why? Because your brand is the central idea that influences all others and protests your difference from competitors. It demonstrates consistency and professionalism both inwards of the company and outwards in to the marketplace. A strong brand, and approach to sustaining your brand, is critical in addressing many of the priorities and concerns of business owners from recruitment to investment to growth.

A brand isn’t a logo. It’s a promise backed up by a ethos.

speakerAnd if you get it right, size no longer matters anyway – your integrity will have been established and that most golden of things, customer praise, will have been earned.

If you’d like find out more about defining and sustaining your business brand in a practical sense then join us for our CBL Networking event: Building brands that cut through.

You can also contact Cameron directly on twitter (@Cameron_Webb or @And_Webb), on LinkedIn HERE or at his website: andwebb.co.uk.

Welcome to St Ives Business Lounge

In May 2015, we expanded our coworking community and launched the St Ives Business Lounge – a monthly, pop-up co-working event which provides a place for the c.8,000 Hunts based business professionals to meet and work.

Here is Ed Goodman‘s welcome speech at the launch, which talks about the benefits of co-working and the value of networking events and why we brought Cambridge Business Lounge to St Ives…

You can see photos and comments from the event on the Cambridge Business Lounge Meetup Group.

To book your place the next St Ives Business Lounge, whether it’s for networking, coworking or both, visit here, email info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com or call 01223 324040.

3 Essential Tips For Getting The Most Out Of SEO

The following is a guest post from Rob Chant, Director at The Cambridge Web Marketing Co.:

seo-592740_640Search engine optimisation (SEO) is still one of the best sources of traffic for most small business sites. And it’s not just that Google can drive far more sustained traffic than any other source – the traffic you get is highly targeted. SEO puts your message in front of potential buyers just at the moment that they’re expressing an interest in what you’re selling. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that!

And yet SEO is still shrouded in mystery. Many consider it to be a black art. The truth is that it’s pretty simple in principle; it just takes a lot of hard work! It’s not possible to have your site “SEOed” as a one-off service, then sit back and enjoy a boost in traffic. It just doesn’t work that way. Google, more than anything else, expects to see constant activity if it’s going to start sending serious amounts of traffic to your site.

Let’s have a look at three things you can do that are going to satisfy that criterion.

Content

You’ve heard that content is king, right? Well, in SEO terms, this is still the case. It is very hard to achieve a good level of search traffic to your site without adding new content regularly. There are lots of technical reasons behind this, but the core lesson is that Google wants to see fresh content on your site at least once per week.

This will usually take the form of a blog, but it doesn’t have to. A regularly updated knowledge base or support centre could work well. If you have an e-commerce site, adding new categories or products regularly would do the trick, as long as each one has a good amount of descriptive text.

And remember – there’s no such thing as “SEO copywriting.” Google just wants to see useful, well written content – so that’s just what you should give them. Think about your audience and what they’d like to read and share. Which brings us neatly onto…

Social media

The jury is still very much out on the direct impact that social media activity has on SEO. Although it’s likely to be small at the moment, the impact is there and will keep growing as Google and the other search engines develop their techniques for understanding people’s behaviour on different platforms.

Building authority is the key thing here. This means having well looked-after accounts, properly validated and with a decent amount of subscribers or followers. Making sure that your audience engages (retweets, comments, likes, etc.) with your posts is more important than raw volume. Which doesn’t mean you can shirk, of course – each of your channels really needs at least daily activity in order to work well.

Although the direct impact of social media on SEO is debatable, there’s no doubt that it has an indirect effect. It draws attention to your brand and encourages people to link to the content you are producing. Which brings us neatly to…

Outreach

Or, to put it another way, link building. Although incoming links are no longer the be all and end all of SEO (not by a long chalk these days!), links are still important. But as any seasoned SEO will tell you, quality links are harder than ever to get.

Tens of millions of words have already been written on link building, but as a small business owner, the best tactic for you is just to identify a few key people and organisations that you want to link to you. It’s all about building real relationships. They could be people local to you, whom you can meet while networking, industry professionals, thought leaders, etc.

Focus on engaging with them on social media, meet them in person if you can, take speaking opportunities, sponsor local events. Quote them in your blog (and let them know that you have!) Be creative. Before long, you should be accumulating a reasonable number of good quality, curated links. But again, that isn’t the time to rest on your laurels – it means that you’re ready to widen your net and start looking for links further afield.

Just one word of warning when it comes to outreach and link building – if it seems too easy, it probably is! Avoid any automated solutions like the plague. They’re more likely to get you penalised by Google than anything else.

Finally…

Just keep at it! SEO can take a long time to come to fruition, but when it does, the high quality, sustained traffic you’ll get is more than worth it.

Rob is a Director at The Cambridge Web Marketing Co, a successful digital marketing agency based in Cambridge. You can also contact Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.