At Bing Ads we are passionate about helping small businesses find more customers and to help them increase sales. We felt we could help - albeit in a small way- to make small businesses prosper with a project we named the ‘Digital Marketing Makeover’. Each month our team of SEO, PPC and Social media experts will offer their time and knowledge to look at the online presence of one small business. The makeover the team put together for TheLateChef is full of transferable tips for other businesses. It highlights the importance of a website as the hub of all digital efforts and throws in some tips on how to get the best reach for your bucks!
A catering business inspired by Raymond Blanc – Introducing TheLateChef
After exploring the digital opportunities of a cake maker we moved on to a maternity wear business and today we’re back at food. The Makeover team swears it doesn’t take edible bribes! This time we put together tips for chef, caterer, broadcaster, Women Institute cooking tutor, writer and local food enthusiast Paul Bellshambers from TheLateChef.
Paul Bellchambers – TheLateChef
Are you inspired to become a full-time chef after watching programs like Master Chef? Achieving a City Guilds diploma in professional catering like Paul did in 2005 and adding work experience in the kitchens of Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons (like Paul did) is one way to get there. Today Paul cooks for private and business events using mainly local produce. His tasty supplies, including terrines, pies, galantines and more find their way to the local Wallingford market and community shops. He also set up and manages a local food festival.
Looking at the future Paul loves to start his own cookery school and wants to spend more time on food writing and broadcasting. The makeover team likes to help Paul drive more custom to his business which may be the first step to realizing these future aspirations.
Will annoying the cook result in smaller portions?
As usual when we start a Digital Marketing Makeover we ask what someone likes to accomplish with their online presence. Paul told us he likes to make his social channels (Twitter, and Facebook) work more closely with his site and blog and that he likes to integrate his blog on his site as today the two are separate. He likes to experiment more with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising but that he doesn’t want to spend too much time on his website.
Although the site is the area Paul is least keen to invest time in - our expert team of accredited professionals all started their advice by calling out his website. There are some strong reasons to give your website full attention and in the case of TheLateChef we think it is the key to his online success which is why we start here:
Three reasons for giving your website some love:
1. Your site is the hub of your online activities
If your website is the place where conversions happen (one finds your phone number, fills in an enquiry form, places an order) than this place is theonline hub your other channels help support and promote. It’s really important therefore that the site is fit for this purpose and looks and works the best it can to turn prospective customers into clients.
2. A good site and content structure helps you measure success
PPC works best as a direct response advertising channel when there is a clear goal to be tracked, so campaign elements (keywords, ad texts, etc.) can be tested. If you invest in PPC you’d like to have a way to find out into how many conversions it results. To be able to do this a good site set up (and the ability to track conversions) is paramount. It may take a bit of work but it gives you a lot of control and information back.
3. A professional looking site evokes customer trust
People that tasted your food and your friends and family may know your food is to die for and that you are a reliable character. If you want to get custom beyond word of mouth however, a professional looking website with testimonials, secure payment, sample menus and an easy sign-up option is key.
Some examples of enticing websites made with (free to use) Word Press
Eight quick website optimisation tips:
The site-savvy members of the makeover team recommend a few things that will improve Paul’s website to help it fulfill the task of online marketing hub:
1. Use Word Press or other professional web design service
A Word Press theme website may offer a better look for the TheLateChef website. Word Press is easy to use, free and allows customised widgets. It can help create exactly the site that Paul needs. (view more business examples here). If he hasn’t got time to work on his website there are companies and freelancers who can help him create a simple and effective site.
2. Make sure your blog lives on your website - and update both regularly, it’s great for SEO.
3. Check links and images on your site regularly– make sure they work.
4. Make registration forms easy to find, easy to fill in and easy to trust -
TheLateChef should review the length of the sign-up form and tell people what it is for. If this is a registration form it should be easier to find. You can also link to it from other pages.
5. Use branding consistently -Add the branding you use on your social channels to your blog for consistency.
It would be good to see TheLateChef brand on the website
6. Use fonts with restraint – Usually it looks better to use fewer fonts and colours on one page and only vary size and colour for clear functional reasons.
7. Stick to a core topic - The entertainment store on the site is a little off topic and it would look more professional and trustworthy to stick with thing that relate to cooking.
8. Evoke customer trust – Show your customers your registration page is safe (add symbols) so that they can leave their data without safety concerns and add testimonials and awardsto assure and inform new customers that may not have heard of you yet. Sample menus are another thing Paul can add to entice his customers and give them an idea of what he can do.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising – One of the most targeted and cost effective ways to advertise
Paul dabbled with newspaper advertising in the past but did not see satisfactory results. The beauty of pay-per-click advertisingis that it can be super targeted and super measurable. To this purpose it’s best to start with really clear goals so that you can establish whether your activities are working.
Establish the goal of your online marketing: what would Paul like to achieve with his PPC advertising? Increasing enquiries or bookings would be a great purpose. An optimized website would allow Paul to send customers to his enquiry form. He could also track the amount of calls he receives as a result of promoting his site and use a ‘call us today’ call to action in his PPC ad copy.
Structure your content on your website so that you can direct your different kinds of customers to specific and relevant pages: start with two separate pages for private and business catering on your website. This allows you to direct potential customers to a specific page (also ‘landing page’) which is relevant to them (this is called ‘deep linking’ in PPC terms). The more targeted your keywords, ad copy and landing pages are – the more likely you are turning potential customers into clients.
Deep linking example:Think about yourself looking for copper pans. If you search for copper pans and you are presented with two ads of which one mentions the pans in the ad title, ad and in the link with the link actually directing you to a page full of great copper pans and one ad that maybe mentions the pans and one links you to the homepage of a large store so that you have to start looking for the copper pans yourself on the site. Changes are that you buy from the company presenting you with the relevant ad and deep link rather than that you purchase from the second advertiser. This is why it pays to structure information on your site with your customer (and your advertising) in mind.
Adding structure to your web content allows you to target potential customers very precisely
Target only potential customers in the area you work in with geographic targeting – Paul could run locally targeted geo-campaigns focussed on his target audience. With geographic targeting you can identify a specific area (read how specific here) so that you don’t waste your budget on searchers outside of the area you work in. All of your budget can thus be focused on reaching people that live in a location that you can do business with. TheLateChef for example, is based in South Oxfordshire but also serves Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire areas. Bing ads can easily be set up to target these specific areas only.
Find new keywords or import them from campaigns you run elsewhere - A little while ago we wrote this post about what keywords are and how you find the right ones for your business. One way keywords can be obtained that perform well on the Yahoo! Bing Network is to download and use our free Microsoft Excel plug in Bing Ads Intelligence. It helps you to quickly build out lists of suggested keywords and to develop informed keyword strategies based on actual Bing and Yahoo! network data. If you already have a PPC on another engine you can import your campaign into Bing Ads, saving you time. Watch or read how to do this.
Promote and link to up to ten pages of your site with one ad using sitelink extensions – Sitelink Extensions allow you to promote up to ten more pages of your site, with dedicated, actionable text. Showing these additional links below your ad means deeper engagement with your potential customers, enabling them to connect directly with the most relevant and important portions of your site. When Paul has created more dedicated landing pages he could think of using this functionality to promote his private and business catering using specific call to actions.
An example of sitelink extensions
Do you find PPC hard to get started with? Sign up for our QuickLaunch program and an online marketing expert will help you plan, create, and optimize your Bing Ads campaign.
SEO – How to stir up traffic to your site?
Move the nicely written blog to your website as it is great for the SEO of the website
Any SEO expert will tell you a blog is a wonderful way to boost the SEO of your website.
Paul maintains a blog -and does it with flair- but the blog is not connected to his site. He should really move it over to his blog and give it a specific link like, for example: thelatechef.com/blog.
Pictures added to recipes on the blog can be used to drive traffic to the content from Facebook - One of our experts says about Paul’s blog ‘I like the mix of the post types on the blog, recipes, local news etc. They give the company a bit of personality’– it’s a nice example for anyone thinking to start a blog for their business. Paul could enhance his blog by adding pictures of his food to the recipes he posts (pictures he could in turn use on Facebook create interest for his blog posts)
The nice blog Paul is maintaining could be a real SEO booster for his site and help drive traffic there via his social channels.
Links to and from other websites can help improve your SEO - Paul mentions that he’s been accepted in the guild of food writers (which also lists the likes of Nigella Lawson, Antonio Carluccio and Raymond Blanc) – it would be great for his SEO if a respected industry organization like this links to his site.
A change to the title tags of the site would broaden the reach of TheLateChef - Title tags are the main text that describes an online document and are called the single most important on-page SEO element (behind overall content). If TheLateChef wants to reach a broader audience the title tags should be reviewed. On the business catering page the title tag is as follows:
TheLateChef – Quality Catering For all Occasions – Business Catering
It would be better as:
Business Catering – Quality Catering for Corporate Events – TheLateChef
Facebook – Create interest for your blog and site content through enticing pictures
Post blog pictures on Facebook and link back to your site - New blog content is a great excuse to write a little Facebook post about in which you insert a link to the new content. You can shorten links using www.bitly.com to avoid adding lengthy URLs in your Facebook posts. To make readers of the blog posts aware of how easy it is to do business with TheLateChef Paul could think of adding a link with a call to action somewhere on the page. Besides linking to blog posts you can also share recipes and link back to your blog/site saying something along the lines off ‘Inspired? For more tasty recipes have a look here (link)’ or ‘Love the recipes but no time to cook? (link to private catering page which has a link to the enquiry form and TheLateChef phone number on it)
Twitter – Share tips and join conversations with #
TheLateChef has a reasonable number of Twitter followers (over a thousand) considering he hasn’t tweeted that much since launching in 2009.
He uses Twitter to both engage with his customers as well as to direct people to new blog posts (which we hope he’ll move to his site) every now and then which is great.
Four Twitter Tips
1. Share your Twitter handle -When Paul speaks on the radio, at events or in your cooking classes – he should give people his Twitter handle.
2. Grow followers by sharing tips - He could generate more followers and ignite conversations by tweeting 140 character cooking tips. He could hook in on occasions: pancake day (tips for great pancakes) a warm weather forcast (picknick or BBQ tips) etc.
3. Use hashtags to join conversations - TheLateChef can also use hashtags to make sure food lovers, event organisers etc. see his posts and to join those special event conversations (examples: #pancake, #recipes, #catering)
4. Quiet down the background a bit -The background of TheLateChef Twitter page is a bit busy. Paul could choose to have his logo as his profile header (go to settings -> profile -> header) and use a more quiet overall background (go to setting -> design -> then pick a theme or customize your own).
Pinterest and Flickr – additional social channels to try
We’d usually recommend feeling completely on top of any social channels you manage before expanding into additional ones (better to do a few right than many so so) but as your profession is so visually appealing we wanted to call out Pinterest and Flickr.
Pinterest has a whole category dedicated to food and drink so it seems a great channel for Paul to join.
He can start a few boards around different themes, re-pin influential other ‘pinners’ but also occasionally pinning pictures from his own blog. Adding recipes to the pictures he pins from his own blog is a nice way to get the interest of others. Pinterest images are clickable and link one back to the source of the picture which is potentially a nice traffic driver. Fashion, travel, photography and home and garden are examples of other very popular Pinterest categories.
All channels are now working together –An optimized site will allow Paul to draw in potential customers with very targeted ads from the area he works in using pay-per-click advertising. The structured site allows him to serve up exactly the content the searchers are after. Menus, pictures, testimonials and awards give new customers the confidence to do business with you. The nicely written blog starts working for the SEO of the website once it is integrated and gives Paul plenty of angles to promote the site on Facebook and Twitter. Some smart techniques will help Paul grow his social audience which increases the amount of people that see any promotional posts (which don’t have to ‘feel’ promotional).
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Special thanks! Our special thanks goes out to the Bing Ads Accredited Professionals who contributed their insights to this post:
Katie Saxon digital marketing executives specialising in PPC for Boom Online Marketing. Boom is a specialist online marketing company, focusing on SEO, PPC, conversion rate optimisation and social media. Matt Hopson from Screaming Frog, a search agency from Henley-On-Thames in Oxfordshire an Ryan Jones, assistant PPC manager at multilingual search marketing company Search Laboratory: a global company with over 250 clients in 18 countries which manages campaigns in more than 35 languages for major retailers such as ASOS, Debenhams and Barbour.