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It’s Time to Start your Easter Marketing Campaign!

It's time to start your Easter marketing campaign!

Easter is just over two weeks away at time of writing. So, if you’re responsible for your organisation’s marketing, now is the time to get cracking with your Easter marketing campaigns — while there’s still time! Printing and distribution will take a little while even with fast digital printing like we have at Firstpoint Print. So, if you haven’t already started working on design, images and copy for your Easter promotions, time is now of the essence — the message is make a start now!

Good Friday falls on the 14th of April this year, with Easter Sunday on the 16th and Easter Monday on the 17th

Easter is a great time to send customers news about your company, organisation, services and products. After all, spring is now in its full glory, the days are suddenly lighter and longer and generally there’s a lot to look forward to as the sun makes his appearance more regularly. With all of that, spirits are lifted and people will be out shopping – and shopping online – more and more. The sunny weather and pleasant outlook puts people in spending mood, so make the most of it!

Easter Imagery

The flowers are firmly out, the birds are singing away in the trees and out in the countryside we’ll soon start seeing the newborn lambs and bunnies hopping and jumping around in all their cuteness. It’s all classic Easter imagery and so flowers, rabbits, little yellow chicks and, of course, eggs will all be perfectly placed in your Easter marketing campaigns. You can commission illustrations, but we’re all lucky today to have many online image libraries available to us. These will allow us to search instantly for suitable marketing images for Easter, without breaking the bank and without slowing us down. So — we can have our Easter imagery ‘same day’ and hit the ground running with our Easter marketing campaigns.

Design & Artwork

Let us know, of course, if you need help with design and artwork for your promotional pieces — we have in-house graphic designers who are available whenever you need them. They can make your Easter promotional literature and graphics look eye-catching, enticing and turn them into great sales pieces to boost your bottom line.

“Easter is an *eggciting* marketing opportunity. Don’t miss it!”
(Sorry; we just couldn’t help it!).

Printing your Easter Sales & Marketing Pieces

It goes without saying that, at Firstpoint Print, we’d be delighted to supply free quotations for printing and production of your Easter sales and marketing literature. We’re litho printers, digital printers and large format printers with facilities all in-house within the group, so we’re in the perfect position to offer the keenest pricing, highest quality and fastest turnaround times in the business. So, you can be sure that you’re getting good value as well as high quality printing and an all-round eggcellent service. (Apologies again; we just can’t help ourselves!).

Marketing with Easter ‘Cards’

Printed & personalised Easter greetings cards are great for marketing purposesHow about sending out Easter cards to your customers and prospects? Timed to coincide with Easter, people will be expecting them to arrive so they’re sure to be opened (unlike some other types of mailer). A perhaps sneaky, but effective, marketing approach which is rather akin to a Trojan horse. The Easter card can perhaps consist of a general Easter greeting along with a special offer or sale of some kind, voucher code or news about some new product or service that you’re rolling out for Easter.

Personalised Printing

If you have a good database we can even organise a mail-out for you and use our personalised printing service to personalise each card so that it arrives addressed to the individual recipient by name. It makes for a more successful mailing campaign with a much better open-rate, for sure.

It’s the same for other mailed pieces, whether they’re printed brochures, mini catalogues, leaflets, flyers or simply letters sent in branded envelopes. We can print them all — and personalise any of them if you supply the database (contact us for the simple technical guidelines). Here’s a more comprehensive list of the types of printing we can supply.

Venues: How to Maximise your Easter Bank Holiday Bookings

If you offer sit-down meals and drinks to the general public then you’ll want to Read more

Printed newsletters - the great communicator

Newsletters – the Great Communicator

Printed newsletters - the great communicator

Printed newsletters are a great way to keep both clients and employees up to date with news about your products, services and organisation as a whole. While electronic newsletters like PDFs and e-newsletters try their hardest, they’re too easy to skip past and potentially overlook completely. In contrast, physical, printed newsletters can grab the eye and engage your audience right from the word go and they are far more natural and enjoyable to browse through anyway, with no zooming required. When their content is designed well and your headlines are well crafted, printed newsletters have definite read me appeal; they catch attention and virtually invite people to pick them up, take a look and flick through. Subsequently, they can also be passed around and shared. For businesses, they can be left in strategic locations such as coffee tables, waiting rooms and receptions as well as being distributed through direct mail for a far ‘softer’ sell than flyers, adverts and suchlike.

“Printed newsletters are a great way to keep both clients and employees up to date with news about your products, services and organisation as a whole”

Tips & Tricks for Successful Newsletters

  • Design them professionally (our graphic designers are available to you if needed).
  • Write your copy (text) carefully and methodically, then spell check, grammar check and check again. Ask a colleague or two to also proof read them before they go to print. You only have one chance for a good first impression and mistakes will look unprofessional.
  • Feature one particularly prominent article or news piece on the front cover and use a high quality image to make it even more appealing to read. You need to grab your audience’s attention!
  • Design and printing of newsletters - tipsEngage your readers with a wide array of news items, so there’s something of interest to everyone.
  • Try not to be too ‘salesy’ with regard to new products or services being featured. Sometimes a case study or guest review can be more convincing and will avoid people being switched off by a ‘hard sell’.
  • Try to include items that are not only ‘news’ but are also useful to your target audience. Carefully researched articles, case studies and unique market insight, for example, mean that your newsletter is far more likely to be kept by your audience (thereby representing a longer term reminder of your services or products).
  • A contents listing on the cover, perhaps in a side margin, is a useful way to help readers get straight to the articles that most interest them and to see what’s on offer at a glance.
  • Encourage other readers to sign up to your newsletter list by including a simple means of doing so (perhaps in the corner of the cover using a contact email address or mini form — or a link to an online sign-up).
  • Include one or more ‘fun’ items in every newsletter issue, for example a competition. Prizes are good but make sure they’re genuine and fair and that details are published for any winners in the next issue; after all, news of winners is great PR.
  • Don’t forget CTAs (calls to action) and ways that readers can, of course, contact you easily for more information.

Printing options

Printed newsletters can have Read more

Spring is coming - freshen up your design, printing & marketing!

Freshen Up for Spring Promotions!

Spring is coming - freshen up your design, printing & marketing!

It’s time to put our marketing hats on for March, which promises to be a very busy month indeed. The new spring season starts on 1 March by the meteorological and climatological calendars, or on 20th March, the official Spring Equinox, if you’re going by the astronomical calendar.

Then, on the 26th of March, there are two further milestones. Firstly, the clocks go forward due to the Daylight Saving Hours and secondly, it’s Mother’s Day!

Spring clean your sales & marketing collateral

Whichever way you look at it, March is a time to gear up a notch or two on your sales and marketing campaigns because, officially at least, winter is all but over! Perhaps it’s a good time for a spring clean of all your sales and marketing collateral — it’s a great time to freshen them up, particularly if they’re now looking tired and “so last season“!

Update your imagery

With the snowdrops and daffodils already out and other flowers appearing any day, it’s a sure sign that you need to put some colour and life into your marketing literature to reflect the coming season. Promotions & marketing for Mother's DayFlowers, sunshine, blue skies and cheery birds will be the order of the day for many marketing campaigns when it comes to imagery. Bear this in mind for pack shots, lifestyle photography and promotional illustrations because ‘mood’ and ‘feel’ are all important for marketing literature. What’s more, there will be no getting away from flowers for Mother’s Day promotions either, when it arrives on the 26th.

Make the most of the marketing milestones

If you’re in charge of marketing concepts, content and design, always try to work out how you can piggy-back the various milestones from a marketing perspective … but plan ahead or you’ll simply miss the boat!

So, the message is: make the most of every opportunity and ensure that your business or organisation looks the part for the new season.

Perfect printing for promotions

Marketing departments for shops and businesses selling lifestyle-related products or services may need to start thinking about leaflets, flyers, brochures and perhaps even catalogues to show off their new spring offerings. Printed banners for spring marketing promotionsWindows can also display posters and banners for any spring sales or product launches. Pubs, cafés and restaurants should start thinking about Read more

Printed leaflets, flyers and hand-outs

Printed Leaflets, Flyers & Hand-outs as a Marketing Tool

Printed leaflets, flyers and hand-outs

As a marketing tool, leaflets, flyers and hand-outs can represent exceptional value for money; they’re simple in format (usually being based on a double-sided printed sheet), are seldom complex in terms of content and can be printed particularly economically. Their unit cost can actually be minimal – as low as just a few pence each – when the volume, material and size are all just right.

Design

If you’re putting together a leaflet, flyer or hand-out (we’ll simply refer to all 3 as leaflets from this point as they’re essentially all the same kind of thing), think about what kind of ‘feel’ you want them to have. This is from a ‘design’ point of view as well as from a ‘materials’ perspective.

With regard to design you need to consider whether you want the leaflet to feel upmarket, business-like, cheap and cheerful or somewhere in between. This feel, of course, will speak volumes about the product or service being featured, so it needs to be carefully considered. A good graphic designer will be able to pitch the design just right and, if you don’t have your own designer, let us know as our own graphic design team will be happy to help you. You can also check out the design tips in our Top 10 Tips for Design post and don’t forget that it’s important to get your text and overall message communication right so also check out our Copy Writing Tips.

Paper

With regard to material used, consider whether a high-quality finish and substantial paper thickness are preferred or whether the lowest cost possible is more important. Often it’ll be somewhere between the two so you end up with a quality feel but at an affordable price. Talk to us at Firstpoint Print and we’ll be able to suggest some excellent paper/stock that not only gives excellent print results but is also looks and feels the part, without breaking the bank.

Coated paper options include matt, silk and gloss finishes while uncoated paper can give the whole job a completely different feel; perhaps a contemporary, trendy feel that’s a little more organic and less corporate than coated counterparts. Uncoated paper is often great for promoting products and services that are ‘outdoorsy’ or ‘natural’ in some way (including eco-friendly products) as well as trendy clothing, jewellery and other lifestyle products. Coated papers are usually more suited to things like corporate services, household products, images that need more visual ‘punch’ and greater detail or clarity.

“As a marketing tool, leaflets, flyers and hand-outs can represent exceptional value for money.”

Cost considerations

Perhaps surprisingly, coated papers are often cheaper than uncoated papers, particularly when it comes to those seemingly ‘uncoated’ stocks that, in reality, have a special surface treatment that’s added in order to improve printing results.

Thin paper weights are also generally cheaper than thicker papers. However, while thinner papers will save money, the feeling of quality will diminish if the paper is too thin. So a considered balance is needed, particularly for leaflets that are there primarily to promote high price tag products and services — you wouldn’t want to devalue those with a poor paper choice. Read more

Start your Valentine's Day promotion NOW!

Start Your Valentine’s Day Promotion NOW!

Start your Valentine's Day promotion NOW!

Valentine’s Day will be here shortly so make sure you’re in with a chance of benefiting from the new business that it can bring! There’s not a moment to lose — start preparing your marketing promotions right now — or it’ll be too late.

Restaurants, gift shops, florists and jewellers will be the key beneficiaries at this time as girlfriends, boyfriends, partners, husbands and wives book romantic tables for two and exchange cards, jewellery, gifts and flowers, all in the name of love.

Printed Flyers, Leaflets & Posters

Own a restaurant? Hand out your flyers and leaflets in the high street, or deliver them door to door to promote your Valentine’s Day menus. Before you know it, you’ll be fully booked! Let us know, of course, if you need help getting them designed and printed professionally — that’s what we do best, here at Firstpoint Print, London.

Promotional flyers, postcards, leaflets & postersJewellers and gift shops can do something similar to highlight the gorgeous jewellery, sparkly gifts and cuddly toys that go down so well on the day. Leaflets, flyers and strategically placed posters are a great way to put the spotlight on great gift ideas and any special offers.

Printed Postcards

High gloss or silky-matte postcards depicting beautifully shot products can also fulfil a similar purpose, with panache. Include discounts, voucher codes and special offers to maximise the effect and improve the success of your Valentine’s Day promotion.

Hanging Banners

If you run a restaurant or gastro pub, you will also benefit from displaying a hanging banner, announcing that you’re taking bookings for Valentine’s Day, right outside your venue. They’re quick and easy to display, are sure to catch the eye, and can be used again next year. Firstpoint Print would be delighted to supply them – it’s all part of the large format design and printing service we offer.

Printed Greetings Cards

When it comes to the romantic celebrations, nearly any type of business can see an increase in business if they play their cards right – literally perhaps – and plan ahead. A printed Valentine’s Day card arriving through one’s letterbox on the romantic day itself is sure to be opened and read — unlike most junk mail. So if that card is, in reality, your carefully crafted promotional piece, masquerading as a Valentine’s card, then you’re already ahead of the game and you just got noticed! Read more

Your Marketing Calendar for 2017

Your marketing calendar for 2017

Your calendar can be an amazing source of marketing opportunities. Keeping your eye on key dates throughout the year will help you to keep up with the larger companies and organisations that use carefully timed marketing communications as a matter of course. So, just thirty or so minutes spent with your calendar, or 10 reading this post, can help you to hit the ground running and kick-start a carefully orchestrated marketing strategy for the year. A couple of examples will demonstrate some of the many opportunities that you’ll discover through such an exercise then, below those, we include suggestions for a full marketing calendar for the year as a whole. If you find this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it!

Valentine’s Day Promotions

At time of writing it’s mid January so, right now, you could be gearing up for a Valentine’s Day promotion in just under a month’s time. For example, come February 14th, I for one would open what I perceive to be a Valentine’s Day card if it arrived through my post box on that day. I’d open it for sure whereas I would ignore most other ‘non-themed’ junk mail, of the nature that arrives every day. Think of your corporate Valentine’s card — and most of the other ideas below — like they are a Trojan Horse; you are grabbing attention for your marketing or sales message under the guise of something people actually want to open and read! It’s a sneaky, but ingenious marketing approach.

Easter Promotions

During February, you could be thinking about an Easter promotion timed for March, helped along with images of eggs, Easter bunnies and little yellow chicks! Consider, perhaps, use of those popular little puns in your marketing headlines (for example, “We’re Egg-cited to Announce …” and so on). In case you were wondering, Good Friday falls on 14 April this year, with Easter Sunday on 16 April and Easter Monday on the 17th.

Those are just two of the many, many timely marketing opportunities that present themselves to you every year, if you think ahead and plan for them.

An At-a-glance Marketing Calendar for the Year as a Whole:

  • 1 January: consider a New Year’s Day or general New Year promotion come January 1st.
  • January itself is the start of the traditional sale season and is a great marketing opportunity (see our last post).
  • 25 January 2017:  consider a Burns Night promotion for your Scottish clients and prospects.
  • 28 January 2017: consider a Chinese New Year promotion (2017 is going to be ‘Year of the Fire Rooster’).
  • 14 February 2017: make the most of a Valentine’s Day promotion.
  • 28 February 2017: possibly launch a Shrove Tuesday promotion, particularly if your niche involves food.
  • 17 March 2017: St Patrick’s Day could be a promotion opportunity for any Irish clients.
  • 26 March 2017: consider a Mother’s Day promotion.
  • 1 April: an April Fools’ Day promotion could be fun!
  • 14 April to 17 April 2017: make the most of Easter for another promotion.
  • 22 April: an Earth Day promotion could be useful for ‘green’ promotions.
  • 23 April: a St George’s Day promotion perhaps.
  • 1 May and 29 May 2017: consider a couple of ‘Bank Holiday’ promotions – perhaps a sale.
  • 18 June 2017: Father’s Day presents itself for possible promotions.
  • 7 and 28 August 2017: some August Bank Holiday promotions perhaps – again, maybe a bank holiday sale.
  • 31 October: it’s Halloween so theme your promotion accordingly.
  • 5 November: a Guy Fawkes Night promotion could help your marketing go off with a bang!
  • 23 November 2017: Thanksgiving promotions for your American client base perhaps.
  • 24 November 2017: Black Friday and …
  • 27 November 2017: Cyber Monday promotions can really make the most of people’s shopping sprees in the run-up to Christmas, particularly while they’re in spending mode.
  • 25-26 December: plan a Christmas and/or Boxing Day promotion to grab those last minute sales.
  • 31 December: a Hogmanay promotion for your Scottish audience perhaps.

Promotions Around a Key Moment in Time

The list could go on, including marketing activity timed to Read more

Hit the ground running with a January promotion

Hit the Ground Running with a January Promotion!

Hit the ground running with a January promotion

Why not hit the ground running for the New Year with a January promotion. Whether it’s a mini catalogue announcing your sale prices, or printed flyers to hand out in town to get people to your store, the New Year is a great time to boost your bottom line. Not only is the New Year like a ‘new slate’ but many people will also have received money or vouchers for Christmas so will be on the look-out for a real bargain.

The January sales are also a great time to offload any overstocked goods that didn’t sell out at Christmas, so thinking of creative ways to garner customer sales and also clear space for new stock is a multiple win. Printed leaflets, vouchers and perhaps mini printed catalogues showing your special offers or sale pricing are sure to increase visitors, generate retail sales and add to your profits.

Ways to gain extra sales

Aside from the ideas above, other ways to generate customer interest and sales include:

  • Offering bundle deals – for example bundle up a few products together, with an overall saving, to offer great value overall whilst also off-loading some items that might not have previously sold well.
  • Offering B.O.G.O.F. (buy one get one free) or ‘3 for 2’ deals and similar will shift more stock while also giving your customers a great deal.
  • Cross-sell. So if you’re selling notepads, for example, offer savings on pens, erasers, rulers and pencils if bought at the same time.
  • Encourage people to subscribe to news and updates by including sign up forms on your printed literature. Mailing lists are worth their weight in gold and keep customers coming back to buy more and more, sometimes for years, when you use them to best effect (e.g. via newsletters, e-news, direct mailings).
  • Encourage people to sign up to voucher schemes or loyalty cards, for example, by having a draw for one lucky new subscriber each month. Make the benefits clear on your printed literature and publicise the win each time for added PR effect.
  • Maximise brand recognition. So, keep your brand visible and presented consistently so that people remember it and identify with it in the future. Brand recognition and a good corporate identity are important marketing assets for any business, service or product.
  • Publicise your special promotion with printed flyers, posters for your store windows, email campaigns and don’t forget to offer voucher codes for online sales.

How we can help:

We can help to maximise your New Year promotions by supplying excellent design and economical, high quality printing — or alternatively supply your own artwork if you have your own in-house design service. With digital, litho and large format printing all available in-house within the Firstpoint Print Group, we can supply pretty much any kind of printing. Moreover, that mixture of printing hardware means you receive the very best process for each particular job, the lowest pricing for the quantity you need and the fastest turnaround.

If you decide to go ahead with a January promotion, just a few of the things we can design and print for you include: Read more

Print & Design Support for Your Marketing Campaigns

Printing & design for marketing departments

So let’s assume you’ve got your marketing strategy in place, have written your copy and you are now ready to start production of each marketing piece.

Design & Artwork

Now you need some great design to back up your marketing message. If your company or organisation has it’s own in-house design team, then great. If not, you need look no further than our own graphic design team, which is on tap for you whenever you need it, here at Firstpoint Print. Our designers would be happy to take your brief and turn it into something attractive and eye-catching, communicating your message in just the right way for your target audience. On your approval of the design, they’ll finalise the finished artwork files for you, ready for the printing stage.

Printing

There is printing … and there is great printing. After investing time, money and effort to get this far, it would be a great shame to cut corners and rush things at the final hurdle. So it’s worth taking a moment to think about the most appropriate printing processes, paper and finishes to be used for your marketing pieces — rather than rushing in and wasting the opportunity. As we’ve said in previous posts, putting thought into the extra touches and detail can make a huge difference to that all-important first impression — and you only get one chance to do that!

“putting thought into the extra touches … can make a huge difference to that all-important first impression”

Firstpoint Print can help more than most other printers because we have both litho printing (for total Pantone colour matching accuracy and larger print volumes) and digital printing (for fast-turnaround jobs and low-to-medium quantities). We also have in-house large format printing for those extra large print-outs like posters, in-store displays, roller banners and exhibition panels. So, with all those facilities available within the Firstpoint Print group, we can *optimally* print pretty much anything — just one supplier, for all your sales and marketing literature. The mixture of different printing processes also ensures that you get the best possible pricing and the most appropriate process for each printed piece.

“the best possible pricing and the most appropriate process for each printed piece.”

What types of marketing pieces can we print?

It would almost be easier to say what types of marketing collateral we can’t print – as there are so few – but here’s a list of Read more

Printed postcards - the chameleon of marketing

Postcards: the Chameleon of Marketing

Printed postcards - the chameleon of marketing

 

In our latest post, we put the spotlight on the humble postcard and its incredible potential as a marketing tool. Why does it have so much potential?  Well, because it’s so adaptable and can be used in many different ways, for a whole host of marketing purposes. Postcards are also incredibly cost-effective and, as such, punch well above their weight as a sales and marketing tool.

An alternative to business cards

Postcards can obviously be used as standard post cards but let’s first consider their use as an alternative, or perhaps sidekick, to a business card. Right away their larger size lends extra impact, more detail and the ability to add a headline and some marketing copy. Try all that on a standard business card and you’ll soon see why we suggest a postcard as an alternative. So next time you are in a situation where you’d normally hand out your business card, consider handing out a well designed and well printed postcard too. It would be a great talking point — and that’s another great benefit.

An alternative to leaflets

Consider them too as a possible replacement for a leaflet. Their extra thickness alone gives them more gravitas than a thin leaflet while still allowing plenty of room for your sales message, contact details, product information and perhaps an offer of some kind. Compared to a standard leaflet, there’s something simply more precious, in the best sense of the word, about a postcard. So, people are simply more likely to keep hold of a glossy, attractive postcard than they are a standard leaflet.

Handouts

Postcards also make excellent handouts and give-aways at events. With the ability to be able to laminate them and perhaps even spot UV varnish them, when well designed they can leave a first impression that’s every bit as good as a posh brochure yet all distilled into a simple, compact, straight forward, instantly readable communication.

Another great application of a postcard is, of course … Read more

Guide to online marketing, part 3

A Guide to Online Marketing: Part 3

Guide to online marketing, part 3

In part 3 of our guide to online marketing we cover some tips and tricks relating to more advanced online marketing activities. These include an introduction to Search Engine Optimisation and the use of paid services such as Google AdWords, along with some simple, common-sense actions you can take in order to convert ‘new’ customers into ‘repeat’ customers. Many of those tips can also be applied to physical stores and businesses of course; not just online marketing, as you’ll see.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (‘SEO’ for short) involves the sometimes slightly technical ways you can improve your site’s pages or blog’s posts in order to give them a potential ‘lift’ in the search engine rankings. It’s very worthwhile, after all it’s better to potentially appear on page 1 of Google for your product or service than being buried on pages deeper into the search results.

While a full course in SEO is beyond the scope of this relatively short blog post, there are some fairly quick and easy SEO tips and tricks you can implement yourself, particularly if your website has a content management system (‘CMS’) with the right in-built tools (Firstpoint Print can of course help with that if your site needs an upgrade – we also do website design and development in case you didn’t know):

Meta tags

  • Make sure you write well-crafted meta tags for every page and post on your website. The meta tags are largely invisible to humans but are avidly ‘read’ by search engines as a way to find out what your page or post (and site as a whole) are about, which then helps them to decide, at least partly, how high your page or post should rank for search queries being entered into the search engine. Any good website content management system should allow you to change these meta tags within admin so ask your webmaster where to look if this is new to you.
  • The title meta tag should be a 60-70 character (roughly 8 to 11 words max.) synopsis of what your page or post is about, ideally in proper sentence structure, not just a list of keywords;
  • The description meta tag should be a longer version of the same thing i.e. a 24 words (max.) description of what your page or post is about, written again in proper sentence form;
  • The keywords meta tag should include a list of 10 to 24 of your post or page’s most important keywords, each separated by one comma and one space. Use single words and do not repeat any word more than once within this tag (so printing, printers, litho, digital, large, format, brochures, leaflets, flyers, london (etc) would be correct but printers in london, printing in london, litho printers (etc) would be wrong due to the repetition of ‘printers’ and ‘london’ — that approach being a common mistake which I see all the time). Note also how the keywords tag is best in lower case as most people use lower case when searching online;
  • In all 3 of the above meta tags use your page or post’s most important keyword(s) only once, preferably at or towards the start of each, and do not repeat them again in any one of the tags (however they should appear in all 3, i.e. once in each if important).
  • It’s actually easier to write these meta tags in reverse order, i.e. keywords tag first, then the description tag, then the title tag last. That way the most important keywords can be identified and put into order easily in the keywords tag, then that can be used as reference when writing the description tag. Finally the title tag is often a shortened version of the description tag. (Editor’s note: I use this approach myself, including on the post you are reading right now).

‘Alt’ tags

  • ‘Alt’ tags are the little image descriptors which pop up when you hover over photographs and images when using web browsers like Internet Explorer (however they may not show in other browsers like FireFox). They are useful for SEO and can be used in a similar way to the meta tags as they are visible to search engines whether or not they are visible to human visitors. If your site has a content management system it will usually allow you to enter ‘alt’ text (short for ‘alternative’ text) into a field when adding an image. If you can’t spot where, ask your webmaster where to look.
  • As with the meta tags, use your page or post’s most important keywords at the start of the first photo’s ‘alt’ tag. The words you enter should describe the image concerned. However, particularly if this is the first editable image on the page/post, they can also include your page or post’s most important keywords (in sentence form not a list) which will help with SEO if done correctly. As with meta tags, try not to repeat any one keyword more than once. So if your main keyword or phrase (e.g. ‘Printing services in London”) is mentioned in your page or post’s first alt tag (for the first photo) then don’t mention that keyword/phrase again – if you can help it – for photos further down the same page or post.

 Internal linking

  • If your page or post mentions or refers to another product or service on your site or blog, make sure you cross-link (hyperlink) to the page or post concerned. That helps both visitors and search engines what the ‘target’ page/post is all about and helps a little with SEO. The concept might make more sense with the following example which shows several hyperlinks each aiming at a different target page or post: We are a printer based in Central London with graphic design, lithographic printing, digital printing and large format printing facilities.
  • Note how we’ve also made the internal hyperlinks bold (this helps with visibility as well as SEO);
  • Note also how the links have been put on the relevant keywords.

‘Search-engine-friendly’ titles and sub-titles

  • If your website or blog is built on a search-engine-friendly platform (like the websites we supply at Firstpoint Print) then in admin you will usually have a choice of heading styles called ‘Heading 1’ through to ‘Heading 6’ (or they might be called ‘H1’ through to ‘H6’ etc.). If so, these are usually ‘search-engine-friendly’ heading and sub-heading styles. Heading 1 (or h1) is usually automatically reserved for your page or post’s main heading, so usually you don’t need to worry about that. However, SEO professionals usually recommend that most pages and posts should include sub-headings throughout the text. This not only helps visitors to pick out areas of particular interest and to structure the page, but also potentially helps with SEO (for better search engine positions), particularly if those sub-headings use those pre-set heading styles mentioned above and include your all-important keywords and phrases.

While these simple SEO techniques usually help to improve search engine rankings, we should mention that, these days, they are seldom enough all on their own to take you to page 1 on Google; you need to keep the long-term momentum up on everything else we’ve taught in these guides in order for that to be possible, realistically, unless you happen to be in a very tiny niche with very little competition. Google and their like have made us have to work very hard, these days, for free page one rankings — but it is possible with great care and persistence. Indeed, at the time of writing, the site you are looking at right now ranks very well for our targeted keywords and phrases so the hard work can and usually does pay off eventually.

Google AdWords

If your site is not yet ranking ‘naturally’ on Google or your SEO and online marketing efforts are not yet seeing results and bringing qualified traffic to your website, then consider signing up to Google AdWords so that you get some ‘instant’, qualified traffic using their ‘pay-per-click’ advertising model. Read more