After feeling very festive and a little creative, I thought i’d write something a little different for our blog. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year
It’s the month before Christmas and in every house
People are online buying with a click of their mouse
Looking for bargains, trying to be frugal
Comparing prices in Bing and in Google
Our clients are smiling as their sales figures soar
Because for all of their search terms they are in the top four
With Newsletter emails to encourage their customers to spend
Full of offers and information in html format we send
And for those who said they didn’t need the internet
They are staring at their numbers shaking their head
For no one can find them online to be able to buy
“ I wish I had done something sooner” I hear them cry
So come January they are knocking on our door
“I need to make money online, can you help” they roar
So we come up with a plan to suit their individual needs
And work with them to get them lots of new sales leads
So the moral of the story is to make sure you market yourself
The internet is here to stay and can bring you great wealth
But you have to work hard at it and that’s where we come in
Whatever your business we can help with your internet marketing
Forget the whole fantastic customer service thing; we all know that that’s vitally important. But beyond that the thing that most people I know complain about is the lack of communication from their suppliers. It’s one of the fundamental rules of any relationship to keep the lines of communication open. Just think of all those great friends you had in your school days that just drifted away, if they were still in your life today, chances are some of them at least you would still see on a regular basis.
We take communication for granted and often if we are doing a good job for our customers we forget that just touching base now and again can make the world of difference when that contract renewal date comes round. When I first started out in the world of work I got to travel around quite a bit with a Sales person, they would just call up their contacts in the car for a natter and I never really understood why. But I get it now completely, everyone has heard the saying that we do business with people and it’s so true, so then why do we not work as hard at building relationships as we do at providing a great product or service?
Technology can certainly help you do this in a more formal and consistent way, tools like email marketing can ensure you are always in contact with your customers and through social media you can continue to build relationships on a more personal level. Let’s face it we all want to feel special; we all want to think that we are important to someone else. This is why if you say you’re going to call on a certain day and you don’t, you are creating more damage than if you hadn’t mentioned a phone call at all.
The key again is planning, yes it’s a boring concept, but it really is the difference between success and failure. Making sure you have a strategy in place using all of the tools available to you to keep in contact with your customers has got to be MORE important that seeking out new ones. And remember that technology is a fantastic thing, we can automate, control and communicate with people in so many different ways and even though I’m an internet geek there are times when nothing beats a good old fashioned phone call.
You might have seen one of these around, they are called QR Codes or Quick Response Codes. They work alongside smart phones and more and more businesses are starting to use them. They are a similar concept to a barcode but a little bit more complicated, basically someone scans this code using a smartphone, they can then take one of the following actions:
- Open a webpage
- Send a text message
- Make a phone call
You will start to see these more and more as a marketing tool. Picture the scene, someone is walking around the shopping centre and they see a competition advertised on the side of a cereal packet, instead of having to jot down the details, they could simply scan the QR Code and enter the competition instantly. Or, someone is flicking through the brochure of a hotel, they can scan the QR code which then dials the hotel’s reservations line. It’s a great way to encourage people to take action, we’re a lazy bunch and anything that cuts down the hassle factor, or reduces time is going to be attractive.
They can be used pretty much anywhere you can think of that has the potential to reach out to your target market, the possibilities are endless.
You can have individual ones for different campaigns you are running, of different codes depending on where they were placed, ie if you are running an ad in a two different magazines you might want to see which one creates the best results for you.
Whatever you use them for, just remember that as with all forms of marketing it is vital to track what you are doing so that you can make informed decisions about your marketing activities and it’s success. Here’s a great little tool that will generate QR codes for you quickly and easily http://www.qurify.com/en/
Picture the scene ten years from now, Bob is sat in his home office he lives in a world of augmented reality where he doesn’t need to leave his home for anything. His environment is whatever he wants it to be, at the click of a button he can appear to be anywhere in the world. He rarely meets anyone face to face and his entire social life takes place online. Every aspect of his home and office is controlled via a handset, from lighting to heating, to making a phone call.
I do wonder if we are quite ready for the speed at which technology affects our lives. For example I heard a story recently where a child was disqualified from an exam because they searched on Google for the answer. This decision was then overturned as it was felt that this was the way that people looked for information now, that people no longer need to retain so much information in their brains, they just need to know how to access the information instead. Now I don’t know if this story is true or if it is just a story but it does make you think.
Why do I need to be able to recite all the Kings and Queens of England for tha last 1,000 years if I can simply Google it instead?
No one knows what the future looks like or just how much technology is going to change our lives, I mean who saw Facebook coming? But however it turns out I think it’s fairly safe to say that the internet will play a major part, the whole concept of doing your grocery shopping online, or checking your bank account would have seemed absurd 20 years ago, now we take it for granted. Whatever happens I can’t wait, I think it’s fantastic the possibilities that technology brings, I embrace it fully and look forwards to what is coming at us from around the corner.
Pretty much all internet users have watched a video online, many through Youtube, embedding a video onto your website has become quite a simple process and one that you should consider exploring. Way back when, using video on a website would take so long to load that they were impractical to use and most people would give up and leave the website before the video had even loaded.
Today it’s a very different process, by uploading a video to something like Youtube you don’t even have to host the video on your website, you can simply embed it thus having no impact on your download speeds. The reason download speeds are important is not only for user experience but also to help your search engine rankings.
We all have different ways of learning, some prefer to read and others are much more visual, so by introducing video to your website you are able to engage with those that would get bored of reading your web copy in the space of a couple of minutes. One of the other benefits of using video is that you can get a lot more information across in a much shorter space of time.
Video is a great way of demonstrating the personality of a business too, you can really get this across more than you can with a static web page, these tend to be quite cold. Some of the best ways to use video are to:
- Present your business services
- Demonstrate how to use a product/service using video
- Tutorials and how-to videos offering advice
- Present your latest blog
One of the things to bear in mind is that you need to produce a video that gives your potential audience the information they are looking for. If you are presenting a product you need to be talking about how it can help them solve a problem and not just barking on about how fantastic it is. Try not to make your video more than a few minutes, most people won’t stick around for any longer than this and you can end up diluting your message.
If you are a little nervous about putting together your first video, don’t be, you know your business better than anybody and so don’t worry about feeling silly, we all do on the first attempt. Oh and lastly don’t just make one for the sake of it, it has to actually be about something that people are interested in.
If you have a business then you have a brand, and along with a brand you need to have a brand personality. This needs to be a conscious decision and one that fits in with the industry you are involved in and also around your customer base. By creating this you are helping to communicate to your audience what you are all about. It’s a powerful concept and once agreed upon needs to remain consistent across all of your marketing material.
By engaging the services of a copywriter you are ensuring that your message is consistent and right for the medium that the content is for. Writing for a brochure is very different to writing for a website as people read in very different ways, a good copywriter will be able to do both. They will also be able to translate your personality into words that everyone can understand to get across your message in the right way.
Your brand personality needs to be reflected in your writing so if you have a fun and energetic brand with a funky logo then you need to make sure that you write in a voice that is exactly that. A copywriter can do this easily and will be able to turn your ideas into words that work. By the same token if you have a very serious business dealing with important and sensitive issues then there is no point littering your website with jokes.
So whether you decide to engage a copywriter or go it alone please take this into consideration as getting it wrong can have a serious impact on your brand and as a result on your business.
Goals and Challenges
Cool Kites was a relatively new business having only been trading for about a year. As with many new businesses in their first year budget was an issue. As a result, Cool Kites followed the path that many other small businesses take and developed their own ecommerce website. To compliment this initial site with some online marketing they engaged an national SEO company and embarked on a self managed Google Adwords program.
Very quickly they realised that the potential was so much greater if they could only market their business online more professionally. As with most self built sites, it didn’t look quite how they had envisaged and didn’t work as well as they’d hoped. The SEO service they were receiving was also disappointing as the company that they had engaged, although well known were charging a significant amount to optimise for one phrase and had never met the client face to face. As far as PPC went, it was all a bit hit and miss.
After researching the kite market and looking into the quality and strength of the competition we decided on the following solution.
- Site design to rival competitors. Focus on simplicity and ease of finding products quickly.
- New search engine friendly, flexible ecommerce site. We started with just a couple of hundred products and the aim is to soon move towards about a thousand. For this solution we chose to use Prestashop.
- SEO strategy based on an initial 5 important keywords. Methods to include on and off page optimisation, creation and installation of a wordpress blog, article writing and social book marketing.
- Completely overhaul the Google Adwords account, to employ all know best practices to ensure a higher cost per click and be able to measure sales from paid ads.
- Quarterly email marketing campaigns to existing client base talking about latest offers and new products etc.
Since the Internet Marketing solution has been live we have managed to see marked improvement in performance. Overall website visitors are up by just over 50%. We have managed to maintain most of the keyword positions that the previous site had achieved and have started to see some new high search engine position results on some new keywords. Find out more about how internet marketing could help your business.
Search Engine Optimisation is the key to having a successful long term online campaign. It is more cost effective than relying solely on PPC and is essential if you want to be found by the search engines. I always say to people that there is not point having a great website if no one can find you in the first place. If people do not know your business exists and when they search for your products and services you don’t appear in the listings, then they will be simply going to your competitors instead. Just think of the opportunity that exists for you? It you don’t go after it then you can be pretty sure someone else will.
So what is Search Engine Optimisation?
Well, in a nutshell its about making sure that your website appears early on in the results within a search engine, but more than this it’s about appearing for the right search terms. If I am a business selling window blinds then there is absolutely no point in appearing in the listings for paving slabs. This is an extreme example but you really need to hone in on what it is that your business does and try to get found for this. The more specific search terms you can be found for then the more likely visitors to your site will turn into customers.
Search engines use a huge number of calculations to decide which website appears first in the listings, the key is to understand as much about these calculations as possible and apply this methodology to your website and generally to your online marketing as a whole. These calculations change all of the time and one of the reasons to engage with an SEO company is that they should be keeping up to date with all of the changes to make sure that once you are high up in the listings that you stay there.
Find out more about Search Engine Optimisation
We design websites predominantly for businesses in Essex but our client base reaches far and wide, so I thought I would share some of my experience on the subject. The first thing that springs to mind when thinking about what’s good and what’s not so good, is that does it do the job that it was created for? Simple right, you’d be amazed at the number of companies that kind of get hung up on how good a site looks rather than whether it does its job.
Similar to Slide Share, author Stream allows you to share your PowerPoint presentations on the web.
You will need to create an account in order to use it. Once you’ve done this you can upload a multimedia presentation you’ve created in PowerPoint and author Stream will convert it to Flash format and display it on a unique URL.