Monday, 25 November 2013
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Your product launch is this week – quick send e-mails. That event is on this week – quick post on Facebook – lot’s. Something happening last week – quick send out a newsletter. Is this you? Can you relate?
Does this sound like you? Madly telling people all about the news and events of your business in a mad, frantic way. With a few minutes to spare in your busy week do you sit down and post on social media, throw out some quick e-mails, update your website and dash together a newsletter. You are a marketing God – time management Queen (or King) – efficiency plus is your motto!
Did you know that there is an optimal time for posting on social media and sending e-mails to get the best open rates an engagement by your target audience. Information moves so fast – newsfeeds on social media update regularly; inboxes get full – emails are deleted without being opened – gmails new tab format is also making it easier for people to filter e-mails out of their inbox.
So the answer – stop pretending to be efficient with your marketing. You are doing no-one any favours – especially your business.
There are two secrets (reminders) that I am going to let you in on to help be more proactive and productive with your marketing:
S Start to plan your content. Develop a 6 month calendar for your business, put in all of your events, product launches, public holidays and specials (ie Christmas). What messaging will you develop to go with these milestones, where will you place those messages – will you put images with them? What is your call to action? What do you need to put into place to ensure seamless interactions.
Use a scheduling tool – the leaders are Bufferapp, Hootsuite and Sprout Social – do your research to see which line will work best for you. Like any app my golden rule is that it needs to help with your business and not create more work!
As with any campaign that you develop if you have strong strategy and reliable research behind it you will generate good leads into your business. Like anything else in your life – a little bit of planning will make implementation so much easier!
Sunday, 27 October 2013
Since 2007, Visionary Group has used a great number of proprietary and Open Source website development platforms for development of new business websites, redevelopment of existing sites and as part of an integrated Internet marketing campaigns for clients. After a few years we decided to specialise in a single Content Management System (CMS), so a review of the best platform ensued… the winner (at that time)? Joomla! CMS…
After working on dozens of Joomla! CMS projects over the past 5 years, we still believe that we made the best choice for our clients and our own business. Globally, there are millions of Joomla! websites on the Internet, and with over 6000 extensions and thousands of templates there’s a solution for every need, both free and commercial versions.
But what about WordPress? This has been a question put to us during recent discussions at workshops over the past year… so to satisfy my curiosity, to keep up with latest developments and to confirm (or deny) my decision to opt for Joomla!, I had to look into WordPress again.
WordPress is the most popular Open Source CMS platform globally - it’s free, has lots of beautiful templates and boasts a great deal of extensibility options as well. Lots of company websites are built on WordPress, which speaks volumes that WordPress has evolved away from it’s traditional Blogging origins and now can be used to develop true online businesses.
So, what's the verdict? Depends on what you want to do…
For individuals and professionals, or business who want to start out developing their own CMS platform, WordPress would be the best option. However, if the design brief is a complex eBusiness platform for an organisation multiple stakeholders and users then my bet would be Joomla!
To offer a little more detail, I've listed Pro’s and Con’s for both...
- Great for beginners
- No prior knowledge of HTML required
- Easy set-up
- Customisable design
- Favourable format for Google - quick SEO uptake
- Migration between installations simple
- Advanced customisation easier (need knowledge of CSS)
- Easy to create pages, posts and menu items
- Good extensibility with plugins
- No native multilingual support - plugins required
- Not as extensible as Joomla!
- Not updated as often - potential security issues not patched as often
- Knowledge of WP scripting required for some changes that take seconds in Joomla! - ie dates in a page/post/article
- Deep customisation complex - often requires development
- Ongoing maintenance may cost more
- Apparent limited user community compared to Joomla!
- No knowledge of HTML required
- Multilingual support by default
- Easy set-up despite being more complex CMS
- Great user community
- Ideal for networking, forums, building community
- User access layers native and customisable
- Scalable - start with a ‘business card’ site and grow with business
- Extensible - (almost) no limit to what can be done with many extensions
- Regular security updates
- Steep learning curve for beginners
- Migration issues from version 1.5 to 2.5+ turning off some Joomla! fans
- Slower SEO uptake by Google etc - versions 2.5+ better
By no means are these lists complete, also there’s also a lot of comment on the web about other CMS platforms, such as Drupal, Magneto and others in similar reviews - it all comes down to different horses for courses…
We believe that our decision to stick with Joomla! has been well founded, however we have developed WordPress sites and continue to do so… mainly for micro businesses and professionals. For our mainstream ebusiness clients we have positive runs on the board with Joomla! CMS.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Google celebrated 15 years this September, which is a big deal considering the Internet officially started in 1995. Also at this time Google has also rolled out an update of it’s algorithm dubbed ‘hummingbird’, aimed at making searches easier for the user.
SEO experts have been challenged over the past year or so with a raft of rolling changes to Google’s algorithms, also given unique terms such as Penguin and Panda. Some would say they gave them cute names to lull webmasters into a sense of false security when they potentially could have a huge impact on website rankings.
What is an algorithm and what could be the impact of your site?
In general terms search engines utilise a complex series of mathematical formula to evaluate websites, give them a value based on relevance to a search term, ranks sites compared to other similar sites, thus giving the searcher the best site result.
|Happy 15th Birthday Google!|
Google has stated that the recent updates have rewarded those sites that have been optimised ethically and legitimately, while penalising those sites that have been optimised with unethical ‘black hat’ methods - put simply, if you've tried to buck the system, the system now is going to bite back…
Many online businesses have witnessed a dramatic change in how their sites have come up in searches as a result of the algorithm changes, some for the better but many also for the worse; Visionary’s clients have faired relatively well over the past and continue to go from strength to strength. We've even had a few situations over the past year where we have saved a client’s site from being ‘sandboxed’ (read ‘put to the back of the queue’) due to a contractor making significant changes to the site without appropriate countermeasures. Through a lot of hard work, monitoring and sustained adjustments over time we we’re able to minimise any negative impact.
Google’s Hummingbird seems to be focusing in how businesses can market and be searchable to other businesses better, while earlier changes have concentrated on improvements for consumer based search. Furthermore, more emphasis has been given to content and how businesses can differentiate not just on keywords but also intent usage of similar terms in other sectors.
Google recently described Hummingbird as a new way to “...have original, high-quality content… (and) to process them in new and hopefully better ways.” Their message to SEO professionals, webmasters and publishers is to continue to produce quality content regularly and on multiple online channels (especially on Google platforms). Combined with an exponential growth of mobile devices, Google also wanted to deliver search results more accurately and quicker to Tablets and Smartphones and Hummingbird is just another evolutionary step in the process.
Google has delivered better search results for end users, but also in the process has challenged SEO experts and internet marketers to be more professional in their efforts. in many cases this is almost a call to ‘back to basics’ approach - to not focus too much on in-depth techniques, but rather to deliver quality content, which is highly relevant and informative.
It is, however, even more important now than ever to utilise a SEO professional and Internet marketer to keep up with regular changes in the future.
Sunday, 20 October 2013
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
The use of technology dominates and has supposed to have made life easier and simple. A quick scan of your phone will show loads of apps (mine is also full of toddler games for miss 2). Some apps I have downloaded because they looked great at the time and I have never used, others I absolutely could not do without.
So when selecting apps to use follow these simple rules:
1. It needs to do something no other application you have does
2. It should help you by automating or streamlining a task which takes you time
I recently set myself a mission to get my life organised – I have always prized myself on my awesome time management –until Miss 2 appeared in my life. Juggling mum and domestic responsibilities with a busy business has put me inside the pressure cooker once too often – to the point I turned my business on its ear at the start of the year making major decisions to lessen the load.
Taking my addiction to my smart phone I decided there were apps for everything and there had to be some that would absolutely help me feel and appear to be more organised. Here are my top 8:
Since throwing outlook out of my life and using just Gmail I am guaranteed my contacts sync and I can reply to messages, move them into folders, delete them and it all be done in real time with no risk of something going wrong. Time saver!
The only complaint I have is I can’t set reminders like in Outlook – I am currently experimenting with an app called Boomerang to help with this task, I will let you know how I go.
Awesome Time Logger
Given my time is very limited when I am at ‘work’ I need to make sure I am not only focused but I am also not wasting time. This great little app lets me record my day – allocating my time usage to different categories. It is amazing the little things which are time wasting activities (like always checking e-mails!)
Whichever bank you are with there should be an app for it. To be able to pay bills on the run, transfer money or even to check balances without logging in to your computer saves time wasting and makes this task less onerous!
Part of my organisation of my family was to set-up meal plans and also look for interesting, quick and easy recipes (enter my Pinterest addiction). Food planner allows you set up a meal plan (you can use theirs or create your own) add recipes (again you can import some or use theirs), add an inventory of your fridge and pantry and create a shopping list. I have only just started using this system moving from a paper version – and very excited about the app!
Since downloading the app on my phone I am officially addicted. I can be anywhere, scanning and pinning. Creating boards for all sorts of things from recipes and craft to business help!
This is a Facebook app which gives you access to your business pages, I manage a few for our business and also clients. This app gives you full access to everything (including messages and events) and allows you to post as the page – always. It is also separate to my personal FB page so I don’t get sidetracked!
Knowing where I am, what I am doing and also what others are doing in my family is very important. There are loads of apps you can download to help you to keep track of your family – but I have separate Google calendars for different areas. I can look at any of them individually or all together. Syncing nicely between my phone and computer in real time!
Googles ‘basic’ version of Evernote. With Google Keep I can write notes, checklists, voice recordings or take a picture and then categorise with a colour. It is saved both on my phone and on my drive account so I can access it anywhere. I can also share the nore via e-mail or social media.
Great way for recording ideas and reminders on the go.
My biggest problem is when I pull my phone out near my toddler I get asked / pestered for her to use my phone – great toddler boredom busters include a raft of games she can play (and learn from); pictures and video of herself and; You Tube for all her favourite shows! This is great except if I really need to use my phone!
Providing you keep to the simple rules I mentioned above you can keep your life sorted with some terrific apps – and there is bound to be an app that has been developed for what you are looking for!
Visionary members have access to a whole page of cool apps, programs and tools we use every day in our business and life, which continues to expand almost on a daily basis. This available through our members site
Friday, 11 October 2013
A well organised and planned business is starting to think about their Christmas giving. Traditionally this is the time of year for Christmas cards, street decorations, giving presents, work parties and spending time with friends and family. It can also be stressful if you are not prepared, all the social engagements and commitments on top of planning for holidays and slow times in January, can send your head into a spin. Help is an e-mail away!
Christmas Cards: Sent to your staff, colleagues, clients, suppliers and supporters. A personalised card at Christmas time helps to reconnect with people you have worked with throughout the year and hope to continue to work with.
Don't forget all of your family and friends who you should also be sending cards to!
Christmas Gifts: It is nice to provide important people with a gift as a token of your appreciation, these can be printed with your branding or left generic and can be as small as a key ring or as big as hamper! Visionary can help you with ideas and even purchase gifts for you.
Christmas Parties: Who doesn't like a good Christmas party and itis even better when you host it yourself, or is. There is alot to plan when it comes to work parties, even a simple event can be time consuming for people who are trying to manage everything else. Visionary can assist with all aspects of organising your Christmas Party, working within your budget we can even create that little bit something different that makes your's the talk of the Christmas Parties.
So with Visionary looking after those 3 time consuming tasks, all you need to focus on is fitting in all of the socialising and finishing projects before the summer break!
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Watch This Space...
The team at Visionary Group have been blogging for a while now, using an in-built component within our CMS website... for the most part it's been great!
Integrating with Google Blogger will offer more reach and connectedness that the old system had limitations... not that it wasn't great, we made the decision also based on our daily association with Google+, Analytics, AdWords and more to assist in spreading the 'word'!
We hope you enjoy the next generation of blogging from us, needless to say that we are just a little bit excited...
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
The strength of any business relies on the loyalty of its customers. Strong relationships with your customers is critical to a businesses long-term success and profitability. You need to stay connected with your customers to be able to create strong relationships, to help you here are some ideas:
Newsletters. Newsletters are a great way to communicate with your customers since there are an endless number of pieces of information that you can put into the newsletter.
Remember to provide information that is relevant and factual. Studies show that when companies send out newsletters that contain nothing more than sales pitches for the products or services that they are selling, customers tune out these sales pitches and discard the newsletter.
Postcards. If you have a budget that allows it, consider sending out postcards to reach your customers to communicate with them on a personal level. Ensure that the message that you send is timely and relevant.
Fulfil all your promises. It's important that you do what you say you're going to do. When you or your products fail to deliver on their promises, you lose credibility, which is crucial to establishing a trusting relationship with your customers.
Return all e-mail and phone calls. When a customer makes an effort to contact you, make sure that you return the communication as soon as you can. This is the perfect opportunity for you to open up lines of communication.
Greeting cards. Are a great way to say thank-you to your clients and customers, a birthday card is also a nice gesture, for repeat customers you can also send business anniversary cards. It's important to let your customers know that you appreciate their business.
Information about new products. Whenever you have a new product or service, make sure that you let your customers know.
The more communication that you have with your customers, the stronger your relationship will be. You want to ensure that your customers trust you, listen to what you have to say, and return to buy more of your products and services.
There are so many tools that you can build into your business that assists in automating these communication processes – Visionary marketing has affordable relationship marketing packages that you may be interested in – or we can give you a no-obligation quote on your individual needs.
Saturday, 7 September 2013
By Craig Allan
“Nobody appreciates spam emails clogging up their Inbox, but we all find informative newsletters useful to keep up-to-date with developments in crucial aspects of our professional life – the challenge for business operators is to produce quality advice and newsworthy articles that are delivered in an ethical manner.”
Email marketing remains to be an effective online communications channel with effective results in increasing conversions to business operators who use websites as a sales vehicle; not only is it a desirable way for interested people to receive relevant information, but also it is an ethical communication method providing marketers and business managers adhere with government regulations, such as the Anti Spam Laws here in Australia.
It’s in business operator’s best interest to keep on the right side of these laws as penalties are significant; the law also covers other marketing activities, such as SMS marketing. More details can be found at the ACMA website (http://www.acma.gov.au).
Effective email marketing can increase the number of visitations and length on time people visit company websites, thus enabling an increased opportunity to convert site visitors into customers; the structure of email newsletters is important in that regard.
Business operators should also consider the frequency and delivery day when planning an email marketing campaign; Visionary marketing has a range of packaged and customised solutions to assist in delivering effective – Contact Us Now!