Friday, 22 February 2013

2013 Marketing Tips

As happens at the start of the year all of the experts come out and give their take on what is going to be the 'thing' to do in their chosen field for that year. Marketing for 2013 has certainly had its fair share of articles written and thoughts provided.

I am currently putting together information for workshops that I am presenting over the next 2 weeks (5 in total!) and it has made me recap on all the articles and blogs I have read and succinctly put the Visionary slant on what we believe will be the 'trends'.

So for your benefit here goes:

Consolidation
Over the last couple of years we have been bombarded with changes, especially around social media, that has opened up many new opportunities for business to promote themselves. Google has changed the way (constantly) that they measure the success, or otherwise, of your website and how all of your web activity works together to increase your placing in google searches.

Good news, if you have managed to stay anywhere near the top of the swell of these changes this year is about consolidation of ideas - nothing major is on the horizon to be new. If you haven't kept up, then this is the year to catch up - because 2014 is a new year.....

There will be changes made to social media that will improve how we conduct business through those channels (for example Twitter has just launched paid advertising!). This will be an exciting year to innovate and master social media and the web and to integrate that success with your entire marketing effort.

Content
Both online and offline content is King - you will need to pay attention to grammar and spelling. Consumers are looking for newsworthy information that sparks discussion, sharing and liking, this will also help Google to take notice of your business.

Gone are the days of publishing posts, updates and blogs - just because. We are all time poor we are only going to take notice of interesting things - and google has caught on to all of the ways that business have been dropping key words just to increase their ranking.

Be clever with your content - be interesting - and most importantly befriend a professional writer!

Design
Good design speaks miles about your business - from logos to advertisements and your website. Consumers are expecting great visuals - the new Windows 8 is all about looking beautiful and there is a reason that Pinterest has had the highest take-up of any social media to date. We just don't have time for words - our brains can only process so much - guff!

Time for a designer to join your team - and we are not talking outsourcing overseas for $2 or buying templated rubbish - invest in creating a great look for your business!

Good-luck with your marketing - and remember if you need help call Visionary!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Visionary presents at Melbourne Joomla! Day Conference

By Craig Allan

Visionary Group gave two eCommunity presentations at a conference run by a Melbourne based User Group for Joomla! – a Content Management System website platform used both in-house and for all our client website projects.

Joomla! CMS is one of the most widely used open source platforms in the world, with over a million commercial websites built to date; the current version boasts dynamic mobile design features to enhance end user experience for tablets and smartphones.

Craig demonstrated how Visionary client, Association for Manufacturing Excellence, has transformed their website to provide automated membership management and eCommerce functionality with other user friendly systems such as event registration, secure documentation repository and also newsletter and social media integration. In business terms the site has assisted the client in reducing operating costs while delivering a great user experience to all stakeholders.

Craig also presented on behalf of Joomlapolis, a Swiss-based Joomla! component developer who makes Community Builder, the eCommunity functionality used on Visionary’s client site; Joomlapolis quickly became an event sponsor soon after initial discussions with Visionary about the event!

The Ballarat ICT community was well represented with two other local organisations participating in the Melbourne Joomla! Day.

Visit Joomla!Day Conference website: Here

Presentations by Craig Allan at Joomla!Day 2013 on YouTube


Friday, 15 February 2013

Getting Online


This week I built and created an online store – a proper one with the shopping cart and everything. It was exciting and tedious all at the same time and it made me very thankful that my partner (in life and business) is an expert in these areas of website functionality!

He showed great patience with me as I navigated my way around the new software, uploading my images, changing the way I was structuring it, getting pedantic on the details – and going back time and time again to make changes.
I finally took a deep breath on Sunday and decided to tell people about it and have had ‘ a soft’ launch on Facebook, knowing that this is an evolving project and that every day I can find changes to make – and with over 400 products already listed I can add many, many more!

The online store is for our wedding / event decorative items that we sell – table cloths, chair covers, runners, sashes, mirror bases, lights, candles, petals and table scatters – the whole box and dice to make an event ‘pretty!’. We have been ‘selling ‘ this stuff for ages, mostly to our bides we are working with, but since we have found a great wholesaler we have decided that we will take it ‘National’!

So we have the wholesaler and distribution sorted, I checked all of our competitors prices and we match them, I can market a business, and I have my web guru sitting beside me to help with the set-up and the software required. Then there was the time – do not underestimate the time needed to upload images, put in descriptions, cross link to other products and make the store generally easy to navigate. That is where my anal eye for detail came into it – but my attention span of just wanting it done did cause conflict at times!

I said to Craig, my partner today that I was disappointed that after 3 days no-one had bought from me –to which he informed me that it was early days ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ stuff and that we needed to integrate our new store in with our existing marketing efforts. This is the territory I was familiar with – time to review brochures, printed ads, adword campaigns the whole lot!

This is what I tell my clients, put the time into have the basis or the plan, and then put in the steps and actions to ‘sell’ it and keep talking about it on whatever channel is available to you. When it comes to going on-line do not procrastinate, I am sure we are all aware that the web is here to stay, it is not going anywhere and for many it is your biggest competitor, so don’t complain – get onboard. Have an expert in web functionality ‘on your team’, take a deep breath, put the time in and make it happen.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Thing About Making A Decision


I have just had to make a big decision – you know the ones that are going to shift the course of your life and also possibly impact on others also – not the ‘what am I going to have for breakfast’ type decisions. – a real decision.
We have all made ‘real’ decisions in our life and made choices that have seen us embarking on a different course to what we are on. For me I think I need to do it – every 4-5 years – challenge myself – throw it all up in the air and see how it lands! So I have thrown it up in the air – I have told the people the decision will impact – some have shown understanding, other have turned it into an issue ‘about me’. But I know that the decision I have made, while hard, is the absolute best one for my business and my family – the 2 things that really matter for me.

So I did the hard thing and made a decision – it has been lurking over my head for at least 1 year to make – I have also told those people who will be impacted by it. All very scary, I am coping with that sick feeling in my tummy but I also know that it is the best thing to do for me.

So I have made the decision – I have committed to seeing it through – as they say ne door closes and another opens.
The door that is opening for us is going to be exciting, not just for ourselves but for all of our supporters – we are planning some rather larger activities that our supporter base will be able to get involved in – at a low cost or at times for FREE – this is going to be a terrific year for our business and also yours!

The first thing you need to do is make the decision that will change the way you are doing things – after all, if you continue to do the same things the same way you will continue to always be the same – make 2013 a year you change the course of what you are doing – go on be brave, be smart and see it through. I did and I can’t wait for the dust to settle, the planning to happen and for us to implement our new plan!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

By Craig Allan

SEO

"I've spent so much money on my website, but nobody is visiting my site - what do I do?"

We hear this almost every day, business operators have created a substantial investment in their website; it looks great and engages visitors... but knowbody knows about it and there is no traffic to the site - we're here to help!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of refining websites so they are delivered to your potential clients when they search for your products and services.

SEO is the technical aspect of an Internet Marketing campaign; Visionary eBusiness and Visionary marketing team up to deliver the best customised solution at realistic prices - we partner with client companies to support their own marketing team or to manage a complete solution for maximum return on investment.

Organic vs. Pay-Par-Click SEO:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to a range of methods used to increase the amount of traffic to your site as a result of effective positioning in search engine results. SEO methods are classified into two broad categories; Pay Per Click (PPC) and Organic (or Natural) optimisation techniques.

Pay Per Click (PPC): Involves bidding on a selected range of key words, the higher the bid the better the position of your website listed in search results; the results are shown within the ‘Sponsored Links’ section of search engines.

Organic (or Natural): Involves the effective use of keywords within your website, thus ‘organically’ increasing your website ranking within search results; the listings are shown within the body of the search engine result pages.
Visionary eBusiness provides a range of cost effective services, using both PPC and Organic methods, thus increasing the amount of traffic to your site and resulting in increased revenue to your business.

Search Engine Optimisation benefits your business website by:
  • Making your site easier to find in search engines like Google, Bing Yahoo and others
  • Positioning your business as the expert on your field
  • Enabling potential clients to find your products and services easier
  • Compete with corporate companies by providing niche offerings
  • Responding to new and emerging trends and communication technologies

SEO is an integral aspect of an overall Internet Marketing campaign, we can deliver a cost effective solution for businesses of all sizes and from all industries - Give your businesses the competitive edge and contact us now!

Did you know:
  • Almost all website traffic originates from search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN
  • Organic search engine results are twice as effective as PPC advertising
  • Most people only look at the first page, or top 10 results, thus generating thousands of unique visitors to your website
  • SEO is one of the most cost effective methods of promoting your business