Monday, 23 February 2015

Three M's to a competitive website

Your website is just as important as your shop front or office - as such it should be maintained, managed and marketed in the same way. The three m's of a competitive website:

Maintained: This includes keeping content up-to-date, links working, uptime and speed of your website, security (against hackers and viruses) to name a few. Your host should be able to provide some of these services.

Managed: It is very easy for a website to get either out of control through too many people accessing and updating it or at the other end of spectrum for it to become redundant because it hasn't been updated.

We recommend regular updates and also if you have multiple people as content editors or web masters, to ensure that website guidelines document is adopted.

Marketed: As with anything else that you produce for your business, your website should be appealing to your ideal client, it should tell your story and inform about your products and/or services. Colours, fonts and images should be consistent with your style guide.

Once you have a well designed and functional website then you need to tell people about it. There are many ways to tell people about your site, at this point many people get focused on purely gaining high google rankings (that is appearing on the 1st page). While this is important it is not the only way of getting people onto your website - this is where your digital strategy comes into play.

If you are looking for a new website, take the guesswork out of it by completing our website requirements form and receiving a detailed report to help with development (or redevelopment)
If you would like a free report on your digtal footprint then request it here.

Monday, 16 February 2015

My website is a waste of time, I don't need it

Your website is an extension of your business, it should provide information to existing and potential clients/customers, it should give people opportunities to learn more about your offerings and to connect with you. There is not a business type that I can think of that should not have a website - it is like asking should I have a business name, ABN and accounting software. It is a reflection of how professional and serious you are about building a successful business.

The world wide web has become a very confusing place to be part of - and it is possible to sink lot's of money in without seeing any return. You need to understand how it works, or partner with someone who understands. It is not a fad and it is not going away - it is growing - and if your business is to survive you need a website.

You have a Facebook page - that is enough right? Here is the thing - you do not own your Facebook page, the content or the likers. You have no control over Facebook changing (improving?) the rules. You can have 2000 likers but only getting an engagement of 30. It is the same with all of the social media platforms - they are important - but your website gives you 100% control - all the time. Or it should.

If you have a website and not sure who owns your domain name, where it is hosted or at minimum how to do content updates - then ask questions and learn. Websites can be a mere page with basic information - or they can be gigantic with complete e-commerce systems built into  them - the size depends on your businesses needs.

Website developers have been creating websites since forever - many of them have used code to create and update sites - these guys (and gals) understand about widgets, components, modules and code - so some things are best left to the pros. With great CMS available today there is no reason you can't learn how to do content updates yourself - for many it is not much harder than using word.

Your website presence does not need to be huge, it does need to work for your business however, check out your competitors and what they are doing and review your site regularly. Ensure you have google analytics on your site so you can track visits to your site - how else are you going to determine what works and what doesn't?

Before you say you do not need a website, look at what your competitors are doing and have a think about how a website could help you 'do' your business. It should be working with you. A website will at the end of the day build trust with the people that you meet - if they don't do business with you, they may just refer someone to you who will.

Let Visionary help you with a Digital Review for your business (FREE) - follow this link

Friday, 13 February 2015

Why you can't reach your customer.

Personalisation – that is the way of the future. Just like your favourite shop knows your name, your partners and kids names, the things you like and how you want to purchase – as will your favourite websites, search engines and social media.

It doesn’t matter what buzz words marketers use – consumers (you) are increasingly able to be selective about the messaging that you see – where, when and what.

Paid advertising on television, radio and print are increasingly providing a lower return on investment. Interestingly outdoor advertising (bill boards, buses etc) are providing better return on investments over longer periods of times.

Businesses are turning more and more to the online world to offer them the opportunities to promote their products and services.

Directory listings, adwords and adsense have been options for a while – however research is indicating that return on investment for banner advertising is decreasing.

There is debates happening in regards to the effectiveness of e-mail marketing, with open rates decreasing. Gmail and Outlook recently rolled out changes to how e-mails are organised with tabs now filtering messages away from first screen views. SMS marketing has been trialled by some companies but has never really taken off – maybe it will.

Consumers have the opportunities of ‘opting out’, ‘removing’, ‘unsubscribing’, and ‘filtering’ messages and advertisers – providing marketers with additional barriers to having potential customers see their advertising.
As consumers discover personalisation, companies also discover new ways to sell advertising, and push messages to people (gmail users will see the paid advertising popping up). Social media are refining the way that there ads are seen and how business can target customers – LinkedIn and Twitter have joined the paid advertising field along with Facebook and Pinterest are trialing paid pins.

As technology expands the ways for companies to tell their story as does it allow for the consumer to customise the type of messaging you see and how you receive it.

Like it or not there is so much ‘data’ about you in cyber-space (google Big Data and see what comes up) it is this information that is giving business the opportunity to target you as an individual.

The days of mass-advertising and paying for ‘brand awareness’ is gone – if you understand your target market you can reach them in a targeted and cost effective way by tapping into the digital world.

Visionary is hosting a Marketing 101 workshop in Ballarat - to register follow this link or visit our 2015 workshop program information here.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Good Headshots Will Sell More

Having a great looking head shot will assist you with branding for both your business and also yourself.

Having a bad head shot will not envoke trust in potential clients/customers. Bad includes: 
Out of date pictures (I once met someone after connecting with them on Social Media and was left feeling disappointed). 
Poor quality (let's face it 'selfies' are great for friends and family...but....). 
Cropped photos (you know the one where you are out with your mates and someone snaps a pic and shares on FB - you download and crop)

You get the idea. 

A good photo is: 
Where you are wearing enough make-up to highlight your features, take away the shine and stand out on camera. 
Good quality camera and a photographer who knows how to use both the camera and lights, and also edit the pictures. 
Natural poses that reflect your business brand and your personality. Do your research and be prepared.

The main purpose of using a photo of you and your team in promotion is that people (your customers/clients) want to do business with a person. Not a brand. Corporation. A person they can identify with, speak to and most importantly impart their hard earned dollars with (that is the bit you want). Having head shot photos of you and your team will create connection with your business.

Investing in good quality head shots, and also regularly updating them, is money well spent. Once you have the pictures you can use them on social media (let's face it between personal accounts-with an average person having 5.4* and also business accounts-there is plenty of scope on social media alone). Then there is your blog, website, profiles on directories, business cards, brochures and other printed collateral, media releases and bio sheets. Really any item that you are trying to envoke trust and build relationships with potential and new customers. 

A library of professional head shots can be used over and over again - updated once or twice a year. Visionary's professional head shot day, held in Ballarat is our service to help business have better marketing! For more information on these days follow this link

* Source Global Web Index